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Monday Article #71: Therapeutic properties of Tiger Milk Mushroom

Tiger Milk Mushroom, also known by its scientific name Lignosus rhinocerus, is an important natural medicine utilised to treat respiratory symptoms and inflammation. Furthermore, research on L. rhinocerus have also showed its properties against viruses, cancer, and obesity. Found in South East Asian countries, its name is derived from beliefs that it grows where tigress’ milk was dripped while feeding (Nallathamby et al., 2018). Figure 1, shows the classification of L. rhinocerus.

The composition consists of genes that code for 1,3-β- and 1,6-β glucan, lectin, laccase and other immune-modulatory proteins found in fungi. L. rhinocerus has a reputation for treating asthmatic symptoms. Upon treatment, a reduction of immunoglobulin E in serum and T-helper type 2 cytokine levels in bronchoalveolar fluid was observed (Nallathamby et al., 2018).

Figure 1. Taxonomy and morphology of L. rhinocerus (Nallathamby et al., 2018)

In clinical settings, L. rhinocerus have been reported to have affects against breast and lung cancer. Through cold water extraction of L. rhinocerus (LR-CW), the extract reduced the proliferation of breast cancer cell MCF-7 and Lung cancer cell A549. DNA fragmentation was conducted on LR-CW treated MCF-7 cells and LR-CW treated A549 cells as shown in Figure 2.. The results showed the antitoxic effects of L. rhinocerus as it does not affect healthy cells and only target cancer cells, thus displaying selective antiproliferative effects (Lee et al., 2012).

Wound healing properties of L. rhinocerus have also been reported. The bioactive components are capable of facilitating early inflammatory phases, keratinocyte proliferation, and cell migration, which plays a significant role in the mechanism for wound healing. This speeds up the process of removing neutrophils and macrophages that contribute to chronic scar formation, re-epithalisation for wound closure, which requires contribution from keratinocyte, mobilisation of nutrients and oxygen to the newly formed skin over the wound (Yap et al., 2023).

Figure 2. DNA fragmentation of LR-CW. Lane 1 - 1kb DNA ladder; Lane 2 - LR-CW treated MCF-7 cells; Lane 3 - treated A549 cells; Lane 4 - untreated MCF-7 cells; Lane 5 - untreated A549 cells (Lee et al., 2012).

As for the neuroprotective properties of L. rhinocerus, although it is less understood, there are several reports of its effects against toxicity in hippocampus neuronal cells. Out of three extracts done on L. rhinocerus (ethanol extract (LR-E), LR-CW and hot water extract (LR-HW)), LR-E displayed the most neuroprotective properties against glutamate-induced oxidative stress in mouse models. The cells involved were hippocampal HT22 cells. Upon the treatment of glutamate-induced oxidative stress through LR-E, decreased apoptosis and intracellular reactive oxygen species level, and an increased expression of antioxidant genes were observed. Although LR-E exerts neuroprotective properties, investigation on its activity has yet to be understood before suggesting it as a neurodegeneration protective substance (Kittimongkolsuk et al., 2021)

L. rhinocerus are rarely seen and only found in the wild, making it scarce. In order to investigate the species under controlled setting, L. rhinocerus are cultivated in labs. LiGNO Biotech Sdn Bhd is a malaysian based research company specialising in tiger mushroom cultivation. The company’s product, LiGNO TM02®, is a Tiger Milk Mushroom powder produced through a standardised procedure that maximises its efficacy by preserving its active components (LiGNO Biotech Sdn Bhd).

As an alternative medicine, L. rhinocerus has shown significant therapeutic properties and is undergoing several investigations to further understand its underlying mechanism.

  1. Kittimongkolsuk, P. et al. (2021) ‘Neuroprotective effects of extracts from tiger milk mushroom lignosus rhinocerus against glutamate-induced toxicity in HT22 hippocampal neuronal cells and neurodegenerative diseases in Caenorhabditis elegans’, Biology, 10(1), p. 30. doi:10.3390/biology10010030.

  2. Lee, M.L. et al. (2012) ‘The antiproliferative activity of sclerotia oflignosus rhinocerus(tiger milk mushroom)’, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, pp. 1–5. doi:10.1155/2012/697603.

  3. LiGNO Biotech Sdn BhdLigno Biotech Sdn bhd’. Available at: (Accessed: 17 August 2023).

  4. Nallathamby, N. et al. (2018) ‘A status review of the bioactive activities of Tiger Milk Mushroom Lignosus Rhinocerotis (Cooke) Ryvarden’, Frontiers in Pharmacology, 8. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00998.

  5. Yap, H.-Y.Y. et al. (2023) ‘The wound healing potential of lignosus rhinocerus and other ethno-myco wound healing agents’, Mycobiology, 51(1), pp. 1–15. doi:10.1080/12298093.2022.2164641.


This article was prepared by Fatini Khadrishah

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