Hoelen (scientific name, Poria cocos) belonging to the Polyporaceae family is a mushroom that is used for therapeutic purposes. This is a subterranean mushroom that is found growing on the roots of pine and some other trees around the globe. However, in several regions of the world this mushroom or fungus is consumed as a food item rather than a medicine. This was especially true during the 19th century, when the mushroom was called Tuckahoe in the eastern and southern regions of the United States. This herb derived its name Tuckahoe or Tuckahoe bread owing to the fact that each of the mushrooms may grow so big that it may weigh as much as 15 pounds to 20 pounds (around seven to nine kilograms) and could be pounded into bread flour. In fact, there is a very fascinating history regarding the use of this herb in North America. While the Native Indians collected the mushroom and used it to prepare bread, the early European settlers watched the locals dig out the mushroom from the ground and erroneously named it as the ‘Indian potato'. Afterward, hoelen was used as a food for survival by the African slaves, who were struggling for freedom.
Hoelen (Poria cocos) is a therapeutic mushroom, which is also used as a daily food in many parts of the world. Known to be a rich natural source of mineral potassium, hoelen also possesses effectual anti-bacterial and diuretic attributes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as Native American medicine, this herb is widely used to heal kidney problems. In addition, in traditional Chinese medicine, this mushroom has also been used to bring down high blood sugar level and also to regulate the secretion of stomach acids.
In China, this herb has been traditionally used to prepare tonic soup for aged people and those enduring debility. Children also benefit from hoelen (Poria cocos), as it provides them with growth as well as sustenance. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this herb is believed to provide comfort to the heart, reinforce essential energy as well as alleviate disturbance. Like in the case of other mushrooms, Poria cocos can also be digested as well as taken up by the body very easily and this is one reason why this herb is held in high esteem.
The herb Poria cocos possesses several polysaccharides and currently scientists are studying their effective use as a medication. Poriatin and beta-pachyman are among the several polysaccharides contained by this mushroom. In effect, it has been found that poriatin is effective in augmenting the anti-cancer actions in a number of chemotherapeutic agents. On the other hand, beta-pachyman has also exhibited anti-tumour activities and, at the same time, it possesses the aptitude to adjust the immune system. Like people use reishi mushrooms, long back, women belonging to the Imperial court in China used hoelen as a skin treatment agent to nourish, moisturize, and put off pimples as well as to support glowing and youthful skin. In addition, it is believed that the use of Poria cocos also facilitates in avoiding wrinkles and dark spots.
It has also been found that hoelen possesses anti-inflammatory actions when taken orally as well as when it is applied externally. Of late, two patents have received approvals for using Poria cocos as ingredient in creams meant for treatment of skin disorders. While one patent has been approved for using the herb in creams for treating acne and oily skin, the other is meant for healing damaged skin.
Poria cocos or hoelen is basically a mushroom that can function both as an acid or a base and has the aptitude to normalize both high and low sodium and potassium levels in the body and help maintain a normal balance of both these substances. In traditional Chinese medicine Poria cocos is known as Fu Ling and is used to eliminate the dampness of the spleen. In effect, when an individual has too much mugginess as well as deficit of spleen, it is evident as the person develops symptoms, such as diarrhea, poor desire for food and lethargy. In addition, in traditional Chinese medicine Poria cocos is also given to patients enduring restiveness, sleep disorder, insomnia or sleeplessness, exhaustion, tension and nervous anxiety. Even in herbal medication, this herb is prescribed to treat exhaustion, tension, nervousness, sleep disorder, insomnia and lassitude.
Poria cocos or hoelen is now regarded as the latest variety of nourishing health food that helps to regulate the immune system. This herb has the potential not only to reinforce the physiological activities of an individual, but also to help them keep away from diseases. In addition, hoelen has the aptitude to support the functional recuperation of the immune system in humans. Moreover, Poria cocos has the aptitude to encourage or promote the stimulation of the interferon (an assortment of proteins) as well as leukocytic opsonin. The herb also has oblique anti-neoplastic as well as antiviral actions and diminishes the side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Among other things, hoelen is also effective in protecting the liver, promoting long life, soothing the nervous system, reducing the CPT enzyme, supporting the stomach and, at the same time, enhancing one's looks or appearance.
Hoelen (Poria cocos) offers certain specific health advantages and two of these are discussed in brief below:
Kidney ailments: Poria cocos is known to alleviate incessant kidney inflammation of glomerulonephritis (an ailment of the kidneys having an effect on the capillaries of the glomeruli and is distinguished by edema, albuminuria and hypertension or high pressure). In effect, this condition is an autoimmune health problem that occurs when the body generates such antibodies that assault its own tissues. At times, such antibodies build up in the kidneys as a result of which they become congested and lose their competence to hold back the vital products. In such cases, proteins start seeping out through urination, a process that can lead to kidney failure very quickly. One of the main elements contained by hoelen is pachyman, which has the ability to stop the progression of this process by means of averting the build up of antibodies in the kidneys. When any individual suffering from this condition uses Poria cocos as a nourishing supplement continuously for a number of weeks, he/ she does not require steroid medicines any more to neutralize the inflammation of the kidneys. This action of hoelen is considered to be of great benefit since the use of steroids has the potential to result in unwanted adverse after-effects, for instance weight gain, exhaustion, engorgement and also changes in an individual's behaviour.
Lupus: As mentioned earlier, pachyman contained by hoelen stops the wayward immune cells from building up in the kidneys. In addition to this a different multifaceted carbohydrate present in hoelen (Poria cocos) works to avoid the accumulation of antibodies in the kidneys. In addition, poriatrin helps to halt the production of cytokines - chemical messengers used by the immune cells to organize onslaughts on the tissues. Moreover, poriatrin also halts the actions associated with chemical messengers, for instance the interleukins (substances taken out from white blood cells that invigorates their action against contagion and might be used to fight a number of cancer forms) as well as the tumour necrosis (death of cells in a particular area of the body) issue.
Chemical analysis of hoelen (Poria cocos) has revealed that this mushroom encloses several compounds that are beneficial for your health. The major chemical elements found in hoelen comprise protein, glucose, fat, choline, sterols, lecithin, chitin, beta-pachyman - a polysaccharide beta-pachymarose, a number of organic acids, for instance eubricoic acid, tumulosic acid, pachymic acid, pinicolic acid and hydroxylanosta - 7 and 9, as well as many other compounds.
This herb has been found to possess diuretic, sedative as well as cardiotonic properties. In addition, hoelen (Poria cocos) is also effective in reducing blood sugar levels and possesses immune-tonic, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer actions.
Hoelen can be consumed as a daily food either fresh or dried. In addition, this herb can also be used to brew a tea. This herbal tea is an effective remedy for chronic conditions and needs to be taken continuously for three to four months to obtain best results.
Side effects and cautions
Hoelen which is also known as Tuckahoe, is considered to be a comparatively herb to be used for prolonged periods. However, this herb may result in some side effects and one identified possible side effect of hoelen is epispasis - a type of allergy.