“Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)” – a Thai Herb that Can Suppress Cancer — Another Alternative Treatment to Reduce the Risk of Side Effects from Chemotherapy

A Chula professor, in her local mushroom research, unveils “Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)” as having a destructive effect on cervical cancer cells.  Additional research is currently being done to confirm its potency and low side effects, before making it available at an affordable price.

Since 1999 cancer has been the number one cause of death in Thailand and it is not likely to change anytime soon. Common cancer treatments include chemotherapy or irradiation, which always have side effects on patients to a certain extent, so the discovery of new treatment options is something most welcome.  Most recently, Chula researchers have found proof that “Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)” can treat cancer with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee Yanatatsaneejit, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University and head of the research project on “anticancer properties of Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus) extract” explained that the mushroom extract helps reduce cancer cells growth and restore the health of patients.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee Yanatatsaneejit, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee Yanatatsaneejit,
Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

This research is a collaboration between Chula researchers and the private sector, namely Nature Herb International Holding Company Limited and Herb for You Company Limited, both of which have formulas containing Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus) in addition to Khao-Yen Neua (Smilax corbularia Kunth), Khao-Yen Tai (Smilax glabra/ Chinaroot /or sarsaparilla) and other herbs.

Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)
Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)

Getting to Know Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)

“Thai Phellinus mushrooms (Phellinus linteus)” — Kratin Phiman mushrooms, or “horseshoe mushrooms” as they are known among Thai villagers are dried, brown, woody mushrooms that often grow in montane scrubs or dried, mixed deciduous forests. They are found in the northeastern part of Thailand and often grow on trees.  They are most commonly found on Kratin Phiman (Acacia tomentosa Willd.) trees, hence the origin of the name Kratin Phiman mushrooms.

The Thai Phellinus mushroom was registered in the National List of Thai Herbal Medicine B.E. 2553 (2010).  Currently, the world is focusing on researching the mushroom extract properties as it has been found to treat diabetes, boost immunity and red blood cells, and most importantly, treat cancer without side effects.

dried Kratin Phiman mushrooms
dried Kratin Phiman mushrooms

Thai Phellinus mushroom (Phellinus linteus) and Pharmacological Research

Phellinus linteus has anticancer properties as it can halt cells growth, and stimulate cancer cells death, particularly in colon cancer cells, nasopharyngeal cancer cells, breast cancer cells, brain cancer cells, and leukemia cells, by increasing the proliferation rate of B lymphocytes.  Moreover, Phellinus linteus is also effective in working with the immune system.  It can also reduce wrinkles by increasing anti-oxidants, suppress microorganism and virus, lower blood sugar, minimize inflammation in prostate glands, as well as protecting the livers and nervous systems.

Another alternative for cancer patients

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee revealed that over the past year, research results have shown that Thai Phellinus mushroom extract could inhibit cancer cell growth and kill cervical cancer cells.  However, to achieve 100% confidence in the results, the experiment has to be repeated many times and carried out with other herbs for maximum efficiency.

“We still require two more years to be sure that this herb can treat cancer, and provide patients with a better quality of life. This will offer an alternative course of treatment for cancer patients in Thailand, and give them access to Thai herbal medicine at the most affordable price.”

Powder Thai Phellinus mushrooms
Powder Thai Phellinus mushrooms

In addition to the effectiveness of Thai Phellinus mushroom extract, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee said that further study on the nephrotoxicity of the mushroom extract is still needed. If the results of nephrotoxin are within acceptable levels, patients will be more confident in the herb.

Although studies find that Thai Phellinus mushroom extract can inhibit cervical cancer, its effect on other types of cancer still need to be further studied.

“The Thai Phellinus mushroom extract cannot treat all types of cancer because each cancer cell is different. An in-depth look into the genetics of each type of cancer cell is needed, and right now we have already started on colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, etc.,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee said.

Lab Experiment
Lab Experiment

At any rate, though Phellinus linteus can effective stop cancer cell growth, based on the lab results with lab animals, and many cancer patients with various types of cancer, to use this mushroom for cancer treatment is not easy because to date, there has not been any farmed mushroom that have as much essential substance as the mushrooms grown in nature.  Therefore, the research team is studying ways to cultivate Phellinus linteus to produce sufficient medical-grade extract to be used in targeted treatments, as well as to serve as a basis for drug development.

Chula’s encouragement and support for research is excellent for teachers, students, and the public.

Associate Professor Dr. Suchana Chavanich Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

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