Biological Name: Ganoderma lucidum
Other Names: Reishi, Reishi Mushroom, Ling chih, ling zhi, mushroom (reishi)
Parts Used: The fruiting body of the mushroom
Reishi contains several constituents, including sterols, coumarin, mannitol, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids called ganoderic acids. Ganoderic acids seem to help lower blood pressure as well as decrease low density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels. These specific triterpenoids also help to reduce blood platelets from sticking together—an important factor in lowering the risk for coronary artery disease.
While human research demonstrates some efficacy for the herb in treating altitude sickness and chronic hepatitis B, these uses still need to be confirmed.
The Chinese have always regarded the mushroom as having special properties. Mushrooms are regarded as “spirit medicine’ because they are believed to nourish the shen, or spirit. As such, they are considered particularly important in vegetarian diets and regarded as a medicinal food that promotes longevity. Various medicinal mushrooms are used by the Chinese.
One of the oldest recorded botanical monograph has claimed that reishi mushroom made the body lighter, which may refer to its ability to reduce cholesterol and blood lipid levels. They also have immunbe potentiating properties.
Reishi has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years. The Chinese name Ling zhi translates as the “herb of spiritual potency” and was highly prized as an elixir of immortality. Its traditional Chinese medicine indications include treatment of general fatigue and weakness, asthma, insomnia, and cough.
Reishi is recommended for:
• altitude sickness
• chemotherapy support
• HIV support
• high blood pressure
• high triglycerides
Reishi mushrooms grow wild on decaying logs and tree stumps in the coastal provinces of China. The fruiting body of the mushroom is employed medicinally. Reishi occurs in six different colors, but the red variety is most commonly used and commercially cultivated in North America, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.
Herbalists recommend 1.5-9 grams of the crude dried mushroom per day, 1-1.5 grams per day in powder form, or 1 ml per day of tincture, or as a tea.
Side effects from reishi can include dizziness, dry mouth and throat, nose bleeds, and abdominal upset. These may develop with continuous use over three to six months. As it may increase bleeding time, reishi is not recommended for those taking anti-coagulant (e.g., blood-thinning) medications. Pregnant or lactating women should consult a physician before taking reishi. Because of these severe side effects we recommend that you consult and be under the supervision of a qualified professional before and during taking this herb.