Reishi Mushroom

Ganoderma lucidum

Description: Reishi (known as ling chih or ling-zhi, "mushroom of immortality" in China; and as reishi or as mannentake, "10,000 year old mushroom" in Japan) is a basidomycetes, or polypore (with pores under the cap, instead of gills) that grows on the trunks or stumps of trees. Prune trees yield the highest level of ganoderic acid. Although it typically has a kidney shaped cap form on a slightly twisted columnar stalk, it can also look like deer antlers and many other shapes. It is distinguished by brownish-red color with almost black and orange stripes, which are also highly variable. Ganoderma is the single most highly rated herb, in terms of multiple benefits and lack of side effects, in all of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Out of the drugs and herbs listed in Shennong Medical Herbology the ancient Chinese materia medica was one, which ranked higher than ginseng for its value in promoting health and well being. This famous medicinal herb lingzhi was actually not an herb but a variety of fungus, belonging to the ganoderma family. Among the large number of species in this botanical family "Red Lingzhi," Ganoderma lucidum, is the most popular and medicinally effective.

For over 2000 years, lingzhi has been highly recommended as a valuable remedy by Chinese medicine professionals. Highly regarded by the Chinese people as the "Medicine Of Kings," it grows in the forest in very small quantities. Because of its rarity and preciousness, lingzhi is also known as "the herb of good fortune."

Lingzhi can be taken daily for long periods without any adverse side effects. Long-term use can help normalize body functions empower the immune system to fight disease and stabilize the internal environment. Today, lingzhi and its related mushrooms are increasingly called neutraceuticals a term to denote it having both nutritional and medicinal properties. To achieve the highest ranking as an herb and a neutraceutical,

Physiology/Pharmacology - Phytochemicals it contains have been isolated and their chemical structure determined that these include:

  1. Polysaccharides
  2. Bitter substance- the Tritepens like, Ganoderans
  3. Adenosine
  4. Organic Germanium v. Fatty acids

The proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, and most commonly occurring non-essential amino acids and amides. The fatty acids are largely unsaturated, and reishi are rich in vitamins (especially B3, B5, C and D) and minerals (espeically calcium, phosphorous and iron). Ganoderma has the most active polysaccharides (long chains of sugars) among medicinal plant sources. Ganoderma is the only known source of a group of triterpenoides known as ganderic acids, which have a molecular structure similar to steroid hormones. A study of nine edible medicinal mushrooms connected antitumor activity to polysaccharides and fatty substances that were probably ergosterols. Ganoderma also neutralized free radicals such as carbon tetrachloride and ethionine in animal livers, and reversed fatty infiltration.

Indications - Cancer, side effects of cancer treatments including radiation, chemotherapy and surgery; high altitude stress; high cholesterol and hyperlipidemia; high blood pressure; chronic fatigue syndrome and AIDS; weakness of the lung; wasting syndromes; spiritual malaise; difficulty concentrating; poor digestion; insomnia and poorly regulated immune response.

Toxicity, Cautions & Contraindications - None. High doses of unextracted reishi powder may lead to loosening of the stools, dry mouth, skin rash or slight digestive upset initially (extracts can be designed to reduce this).

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