Lingzhi is the Chinese name for “the immortal mushroom.” Many know it today as the edible herbal Reishi mushroom which boasts amazing health benefits. Let’s get a little background information on Ganoderma lucidum and then learn how we can benefit. From cancer to testosterone, this medicinal mushroom packs a healthy punch!
With a prestigious history as the oldest mushroom used in medicine. Lingzhi is a natural medication used in Eurasia. The mushroom spores are the most potent aspect of the herb and contain powerful therapeutic properties and are rich in nutrients.
Popularly used to modulate the immune system, it is often used to supplement ganoderic acid and has steroid like composition. It also has a potent combination of polysaccharide (beta-glucane) and alkaloids and other pharmaceutically active compounds.
- 1 Health Benefits of Lingzhi Mushroom
- 2 The “Short” List of Lingzhi Mushroom Health Benefits
- 3 What does Ganoderma lucidum look like?
- 4 Where can Ganoderma lucidum be found?
- 5 Benefits of Ganoderma Lucidum
- 5.1 Antioxidant properties
- 5.2 Anti-inflammatory properties
- 5.3 Anti-Cancer
- 5.4 Immunosupport
- 5.5 Antioxidant
- 5.6 Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- 5.7 Alcoholism and Cirrhosis
- 5.8 Bronchitis
- 5.9 Weight Loss
- 5.10 Anti-Allergic
- 5.11 High Blood Pressure
- 5.12 Stress relief
- 5.13 Skin
- 5.14 Detox
- 5.15 More Systemic Effects
- 5.16 Insomnia
- 5.17 Reduces Fatigue
- 5.18 Enhance Healing Process
- 6 Ganoderma lucidum (reishi, lingzhi) Dosage
- 7 Lingzhi Mushroom Side Effects and Contraindications
- 8 What Makes Good Lingzhi Mushroom
- 9 Background and History
Health Benefits of Lingzhi Mushroom
Lingzhi Mushroom contains a compound called triterpenes, a known precursor to steroids. Studies have shown triterpenes can fight cancer cells and prevent the spread of tumors. Lingzhi also has an abundance of another anti-cancer compound known as polysaccharide that also enhances the immune system.
It also has beneficial compounds that prevent breast cancer metastasis and human prostate cancer cells. Lingzhi has properties that have a strong potential to stop the spread of cancer cells by inhibiting tumor growth. Many weabound about the healing power of medicinal mushrooms.
Lingzhi inhibits conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone by inhibiting an enzyme which causes this conversion, so it increases sexual functioning and muscle growth by leaving more testosterone in the body.
This function of testosterone helps in the treatment of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) which causes enlargement of testicles. At the same time, it enhances muscle growth and recovery by producing a steroid like effect and triggering the anabolic state.
Lingzhi has antibacterial as well as antiviral properties that support and strengthens the immune system. This article has more information about antiviral supplements specifically.
Lingzhi Mushroom is used to treat high blood pressure and inflammation with its blood thinning properties. It is a replacement in cases where you would turn to Asprin, but performs without the side effects.
Lingzhi Mushroom helps in the treatment of liver and kidney disease as well as in the treatment of asthma and relieves cough. It also helps to calm your mind.
Vasodilation and Healing
Lingzhi is a powerful vasodilator it contains alkaloids and adenosine. So it allows more blood, nutrients and oxygen around the body by dilating blood vessels.
By increasing blood supply, Lingzhi decreases inflammation and increases healing process and further lowers blood pressure.
Immune boosting properties in Lingzhi are created by active compound polysaccharide. It enhances the activity of white blood cells and by extension boosts the overall immune system.
In Chinese culture, Lingzhi Mushroomis known as God of Longevity credited with the long life of those who consume it. It is the herb which is famous in traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-aging properties.
Lingzhi has triterpenes that have an anti-allergic effect helping prevent hypertension and symptoms of allergies. Triterpenes are also the compound that are responsible for Lingzhi mushroom’s bitter taste.
Thanks to their long and rich history dating back thousands of years, we can credit the Asians for their wisdom about the healing properties of many foods and herbs. Undoubtedly, they learned through years, decades and even centuries of trial and error. Driven by “stick–to–itiveness,” their hunches that certain plants had healing abilities paid off—big time!
