Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum), also known as Lingzhi, originally come from China.
They had been used in Asia for thousands of years to improve health and treat numerous medical conditions, and had even earned a title of "mushroom of immortality". (Ref. 1)
Reishi mushrooms, like many other medicinal mushroom species, may help us achieve great health-related results thanks to being loaded with wonderful healing compounds.
For example, reishi's chemical profile famously includes polysaccharides. (Ref. 2)
Polysaccharides deliver a fantastic boost to the immune system, fight all sorts of bacteria and viruses, many deep-seated chronic conditions, act as anti-oxidants and help with the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. (Ref. 2, 3, 4 and 5)
Reishi also contain some triterpenes, mostly ganoderic and lucidenic acids, which are similar to steroid hormones, and are believed to work against allergies, support the liver function and the immune system. (Ref. 2, 6, 7 and 8)
As we can see, polysaccharides and triterpenes, in synergy with other valuable compounds - ex., organic germanium, perform a function of immuno-modulation - that is, the realignment and fine-tuning of the immune system when it is "out of balance". (Ref. 2)
In this sense, we assume that reishi's immunomodulation may somewhat be related to it also being an adaptogen. This means that it can help the body manage stress and protect it from stress-related damage.
Among many other benefits, reishi mushrooms may help support the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, thus healing the body as a whole. (Ref. 9 and 10)
As a great general tonic, reishi is specifically used for the relief of chronic fatigue symptoms and to help increase energy levels naturally. (Ref. 11)
Written by: Irina Bright
Original publication date: 2013
Republication date: 2020
1. Sanodiya BS, Thakur GS, Baghel RK, Prasad GB, Bisen PS (2009). Ganoderma lucidum: a potent pharmacological macrofungus. Published in Current pharmaceutical biotechnology. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19939212
2. Wachtel-Galor S, Yuen J, Buswell JA, et al. (2011). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. Chapter 9: Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom. Published by CRC Press. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/#ch9
3. Jane E Ramberg, Erika D Nelson, and Robert A Sinnott (2010). Immunomodulatory dietary polysaccharides: a systematic review of the literature. Published in Nutrition Journal. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2998446/
4. Cheng-Li Wang, Chiu-Ying Lu, Chia-Chen Pi, Yu-Jing Zhuang, Ching-Liang Chu, Wen-Hsiung Liu, and Chun-Jen Chen (2012). Extracellular polysaccharides produced by Ganoderma formosanum stimulate macrophage activation via multiple pattern-recognition receptors. Published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3495220/
5. Wang H, Liu YM, Qi ZM, Wang SY, Liu SX, Li X, Wang HJ, Xia XC (2013). Overview on Natural Polysaccharides with Antioxidant Properties. Published in Current medicinal chemistry. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23627941
6. Narula AS (1972). Modification of tetracyclic triterpenes into steroid hormone analogues. Published in Journal of scientific and industrial research. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12333041
7. Supanimit Teekachunhatean, Sasinun Sadja, Chadarat Ampasavate, Natthakarn Chiranthanut, Noppamas Rojanasthien, and Chaichan Sangdee (2012). Pharmacokinetics of Ganoderic Acids A and F after Oral Administration of Ling Zhi Preparation in Healthy Male Volunteers. Published in Evidence-Based COmplementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3346975/
8. Kimura Y, Taniguchi M, Baba K (2002). Antitumor and antimetastatic effects on liver of triterpenoid fractions of Ganoderma lucidum: mechanism of action and isolation of an active substance. Published in Anticancer research. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12530080
9. Chu TT, Benzie IF, Lam CW, Fok BS, Lee KK, Tomlinson B (2012). Study of potential cardioprotective effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi): results of a controlled human intervention trial. Published in The British journal of nutrition. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21801467
10. Zhao HB, Lin SQ, Liu JH, Lin ZB (2004). Polysaccharide extract isolated from ganoderma lucidum protects rat cerebral cortical neurons from hypoxia/reoxygenation injury. Published in Journal of pharmacological sciences. Retrieved June 7, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15215656
11. Daivati Bharadvaj (2007). Natural Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Complementary and Alternative Medicine). Published by Praeger Publishers Inc. Accessed at Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Natural_Treatments_for_Chronic_Fatigue_S.html?id=IX1P6X-jLHMC&redir_esc=y