Monograph: Reishi Mushroom
Botanical Scientific Name: Ganoderma Lucidum
Chinese Name: Ling Zhi
Japanese Name: Mannentake
One of the most researched mushrooms in the world is the Reishi mushroom. It has been used for over 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine and is the oldest documented mushroom that has been applied in eastern medicine.
The Chinese name Ling zhi, means “spiritual strength and eternal life”. It represents the idea of wonderful heavens expressing long life, eternal life, vitality and good quality of life. This was recorded as long ago as 100-200 years AC since the days of the Han dynasty. Caesars and noblemen in China and Japan would consume the Reishi mushroom to increase their emotional and mental resilience. A well-known herbalist in the 16th century named Li Shizhen described it as a plant that raised life expectancy with anti-aging properties. In Japan the mushroom is called Mannentake which means 10,000-year mushroom.
The mushroom is considered to be adaptogenic, as it has influence on adrenal function and boosts the body’s resistance to stress both mental and physical.
The mushroom has a few strains, which differ in bright colors (red, black, white, blue, and yellowish). The red Reishi has been the most studied. It is a wide and flat mushroom with a shiny prominent cap, like red lacquer. It is missing gills underneath and releases its spores through gentle porosity.
The red Reishi grows on the Asian continent, at the base of a wide variety of deciduous trees, and in Canada’s northern and eastern forests, mainly at the base of maple trees. Similar species of the mushroom grow also in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil.
Parts of the mushroom for use:
All parts of the mushroom:
- Fruiting Body
Route of Administration:
Taste: sweet and slightly bitter
Meridians: heart, liver, lungs (according to some sources, also tropism to the kidneys or spleen)
- ganoderans A, B, C
Triterpenes and Triterpenoids:
- ganoderic acid β
- lucidumol A
- ganoderic acid A
- methyl ganoderate A
- methyl ganoderate B
- methyl lucidenate A
- methyl lucidenate F
- lucidenic acid D2
- lucidenic acid A
- lucidenic acid N
- ganoderic acid DM
- ganoderic acid A
- ganoderic acid B
- ganoderic acid C
- ganoderic acid E
- ganosporelactone A
- ganosporelactone B
- PL-1, PL-2, PL-3, PL-4
- Vitamins from the B-complex family
- Oleic acid
- Linoleic acid
- Palmitic acid
- Palmitoleic acid
- Lignoceric acid
- Stearic acid
- Behenic acid
- Erucic acid
- Cis-11-Eisosenoic acid
- Cis-13,16-Docosadienoic acid
- 5,8,11,14,17-Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Cysteic acid
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
Adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiaging, immunomodulatory (balances the immune system), anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, hypotensive (balances blood pressure), hepatoprotective (restores and protects the liver), neuroprotective (balances and restores the nervous system), support of prostate function, balances the thyroid, antiplatelet, anti-anemia, and prebiotic.
Uses supported by clinical research:
Weakened immune system, allergy, hay fever, viral and bacterial infections, cancer, stress, anxiety, depression, migraines, type II diabetes, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia (excess of blood lipids), high blood pressure, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), hepatitis, fatty liver, fibromyalgia, excessive blood coagulation, Alzheimer’s disease, and anemia.
Traditional uses that have yet to be supported by clinical evidence:
Insomnia, autoimmune diseases, Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune hypothyroid), Grave’s disease (autoimmune hyperthyroid), ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), kidney failure, coughing, asthma, and COPD.
Effects according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Replenishes the Qi and nourishes the blood.
Strengthens the Qi and the blood of the heart, nourishes the heart and calms the Shen.
Transforms mucus and stops cough.
Calm the soul and stimulates awareness and reason.
strengthens the kidney essence.
Manners of use and recommended dosages per the literature:
Liquid extract (tincture): at a concentration of 1:3, 45% alcohol, 2-10 ml per day.
Dry extract: standardized extract 5:1 at a concentration of 10% polysaccharides, 200-3,000 mg per day.
Decoction: 1-10 grams per day.
As part of a formula: 25-40%
Safety, Toxicity, Interactions, and Side Effects:
The Reishi mushroom is safe to use.
It is advised not to exceed 6 grams of dried Reishi extract per day.
People allergic to mushrooms should avoid eating the mushroom or consuming the mushroom as a food supplement.
Due to its immunostimulant activity, transplant patients should not consume the mushroom.
Seven days before undergoing a surgical procedure, the use of the mushroom should be discontinued and may be resumed two days following the procedure.
Since the mushroom may prolong the duration of clotting indexes INR, PT, PTT, and APTT, it is recommended to exercise caution when consuming Reishi with anti-coagulant blood thinners from the Coumadin, Clexane, Xarelto, Eliquis, Pradaxa and Lixiana families.
In in-vitro laboratory studies the polysaccharides in the Reishi mushroom delayed enzymes CYP3A, CYP1A2, CYP2E1 in cytochrome P450 of the liver, which are activated by the drugs Nifedipine, Phenacetin, and Chlorzoxazone, and the concentration of metabolites of drugs that metabolize in these ways may be affected, however, there have not been any clinical trials on this subject so the clinical significance of these findings is unclear.
Reishi mushroom oftentimes may raise the level of the glycoprotein marker CA72-4, which is frequently expressed by types of cancer such as gastrointestinal, ovarian, endometrium, and lung.
With the exception of forbidding pregnant women who receive blood thinners such as Clexane to use the mushroom, there is lack of data to support the safety of use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Stop use if hypersensitivity/allergy occurs.
TCM – relief of cough: Consult a health care practitioner / health care provider / health care professional / doctor / physician if symptoms persist or worsen.
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