Take the Chinese and their knowledge about a local mushroom called “Lingzhi.” From the botanical family called, Ganoderma lucidum, it was during the Han dynasty (200 AD) that the book, “Shen-Nong’s Herbal Classics” wrote of the healing properties of Lingzhi.
Now, fast forward 1300 years to 1500 AD when reports began surfacing about its ability to improve the heart, increase memory, and even promote anti-aging. Apparently, folks were worried about staying young, even then!
Lingzhi—renowned historically as a food of “immortality and spiritual awareness”—grows an unbelievable three feet across, and can weigh 16 pounds. In ancient times, it was reserved for those of noble birth because of “challenging” cultivation requirements. Today, all that has changed and common folks can now take advantage of its healthy benefits in the form of tinctures, capsules and powders.
In the last few decades, scientists began to ask if—in fact—the historic and healthy claims about Lingzhi were really true. As it often goes when science and folklore intercept, commonly known medicinal health properties of herbs, plants and foods are recognized by average folk long before researchers make a scientific confirmation. As so it is with Lingzhi Mushroom!
Today, Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi) is a standard oriental herbal medicine and is found in many medicine cabinets. Typically, the fruiting body of the medicinal mushroom is made into a variety of tinctures and supplements. Sound interesting? Read on and you will find that numerous scientific studies point to its healthy benefits that give a “power-packed” punch to the immune system.
The “Short” List of Lingzhi Mushroom Health Benefits
The list of health benefits attributed to Lingzhi meat are numerous. To start with, Lingzhi falls into the category of an “adaptogen.” Adaptogens are substances in plants that can help your body “adapt” in a variety of ways, so that natural health can be restored. An adaptogen—by definition—must cause no harm; help the body adapt to physical and psychological stress; and should support all major body systems. Lingzhi qualifies, having all three properties.
Of the scientific studies that have been conducted on Lingzhi Mushroom, it has definitely been shown to have anti-tumor effects. As one example, scientists reported in the Korean Journal of Medical Mycology that tumors improvement up to 88% when a dry powder form of Lingzhi was given to patients.
And researchers working in the field of “experimental biology” found that Lingzhi meat showed “strong therapeutic cancer prevention properties” (Borchers 2008). With regard to lung cancer, they said that cancer cells underwent a process called “apoptosis,”—a fancy scientific word that simply means the cells died without releasing any of their toxic substances into the body.” Apoptosis, or cell death started within three hours and all cells were dead at 24 hours,” according to researcher Yuen and his group of scientists.
What does Ganoderma lucidum look like?
Ganoderma lucidum belongs to group of fungi identified by the presence of pores, not gills, on the fruiting body’s underside.
Reishi, deemed by mycophiles to be one of the world’s most beautiful shelf fungi, is characterized by its red, varnished surface.
When the mushroom is young, it has yellow and white shades on the shiny surface. Reishi is a saprophytic fungi that tends to be more prolific on decaying hardwood stumps and logs.
Where can Ganoderma lucidum be found?
Once considered to be rare to find in natural settings in Japan and China, Ganoderma lucidum is now widely cultured. The reishi mushroom can be grown on logs buried in moist, shady areas. The mushroom can also be injected into hardwood stumps. Ganoderma lucidum, under cultivation conditions that are commercial, can be grown on sawdust logs that are artificial.
Most of the lingzhi mushrooms are composed of 90% water. The remaining 10% is comprised of 2 to 8% fat, 10 to 40% protein, 3 to 32% fiber, 3 to 28% carbohydrate, 8 to 10% ash, and certain minerals and vitamins, with calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, copper, and zinc comprising most of the reishi mushroom’s mineral content.
The three major constituents of Ganoderma lucidum that are physiologically active are:
- Polysaccharides (may help to treat chronic diseases like liver disease and cancer)
- Peptidoglycans (immunomodulating)
- Triterpenes (found to contain anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, and antitumorigenic activity)
Benefits of Ganoderma Lucidum
While the lingzhi mushroom can be beneficial to your health, it is best you consult with your doctor before taking it. You can purchase the mushroom in concentrated tablets, capsules, dried, or even in extract form. Some benefits are:
The lingzhi mushrooms have potent antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals or negative effects that are formed inside the human body by daily exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and the sun. Lingzhi mushrooms are known to boost immunity, especially if it’s taken together with other antioxidant supplements.
