Poria Cocos Root

Wolfiporia extensa (Peck) Ginns (formerly known as Poria cocos F.A. Wolf) is a fungus in the Polyporaceae family. It is a wood-decay fungus but has a terrestrial growth habit. It is notable in the development of a large, long-lasting underground sclerotium that resembles a small coconut. This sclerotium (called “Tuckahoe”, or Indian bread) was used by native Americans as a source of food in times of scarcity. It is also used as a medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine.

Use in Chinese medicine…

Called Fu Ling, it is collected between July and September. The poria with reddish inner side of the superficial layer is called red poria and the poria with white inner side of the superficial layer is called white poria. The poria produced in Yunnan Province is famous and therefore the drug is also called Yunnan poria Yunling). After collection, it is dried in shade, sliced, and used unprepared.

Property

Sweet and tasteless in flavour, neutral in property, acting on the heart, spleen and kidney channels.

Effects

Inducing diuresis, excreting dampness, invigorating the spleen, replenishing the middle-jiao, and tranquilizing the mind.

Used for

1. For dysuria, edema, phlegm retention and others due to retention of water within the body, it is often used with umbellate pore and water-plantain tuber,as in Powder of Five Drugs Including Poria (Wuling San). Since poria is neutral in property, it can be used for damp-heat and cold-damp syndromes in combination with other drugs. In cases of damp-heat syndrome, it is often used with plantain seed and manshurian aris-tolochia stem; or cold-damp syndrome, it is usually used with lateral root of acon-ite and dried ginger; for dizziness, palpitation, cough, and so on due to retention of phlegm, it is often used with cinnamon twig and white atractylodes, as in Decoction of Poria, Cinnamon Twig, Atractylodes and Licorice (Ling GuiZhu Gan Tang).

2. For lassitude, anorexia and loose stool due to deficiency of the spleen, it is always used with dangshen, white atractylodes and licorice, known as Decoction of Four Noble Drugs (Sijinzi Tang).

3. For fright palpitation and insomnia due to insufficiency of the spleen and heart, it is often used with dangshen,longan aril and wild jujube seed, asin Decoction for invigorating the spleen and nourishing the heart (Guipi Tang). For fright palpitation and insomnia due to phlegm retention in the interior or due to breakdown of the physiological coordination between the heart and kidney, it is often used with grass-leaved sweetflag and polygala root, as in Sedative Bolus(Anshen Dingzhi Wan).

{Information courtesy Wikipedia}