Host-wood Poria (Fu Shen) in Chinese Medicine

Host-wood Poria

Chinese: 茯神

Pinyin: Fú Shén

Parts used: The part of the mushroom that is attached to the host-wood, dried

TCM category: Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeart

Scientific name: Wolfiporia extensa

Other names: Poria Spirit

Use of host-wood poria (Fu Shen) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Remove the mushroom from the host-wood, soak in water, wash, steam slightly and remove the outside skin. Cut into thick slices and keep those from the part where the mushroom was attached to the host wood. Dry, ideally under the sun.

Dosage: 6 - 15 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Calms the Mind (Shen) and promote urination.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which host-wood poria may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Irritability Palpitations Insomnia

Key TCM concepts behind host-wood poria (Fu Shen)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), host-wood poria are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit' category. These herbs are substances that tranquilize the mind and treat symptoms such as restlessness, palpitations, anxiety or insomnia. They tend to have sedative properties by tonifying Heart Yin and Blood as in TCM it is believed that the Heart is the store of the mind.

Furthermore host-wood poria are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that host-wood poria typically don't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin excess. The Neutral nature of host-wood poria means that you don't have to worry about that!

Host-wood Poria also taste Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like host-wood poria tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such host-wood poria are thought to target the Spleen and the Heart. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, blood coagulation and fluid metabolism in the body. In addition to regulating blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the "spirit" which basically refers to someone's vitality.