Fu Ling is an ancient Chinese herb derived from a fungus, or mushroom that grows on the roots of pine trees. Fu Ling is also known as poria mushroom, Indian bread, or China root. The mushroom filaments are harvested for their medicinal qualities. The fungus grows in the wild in China and is also cultivated to meet the demand for this medicinal herb. The mushroom is typically ground into a powder, which is then ingested.
Fu Ling has many proven health benefits. It has been used to treat:
- Hot flashes
Researchers demonstrated that Fu Ling actually produced better relief for hot flashes in the face and upper body than hormone replacement therapy. Their study involving 352 post menopausal women was published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine. The researchers recommended Fu Ling as an effective treatment for menopausal hot flashes.
There are numerous studies that support Fu Ling as an anti-cancer agent with potential for use against many types of cancer including lung, pancreatic, prostate, skin, and breast cancer. A study was published in the 2014 edition of Medicinal Plant that discusses in detail the biochemical activity of Fu Ling and it's anti-tumor and anti-cancer potential.
Several studies have proven the anti-inflammatory effects of Fu Ling. The July, 2014 edition of BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine published one such study, which shows the biochemical activity of Fu Ling. The researchers support this herb as a viable treatment for inflammation and associated disorders.
Fu Ling is commonly used in China to treat diabetes. Several modern clinical trials support the anti-diabetic effects of Fu Ling. One such study published in the January, 2011 issue of Evidenced Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicates Fu Ling enhances insulin sensitivity and lowers blood glucose, making it an effective supplement in the support of diabetics.
Fu Ling is recognized as a traditional treatment in China for anxiety and related conditions. Before the 20th century, mental illness in China was exclusively treated with herbal remedies, including Fu Ling, and there is at least anecdotal data to suggest these treatments were often effective. While there is not a lot of clinical research to support this, it is commonly accepted as an effective anti-anxiety remedy. In one clinical trial patients treated with an herbal remedy in which Fu Ling was one of the ingredients, did exhibit improved mental health and lower anxiety than patients that did not receive the herbal remedy.
Dosage and Side Effects
According to WebMD, Fu Ling is considered safe for most people with no known adverse side effects. There is not enough known about this herb and its use in pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is advisable for pregnant and breast feeding women to consult with their physician before including Fu Ling in their diet. There is no recommended daily dosage of Fu Ling. Most suppliers do offer suggested dosage information for their individual products.
Where to Purchase
Fu Ling can be found at certain local health food stores and herb shops. There are several online vendors that sell Fu Ling in different formulations.
- Chinese Herb sells a concentrated powder, available in a 100 gram bottle for about $50. This product is concentrated and recommended for the professional herbalist only.
- Dragon Herbs offers a capsule featuring Fu Ling and other herbs. You can purchase 100 capsules for about $20. The manufacturer's recommendation is to take three capsules twice a day.
- Amazon offers 500 gram poria (Fu Ling) herbal tea for about $15. The recommended serving size is 10-15 grams seeped in water to create a tea.
Consult Your Primary Care Provider
As with any supplement it is best to consult with your primary care provider before starting a new regime. You want to be certain to discuss any other medications or supplements you are taking as well as any underlying medical conditions. When used as directed, Fu Ling may be a beneficial herbal supplement to support health and combat certain disease processes.