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Reishi Mushroom

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum or Lingzhi, is a fungus that grows in hot and humid places in Asia. It has been used in Eastern medicine for hundreds of years as a treatment for various infections, lung diseases, and cancer. To reap the full benefits of this medicinal mushroom, you can consume it raw or you can take it in the form of powder or extract.

Overall Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

  • Improves symptoms of diabetes [1-6]
  • Lowers blood pressure [7-8]
  • Boosts sexual vitality [9]
  • Speeds up wound healing [10-11]
  • Prevents and treats nerve damage [12-13]
  • Lowers bad cholesterol [14]
  • Lowers risk of cardiovascular diseases [14] [15-16]
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and boosts cognitive health [17-21]
  • Prevents cancer [22-27]
  • Protects organs [28-31]
  • Wards off depression and improves mood [32-33]
  • Promotes weight loss [34-35]
  • Prevents bone abnormalities and lowers risk of fractures [36-37]
  • Boosts immune function [38-41]

How Reishi Mushroom Works

Reishi mushroom is consists of several molecules such as triterpenoid, polysaccharide, and peptidoglycans which are responsible for its medicinal properties. These molecules are known to have beneficial effects on cancer, immune function, sleep quality, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and quality of life.

Proven Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

Improves Symptoms of Diabetes

Several lines of clinical evidence support the anti-diabetic properties of reishi mushroom:

  1. A study showed that reishi mushroom can prevent the development of diabetic complications. [1]
  2. In type 2 diabetic rats, reishi mushroom supplementation for 5 weeks resulted in a significant decrease in fasting plasma glucose levels in the oral glucose tolerance test. [2]
  3. A study showed that the polysaccharides in reishi mushroom were proven to have positive effects on diabetic complications. [3]
  4. A study showed that reishi mushroom may have mild antidiabetic effects. [4]
  5. In adult male Sprague–Dawley rats, consumption of reishi mushroom spore powder for 4 weeks significantly reduced blood glucose level. [5]
  6. In glucocorticoid-induced diabetic rats, consumption of reishi mushroom reduced blood sugar levels in a dose-dependent manner. [6]

Lowers Blood Pressure

Evidence suggests that reishi mushroom has blood pressure-lowering effects:

  1. In hypertensive rat strain, administration of reishi water extract reduced blood pressure after 7 weeks. [7]
  2. A study showed that reishi mushroom works like angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, a blood pressure medication. [8]

Boosts Sexual Vitality

In male Wistar rats, oral administration of ethanol extract of reishi mushroom significantly increased their mounting behavior and mating performance. [9] This suggests that reishi mushroom may have beneficial effects on libido.

Speeds up Wound Healing

Studies also support the beneficial effects of reishi mushroom on the wound healing process:

  1. In rats with acetic acid-induced ulcers, reishi mushroom accelerated the healing process, suggesting that the herbal preparation may help prevent and treat peptic ulcers. [10]
  2. A study found that reishi mushroom can enhance wound healing activity by stimulating the accumulation of collagen and proteins at the site of injury. [11]

Prevents and Treats Nerve Damage

  1. A study showed that Ganoderma lucidum extract ameliorates Parkinsonism pathology via regulating mitochondrial function, autophagy, and apoptosis. [12]
  2. In mice, oral administration of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum, significantly increased the time spent in target quadrant (TSTQ) and decreased the escape latency (EL) in Morris water maze model [13]

Lowers Bad Cholesterol

A study conducted in hamsters and pigs showed that reishi mushroom administration reduced the levels of low-density lipoprotein, also known as the “bad cholesterol.” [14]

Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Studies also show that reishi mushroom can protect against cardiovascular disease:

  1. A study showed that reishi mushroom can protect the heart by scavenging free radicals. [15]
  2. In rats, reishi mushroom protected the heart from Adriamycin-induced toxicity. [16]
  3. A study conducted in hamsters and pigs showed that reishi mushroom can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. [14]

Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Boosts Cognitive Health

An overwhelming body of clinical evidence suggests that reishi mushroom can help protect against cognitive dysfunction:

  1. A study showed that alcohol extracts from reishi mushroom, including ganoderic acid and lucidone A, can help delay the progression of AD. [17]
  2. A study found that polysaccharides from reishi mushroom have the capacity to protect brain cells against oxidative stress-induced programmed cell death (apoptosis). [18]
  3. A study showed that reishi mushroom can help improve cognitive health via its role in the development of nerve cells in the brain. [19]
  4. In a mouse model of AD, reishi mushroom enhanced neurogenesis (nerve cell formation) and alleviated cognitive deficits. [20]
  5. In mice, oral administration of reishi mushroom improved learning and memory. [21]

Prevents Cancer

Several studies show that reishi mushroom has potent anti-cancer properties:

  1. A cell study found that reishi mushroom exerts its anti-cancer properties by inducing programmed cell death of cancer cells. [22]
  2. A study showed that reishi mushroom’s anticancer effects are attributed to its efficacy in reducing cancer cell survival and growth, as well as increasing the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs. [23]
  3. A study found that the bioconstituents of reishi mushroom inhibited signaling pathways necessary for lung cancer cell growth. [24]
  4. In rats, supplementation with water extract from reishi mushroom protected against colon cancer by restoring the intestinal flora. [25]
  5. A study showed that reishi mushroom suppressed protein synthesis and tumor growth by affecting survival and proliferative signaling pathways. [26]
  6. In rats with breast cancer, administration of reishi extract significantly reduced the number of cancer cells by protecting against lipid peroxidation. [27]

