Medicinal mushrooms are recognised as valuable chemoprotective agents and none more so than the Antrodia genus. Antrodia cinnamomea, known as Niuchangchih in particular lives inside the heartwood wall of Cinnamomum kanehirai Hay (Family: Lauraceae) and has been used to treat a variety of conditions such as food and drug intoxication, stomach cramps, liver cancer and diarrhoea amongst other conditions, especially in Eastern Asia. Recent articles deal with preparations of the fungus inducing apoptosis (cell death) in an ovarian cancer cell line (Liu et al., 2011), as an adjuvant anticancer agent for human liver cancer.
One of the issues is producing enough of the fungus because of its parasitic nature. It only infects certain trees in parts of the canopy between 200 to 2000 m. It is scarce and costly to extract and refine. A recent article has succeeded in culturing the fungus in germinated brown rice and then studying the anticancer effects in HT-29 human colon cancer cells (Park et al., 2013).
Ao, Z.H., Xu, Z.H., Lu, Z.M., Xu, H.Y., Zhang, X.M., Dou, W.F. (2009) Niuchangchih (Antrodia camphorata) and its potential in treating liver diseases. J. Ethnopharmacol. 121 pp. 194–212.
Liu, F.S., Yang, P.Y., Hu, D.N., Huang, Y.W., Chen, M.J. (2011) Antrodia camphorata induces apoptosis and enhances the cytotoxic effect of paclitaxel in human ovarian cancer cells. Int. J Gynecol. Cancer 21 pp. 1172–1179.
Park, D.K., Lim, Y.H., Park, H.-J. (2013) Antrodia camphorata Grown on Germinated Brown Rice Inhibits HT-29 Human Colon Carcinoma Proliferation Through Inducing G0/G1 Phase Arrest and Apoptosis by Targeting the b-Catenin Signaling. J. Medicinal Food 16(8) pp. 681-691