The Benefits of Black Hoof Mushrooms
Updated September 22, 2023.
The Black Hoof mushroom is a non-psychedelic fungus that can be consumed as a dietary supplement in capsules, powdered extracts, or tinctures. The fungus has many different names and ways of writing them, such as:
- Sanghuang or Sang-Hwang
- Meshima, Mesima, or Meshimakobu
- Phellinus linteus (the scientific name)
Although there may be minuscule differences between the mushrooms grown in different regions and climates, the benefits of this particular fungus are largely the same. This article discusses a few of those benefits and the potential side effects.
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Immunomodulatory Properties of Black Hoof Fungus
Many functional mushrooms are revered for their ability to benefit the immune system in various ways, and black hoof mushrooms are no different.
Immune Boosting Properties
Research has shown that one of the uses of Black Hoof mushroom is for direct benefits to the immune system by activating the response of T cells. T cells are primarily responsible for killing foreign bodies while also activating other immune cells.
Additionally, science has often shown that various mushroom species possess differing levels of antimicrobial activity. Although there is limited research into the antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal benefits of Meshima mushrooms specifically, it appears that all species of mushrooms possess these properties to some degree.
The abovelisted study also looked at the anti-tumour properties of Sanghuang and found that it appeared to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cancer cells and inhibit the proliferation and progression of colon and prostate cancer cells.
Additional research found Phellinus linteus extracts to be effective in inducing apoptosis of breast and bladder cancer cells and even went far enough to claim that this particular mushroom is the most effective fungal species in the treatment of cancer.
The same study also found that Black Hoof fungus effectively reduced oxidative stress by increasing the expression of antioxidative enzymes in the body in addition to possessing certain polyphenols that have natural antioxidant capabilities. As discussed in this study, free radical proliferation (oxidative stress) is detrimental to the immune system.
The accumulation of oxidative stress also leads to cell and DNA damage that accelerates the aging process, and so another benefit to antioxidants is a longevity boost.
Health Benefits of Black Hoof Fungus
Aside from the immunomodulatory benefits of Black Hoof mushrooms, there are also some additional health benefits.
Inflammation build-up can be caused by several factors, such as allergies or more serious conditions like arthritis. If left untreated, science shows that inflammation can become chronic and cause many severe conditions, such as respiratory diseases, heart disorders, cancer, and diabetes.
Reducing inflammation in the body not only alleviates the symptoms of many of these diseases but can also lower the risk of developing worse conditions. There is strong evidence to suggest that Black Hoof mushrooms possess potent anti-inflammatory (and even anti-allergenic) properties.
Antidiabetic and Hepatoprotective Properties
Common symptoms of diabetes are insulin resistance that leads to increased glucose levels in the blood and liver damage. Treatment for this condition usually involves hypoglycemic medications to lower the concentration of blood glucose. However, there may be other ways to achieve the same result.
Some studies have shown that one of the benefits of Sanghuang mushroom is an apparent hypoglycemic effect in diabetic mammals. Additionally, extracts of the fungus also appear to be effective in combating liver damage (hepatoprotective) caused by several factors, including diabetes.
Are There Side Effects of Consuming Black Hoof Mushrooms?
Despite the growing research into the benefits of functional mushrooms, very few studies have ever looked at the side effects. It stands to reason that many functional mushroom species would share similar side effects, most of which are gastrointestinal problems (stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhoea). However, side effects from functional mushroom supplements are not often reported and usually only occur when consumed raw or improperly prepared.
That being said, precautions should be taken by the following people:
- Diabetics Although these mushrooms may benefit diabetes symptoms situationally, combining them with other hypoglycemic medications could result in dangerously low blood sugar levels if not properly monitored.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers There isn't any evidence that suggests these mushrooms aren't safe if consumed while breastfeeding, but there also isn't any research into the safety and should be avoided as a precaution.
- Autoimmune disease sufferers Different bodies of research suggest these mushrooms to be either immunomodulatory (which could suppress the side-effects of autoimmune diseases) or immunostimulatory (which could aggravate symptoms). So long as the debate continues, individuals with autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and others should err on the side of caution.
- Those with mushroom or mould allergies The Black Hoof mushroom is a fungus and will trigger reactions in those with fungal allergies.
Can You Mix Black Hoof With Other Functional Mushrooms?
Unfortunately, the lack of research into functional mushrooms extends to the efficacy of mixing them with other mushroom species. Some believe that combining them may reduce their benefits similarly to mixing pharmaceutical medications and alcohol. In contrast, others believe that the benefits are compounded when certain mushrooms are taken together since they are all fungi.
Luckily, the mushrooms do appear relatively safe for most people, and so you have some breathing room to experiment and figure out what works best for you. Just be sure to monitor yourself for side effects and stop consumption immediately if you experience any.