Canadian Institute of Postgraduate Studies 
in Traditional Chinese Medicine

 


 

REISHI or CHINESE LINGZHI - (GANODERMA LUCIDUM)

 Jocelan Maxwell

Lingzhi is among the treasures of Chinese medicine. Named the "Grass of Heaven", it has been proven through Chinese pharmaceutical studies and clinical research that it is useful in helping to prevent certain diseases and it also helps extend life. Both the popular ancient Chinese medical publications, Shennong's Cannon of Materia Medica (shen nong ben cao jing) and "Ben Cao Gang Mu" (Compendium of Materia Medica), written in the Eastern Han Dynasty, provide detailed descriptions of the effect s of Lingzhi. So Lingzhi has been effectively used for a very long time.

Contemporary Chinese studies illustrate the pharmaceutical effect s of Lingzhi. They confirm that the polysaccharides in Lingzhi are the key ingredients to maintaining a physiological balance and that this helps extend life. The Chinese government just recently allowed Lingzhi to be classified as a food and granted Lingzhi to be a safe herb with little or no toxicity.

Chinese scientific studies found that Lingzhi is rich in pharmaceutical ingredients. These are divided into 10 different categories, including Lingzhi polysaccharides, Lingzhi polypeptides, 16 types of amino acids (7 of which are indispensable to humans), proteins, steroids, triterpene, mannitol, coumarin, alkaloids, organic acids (mainly fumarate), and micro-elements such as Ge, P, Fe, Ca, Mn, Zn, etc. Lingzhi helps maintain the body's balance and helps alleviate certain illnesses related to the cardiac system, the brains vessels, the digestive, neural, endocrine, and respiratory systems. It is particularly effective with tumors, hepatic diseases and age prevention.

Key Effects of Lingzhi

According to Chinese literature, Lingzhi penetrates into and works on five key human organs; the heart, lungs, liver, kidney, and pancreas. Lingzhi is suitable for sicknesses related to various human systems including the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, neural, and endocrine. It alleviates illnesses associated with medical, surgical, gynecological, podiatric, and ENT (ears, nose, and throat) issues. Lingzhi is good for various ailments because its basic function is the enhancement of the body's internal balance and strengthening of the immune system. It is different from other dietary supplements claiming to alleviate specific diseases because it helps regulate the entire body and metabolism to ensure that all of the organs function properly

 

 

 

Some specific benefits of Lingzhi include:

1. Enhances immune functions to help prevent tumors

Tumor development may be caused because of a poor or weak immune system. Lingzhi tends to regulate and strengthen the immune system. It enhances the body's own immune functions and increases the body's internal self defense mechanisms against tumors.

Lingzhi enhances the function of monocytic macrophages by activating the synthesis of interleukin. It enhances the blood synthesis capacity, particularly at the white blood cell level. Proper and sustained usage of Lingzhi, produces an inhibiting effect on the cancer cells and becomes one of the most effective dietary supplements for tumor and cancer prevention. It can be used in combination with traditional cancer treatments.

Note: *It is strongly recommended that traditional cancer treatments not be reduced, adjusted or discontinued without the express consent, and only at the direction, of your physician.

2. Helps Protect the Liver and helps with Detoxification

Lingzhi is able to help protect the liver from damage by various physiological and biological methods. Lingzhi can be used before the cancer cells develop, or afterward in a combination treatment plan. Lingzhi's primary function helps to speed up the metabolism of the medicine and reduce the toxic substances in the liver. Lingzhi also can help treat certain ailments associated with chronic hepatitis and minimizes associated and related symptoms such as dizziness and fatigue.

3. Helps Improve the Blood Circulation System

Chinese clinical studies and experiments with animals confirm Lingzhi can effectively dilate coronary arteries, increase coronary blood vessel flow, and improve circulation in cardiac muscle capillaries. This, in turn, may increase the supply of oxygen and energy to cardiac muscles. It may help protect the heart from a shortage of blood supply, and may also help prevent heart disease and nausea.

