Commonly known as Tiger Milk Mushroom, sclerotia lignosus rhinoceros or Lignosus rhinoceros is a fungus that grows in the rain forests of South China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. In Malaysia, the tiger milk mushroom is more typically known as “Cendawan Susu Rimau.” Tiger milk mushrooms that are cultivated or farmed can be organic and non-organic based on the soil or medium they are grown in and the pesticides they are exposed to.
Malaysia’s National Treasure: What Everyone Should Know
It seems like the global marketplace is suddenly alive with discussions of mushrooms and their healing properties; but mushrooms have been used for centuries in Eastern and traditional medicine and healing.
With their earthy flavor, tiger milk mushrooms (TMM) are sometimes compared to black truffles in taste. They can be used in cooking and added to soups, stews, and sauces. They are known to be a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. It is their medicinal and health properties, however, that draw people to tiger milk mushrooms.
For over 400 years, experts of Eastern Medicine have known of tiger milk mushroom’s immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as their effectiveness against a variety of diseases and conditions. These anti-inflammatory benefits are key in TMM alleviating skin allergies and eczema. They are also rich in antioxidants and polysaccharides, which help protect against disease and boost immune function. Tiger milk mushroom has been used by Chinese doctors as treatment in liver cancer, gastric ulcers, and chronic hepatitis.
While there are many claims made about tiger milk mushroom’s healing properties, the most recent scientific studies point to its ability to support lung and respiratory health. These studies are beginning to validate the traditional use of TMM to relieve respiratory issues such as asthma, chronic cough, nasal and sinus problems as well as enhancing the respiratory system’s defense against infectious disease.
What the Science Says
A 2017 study reviewed tiger milk mushrooms as highly sought after by the native communities in Malaysia to stave off hunger, relieve cough and asthma, and provide stamina. It suggested that “L. rhinocerotis possessed several potential therapeutic properties that would be useful to human’s health. Further research is warranted to identify and isolate chemical components/bioactive components and their mode of actions.”
The study did highlight, however, that there is a lack of clinical trials on humans. (Source: A Status Review of the Bioactive Activities of Tiger Milk Mushroom Lignosus rhinocerotis (Cooke) Ryvarden).
In 2021 Dr. Chung Keat Tan and colleagues published the results of their three-month clinical trial, in which they found that “TMM supplementation effectively improves respiratory health, immunity and antioxidant status.” [Effect of tiger milk mushroom (Lignosus rhinocerus) supplementation on respiratory health, immunity and antioxidant status: an open-label prospective study].
Dr Tan points out that the indigenous communities in Southeast Asia and certain areas in China and Australia have used TMM to treat cough, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, fever, food poisoning, wounds, digestion, and gastritis for years. He also states that tiger milk mushroom can significantly enhance the production of immunoglobulin A in the respiratory system. This is important as previous studies in the United States, France, and Singapore have shown this antibody can substantially reduce the risk of viral respiratory infections.
TMM – An Effective Herbal Remedy
Tiger milk mushrooms can be eaten, brewed as tea, or taken as a capsule. If using fresh mushrooms, whether for culinary or medicinal purposes, they must be cooked properly before eating to reduce the risk of food poisoning. As the saying goes, “When in doubt, throw them out!”
Given the need for careful preparation of fresh mushrooms, capsule form is the easiest to use for daily supplementation. Keep in mind that supplements aren’t strictly regulated. As an herbal remedy, it is up to the consumer to find a product and company they can trust. When choosing an organically grown tiger milk mushroom supplement, be sure to check the label for important features, such as:
• Made with organic ingredients or that it is organic certified / certified organic
• Sustainably sourced
Remember that organic tiger milk mushroom has a higher concentration of the active ingredient than other products on the market.
Things You Should Consider Before Taking Tiger Milk Mushrooms: The Pros and Cons
1. TMM are a source of antioxidants, which helps boost your immune system and combat stress.
2. They have excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
3. As a general health tonic, TMM are a natural source of energy and can help boost your stamina and endurance.
4. They can also help enhance memory and cognitive function.
5. Used for centuries in traditional medicine, scientific studies are now beginning to corroborate TMM’s effectiveness in lung health.
1. As with any food, some people may be allergic to tiger milk mushrooms or feel some negative side effects when consuming large quantities. If you experience any adverse reactions, immediately stop using TMM and consult with your healthcare professional if necessary.
2. Tiger milk mushrooms are classed as a supplement, which are not regulated by the FDA. This means that there is no FDA guarantee of their safety or efficacy. Be sure to choose a product from a reputable company.
3. Although studies are underway (as mentioned above), currently scientific research is limited on the health benefits of TMM.
As with any over-the-counter medication or supplement you are considering taking for their potential health benefits, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure they are safe for you and will not interact with any medication you are currently taking. When you begin taking TMM, start with a low dose and gradually increase to the recommended dosage.
- About the Author
Abigail Bassey is an interior design and lifestyle enthusiast & blogger with over 5+ years of experience in writing and editing. She takes pleasure in helping people achieve their dream homes.