Most people know that consuming antioxidant-rich foods and plants helps protect immune cells. And Lingzhi does just that because it contains powerful antioxidants that are known to be quickly absorbed into the blood after ingestion. This allows them to rapidly go on a “seek and destroy” mission—in search of unhealthy cells.
Ganoderma lucidum has anti-inflammatory properties and is sometimes taken by patients who have heart disease or Alzheimer’s. It is based on the notion that inflammation has a role in such medical conditions. The pain that comes with inflammatory conditions like arthritis or neuralgia may also be alleviated with lingzhi supplements.
Ganoderma or Reishi is a go-to herb for anyone fighting cancer. Its PH balancing effect fights free radicles directly at their root while Immune and digestive support helps a patient cope with radiation treatment. It is widely believed that Ganoderma lucidum can suppress tumor growth in cancer patients. Lingzhi can reinforce cancerous cells’ membranes to stop the tumor from spreading. For such reason, lingzhi is used in treatments to prevent cancer.
It plays a significant role in immune defense by increasing T-cell production strengthening your natural immunity.
Regular use of Ganoderma as a tonic protects against aging and disease by increasing your antioxidant levels.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Ganoderma relieves symptoms of urinary tract infections. It prevents the uterine lining from inflammation by reducing fibroid growth..
Alcoholism and Cirrhosis
Studies have shown that Ganoderma helps to prevent alcoholism and liver cirrhosis. It is a go to herbal treatment for early stage alcoholic liver disease.
Ganoderma prevents and treats acute and chronic bronchitis. This amazing mushroom also plays a role in the treatment of secondary infections caused by chronic bronchitis. It also helps in the maturation of immune cells like macrophages to digest and engulf bacteria which causes infection.
Ganoderma can help you lose weight by lowering cholesterol. It can lower your bad cholesterol ( LDL, low-density lipoprotein) and ( HDL, high-density lipoprotein) and maintain serum cholesterol level.
More and promising evidence shows that Reishi mushroom helps to metabolizes cholesterol and assists the body in weight loss. Many interested in this benefit take Linghzi as a tea or coffee and there are abundant testimonials in this regard. If you need to lose weight, consider this powerful medicinal mushroom.
The anti-allergic effect Ganoderma lucidum has reduces allergy related inflammation by reducing cholesterol level.
High Blood Pressure
Ganoderma mushroom again by lowering bad cholesterol it will lower blood pressure by stopping the accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries. Making it a popular treatment for high blood pressure.
Reishi mushroom decreases physical pain, depression, stress and emotional outbursts in patient with neuralgia.
Ganoderma maintains healthy skin texture by protecting against skin degeneration.
Ganoderma increases metabolism and removes toxins from the body as it has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and reduces the aging process.
More Systemic Effects
Ganoderma has beneficial effects on improvement of the digestive system, pancreatic function, central nervous system, reproductive system and improves liver function.
Reishi mushroom has positive effects in the treatment of sleep disturbance (insomnia).
Reduces fatigue and stress as it increases brain power and provides the body with vigorous energy and brain clarity.
Enhance Healing Process
Accelerates the healing of wounds, psoriasis, bleeding, mouth ulcers, scrapes and bug bites.
Ganoderma lucidum (reishi, lingzhi) Dosage
The dosage of Ganoderma lucidum (reishi, lingzhi) if used as a dietary supplement is 150-900 mg when taken in capsule or tablet form. One can take 1.5 to 9 g of the dried lingzhi variety. While side effects from taking Ganoderma lucidum are rare, people taking the mushroom for a few months may experience dizziness, dry mouth, nosebleeds, or stomach discomfort.
The lingzhi or reishi mushroom is a renowned Asian herbal remedy with an impressive and long range of applications. Worldwide consumption of the mushroom is high and there are many products that incorporate lingzhi as an active ingredient for food supplements.
Many studies on Ganoderma lucidum are being done and there are data that support the mushroom’s positive health benefits, including blood glucose regulation, anticancer effects, antiviral effects, and antibacterial and antioxidant effects. There are also studies that lingzhi protects against gastric and liver injury.
