Porcini mushroom Health benefits and Side effects

Porcini mushroom scientifically known as Boletus edulis of a family basidiomycete is a very popular, high price, edible wild mushroom. Porcini mushroom health benefits are a high antioxidant, anti-cancerous. It also contains many biologically active compounds which are used for blood fat reduction, as a source of ergosterol (a vitamin D precursor) and containing antiviral compounds known to inhibit key enzymes of the HIV virus, B. edulis is well suited for many health-related issues.

Other common names are king bolete, penny bun, porcino or cep, Steinpilz, and dajiao gu mushroom. It is harvested in Italy, Eastern Europe, China, Southern Africa, New Zealand, Australia and North America (1).

This mushroom is the most appreciated and economically importance mushroom due to its excellent crispy flavor combined with high nutritional value. 

Porcini mushroom characterized by fleshy fruiting bodies, spongy cap, white, unchanging context, white pores becoming yellow to olive on maturity. They are forming symbiotic associations with a wide range of both deciduous and coniferous trees (e.g. Betula, Fagus, Picea, Pinus, Quercus and Tilia) (2).

It is also known for its health and medicinal value especially high content of proteins in comparison to other mushrooms. Other medicinal properties are a high antioxidant, anti-cancerous. It also contains many biologically active compounds which are used for blood fat reduction, as a source of ergosterol (a vitamin D precursor) and containing antiviral compounds known to inhibit key enzymes of the HIV virus, B. edulis is well suited for many health-related issues. 

Porcini mushroom is very delicious and nutritious can be sliced, eaten raw and also used to prepare soup, a pleasant fragrant smell which is due to the abundance of amino acids, polysaccharides, and vitamins. 

Nutritional value of Porcini mushroom

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), morel mushrooms contain protein, dietary fiber with a high amount of potassium, calcium, and iron, as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins and other components as follows (3,4)

Nutrient Amount/100 g
Energy 357 kcal
Protein 28.57 g
Total lipid (fat) 0
Carbohydrate 50.0 g
Fiber, total dietary 21.4 g
Sugars, total 7.14 g
Iron 10.29 mg

Porcini mushroom health benefits 

Porcini mushroom health benefits are mainly because of its high antioxidant and protein with low nitrite content.

1. Porcini mushroom is rich in nutrients

Porcini mushroom is a rich source of fatty acids such as oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid, and sterols like ergosterol. It also contains essential amino acids similar to animal foods and selenium, tocopherol which is strong antioxidants.  Moreover, the presence of indole compounds, phenolic acids, and elements in porcini mushrooms are necessary for the proper functioning of the organism and release them into the human gastrointestinal tract (5). 

2. Presence of antioxidants in porcini mushroom

β-Carotene, ascorbic acid, rosmarinic, anthocyanins,  and tocopherols found in porcini mushroom. These are biologically active components that prevent oxidative stress-mediated disease through radical scavenging activity. 

Furthermore, ascorbic acid present in porcini mushroom is a source of vitamin C (0.15–0.06 mg/mL.) which works inside and outside the cell to combat free radical damage (6).

3. Porcini mushrooms are low in nitrite content

Nitrite when taken in excess forms methemoglobin and convert into carcinogenic nitrosamine which is hazardous to health. Many preserved and fermented foods (Pickles) contains nitrate and nitrite. 

However, Porcini mushroom contains protein that inhibits nitrite production during pickle fermentation which further avoids immediate gastric degradation. Therefore 40 g fresh or 4–5 g dried porcini mushroom intake may suppress the blood nitrite level and alleviate nitrite toxicity (7).

4. Antimicrobial property of Porcini mushroom

Porcini mushrooms are a good source of phenolic and flavonoid content which are beneficial for protection against various bacteria and fungus. Thus porcini mushroom is good and safe natural sources of antioxidants and for pharmaceutical purposes in treating of various diseases (8).

5. Rich flavor and aroma

Research study proved that porcini mushroom contains high aroma compound than oyster mushrooms. Unsaturated alcohols, ketones, octenols, and octenones are highest in porcini mushroom in compare to oyster mushroom (9). In methyl butanal, decadienal and nonadienal in porcini mushroom are also responsible for the unique aroma profile (10).

6. Porcini mushroom in the diet helps in managing diabetes

Porcini mushroom contains high crude protein, carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and low crude fat contents. Which decreases the starch degradation and reduces sugars released during digestion thus modulate glycemic index. Therefore the addition of mushroom in diet lowering the potential glycaemic response and improving antioxidant capacity (11).

7. Slow down the cancer cell proliferation

Polysaccharides, polysaccharopeptides, proteins, glycoproteins, proteins (lectin) phenolic and flavonoid found in porcini mushroom slows the proliferation and growth of various tumor cells (12). Therefore porcini mushroom can act as an antineoplastic agent and possesses the anticancer potential and may provide a safe therapeutic strategy for people who have been suffering from different cancer (13).

8. Antiviral properties of Porcini mushroom

Porcini mushroom contains chitin-binding lectins that inhibit the in vitro virus replication and can be used as a treatment after the virus infection. Thus porcini mushroom may be helpful against Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) (14).

Side effects of Porcini mushroom

1. Brought mushroom from a trustworthy store

Research study proved that after intake of porcini mushroom people face nausea (89%), vomiting (94%), abdominal pain (53%) and diarrhea (51%). Thus, the mushroom should be buying on the reliable store and strengthen the science to identify poisonous mushrooms to avoid poisoning incidents (15).

2. Risk of asthma

Some people face both injective and inhalation allergy by porcini mushroom. In this case, people feel dyspnea, coughing, and wheezing by spores, every time after handling porcini mushroom (16). Thus porcini mushroom digestion-stabile protein is responsible to develop occupational asthma in people (17).

3. Allergic risk

Porcini mushroom can cause respiratory, oral and skin allergy either through inhalation, ingestion or contact (18).

 After exposure to porcini mushroom, people develop cutaneous, anaphylaxis and respiratory symptoms (19). Therefore, porcini mushroom not only causes airborne allergy but also causes inhalation and intestinal allergy which is due to mushroom antigens that differ from those involved in food-related allergic reactions (20).

4. Risk of heavy metal toxicity

Porcini mushrooms may accumulate heavy metals such as radioactive cesium, mercury, copper, cadmium, and polonium from the soil. However, washing the mushrooms with water prior to cooking and proper cooking should also be needed. thus before consumption precaution should be needed (21).

Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20970511
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2865352/
  3. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/45095585?fgcd=&manu=WORLD+VARIETY+PRODUCE%2C+INC.&format=Abridged&count=&max=25&offset=0&sort=fd_s&order=asc&qlookup=&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=
  4. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/45204015?fgcd=&manu=Bertagni+1882+SpA&format=&count=&max=25&offset=0&sort=fd_s&order=asc&qlookup=&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=
  5. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2016.1219742
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5625788/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4597360/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3813146/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19382709/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29655732
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814618307787
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23370594
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28401225
  14. https://repositorio.uam.es/bitstream/handle/10486/660904/antiviral_santoyo_jfnr_2012.pdf?sequence=1
  15. http://zhlxbxzz.yiigle.com/CN112338201212/594475.htm?locale=zh_CN
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11994104/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23675726
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16983976
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23675726
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9265990
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28221918


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