Chinese Name : 靈芝
Latin Name : Ganodera Lucidum
This herb is the dried mushroom Ganoderma lucidum. Or G. Japocium (Fr). Llyod of th family Polyporaceae. The mushroom grows in the wild, living off different kinds of trees in humid arcas within the southern provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Jiangxi of China. In recent years, however, it is usually grown in mushroom farms.
Reishi mushroom has been used for 2,000 years. Based on the color of the plant, there are at least six variaties of ling zhi in China today: Qing zhi (green), Chi zhi (red), Huang zhi (yellow), Hei zhi (black), Bai zhi (white), and Zi zhi (purple). These mushrooms are all nonpoisonous and edible, and are considered to be highly beneficial to health. Zhi in China is defined in the classics as the plant of immortality and it is considered to be felicious.
Reishi mushroom is commonly used as a sedative and tranquilizer to treat insomnia and dizziness, and as a general tonic for low energy, weakness, and general debility. Reishi mushroom is a powerful antiaging medicanal herb.
Use of Ganoderma in TCM
Neutral in taste and warm, it is nontoxic, it acts on the heart, spleen, lungs, liver, and kidney meridians.
Effect, Medicial Uses, and Combinations
- Tranquilizes the mind and nourishes the heart: for dizziness and insomnia caused by neurasthenia and hypertension, reishi mushroom is used alone as a sedative in a decoction, or with logan fruit and mulberry fruit in a decoction.
- Invigorates Qi and nourishes blood: employed as a general tonic for symptoms of weakness or debility, and for symptoms due to Qi deficiency and heart deficiency.
- Arrest cough and reduces asthma; also used for cronic bronchitis.
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels: ganoderma is consumed alone in tea or a decoction to reduce hyperlipedemia and relieve symptoms of angina pectoris.
In a tincture or decoction of 8 to 15 g, or in powedered form, or 3 g daily.
People without deficiency in Qi or blood, yin or yang, should not take this herb.
Side Effect and Toxicity
At the therapeutic dose, this herb is safe. However, overdose reports showed that a few experienced nausea, vomiting, stomach irritaion, diarrhea, dry mouth, dizziness, insomnia, dreaminess, and a flushed face. Cases of skin uriticaria have also been reported. Recent documented adcerse side effects include a case of skin rsh caused by ingestion of 200 ml of a ling zhi wine and a case of allergic shock cased by a ling zhi injection.
Reishi mushrooms contain ergosterol, beta-sitoserol, and other sterols, fungal lysozyme, acid protease, and other enzymes: amino acids, sugars, volatilc oil, oleoresins, and alkaloids. They contain thirteen minerals and elements (Ag, Al, B, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Na, Mg, Mn, Pb, Sn, and Zn), and vitamins B2 and C.
- Reisi mushroom is a marked sedative, analgesic, and anticonvulsive agent due to adenosine content.
- In the respiratory system it demonstrated remarkeble antitussive and antiasthma action in nice, and it is beneficial when used to treat chronic bronchitis.
- It is a heart tonic and it increases coronary blood flow.
- This herb has been shown to enhance the autoimmune response. It protect against carbontetrachloride-induced liver damage.
- Reishi mushroom shows antiradiation and antiradiation benefits in cancer treatments. Researchers in Japan report that ling zhi mushrooms of the species Ganoderma tsugae and Ganoderma boninense and their extracts, are antitimorous in rats. Chinese researchers report that an extract of ling zhi has produced antiradiation results in transplanted tumors in mine tests.
- As an antiallergenic, it inhibits histamine release, and prevents experimental asthma and contact dermatitis.
- The herb is hypoglycemic, hypotensive, diuretic, and liver protective, and aids hyperlipidemia.