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Reishi Mushroom

 

 

 

Main Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom
  • Improves chronic fatigue and tiredness
  • Boosts weakened immune systems
  • Helps resolve chronic long-term viral infections
  • Lowers inflammation throughout the body
  • Helps build vitality after severe illness
  • Helps regulate and treat autoimmune disease
  • Eases muscle pain and discomfort
  • Improves anxiety and depression
  • Possesses anti-cancer properties
  • Tonic to build strength, resilience, and youthfulness
Other common names

Ganoderma lucidum, Ling Zhi, Ling Zhi Cao, Ling Chih, Hong Ling Zhi, Chi Zhi, Young Ji and Ling Chi

What is The History of Reishi Mushroom?

Reishi is an oriental fungus which has a long history of use, spanning 2000 years, for promoting health and longevity in China, Japan and other Asian countries.

In Japan, the name for the Ganodermataceae family is reishi, or mannentake, whereas in China it is called ling zhi. In Chinese, the name ling zhi represents a combination of spiritual potency and essence of immortality and is regarded as the ‘herb of spiritual potency,’ symbolizing success, well-being, divine power and longevity. Reishi mushroom has also been commonly referred to as ‘the mushroom of immortality’, ‘ten-thousand-year mushroom’ and ‘spirit plant’.

Reishi is classed as one of the great original adaptogen medicines. Its reputation has even surpassed ginseng as one of the most valuable herbs of the Orient.

It was believed that the sacred fungus grew in the home of the immortals on the ‘three aisles of the blest’ off the coast of China. Traditionally it was used in China by Taoist monks to promote a centred calmness, improve meditative practices and attain a long and healthy life. Chinese royalty, seeking longevity, held reishi mushroom in high esteem.

Reishi was documented as far back as 56BC in the Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing (the first book totally devoted to the description of herbs and their medicinal value written in the Eastern Han dynasty of China (206 BC to AD8)) where it was described as having extensive healing powers. Reishi was listed as the most respected out of 120 superior tonics. Superior herbs (shang pin) were among the most highly regarded of all medicines since they were considered to prolong life, prevent ageing, boost qi, make the body light and limber and corresponded to heaven.

Targets and Mechanisms of Action

Reishi is found primarily on the base, roots or stumps of hardwoods, such as oak and maple, and occasionally on conifers. It is collected after the fruiting body has fully matured. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the quality of the reishi mushroom is predominantly determined by colour, shape and size with the large, deep red mushrooms with a swirled ram’s horn pattern generally considered to be the highest quality.

Immuno-stimulating polysaccharides, peptidoglycans and triterpenes are three major physiologically active constituents in reishi. The predominant triterpenes are ganoderic acids A-Z.

Other active ingredients include lanostans, coumarin, ergosterol, adenosine, uridine, uracil, small amounts of germanium, organic acids, resins and the polysaccharide chitin.

Mushroom contains 1.8% ash, 26 to 28% carbohydrate, 3 to 5% crude fat, 59% crude fibre and 7 to 8% crude protein. In addition to these, mushrooms contain a wide variety of bioactive molecules, such as steroids, phenols, nucleotides and their derivatives, and glycoproteins. Mushroom proteins contain all the essential amino acids and are especially rich in lysine and leucine.

