✵The article gives records of the herb Poria Cocos, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one fungus species, ①.Poria cocos (Schw.) Wolf., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this fungus species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this fungus species, the features of the herb Poria Cocos, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Pin Yin Name: Fú Línɡ.
English Name: Poria Cocos.
Latin Name: Poria.
Property and flavor: neutral in nature,sweet,tasteless.
Brief introduction: The herb Poria is the dried sclerotium of the fungus Poria cocos (Schw.) Wolf, used (1).as a diuretic in cases of edema and oliguria,(2).to invigorate the spleen for treating anorexia and diarrhea, and (3).to induce tranquilization in cases of palpitation and insomnia. The herb is commonly known as Poria, Poria Cocos, Fú Línɡ.
Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Poria (Poria Cocos) as the dried sclerotium of the species (1). Poria cocos (Schw.) Wolf, it is a fungus of the Wolfiporia genus, the Fomitopsidaceae family (Polyporaceae, bracket fungus family), the Polyporales order. This commonly used species is introduced:
(1).Poria cocos (Schw.) Wolf.
Botanical description: Poria cocos (Schw.) Wolf is a fungus of the Polyporaceae family (Polyporaceae, bracket fungus family) and Wolfiporia genus, it is also known as Pachyma cocos Fr., Wolfiporia extensa, Wolfiporia extensa (Peck) Ginns (syn. Poria cocos F.A.Wolf), the fungus is also known as hoelen, poria, tuckahoe, China root, Fu ling., and classified into Fomitopsidaceae family in some latest classification system. Sclerotium is spherical, oval, elliptic to an irregular shape, 10~30 cm long, or longer, and differs in weight, usually 500~5,000 grams. Its outside has a thick and wrinkled skin shell, bistre (dark brown), it is soft when fresh, and hardened when it is dried; the inside is white or rose pink, powdered granular. Encarpium (fruiting body) grows on the surface of the sclerotium, procumbent (flat-lying), thickness is 3~8 cm, white, succulent, turns sandy beige (pale brown) when it is aged or dried. The bacteria tube is dense, 2~3 mm long, the tube wall is thin, the tube opening is circular, polygonal or irregular shape, 0.5~1.5 cm in diameter, peristome is toothed. Spores are rectangular to subcylindrical (nearly cylindrical), smooth, has a crooked tip, and size is (7.5~9) μm × (3~3.5) μm.
Poria shows three different morphological characteristics at different stages of growth, namely mycelium, sclerotium, and fruiting body.
(1).Mycelium, including mononuclear and dual-core two mycelia. Monomer nuclear mycelium, also known as primary mycelium, is made by the Poria spores germination, only in the early germination. Binuclear mycelium, also known as secondary mycelium, is the main form of mycelium. Mycelium has a white fluffy appearance, with a unique multi-concentric ring-shaped colony.
(2).Sclerotium, by numerous hyphae and nutrients, is gathered from the dormant body. Also known as "Tuckahoe or fu-ling". Spherical, ellipsoid, oblate or irregular lumps; two small, the largest reaches tens of pounds; fresh matter soft quality, easy to open, hard to break after it is dried. Sclerotium is shell-like, rough surface, with nodular shrinkage, light brown or tan (chocolate brown) when it is fresh, and turns to dark brown when it is dried; skin is white and light brown.
(3). The fruiting body, usually produces on the surface of sclerotia, occasionally in the older mycelium. Honeycomb, different sizes, sessile and supine, about 0.3~1 cm thick. At first, it is white, and the old xylem (wood part) turns into light yellow. The stratum grows on the surface of the inner wall of the tube. Poria spores are ash gray (greyish-white), oblong or nearly cylindrical, has a crooked tip, 6×2.5 ~ 11×3.5 microns.
Ecological environment: Poria cocos are parasitic on the pine family of plants such as red pine or Masson pine roots, 20 to 30 cm underground. The herb is distributed in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang river area, the north and northwest areas, and other areas of China.
Growth characteristics: Poria cocos is a facultative parasitic fungus, it grows wild in the rhizosphere of Pinus massoniana, Pinus yellow-mountain, Pinus red, Pinus yunnanensis, Pinus lodgepole, and other tree species, on dry and sunny slopes in mountainous areas at altitudes of 600~1,000 meters above sea level. Spores grow out at 22~28 °C (Celsius, or 71.6~82.4 degrees Fahrenheit), mycelium (hypha) grows at 18~35 °C (Celsius, or 64.4~95 degrees Fahrenheit), and grows quickly at 25~30 °C (Celsius, or 77~86 degrees Fahrenheit), encarpium (fruiting body) is differentiated and grow at 18~26 °C (Celsius, or 64.4~78.8 degrees Fahrenheit), and bearing spores. It is suitable for growth in wood segments with a 50~60% water ratio, and soil with a 20% water ratio, pH (pH scale:acidity-basicity) 3~7, 10°~35° degree of slope mountainous sandy soil are more suitable for its growth. It is favorable for growth in the condition of a large temperature difference between day and night.
Characters of herbs: The intact Poria cocos are quasi-circular (similar circular), elliptic, disc-shaped (oblate form), or irregular lumps, in different sizes. The out skin is thin, tan (chocolate brown) or dark brown (black brown), coarse and rough, with obvious shrinkage texture and constriction, sometimes some part is peeling off. The herb is heavy, the texture of the herb is firm and solid, the crushing surface is granular, the part near to edge is faint red (rose color), has tiny faveolate (alveolate or honeycomb-like) holes, it's inside part is white, and a few are faint red. Some poria cocos hold pine roots in the center, which used to be named "Fu Shen Kuai"(block of Fushen). The herb has a slight odor, it tastes mild, sticky to teeth when it is chewed. The herb of better grade is heavy, the texture of the herb is firm and solid, the out skin is tan (chocolate brown), the skin texture is fine, with no cracks, and the fracture surface is white and subtle, strongly sticky to teeth.
Poria cocos block: Poria cocos blocks are prepared blocks after peeling, which are cuboid or cuboid thick pieces of different sizes. White, faint red (rose color), or pale brown.
Poria cocos slices: Poria cocos slices are sliced herbs after peeling, which are irregularly thick slices with different thicknesses. White, faint red (rose color), or pale brown.
Medicinal efficacy: Clearing damp and promoting diuresis, benefits the spleen and harmonizes the stomach, nourishes the spleen and calm the heart, calm the heart and tranquility. It is indicated for edema and oliguria, dysuria (difficulty in micturition), edema and distention fullness, phlegm and fluid retention, dizziness and palpitation, phlegm and fluid retention with cough, spleen deficiency and poor appetite, loose stool and diarrhea, vomiting, retching, diarrhea, spermatorrhea (nocturnal emission), stranguria with turbid discharge, restlessness, uneasy and palpitation, palpitate with fear and insomnia, amnesia (forgettery), white turbid and spermatorrhea.
Administration of Poria (Fú Línɡ):
Administration Guide of Poria (Fú Línɡ)
①.Internally:9~15 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~5 qian (about 4.5~15 grams), or prepare to pill,powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 10~15 grams, or prepared to pill, powder.
Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: should not combine with Radix Sanguisorbae, Realgar, Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae, turtleback. Should avoid rice vinegar.