The pharmacological potential and possible molecular mechanisms of action of Inonotus obliquus from preclinical studies

Phytother Res. 2019 Aug;33(8):1966-1980. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6384. Epub 2019 Jun 17.


The use of mushrooms as functional foods and in the treatment of diseases has a long history. Inonotus obliquus is a mushroom belonging to the Hymenochaetaceae family and has possible anticancer, antiviral, and hypoglycemic properties. Chemical analysis of this mushroom has allowed the identification of various constituents such as melanins, phenolic compounds, and lanostane-type triterpenoids. A plethora of findings have highlighted the potential molecular mechanisms of actions of this mushroom such as its ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species, inhibit the growth of tumors, decrease inflammation and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, and stimulate the immune system. This review summarizes the relevant findings with reference to the therapeutic potential of this mushroom in countering the progression of cancers, diabetes mellitus, and antiviral activities, while highlighting its possible molecular mechanisms of action. The possible role of this mushroom as a therapeutic agent in addressing the pathogenesis of diabetes and cancer has also been suggested.

Keywords: Inonotus obliquus; anticancer; antiviral; immunostimulatory; inflammation; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Rats


  • Hypoglycemic Agents