Lingzhi may also be effective and help reduce high blood cholesterol by preventing the formation of arterial atheromatous. If atheromatous patches are already formed, Lingzhi can help reduce the cholesterol in the arterial wall and soften the blood vessel to avoid further damage. It may improve blood circulation and prevent the aggregation of blood platelets.

 

 

 

4. Helps Prevent Aging

The polysaccharides and polypeptides found in Lingzhi effectively help delay aging through the following:

Enhance and regulate immunological functions. Such enhancement and regulation can effectively delay aging in adults. For youngsters in the developmental stage, the immune system can be optimized to ensure healthy growth.

Regulates metabolism and enhances synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. Chinese research shows Lingzhi enhances the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins in blood plasma, liver and bone marrow, effectively preventing aging.

 Removes free radicals. One cause of aging is the reduction of self-originated anti-oxidizing agents or anti-oxidize-like material (such as SOD) in the body. These anti-oxidizing agents are essential for counteracting damage to the body by free radicals. Lingzhi polysaccharides possess properties very similar to SOD which can remove the free radicals and help prevent related body damage by stopping hyper-oxidation of lipids. Such action protects the cells and delays aging of the cells.

Lingzhi polysaccharides helps enhance DNA synthesis in the cell nucleus and increases the number of cell divisions, which results in delayed aging.

5. Helps with neurasthenia and insomnia

The Chinese use Lingzhi to treat neurasthenia and insomnia. Extracts from Lingzhi work on the central nervous system and inhibit and reduce the levels of body activity.

In ancient Chinese medical publications, Lingzhi was said to "stabilize emotion", "increase wisdom", and "enhance memory power". Recent reports state that Lingzhi has a prominent effect on insomnia caused by neurasthenia. Generally, it takes a period of 10 to 15 days for sleep patterns to improve, appetite to increase and body weight to stabilize. Note: No known side effects such as neurasthenia and insomnia, headaches and dizziness were noticed.

Lingzhi has a relatively strong effect on the central nervous system. To date, the effects of Lingzhi on neurasthenia and insomnia has been clearly described and stated in the published ˇ°China State Medicine Bookˇ±.

6. Effects on High Blood Pressure

Rabbit tests: Lingzhi effectively reduced the blood pressure of an anesthetized rabbit: systolic and diastolic lowered pressure of from 15% to 25%. Related neural activity was also inhibited by 20% to 40% respectively.

Lingzhi is currently being used in Chinese hospitals to help reduce patient's blood pressures; these test cases have been reported to have an 88% rate of success. It was found that Lingzhi also extends and stabilizes the effects of other blood pressure medicines.

7. Helps with the treatment of Diabetes

Lingzhi's Ganoderma B and C help reduce blood glucose levels. In China, research has shown that by enhancing utilization of blood glucose by body tissues, Lingzhi can serve as a supplement to insulin to inhibit release of fatty acids. Chinese studies reflect that blood glucose can be reduced from 173 to 116, cholesterol from 233 to 179, and Beta-protein from 580 to 465.

8. Effects on Chronic Bronchitis and Asthma

Lingzhi stops coughing, helps to clear sputum, and helps suppress asthma. It also relieves symptoms of related illnesses. Since Lingzhi activates the immune system, it helps prevent contracting the flu and other common colds.

9. Effects on Allergies

If the body is invaded by an antigen that elicits an immunological reaction leading to various abnormalities and immunopathological symptoms, Lingzhi may be effective in suppressing negative reactions and help the body recover more rapidly. Chinese experiments show that Lingzhi helps stop the release of hyper-reactive factors and helps prevent the development of allergic reactions. Lingzhi has been found to help alleviate the symptoms of Asthma, erythematous lupus vulgaris, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid heart diseases, allergic rhinitis, and certain skin diseases.

10. Effects on Beauty Care

Lingzhi retains and regulates water in the skin and helps maintain the skin's elasticity, keeping the skin hydrated and smooth. It also helps to inhibit the formation and deposit of melanin in skin. Today, Lingzhi beauty care products are becoming new stars in the cosmetic industry. By adding Lingzhi into the bath, not only can skin be kept smooth but it can also help prevent bacterial infections.

