Tsuriganetake / Hoof Mushroom / Ice Man Polypore / Amadou
I don't recall how I first learned of Tinder Polypore as a medicinal for the lungs. But, the idea easily stuck with me as the shape (which is also reminiscent of a bell or hoof) is similar to that of a lung. (The Doctrine of Signatures states that medicinals are marked by "signatures" that are indicative of their uses. The notion has been a part of virtually all systems of traditional medicine world-wide.) I have since been making tincture and decoctions from Tinder Polypore for use in lung formulas as well as with other medicinal mushrooms.
I assume that Tinder Polypore shares similar medicinal benefits as other polypores like Reishi, Turkey Tail, and Maitake, and for this reason can be included in mushroom blends for general purpose, for boosting the immune system, and for treating cancer. Additionally, it has specific acknowledged properties as an antiviral and antibacterial medicinal and as a tonic for the lungs.
Tincture of medicinal mushrooms is often prepared as double-extraction, rather than the typical method used with herbs of simply soaking the herbs in the alcohol (after chopping them, of course). The double extract attempts to capture as many of the fresh constituents as possible by tincturing the mushroom in alcohol. But because of the woody consistency of the polypores and the nature of their medicinal constituents, standard tincturing-by-soaking doesn't work well. So, the mushroom is also decocted (simmered... even "reduced"). The decoction is then combined with the tincture for what is then essentially a tincture, or at least used like one. A major benefit to tinctures is the ease of combining them with other tinctures to quickly prepare custom formulae. Another benefit, especially compared to long decoctions, is the convenience of having a ready-to-use preparation. I especially love the aroma of the fresh Tinder Polypore. It has always intrigued me. I don't agree with those that insist the double-extract is the only way to use medicinal mushrooms (see online articles for discussions of the benefits of double-extract mushroom preparations, as well as details on how to do it at home). Consider, for instance, that these medicinal polypores have been used in decoction for ages, often by those who did not have distilled alcohol and the ability to make double-extracts. In the case of Tinder Polypore, I do want to note that I especially like the idea of capturing the pleasant, fruity aroma from the fresh mushrooms and think the double extract is a good idea.
A major benefit of the decoction is that is it more appropriate for larger doses than tincture. Decoction is prepared by covering the sliced mushroom with plenty of water in a pot, bringing it to a boil, reducing it to a simmer, and letting it simmer for some time. For herbs, we usually range from a short decoction of about 15 minutes to a standard of 30 minutes or so. With mushrooms, we usually decoct for over an hour. Often several hours of decocting time is used to produce a strong preparation. By simmering even longer the water content can be reduced to make a full-strength beverage or for the double-extract preparation described above.
The decoction can be used as a tonic for prevention of colds in the autumn. The general benefits and mild flavor make it agreeable to use in this way. It can also be used, perhaps combined with other herbs, for treatment of specific illness.
My favorite go-to on medicinal mushrooms is Robert Rogers The Fungal Pharmacy. I originally bought from him an earlier version (maybe Medicinal Mushrooms of the Mid-West) at an American Herbalists Guild conference, and I intend to buy the newer version soon). Although I have encountered few others using Tinder Polypore as much as I do (even among those who are quite fond of Reishi and some others), Rogers managed to find plenty of references on its medicinal uses. (I wonder if his new edition discusses even more.) He mentions that Oetzi may have been using it to treat parasites and that it was used in European folk medicine for the bladder and as a styptic. Regarding Asian uses he has:
"In Chinese medicine, this fungus warms the lungs, removes lumps from the abdomen, soothes vital energy, and reduces asthma and edema. It is mild in nature, slightly bitter to taste, and is used to resolve indigestion and reduce stasis.
In Japan it is known as Tsuriganetake.
It has been used traditionally in that country as a dressing to staunch blood from deep wounds and in the form of tea for colds, flu, bronchitis, and general debility. It is used in some food preparations associated with autumn and winter."
Rogers also reports on modern studies that found Tinder Polypore active against herpes, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and E. coli. And that it is used to treat cancer.
Christopher Hobbs also discusses Tinder Polypore in his book Medicinal Mushrooms. He describes its moxibustion-like application by Northwest Natives. Also that "In TCM, F. fomentarius is considered slightly bitter and mild. ... In China, it is used for indigestion and to reduce stasis of digestive vitality, as well as for esophageal cancer and gastric and uterine carcinomas."