A Chula professor, in her local mushroom research, unveils “Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)” as having a destructive effect on cervical cancer cells. Additional research is currently being done to confirm its potency and low side effects, before making it available at an affordable price.
Since 1999 cancer has been the number one cause of death in Thailand and it is not likely to change anytime soon. Common cancer treatments include chemotherapy or irradiation, which always have side effects on patients to a certain extent, so the discovery of new treatment options is something most welcome. Most recently, Chula researchers have found proof that “Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)” can treat cancer with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee Yanatatsaneejit, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University and head of the research project on “anticancer properties of Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus) extract” explained that the mushroom extract helps reduce cancer cells growth and restore the health of patients.”
This research is a collaboration between Chula researchers and the private sector, namely Nature Herb International Holding Company Limited and Herb for You Company Limited, both of which have formulas containing Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus) in addition to Khao-Yen Neua (Smilax corbularia Kunth), Khao-Yen Tai (Smilax glabra/ Chinaroot /or sarsaparilla) and other herbs.
Getting to Know Thai Phellinus Mushroom (Phellinus linteus)
“Thai Phellinus mushrooms (Phellinus linteus)” — Kratin Phiman mushrooms, or “horseshoe mushrooms” as they are known among Thai villagers are dried, brown, woody mushrooms that often grow in montane scrubs or dried, mixed deciduous forests. They are found in the northeastern part of Thailand and often grow on trees. They are most commonly found on Kratin Phiman (Acacia tomentosa Willd.) trees, hence the origin of the name Kratin Phiman mushrooms.
The Thai Phellinus mushroom was registered in the National List of Thai Herbal Medicine B.E. 2553 (2010). Currently, the world is focusing on researching the mushroom extract properties as it has been found to treat diabetes, boost immunity and red blood cells, and most importantly, treat cancer without side effects.
Another alternative for cancer patients
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee revealed that over the past year, research results have shown that Thai Phellinus mushroom extract could inhibit cancer cell growth and kill cervical cancer cells. However, to achieve 100% confidence in the results, the experiment has to be repeated many times and carried out with other herbs for maximum efficiency.
“We still require two more years to be sure that this herb can treat cancer, and provide patients with a better quality of life. This will offer an alternative course of treatment for cancer patients in Thailand, and give them access to Thai herbal medicine at the most affordable price.”
In addition to the effectiveness of Thai Phellinus mushroom extract, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee said that further study on the nephrotoxicity of the mushroom extract is still needed. If the results of nephrotoxin are within acceptable levels, patients will be more confident in the herb.
Although studies find that Thai Phellinus mushroom extract can inhibit cervical cancer, its effect on other types of cancer still need to be further studied.
“The Thai Phellinus mushroom extract cannot treat all types of cancer because each cancer cell is different. An in-depth look into the genetics of each type of cancer cell is needed, and right now we have already started on colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, etc.,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattamawadee said.
Currently, the research team is studying ways to cultivate Thai Phellinus mushrooms to produce sufficient medical-grade extract to be used in targeted treatments, as well as to serve as a basis for drug development.
By Chulalongkorn University