Phallus impudicus

In European countries folk medicine (Stinkhorn mushroom - English name) is usually used as a juice from fresh fungi fruit bodies.

Ancient Romans dedicated this fungus to Cerera - the goddess of fertility. Germans have named it "a witch's egg". In middle ages it was used for preparing so called "amorous liquor". This mushroom has been used by quacks since antiquity. In Austria it is called "a podagra morel". Baltic and Slav people's medicine advises using Zemestauki (Phallus Impudicus) for pains in abdomen, renal diseases, for bathing and treating wounds, as a remedy for rheumatism and podagra. In European countries folk medicine (Stinkhorn mushroom - English name) is usually used as a juice from fresh fungi fruit bodies.

The Chinese have attracted their attention to this fungus as a remedy for carcinoma of the lip. Among other things there is information on Dr.Karo from Berlin who successfully treated for carcinoma cutaneum and cancer of internals with Phallus impudicus. Stinkhorn mushroom is an edible fungus. Young fruit bodies of an egg-stage can be used for food. Fried on oil they have a fish taste. Recent experiments and clinical  studies show that Stinkhorn mushroom juice  have an anthithrombogenic activity, which is very important in thromboembolic disease prevention in cancer.

Malignant tumors cause an elevated tendency towards blood coagulability and thrombogenesis. It is established that antithrombogenic activity of the vascular wall in cancer patients is decreased. The disorder of the functional properties of the vessel wall aids in its penetration in extravascular spaces and ads to the probability of metastatic locus. Platelets sticking to the surfaces of tumor cells enhance their resistance. The main acting agent is polysaccharide PL-2 found in Phallus impudicus juice (PhJ), which effect on the platelet pathologic aggregation upon tumoral process.

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PhJ can exert a preventive action aimed at a decline in dissemination of tumor cells in the body.

The investigations were carried out on Wistar male rats. Sarcoma 180 was inoculated intramuscularly. The levels of platelet aggregation, spontaneous intravascular platelet aggregation, antiaggregative and anticoagulative activity of the vascular wall were determined in animals' blood. The results showed, that Sarcoma 180 inoculated to animals aided in enhancing platelet aggregation by 53% with 2,3-fold increase in functional platelet activity. Antiaggregative activity of the vascular wall decreased by 25% and anticoagulative activity decreased by 29%. It was shown that PhJ exerts an effect on platelet functions and the state of the vascular wall in rats-tumor-carriers. PhJ can exert a preventive action aimed at a decline in dissemination of tumor cells in the body.

Another investigation showed that Phallus impudicus could be considered as a remedy for lymphedema prevention.

Lymphedema following mastectomy with removal of the axilla and postoperative radiation of the axilla is a frequent and extremely stressful complication. Sometimes lymphedema doesn't show up until years after cancer treatment has taken place.  There is still no universally effective remedy for lymphedema. Based on the experience with the therapy for the post-thrombotic syndrome we propose the treatment effect of Phallus impudicus in supportive care of lymphedema.

In this comparative study 206 women were preventively treated over a period of two years and follow up for 6 years. 92% of the afflicted women with Phallus impudicus prevention developed no lymphedema during an observation period of six years. In the control group, however, only 59% developed no lymphedema.  An improvement in the clinical findings and in the subjective feeling of well-being was observed in 88% patients with developed lymphedema.


Supportive care of lymphedema with Phallus impudicus is well tolerated and easy to deliver.

Phallus impudicus could relieve the symptoms of a persistant lymphatic obstruction.  The mechanism of action of Phallus impudicus  extract maybe explained  by  cytokines and inflammatory-relevant adhesion molecules regulation, exudates viscosity reduction, recanalization of obstructive lymphatic vessels, decrease of internal pressure in the tissues and volume of the arm.

One more study was about the Phallus impudicus effect in thromboprophylaxis in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and hormonal treatment.

Breast cancer patients with recurrent venous thromboembolic disease are usually maintained on anticoagulants for their lifetime. New prophylactic agents may be needed for adequate prevention in patients.  Phallus Impudicus has been a folk remedy for patients with advanced breast cancer since antiquity. Now it is possible to speculate that Phallus impudicus long term consumption can prevent thromboembolic complications without side effects in breast cancer patients as a remedy of supportive preventive nutrition.

Recent research being performed in Riga, Latvia at the Latvian Medical Academy on the fermented succus of the stinkhorn has shown one active fraction to be a glucomannan called PI-2. Sterols and phenol-carbolic acids were also identified. In laboratory' tests with animals, the succus stimulated cytotoxic T-cells, and enhanced the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, demonstrated an anti-stress and adaptogenic activity as well as an antitumor effect with sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and reduced the hemotoxic effects of the chemotherapeutic agent, 5-FU (Kuznecovs & Jegina, 1993). Studies on the acute toxicity of stinkhorn fermented juice on animals demonstrated an LD50 between 1.5 to 50 ml/kg, depending on the species. Chronic administration of the juice did not lead to demonstrable mutagenic, teratogenic, cancerogenic or allergenic effects.” (Medicinal Mushrooms, Christopher Hobbs, p183-184).