Reishi

Background

Reishi mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum is the scientific name, an edible type of medicinal fungus that has been used for various healing abilities for thousands of years and popularly recognized as “superfood” and“mushroom of immortality”. Also known as lingzhi in Chinese, reishi mushroom or G. lucidum is a popular powerful nootropic supplement and a polypore fungus that has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Reishi mushroom is strongly anti-inflammatory and taken by healthy people to promote longevity by supporting the immune system, promoting liver health and inhibiting tumor growth.[1]

Benefits

Reishi mushroom or G. lucidum contains chemicals which appear to have a variety of potentially beneficial effects, including activity against tumors (cancer) and beneficial effects on the immune system. Studies frequently confirm that reishi mushrooms have antioxidant abilities which let them strengthen the body’s defenses against cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, allergies, infections and more.[2] The diversified health benefits of reishi mushroom include –

  • Increases the immune system [5]
  • Improves cognitive function [6]
  • Promotes sleep [7]
  • Increases blood flow to the brain [8]
  • Hinders infections from virus [9]
  • Enhances healing activity in wounds [10]
  • Enhances learning and memory [11]
  • Suppress the growth of breast cancer cells [12]
  • Helps combat against cardiovascular disease [13]
  • Helps with kidney disease, liver disease and AIDS/HIV [14]
  • Helps with inflammatory diseases [15]
  • Reduces stress and fatigue [16]

The bioactive components found in the Reishi mushroom have numerous health properties to relieve of diseased conditions such as hepatopathy, chronic hepatitis, nephritis, hypertension, hyperlipemia, arthritis, neurasthenia, insomnia, bronchitis, asthma, gastric ulcers, atherosclerosis, leukopenia, diabetes, anorexia, and cancer. In spite of the voluminous literature available, Reishi or G. lucidum has been used mostly as an immune enhancer and a health supplement, not therapeutically.[3]

How it works

The anticancer and immunomodulatory properties of Reishi or G. lucidum are largely contained in its diverse chemical constituents, whereas polysaccharides and triterpenes are two groups of prominent bioactive components.
The polysaccharides from Reishi or G. lucidum are believed to trigger an indirect antitumour mechanism in which the host immune system is altered to target the tumour cells. The active polysaccharides are largely in the form of beta-glucans which have the ability to induce both innate and adaptive immune responses. The targeted immune cells include macrophages, neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells. The branched chains of beta-glucans act on complement receptor type 3 (CR-3) triggering a series of molecular pathways such as NF-κB, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and protein kinase C (PKC), which in turn, activate the host immune response for immune cell proliferations. Beta-glucans also act on dectin-1 receptor and toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2). The resultant actions are enhanced maturation of dendritic cells as well as increased opsonic and non-opsonic phagocytosis. Subsequently, cytokine production and splenic NK-cell cytotoxicity are increased. All of these immune reinforcements are believed to have a contribution to the antitumour properties of Reihsi mushroom or Ganoderma lucidum.[4]

Considerations

When taken regularly for a longer time, Reihsi mushroom may have some mild side effects such as headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds, dry mouth, etc. If you notice any of these side effects, stop using Reishi mushrooms and visit your doctor to make sure you’re not reacting badly, having an allergic reaction or experiencing liver toxicity.

Recommendations

Traditional practitioners recommend 0.5 to 1 g daily, 2 to 5 g daily for chronic illness, and up to G. lucidum 15 g extract daily for serious illness. The Chinese pharmacopoeia recommends 6 to 12 g extract daily. But the maximum range for dosages should be between 400 – 1800mg per day; Taken 1 – 3 times daily.

Sources