The Wonder Mushroom
that Withstood the Test of Time in China
for 4000 years.
Now re-discovered by the Western World
For over 4000 years Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma Lucidum) have been
recognized by Chinese medical professionals as a valuable remedy.
Its Chinese name Lingzhi, means "spiritual potency". Reishi mushrooms are
regarded by the Chinese as the "Medicine of Kings". Dr. Shi-Jean Lee,
the most famous Chinese medical doctor of the Ming Dynasty, strongly endorsed
the effectiveness of Reishi in his famous book, Ban Chao Gang Moo
("Great Pharmacopoeia"). He stated that the "long-term taking of Reishi (Lingzhi)
will build a strong, healthy body and assure a long life."(2)
"The Medicine of Kings" and it’s benefits
For the Nerves:
Reishi mushrooms have been traditionally recommended by Chinese and Japanese herbalists
for insomnia due to their "sleep-promoting factor".(1) Long-term use causes a significant promotion
of slow wave sleep1. Reishi mushrooms are prescribed in China for a number of psychiatric and
neurological afflictions, including diseases involving the muscles, anorexia, and debility following
In Japan, the dried "mycelium" of Reishi the root-like body that produces mushrooms has been
found to be highly effective in the treatment of neuroses caused by "environmental stress".(1)
In addition, in an eight-month study of Alzheimer’s disease, patients taking a Reishi mycelium
product demonstrated significant improvement.
In China, Reishi is used for its muscle relaxing and analgesic (pain-inhibiting) effects. In one study,
Reishi alleviated anxiety in 18 of 20 patients after four months’ use. It was concluded that the
mushroom has an essentially "calmative function", but is neither a narcotic nor a hypnotic.
Ganoderma Lucidum contains high concentration of Organic Germanium, Polysaccharides
and Triterpenes. These active components are proven to strengthen our immunity cells and
improve our immune system.
For centuries, Reishi has been known as a cardiotonic herb. It was prescribed routinely to
those with a "knotted and tight chest" symptoms consistent with both stress and/or coronary
artery disease-related angina. Researchers in China found that Reishi improved the blood
flow and lowered oxygen consumption in the heart muscle.(3) Similar results were also found by
Japanese scientists.(1,4 ) They found that Reishi contains ganoderic acids (which belong to a
group of natural substances called "triterpenes") which lower high blood pressure, lower
cholesterol, and inhibit platelet aggregation (the clumping together of blood cells), which
can lead to heart attacks and other circulation problems.
In a six-month clinical trial performed in a university hospital in Tokyo, nearly half (47.5%) of 53
hypertensive patients lowered their blood pressure by 10-19 mmHg, and 10% of the subjects
dropped their pressures 20-29 mmHg (both systolic and diastolic readings) after taking Reishi
extract.1 Similar results were observed in a Chinese clinical trial without any side-effects.(1) Another
large Reishi study in China found that low density lipoprotein (LDL the harmful cholesterol) levels
dropped in 68% of 90 patients following only one to four months of Reishi use.
Recently, Russian scientists have taken an interest in Reishi. They found that in addition to all
the cardiovascular benefits mentioned above, Reishi showed a significant preventive and therapeutic
action against plaque build-up ("plaque" is a fatty goo which is comprised of a combination of
oxidized cholesterol, calcium, and degenerated white blood cells ["foam cells"]. It is deposited
on the walls of arteries which restricts blood flow by narrowing the passage within arteries resulting
Studies of Reishi in cancer research have been largely conducted in Japan, where Reishi was
scientifically proven to have an anti-tumor effect. This research has continued in Korea, Japan,
An example of Reishi’s cancer-fighting potential occurred in the summer of 1986. A 39 -year old
Japanese woman approached Dr. Fukumi Morishige, M.D., Ph.D, a renowned Japanese
surgeon and a member of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, for help in
treating her lung cancer. It was a complicated case, and she had been refused an operation by
several hospitals. Hopeless, she returned home where she found her husband had collected
Reishi in the forests. He boiled the mushroom and gave it to her to drink as a tea.
While this was going on, she begged Dr. Morishige to do something for her cancer, regardless
of its very advanced stage. From what was evident six months earlier, Morishige was surprised
when he found no increase in swelling. Then he looked at her X-rays. Something wasn’t right: her
tumor showed as only a trace on the X-ray. When she told him she had been drinking Reishi
tea, Morishige operated with great curiosity. He was "astonished" to find only scar tissue, and
although cancerous cells remained, they were now benign.
That was the impetus for Dr. Morishige to begin his studies of Reishi as a treatment for cancer
especially cases given up as hopeless. Dr. Morishige now believes that Reishi is also an
effective cancer preventive. The active anti-cancer constituents in Reishi are called Beta-D-glucan.
Beta-D-glucan is a polysaccharide basically a huge sugar molecule made up of many little sugar
molecules chained together bound to amino acids. These intricate sugars stimulate or modulate
the immune system by activating immune cells such as macrophage and helper T-cells, as well as
increase the immunoglobin levels (immunoglobins are specific types of antibodies) to produce a
heightened response to foreign cells, whether bacteria, viruses, or tumor cells.
Gamoderma Lucidum Spore capsules
are much more potent than the tea or Coffee
Anti-Allergic /Anti-Inflammatory Actions:
During the 1970s and 1980s, Reishi’s anti-allergy action became the subject of ongoing research
in both China and Japan. Studies showed that Reishi extract significantly inhibited all four types
of allergic reactions, including positive effects against asthma and contact dermatitis. In 1990,
researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio found that Reishi
could be effectively used in treating stiff necks, stiff shoulders, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the
fine membrane lining the eye and eyelids), bronchitis, rheumatism, and improving "competence"
of the immune system without any significant side-effects.(6)
Healing the Liver:
Reishi is commonly prescribed in China for the treatment of chronic hepatitis. In treatments
lasting 2 to 15 weeks, the overall rate of efficiency was 70.7 to 98.0%.(4) In Japan, Reishi extract
has been reported to be effective in treating patients with liver failure.(1) In animal studies of mice
with carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatitis, the extent of liver damage was significantly inhibited
by continuous dosing with Reishi tincture, and the regeneration of the liver was promoted.(7)
As the "Medicine of Kings", Reishi is widely used for different purposes. It is used for symptomatic
relief of arthritis and of menopausal anxiety. It is also used in treating allergic asthma,
hypertension, hypothyroidism, bronchitis, insomnia, general anxiety and stress, and
cardiovascular problems. Reishi also is often the main ingredient in herbal formulas for immune
dysfunction syndromes, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
1. Kenneth J. REISHI: Ancient herb for modern times. Sylvan Press, 1992.
2. Wasson RG. Divine mushroom of immortality. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Los Angeles, 80-93, 1968.
3. "Lingzhi". In Pharmacology and Application of Chinese Materia Medica, Vol. I. Chang HM and But RPH, eds.
World Scientific: Singapore, 642, 1986.
4. Stanislaus CS. LingzhiMedicine of Kings. New Editions Health World, 38-41, June, 1995.
5. Carlson J. Reishi Mushroom. New Editions Health World, 23-25, April, 1996.
6. Stavinoha WB, et al. Study of the anti-inflammatory activity of Ganoderma lucidum. Presented at the Third
Academic/Industry Joint Conference (AIJC), Sapporo, Japan, 1990.
7. Lin JM, Lin CC, Chiu HF, Yang JJ, and Lee SG. Evaluation of the anti-imflammatory and liver protective effects
of anoectochilus formosanus ganoderma lucidum and gynostemma pentaphyllum in rats. Am J Chi Med,
21:59-69, 1993. 3215, 1985.