Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) have been used by Chinese and Japanese healers since antiquity as a treatment for liver disorders, hypertension, and arthritis. Reishi is thought to improve liver, heart and immune health.
Known as the mannentake or 10,0000 year mushroom in Japan, resihi is at the center of the search for powerful anti-cancer drugs that produce little or no side effects.
Reishi mushrooms have a reddish-orange to purple appearance with a shiny glow that gives it its name (lucidium). The mushroom contains a long stalk and a fan-shaped cap.
Reishi mushrooms grow in the wild on decaying wood, tree stumps and fallen Japanese plum and oak trees. While they are rare and expensive in this form, they are easily cultivated for commercial use by employing logs made of saw dust.
Reishi mushrooms have been used as an overall tonic and for its ability to reverse stress. This so-called adaptogenic property is due to its triterpene content (gandoderic acid), the same class of compounds found in herbal adaptogens. This property makes reishi mushrooms a good choice for athletes. In fact, reishi mushrooms are used by mountain climbers to prevent altitude sickness since they seem to increase the oxygenation of blood.
In the world of healthcare, reishi like the other medicinal mushrooms, are best known for their power to enhance immunity and is used as an adjunct in cancer therapy.
Reishi mushrooms are thought to promote respiratory health and spiritual enhancement. . Reishi thus improves immune function, promotes peace of mind and increases stamina..
Reishi mushrooms are found in a spectrum of colors, each one containing a different library of phytochemicals providing a range of medicinal activities.
These phytochemicals, in addition to their effects on the immune and cardiovascular systems, are thought to improve mood and help transform the individual into a more spiritual being.
Conceptually this is consistent with the observation that mushrooms transform decaying material into healthy nutrients It therfores seems reasonable to accept reishi mushrooms as being able to convert metabolic and psychic wastes into a spiritual wellness.
Like other medicinal mushrooms, resihi owes its healing power and bioactivity to the polysaccharides they contain. Reishi mushrooms contain beta-D-glucans, a polysaccharide responsible for the mushrooms anticancer effects.
In addition, reishi mushroom contains a series of triterpenoid compounds. These compounds are thought to have anti-hypertensive, anti-allergenic and adaptogenic effects resulting in lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels, and improved liver function.
Reishi’s effect on lowering cholesterol levels is due to its ability to inhibit an enzyme required in the synthesis of cholesterol as well as preventing its absorption from dietary sources.
Hot-water extracts of red reishi are available in 400 mg capsules containing 10% beta-glucan and 4% tritepene by weight