Have you ever seen those fascinating drawings carved into the bottom of a mushroom? Chances are, what you were looking at is the mushroom known as the Artist’s Conk. Not only is this fascinating mushroom a natural canvas, but it also has medicinal effects when in tea or tincture form.
The Artist Conk is a perennial fungus, which allows it to grow larger and larger each year. To determine the age of the mushroom, cut the mushroom in half and count the number of pore layers revealed.
The Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum) is found in almost every state in the U.S., all across Canada, in addition to the majority of continents in the world. This mushroom is typically found on hardwood logs, or stumps. The Artist’s Conk is a perennial fungus, which allows it to grow larger and larger each year. To determine the age of the mushroom, cut the mushroom in half and count the number of pore layers revealed.
The Artist’s Conk gets its name from the natural canvas on the under surface of the fruiting body. When this surface is etched into, the bruising turns brown, in sharp contrast to the white color of the rest of the body. The result is the ability to create some very creative natural drawings! If harvesting this mushroom, be very careful not to cause bruising to the white canvas surface if your intention is to use it in a piece of art. The surface is very sensitive, and it is very easy to bruise with your fingers upon removal.
In addition to the Artist’s Conks usability as a natural canvas, it offers health benefits when in tincture or tea form. A lot of these benefits are very similar to its cousin, red reishi mushroom, which you can read all about here! The research is still yet to be concluded, but the results are promising.
One area where the Artist’s Conk is helpful to one’s health is in immune support. One study using an animal model was employed to test Ganoderma applanatum’s ability to support immune health. The study was performed by giving rainbow trout aqueous extract forms of Ganoderma applanatum. In this trial, the fish were fet 250, 500, and 1,000 mg extract/kg diet 4 times per day. After 45 days, the results found that the numbers of red and white blood cells, as well as hemoglobin, hematocrit, monocytes, and neutrophil levels increased significantly. The end results suggested the potential ability of the Artist’s Conk’s ability to activate immunologic parameters in the treated fish, when applied in extract form.
The Artist’s Conk mushroom contains lectins, which may have a link to fighting cancer. One study in particular focused on testing the purified lectins from Ganoderma applanatum’s ability to fight HT-29 colon cancer cells. The results found that the purified lectins from Ganoderma applanatum to contain cytotoxic and proapoptotic activities against HT-29 colon adenocarcinoma cells. What this means is that the lectins are toxic to cancer cells, and may assist in breaking them down.
When extracted and used as a tea, the Artist’s Conk has been found to have antioxidant properties. One study researching Ganoderma applanatum in combination with tea leaf extracts found the result to have an extract that exerts a profound positive effect on the level of phenolic-type antioxidants.
The Artist’s Conk is widely known for its ability as a natural canvas, but a lesser known fact is that it offers medicinal benefits. There is certainly more research to be done, but like many other mushrooms, the early results are promising.
Manayi, A. Vazirian, M. Zade, FH. Tehranifard, A. Immunomodulation Effect of Aqueous Extract of the Artist's Conk Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma applanatum (Agaricomycetes), on the Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). 2018. Accessed August 2, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27910760
Kumaran, S. Pandurangan, AK. Shenbhagaraman, R. Esa, NM. Isolation and Characterization of Lectin from the Artist's Conk Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma applanatum (Agaricomycetes), and Evaluation of Its Antiproliferative Activity in HT-29 Colon Cancer Cells. 2017. Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29199567
Tsiveleva, O. Pankratov, A. Misin, V. Zavyalov, A. Tsymbal, O. Yurasov, N. Nikitina, VE. Antioxidant Properties of the Artist's Conk Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma applanatum (Agaricomycetes), upon Cultivation with para-Substituted Phenolic Compounds and Tea Leaf Extracts. 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29953351