Cauliflower Mushroom – Sparassis crispa

Japanese nameHanabiratake
Chinese nameXiu Qiu Jun

S. crispa is a popular culinary mushroom throughout its range in the northern temperate zone where it grows primarily on conifers, especially pines1. It has recently gained popularity as a medicinal mushroom because of its exceptional beta-glucan content, which has been reported to be as high as 43%2. In addition it contains multiple anti-microbial agents as well as active terpenoid compounds and phthalides that have been implicated in its anti-cancer activity3-6.

CANCERIn-vitro and in-vivo tests have shown a high level of immunomodulatory and anti-tumour activity with both the dectin-1 and TLR-4 receptors and NF-kB and MAPK signalling pathways involved leading to significant increases in IFN-γ, TNF-a and IL-12 as well as enhancement of the haematopoietic response, macrophage and dendritic cell activation together with inhibition of angiogenesis and metastasis6-12.
In one human study healthy men given 300mg S. crispa powder per day for 8 weeks showed significantly enhanced NK cell cytotoxicity compared to preadministration and in another the same dose produced increased quality of life scores in a small group of cancer patients (lung, stomach, colon, breast, ovarian, uterine, prostate, pancreatic and liver) over extended follow-up (mean: 15 months) when given after one course of lymphocyte transfer immunotherapy13,14.

ANTI-MICROBIAL – One of the earliest reports of the separation and isolation of a microbial antibiotic was of Sparassol from S. crispa in 1923 and more recent studies have confirmed the prescence of multiple anti-bacterial compounds, including those with inhibition against MRSA, as well as anti-fungal agents5,15,16. A hot-water extract of S. crispa also showed a high level of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity with 70.3% inhibition at a concentration of 1mg/ml17.

SKIN REPAIR – Daily supplementation with 70mg/kg S. crispa powder significantly increased the level of newly synthesized collagen in the skin of rats fed a protein deficient diet and S. crispa has also been reported to enhance wound healing in diabetic rats at 1g/kg18,19.
In a controlled human study daily consumption of 320mg/day S. crispa fruiting body by healthy volunteers over a period of 28 days dramatically reduced transepidermal water loss in the treatment group with no change in the control group indicating enhanced skin integrity20.
Oral S. crispa supplementation also reduced inflammation, blood IgE level and scratching index in a mouse dermatitis model while anti-microbial compounds from S. crispa were found to inhibit melanin synthesis at a significantly lower concentrations than arbutin, a commonly used skin-whitening agent16,21.

STROKE PREVENTION – In stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats dietary supplementation with 1.5% S. crispa in feed delayed incidence of stroke and death with significantly decreased blood pressure and amelioration of cerebrovascular endothelial dysfunction22.

Main Therapeutic Application – Skin repair, immune support, stroke prevention.
Key Components – Polysaccharides.
Dose – While benefit was seen both for immune and skin health from supplementation with the comparatively low dose of 0.3g/day S. crispa fruiting body, more acute cases will benefit from higher levels of supplementation (3-5g/day).