Immune Activity
  • Adjunct to any conventional immune system treatments because of its potential in enhancing tumour responses and stimulating whole host immunity
  • Improves both specific and non-specific immune responses
  • Shows marked immune modulating effects with an increase in T lymphocytes, including T helpers, as well as a decrease in CD8 cells
  • Supports immune-stimulating activities via induction of cytokines and enhancement of immunological effector cells
  • Reishi polysaccharide are proved to enhance the proliferation and maturation of T and B lymphocytes, splenic mononuclear cells, natural killer (NK) cells, and dendritic cells
  • Blocks the development of T-cell-mediated immune-suppression and restores the delayed-type hypersensitivity response in immunosuppressed mice
  • Dramatically decreases pain and promotes the healing of lesions in herpes zoster
  • Protects the host against bacterial replication of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection
  • Reishi has been found to be more effective than antibiotics against E. coli, Micrococcus luteus, S. aureus, B. cereus, Proteus vulgaris and Salmonella typhi
  • The antimicrobial combination of reishi with two commonly used antibiotics resulted in an additive or synergistic effect of the drugs
  • Exhibits strong anti-complement activity and modulates immune system excesses to reduce inflammation and cell membrane destruction
  • Lowers allergy response to airborne allergens and mosquito bites
Anti-Cancer Activity
  • Lessens the side effects of chemo- and/ or radiation therapy and enhances post operation patient recovery
  • Oral administration of reishi can inhibit breast-to-lung cancer metastases through the downregulation of genes responsible for cell invasiveness
  • Treatment significantly inhibits the number of breast-to-lung cancer metastases and reishi also downregulates the expression of genes associated with invasive behaviour
  • The anti-cancer activity of reishi may be attributed to at least five groups of mechanisms: (1) activation/modulation of the immune response of the host, (2) direct cytotoxicity to cancer cells, (3) inhibition of tumour-induced angiogenesis, (4) inhibition of cancer cells proliferation and invasive metastasis behaviour, and (5) carcinogens deactivation with protection of cells
  • Cellular immunity in 80% of patients is significantly enhanced in terms of elevated plasma interleukin (IL)-2, IL-6, and interferon γ (IFN-γ) levels and natural killer (NK) cell activity
  • Total T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, and CD4/CD8 ratio are significantly enhanced
  • Cellular levels of LC3-II are increased, and the cellular levels of p62 decreased, confirming that reishi affects cellular autophagy
  • Induces cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in more than 30 types of human and rodent tumour cells
  • Decreases cyclooxygenase 2 (COX)-2 enzyme expression and increases nitric oxide synthesis in colon HT-29 cells
  • Creates an induction of apoptosis, anti-inflammatory activity and differential cytokine expression in human colonic carcinoma cell line - HT29
  • In prostate cancer cell lines, two angiogenic factors, known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, are suppressed through inhibition of the ras/extracellular signal–regulated kinase (Erk1/2) and Akt signalling pathways
  • Anti-angiogenic activities of reishi have been demonstrated
  • Modulating the F/G-actin ratio with reishi, which, in turn, reduces the formation of stress fibre and focal adhesion complexes of bladder cancer cells, suggests that actin remodelling is associated with the inhibition of carcinogen-induced cell migration
Antioxidant Activity
  • Antioxidant activity is shown in various components of reishi, particularly polysaccharides and triterpenoids
  • Demonstrates significantly improved aerobic endurance, lower body flexibility and velocity in patients suffering from fibromyalgia after six weeks of administration
  • Improves energy supply to the brain cortex and decreases the prevalence of inhibitory neurotransmitters
  • Regular administration significantly suppresses alcohol-induced increase in liver proliferation
  • Reishi is found to be absorbed quickly after ingestion, resulting in an increase in the plasma total antioxidant activity of human subjects
  • Ingestion of reishi causes a significant post-ingestion increase in plasma antioxidant capacity and has a prominent superoxide scavenging effect
Anti-Inflammatory Activity
  • Shown to reduce TNF-alpha and increase IL-10 and correct renal dysfunction, including suppressing proteinuria
  • Shows enhanced endothelial cell cytotoxicity
  • Improves altered immune-circulatory balance with predominant pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF alpha activity in the presence of defective anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10
  • Useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases by inhibiting inflammatory mediator responses in activated microglia of the brain and spine
  • Significantly inhibits the excessive production of nitric oxide, prostaglandin E(2) and pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1β and tumour necrosis factor-α
  • Suppresses nuclear factor kappaB (NFkB) and toll-like receptor signalling pathways
Cardiovascular Activity
  • Human peripheral blood samples reveal an inhibition of platelet aggregation. This activity has been associated with a water-soluble component from reishi that is a derivative of adenosine
  • After treatment with reishi, the length and width of induced thrombi is reduced by approximately 10% to 15%
  • Whole blood viscosity, plasma viscosity and blood pressure are significantly reduced
  • A reduction in a variety of symptoms including dizziness (by 58.8%), headache (75.0%), chest tightness (53.8%), and insomnia (64.7%), is observed in heart disease
  • Heart disease symptoms, electrocardiogram (ECG), and primary blood dynamic parameters are improved in 85.7% of patients
  • Lowers systolic blood pressure
Anti-Diabetic Activity
  • Reishi polysaccharide fraction administration decreases glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C) and plasma glucose significantly after 12 weeks
  • The high molecular weight polysaccharides in Reishi can be used as a prebiotic agent to prevent gut dysbiosis and obesity-related metabolic disorders in obese individuals
  • Shown to reduce body weight, inflammation and insulin resistance
  • Reverses high fat diet-induced gut dysbiosis and also maintains intestinal barrier integrity
  • Reduces metabolic endotoxemia
  • Lowers serum glucose levels in obese/diabetic mice
  • Shows markedly reduced levels of hepatic gene expression - phosphoenol-pyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) - which is often high in the obese and diabetic
Liver Protective Activity
  • Significant reductions of bilirubin and SGPT (serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase)/SGOT (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase) are seen in patients with hepatitis B
  • Modulates the activities of ethanol-metabolizing enzymes
  • Attenuates oxidative stress and has a potent hepatoprotective effect on liver injury markers (LDH, AST, ALT) induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)
  • Protects the liver and kidney from superoxide induced hepatic and renal damage
  • Has an inhibitory effect against the formation of malondialdehyde (MDA) - a degradation product of lipid peroxides
  • Prevents the increase of serum AST, ALT, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities that result from benzo(a)pyrene damage occurring from smoking, grilled meats and coal pollutions
  • Enhances the levels of glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GpX), catalyse (CAT), and glutathione S-transferase (GST)
Respiratory Activity
  • Reishi mushroom was administered for four months in chronic bronchitis and showed a significant decline in blood cholinesterase activity, suggesting a reduction in the excitability of the parasympathetic nerves of the lungs and bronchi
  • Reduces agitated muscle responses in the lungs that can trigger asthma attacks
Brain Activity
  • Useful in enhancing learning, memory and cognitive function via improving dysfunctional cholinergic pathways in the brain
Hormone Activity
  • Potent 5-alpha-redcutase inhibition due to its triterpenoids binding to androgen receptors – reducing progression of prostate cancer, hair loss and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
Anti-Ageing Activity
  • Downregulates the expression of advanced glycation end products (AGEs)
  • Supports the rapid development of neurons and enhance their mitochondrial function
  • Regulates gene expression via multiple signalling pathways including sirt2, mTOR, S6K and germline
  • Activates the expression of the longevity-associated transcription factor DAF-16 via TIR receptors and MAP kinase in various ageing models
  • Inhibits lipid peroxidase and reactive oxygen species (ROS) to improve mitochondrial transcription, translation and reduce mitochondrial mutations
  • Increases the production of NADPH
  • Promotes the survival of stem/progenitor cells