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The #1 Thing People Get Wrong About Red Belted Mushrooms

Red belted (Fomitopsis pinicola) is one of the most common medicinal mushrooms that can be found in North America, Alaska and California. This mushroom although not in the top three medicinal mushrooms it has a boatload of its own amazing benefits, from anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and immuno-modulating, to anti-pathogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and even adaptogenic as other medicinal mushroom. Its also considered a digestive tonic, and is thought to relieve inflammation of gastrointestinal tissues. Red belted polypore is also indicated for immune system stimulation and antihistamine qualities. The Cree Natives also still use this mushroom still to this day as a styptic to stop bleeding. Some animal model studies have even indicated that this polypore may have some anti-cancer potential. Uses consist of prevention for or treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, regulate blood sugar, persistent or intermittent fevers, chronic diarrhea and much more.

On the left is an image of myself holding the largest Red Belted specimen I have seen to date, and on the right is an image of me holding a large Reishi specimen. When looking at the two mushrooms side by side they are easy to distinguish but to the unknowing or a new forager its an easy mistake.

Identification & Harvest

Most peoples mistake is misidentifying Red Belted Polypore Mushroom for Reishi or vise versa. While they can look similar in color, the shape and pattern of growth is much different. Reishi will die and regrow each year until it completely breaks down the material feeding it, while Red Belted will grow in layers or rings similar to a tree. Other differences are Red Belted's are much more dense and grow as a shelf mushroom while Reishi is still a shelf mushroom it tends to present more "fan like" feature. Presenting a kind of "stem" of Reishi from the tree then forming a fan structure.

Red Belted Polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola)

  • Region: Pacific Northwest

  • Season: all year

  • Habitat: Stumps, trunks, logs of dead coniferous trees, common to dead and dying Douglas fir and hemlocks

  • Size: 4-22 inches diameter

  • Shape: Rounded with defined rings of growth

  • Color: Brown/Deep Red ad Tans and White

  • Notes: Traditional shelf like mushroom, only has one major look alike but when compared side by side are easily distinguished.


Red Belted & Chaga Tincture : TrulyMindful's dual mushroom double extraction tincture. The benefits of a whole plant medicine in the convenience of a dropper in the palm of your hand.


Common health benefits of Red Belted Polypore Mushroom

Immune System Support/Anti-cancer

The red-belted polypore is rich in polysaccharides like beta 1,3-D glucan, which are very valuable for human health. These compounds have certain immune-boosting properties and are being investigated for their effects. An improved immune system allows every part of the body to fight diseases and boosts the efficiency of all internal organs. According to scientific evidence, beta 1,3-D glucan activates the body's natural defenses and balances the immune response. Polysaccharides can pass through the digestive system intact until they reach the small intestine. They are carried by immune system soldiers, macrophagecells, and disseminated to numerous regions. Because they contain a receptor that matches the exact shape and size of a beta 1,3-D glucan molecule, macrophages are excellently prepared for this purpose. When the receptor is triggered, the immune cell goes into an aggressive mode, actively looking for and killing numerous pathogens such as live viruses or bacteria. Beta glucan is a highly efficient food supplement that can boost the immune system of people who have low immunity for a variety of causes. Chronic stress, long-term infections, chronic exhaustion, or fibromyalgia are examples. These supplements also have a good impact on diabetes, chronic inflammation, and other significant degenerative illnesses.

The tonic effect of the red-belted polypore has an anti-inflammatory action on the digestive tract. Finally, there are many scientific studies expressing the true power of Red Belted's anti-cancer effects.

Like most medicinal mushrooms, the red-belted polypore also has strong antiseptic effects and can kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Evidence shows that consuming this mushroom can increase the number of white cells. These killer cells actively search and destroy any infection in the body, which can save the life of people who suffer from serious diseases like bacterial, viral and fungal infections, or even cancer.


Terms to Know

Free Radicals: an uncharged molecule (typically highly reactive and short-lived) having an unpairedvalence electron.

Macrophages: a large phagocytic cell found in stationary form in the tissues or as a mobile white blood cell, especially at sites of infection. Critical for innate immunity, normal tissue development, homeostasis, and repair of damaged tissue.


Wound Healing

Ground into a powder and packed into wounds to express a styptic action to slow or stop wound bleeding and assist in speeded recovery. Studies have also been conducted on the effects of beta-1, 3-D glucan and its ability to speed up the rate of wound healing, reduce the levels of bad cholesterol, protect against the harmful effects of radiation and restrain the activity of viruses and microbes.


Red Belted is a powerful antioxidant that can destroy dangerous free radicals, so it helps people who work in risky environments and are exposed to radiation, pollution or strong toxic agents. This is amazing to help people undertaking chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other aggressive forms of treatment. It can boost the effect of some commercial medication, which is not always a desired action, so you should ask for medical advice before taking in this case.


Foraged Fungi: TrulyMindful's dual extracted mushroom powder and dried mushroom powder blend in a veggie capsule for use with more intense ailments as well as daily use for overall wellness.



“Red Belted Mushroom: A Powerful Ally.” Ash & Thorn Herbals, 12 June 2017, Accessed 8 January 2023.

“Medicinal Mushroom Hot Cocoa with Red Belted Polypore.” Nitty Gritty Life, Accessed 8 January 2023.

“Red-Belted Polypore.” Elma Skin Care, Accessed 8 January 2023.

“Fomitopsis pinicola – reishi and roses.” reishi and roses, 5 April 2015, Accessed 5 February 2023.

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