1. Properties and potential applications of the culinary-medicinal cauliflower mushroom, Sparassis crispa Wulf.:Fr. (Aphyllophoromycetideae): a review. Chandrasekaran G, Oh DS, Shin HJ. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2011;13(2):177–183.
2. IFN-gamma induction by SCG, 1,3-beta-D-glucan from Sparassis crispa, in DBA/2 mice in vitro. Harada T, Miura NN, Adachi Y, Nakajima M, Yadomae T, Ohno N. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2002;22(12):1227–1239.
3. New sesquiterpenoid from the mushroom Sparassis crispa. Kodani S, Hayashi K, Hashimoto M, Kimura T, Dombo M, Kawagishi H. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009;73(1):228–229.
4. Novel phthalide compounds from Sparassis crispa (Hanabiratake), Hanabiratakelide A-C, exhibiting anti-cancer related activity. Yoshikawa K, Kokudo N, Hashimoto T, Yamamoto K, Inose T, Kimura T. Biol Pharm Bull. 2010;33(8):1355–1359.
5. Natural products and biological activity of the pharmacologically active cauliflower mushroom Sparassis crispa. Kimura T. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:982317.
6. Antitumor 1,3-beta-glucan from cultured fruit body of Sparassis crispa. Ohno N, Miura NN, Nakajima M, Yadomae T. Biol Pharm Bull. 2000;23(7):866–872.
7. Effect of SCG, 1,3-beta-D-glucan from Sparassis crispa on the hematopoietic response in cyclophosphamide induced leukopenic mice. Harada T, Miura N, Adachi Y, Nakajima M, Yadomae T, Ohn N. Biol Pharm Bull. 2002;25(7):931–939.
8. Enhanced cytokine synthesis of leukocytes by a beta-glucan preparation, SCG, extracted from a medicinal mushroom, Sparassis crispa. Nameda S, Harada T, Miura NN, Adachi Y, Yadomae T, Nakajima M, Ohno N. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2003;25(3):321–335.
9. Anti-angiogenic and anti-metastatic effects of beta-1,3-D-glucan purified from Hanabiratake, Sparassis crispa. Yamamoto K, Kimura T, Sugitachi A, Matsuura N. Biol Pharm Bull. 2009;32(2):259–263.
10. Induction of dendritic cell maturation by β-glucan isolated from Sparassis crispa. Kim HS, Kim JY, Ryu HS, Park HG, Kim YO, Kang JS, Kim HM, Hong JT, Kim Y, Han SB. Int Immunopharmacol. 2010;10(10): 1284–1294.
11. Mitogen activated protein kinases are prime signalling enzymes in nitric oxide production induced by soluble β-glucan from Sparassis crispa. Lee SY, Lee YG, Byeon SE, Han S, Choi SS, Kim AR, Lee J, Lee SJ, Hong S, Cho JY. Arch Pharm Res. 2010;33(11):1753–1760.
12. Oral administration of soluble β-Glucan preparation from the cauliflower mushroom, Sparassis crispa (higher Basidiomycetes) modulated cytokine production in mice. Hida TH, Kawaminami H, Ishibashi K, Miura NN, Adachi Y, Ohno N. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):525–538.
13. Sparassis crispa as biological response modifier. Hasegawa A, Yamada M, Dombo M, Fukushima R, Matsuura N, Sugitachi A. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2004;31(11):1761–1763.
14. Immunomodulating activity of a b-Glucan preparation, SCG, extracted from a culinary–medicinal mushroom, Sparassis crispa Wulf.:Fr. (Aphyllophoromycetideae), and application to cancer patients. Ohno N, Nameda S, Harada T, Miura NN, Adachi Y, Nakajima M, Yoshida K, Yoshida H, Yadomae T. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2003;5(4):359–368.
15. Two new antifungal metabolites produced by Sparassis crispa in culture and in decayed trees. Woodward S, Sultan HY, Barrett DK, Pearce RB. J Gen Microbiol. 1993;139(1):153–159.
16. Novel bioactive compound from the Sparassis crispa mushroom. Kawagishi H, Hayashi K, Tokuyama S, Hashimoto N, Kimura T, Dombo M. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007;71(7):1804–1806.
17. A peptide with HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitory activity from the medicinal mushroom Russula paludosa. Wang J, Wang HX, Ng TB. Peptides. 2007;28(3):560–565.
18. Effects of medicinal mushroom (Sparassis crispa) on wound healing in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Kwon AH, Qiu Z, Hashimoto M, Yamamoto K, Kimura T. Am J Surg. 2009;197(4):503–509.
19. Orally and topically administered Sparassis crispa (Hanabiratake) improved healing of skin wounds in mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Yamamoto K, Kimura T. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(6):1303–1305.
20. Sparassis crispa (Hanabiratake) ameliorates skin conditions in rats and humans. Kimura T, Hashimoto M, Yamada M, Nishikawa Y. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(9):1961–1963.
21. Sparassis crispa suppresses mast cell-mediated allergic inflammation: Role of calcium, mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-κB. Kim HH, Lee S, Singh TS, Choi JK, Shin TY, Kim SH. Int J Mol Med. 2012;30(2):344–350.
22. Beneficial effect of Sparassis crispa on stroke through activation of Akt/eNOS pathway in brain of SHRSP. Yoshitomi H, Iwaoka E, Kubo M, Shibata M, Gao M. J Nat Med. 2011;65(1):135–141.