 

In addition to the above effects, Lingzhi helps stimulate blood synthesis in bone marrow and increase WBC levels, making it suitable for treating low WBC symptoms of various causes (such as over dosage of radiation.) Lingzhi may help enable the body to block viral infections. Lingzhi also may help increase the body's tolerance to polluted environments. It may be beneficial to suppress over-contraction of the uterine muscles for irregular cycles. Lingzhi is also effective in alleviating retinal, brain, and abnormal muscular development issues. Lingzhi can also act as a pain reliever for headaches.                  

Lingzhi, taken as a food supplement and according to the Chinese philosophy of "No dizzy, No recovery", may produce temporary signs of mild dizziness, a short-term thirst and/or increased defecation and urination. These reactions are normalˇ­. he body's is adjusting and toxicity is being dissolved, mobilized, and excreted. These symptoms usually last 3 to 7 days depending on the level of toxins in your body.

Lingzhi Applications

Ganoderma Lucidum (Lingzhi) is an immune-modulating herb.  It is a health food used all over the orient for general health care and also for disease prevention. There are over 100 diseases where this herb has been used to either treat or prevent. It is useful in the following areas:

The Nervous System

For: neurasthenia, sleeplessness, improves the memory, melancholia, neurosis, dizziness, headaches, dementia, encephala trophy, cerebral concussion, epilepsy, sciatica, etc.

The Digestive System

For: Indigestion, vomiting, stop hiccups, halitosis, hyperacidity, abdominal pain, diarrhea, abdominal distension, gastroptosis, gastroenteritis, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, oral- mouth ulcers, periodontitis, pancreatitis, to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver diseases, liver ascetics, hemoroids, constipation, etc.

Blood Circulatory System

High blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, myocardial blood lack, arrhythmia, mistral stenosis, venous aneurysm, rheumatism heart disease, arteriosclerosis, cerebral thrombus, cerebral infarction, cerebral hemorrhage, hemiplegia, anemia, blood platelet decrease, extravagated blood, etc.

Respiratory System

Asthma, cold, cough, congestion, sputum, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, pulmonary abscess, pharyngitis, allergic rhinitis, nasosinusitis, etc.

Urinary System

Hypertrophy of the prostate, prostitis, chronic nephritis, cystitis, urine blockages, blood in the urine, kidney dysfunction, pyelitis, sexual dysfunction, etc.

Internal System

Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, climacteric, arthritis etc.

Gynecology Diseases

Irregularity of menstruation, dysmenorrhoea, intermenstrual flow, womb tumors, ovary cyst, etc.

Dermatology Diseases

Puberty pock, tawny spot, dermatitis, skin allergy, rough skin, etc.

Other Diseases

Rheumarthritis, rheumatic fever, scapula ulcer, lumbar vertebra pain , lupus erythematosus, numbness of the hands or feet, recovery from chemotherapy & radiotherapy, dropsy, Otis-media, tinnitus, deafness, eye ground hyperemia, trichomadesis, hypoplasia, etc.

 

References

 

You-Ping Zhu, Chinese Materia Medica: Chemistry, Pharmacology and Applications.  CRC Press, 1998

 

Red Reishi:  How An Ancient Herbal Treasure Can Benefit  Your  Health Today,

Copyright 2003, ISBN: 0-9732103-2-X  by Wong Shu Sing

 

 

Great Ganoderma:  Reishi Mushroom; Herb of Spiritual Potency and Medical Wonder  by Terry Willard.  Research by Ken Jones.  1990, Sylvan Press, 1420

Gilman Blvd., #2265, Issaquah, WA 98207

 

A Comprehensive Textbook of Chinese Herbology  by Henry Lu

 

Natural Dietary Supplements:  A Desktop Reference      Issue:  September 1998

 

 

The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke,PhD. ISBN 0-87596-316-1

 

www.herbalgram.org

 

www.japan-reishi.org

 

www.globalhealthnetwork.tripod.com  e Book;  Miracle of Ganoderma  by RG Srinivassan

 

Last modified: 05/07/06