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Red Belted Mushroom: A Powerful Ally


The Red Belted mushroom or Fomitopsis pinicola is one of the most common medicinal mushrooms that can be found from North America, Alaska to California.

The information below was used in one of my presentations on Introductory to Medicinal Mushrooms at the University of Saskatchewan where we reviewed many other medicinal mushrooms in the lecture.

This is a short monograph provided for your information. If you are considering using medicinal mushrooms in your health regimen I suggest working with your Naturopathic Doctor, especially for any specific health concerns.

Here is a short monograph of this wonderful mushroom. Keep in mind that even though this mushroom is named after the red belt around it's edge, it doesn't always have that red belt! Make sure you are identifying your mushrooms correctly. Practice, practice, practice!

Spore Print: White to pale yellowish

Harvest: Year round

Range: Northern North America, Alaska to California

Fruiting Body:

  • White to pale yellow when young, knoblike

  • Brown with reddish near margin, mature

  • Color varies

  • Shelf-like to hoof shaped

  • Fleshy, hard and dense

  • Underside is white to yellowish

Habitat: Stumps, trunks, logs of dead coniferous trees

Preparation: Thinly slice or breaks small pieces when fresh then dry

  • Decoction

  • Tincture

  • Dual extraction

Grows on more than 100 host species

Pinicola means “inhabiting pine”, its most common home

It is the most common polypore but some sites have it listed for $310/pound for dried tea!

Traditional Use:

  • The Cree used it to stop bleeding and as a powerful emetic

  • The Blackfoots used it to move fire and as a purgative

  • The Northern Dene smoked it with tobacco to keep it burning and to relieve headaches

  • The Iroquois used it to flavor their soups, for nutrition and natural preservative

Medicinal Uses:

  • Anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immuno-modulating, anti-pathogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic

  • 30 mg/day shows a prevention rate of 51.2% against sarcoma & cancer cells

  • Daily dose as a tonic is used as an effective anti-inflammatory

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Crohn's disease

  • Has been shown to regulate blood sugar

  • Persistent or intermittent fevers

  • Chronic diarrhea

  • Periodic neuralgia

  • Nervous headaches

  • Excessive urination

  • Jaundice


  • Mushroom poisoning and/or allergic reactions can occur.

  • DO NOT EAT any mushrooms you are not absolutely sure is not poison!

  • Identify correctly, this can be tricky!

  • If you aren’t sure DO NOT EAT IT!

  • DO NOT assume a mushroom is ok to eat because you’ve seen wildlife eating it. Deer seek out the Amanita family

  • Our metabolisms are different

  • As little as 50 grams (1.7 oz) of the death cap Amanita phalloides can kill an adult

  • It can take 6-24 hours for the symptoms of mushroom poisoning to show, by which time it’s too late

  • Saskatchewan Poison Center 1-866-454-1212


Paul Stamets: Fungi Perfecti


Christopher Hobbs


Robert Rogers

The Fungal Pharmacy: Medicinal Mushrooms of Western Canada

Mushroom Essences: Vibrational Healing from the Kingdom Fungi

Ninetta Savino, B. A., Dip. Phyt.

Medical Herbalist

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