However, most of the research has been performed in cell-culture models and on animals. Experiments on humans have been small. While there is no harm in taking a Ganoderma lucidum supplement at a recommended dose, you should still tell your doctor that you are doing so. The herbal supplements are available as coffee, tea, extract powder or capsules.
Regardless of what you choose to call it this medicinal mushroom has an incredible ability to balance and maintain a healthy PH level, to promote a healthy Alkaline environment in your body. It has also been proven to naturally increases oxygen levels in your blood.
Lingzhi Mushroom Side Effects and Contraindications
- Don’t consume Lingzhi if you have low blood pressure or if you are taking other hypertension medications as it further lower downs your blood pressure and causes dizziness and nausea.
- If you have a bleeding problem then don’t consume Lingzhi as it causes open wounds to bleed by preventing blood clotting.
- Please consult your doctor if you have been taking Reishi mushroom around the time of a surgery.
- Due to enhanced testosterone production it can cause acne, baldness and results in more drive and musculature. Be careful to take it in controlled amounts.
- If you are allergic to molds or fungi then, it will be safer to avoid Lingzhi.
Common side effects are gastrointestinal disturbances: stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, nose bleeding and itching. If you feel, any of these things, stop taking Ganoderma for a few days or lower your dose.
It has some negative effects if taken in pregnancy and breastfeeding so you should better talk to your doctor before taking Ganoderma if you are pregnant.
It inhibits clotting by inhibiting platelet sticking so it can potentially increase bleeding problems. It is prohibited before and after surgery as it increases the risk of bleeding.
If you are already taking anti-platelet, immuno-suppressant and anticoagulant drugs then don’t take Reishi mushroom as it can have interactions with these drugs.
What Makes Good Lingzhi Mushroom
Not all mushrooms are created equal and that becomes more true when it comes to extract. This is super important to know and I really want to get into this because mushrooms traditionally are prepared in a certain way for a reason.
People try and sell cell-cracked mushroom extracts and that is just baking the mushrooms so you can keep as much volume as possible making the product cheaper these extracts have less than 10% of the medicinal benefit of a proper extract. Others will sell you just ground up mushrooms or hot water extract, straight hot water is the traditional preparation but it looses the medicinal benefit quickly because the temperature required to make the extract damages and shortens the life of the polysaccharides. You can use this method at home but it is not a stable extract and has a shelf life of less than a week.
The cellular structure of Lingzhi and almost every other medicinal mushroom is critical to the medicinal benefits. Roughly 90% of the polysaccharides that make it a potent immunomodulator and contain much of the benefits of the mushrooms is locked inside the cell wall of the mushroom, that wall is made of chitin. Chitin is the same as the shell of a lobster and cannot be dissolved by human digestion. In order to make an extract you need to dissolve that chitin and free the polysaccharides without damaging them.
Another thing that is important is the level of healthy polysaccharides in the mushrooms. In order to achieve this the mushrooms need to grow slowly with a nutrient dense food source. For mushrooms that is growing on wood not grains or other sub straights.
Once you have your quality source material you need to do a dual extraction and spray-dry so you can dissolve the chitin in an alcohol and water solution between 120 and 160 degrees so that the polysaccharides are not damaged and spray dried so the extract is a stable powder without boiling or baking off the water. This creates a chemical free natural extract powder that will still have all the benefits of a freshly brewed tea or coffee but is easy and convenient to access and use daily.
Background and History
The reishi mushroom or lingzhi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), which is an oriental fungus, is a polypore mushroom that has long been used to promote longevity and health in Japan, China, and other Asian countries.
For over 2000 years, the lingzhi mushroom has been recognized as a medicinal mushroom and its potent effects have been recorded in ancient scripts. Lingzhi images have started to proliferate in 1400 AD when they were associated with Taoism. Lingzhi images, however, have extended beyond religion and appeared in furniture, carvings, paintings, and women’s accessories.
Before the years that lingzhi was cultivated, it was only the nobility who could afford and use it. Nowadays, it can be cultivated commercially and lingzhi continues to be a popular medical tradition in Asia. The medicinal mushroom’s popularity spread to the West as they began hearing excited testimonials of its plentiful benefits.
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