Protects Organs

Studies also found that reishi mushroom can help improve organ health:

  1. In rabbits with urinary bladder dysfunction, oral administration of reishi mushroom for 3 weeks protected against injury associated with impaired blood flow. [28]
  2. In mice, reishi mushroom alleviated against liver dysfunction and liver insulin resistance. [29]
  3. In human liver cells, reishi mushroom protected against oxidative damage induced by tert-butyl hydroperoxide. [30]
  4. In mice, reishi mushroom protected against cyclophosphamide-induced liver injury. [31]

Wards off Depression and Improves Mood

Studies show that reishi mushroom also has antidepressant effects:

  1. In rats, treatment with reishi mushroom produced antidepressant-like effects. [32]
  2. In mouse models of anxiety, reishi mushroom demonstrated a significant increase in the time spent in light cubicle, which is suggestive of an anti-depressant effect. [33]

Promotes Weight Loss

Evidence suggests that reishi mushroom has beneficial effects on obesity:

  1. In obese mice, reishi mushroom reduced weight and fat mass by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota. [34]
  2. A cell study found that reishi mushroom inhibited the formation of fat cells. [35]

Prevents Bone Abnormalities and Lowers Risk of Fractures

There’s also a good deal of evidence supporting the benefits of reishi mushroom on bone health:

  1. In glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis rat model, oral administration of reishi mushroom protected against osteoporosis. [36]
  2. In a rat model of osteoporosis, reishi mushroom administration prevented bone loss. [37]

Boosts Immune Function

The immune-boosting properties of reishi mushroom are backed by scientific evidence:

  1. A study reported that reishi mushroom helps activate immune effector cells, such as natural killer cells, lymphocytes, and macrophages. [38]
  2. A study found that the components of reishi mushroom, such as ganoderic acid, danoderiol, danderenic acid, and lucidenic acid, are responsible for its immune-modulating effects. [39]
  3. A study reported that reishi mushroom modulates the activity of inflammatory substances such as IL1-α, IL-6 and TNF-α. [40]
  4. In children aged 3 to 5 years, administration of a yogurt containing reishi mushroom increased the frequency of immune system cells in the blood, including CD8+ T lymphocytes, and natural killer cell counts. [41]

References:

  1. Vitak T, Yurkiv B, Wasser S, Nevo E, Sybirna N. Effect of medicinal mushrooms on blood cells under conditions of diabetes mellitus. World J Diabetes. 2017;8(5):187-201. doi:10.4239/wjd.v8.i5.187.
  2. Chung-Hsiung Huang, Wei-Kang Lin, Shun‐Hsien Chang & Guo-Jane Tsai (2020) Evaluation of the hypoglycaemic and antioxidant effects of submerged Ganoderma lucidum cultures in type 2 diabetic rats, Mycology, DOI: 10.1080/21501203.2020.1733119.
  3. Available from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.00168/full.
  4. Available from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/study-of-potential-cardioprotective-effects-of-ganoderma-lucidum-lingzhi-results-of-a-controlled-human-intervention-trial/EA5C9B682C6C112A0D6D0396E06B96E3/core-reader.
  5. Wang, F., Zhou, Z., Ren, X. et al. Effect of Ganoderma lucidum spores intervention on glucose and lipid metabolism gene expression profiles in type 2 diabetic rats. Lipids Health Dis 14, 49 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-015-0045-y.
  6. Available from https://www.ffhdj.com/index.php/ffhd/article/view/220.
  7. Shevelev OB, Seryapina AA, Zavjalov EL, Gerlinskaya LA, Goryachkovskaya TN, Slynko NM, Kuibida LV, Peltek SE, Markel AL, Moshkin MP. Hypotensive and neurometabolic effects of intragastric Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) administration in hypertensive ISIAH rat strain. Phytomedicine. 2018 Mar 1;41:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2018.01.013. Epub 2018 Jan 31. PMID: 29519314.
  8. Tran HB, Yamamoto A, Matsumoto S, et al. Hypotensive effects and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitory peptides of reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi) auto-digested extract. Molecules. 2014;19(9):13473-13485. Published 2014 Aug 29. doi:10.3390/molecules190913473.
  9. Ahmed, H., Aslam, M. Evaluation of aphrodisiac activity of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum in male Wistar rats. Clin Phytosci 4, 26 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40816-018-0086-7.
  10. Gao, Yihuai & Tang, Wenbo & Gao, He & Chan, Eli & Lan, Jin & Zhou, Shufeng. (2004). Ganoderma lucidum Polysaccharide Fractions Accelerate Healing of Acetic Acid-Induced Ulcers in Rats. Journal of medicinal food. 7. 417-21. 10.1089/jmf.2004.7.417.
  11. Gupta A, Kirar V, Keshri GK, Gola S, Yadav A, Negi PS, Misra K. Wound healing activity of an aqueous extract of the Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (higher Basidiomycetes). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2014;16(4):345-54. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v16.i4.50. PMID: 25271863.
  12. Ren, Z., Wang, C., Wang, T. et al. Ganoderma lucidum extract ameliorates MPTP-induced parkinsonism and protects dopaminergic neurons from oxidative stress via regulating mitochondrial function, autophagy, and apoptosis. Acta Pharmacol Sin 40, 441–450 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41401-018-0077-8.
  13. Khatian, N., Aslam, M. Effect of Ganoderma lucidum on memory and learning in mice. Clin Phytosci 5, 4 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40816-019-0101-7.
  14. Berger, A., Rein, D., Kratky, E. et al. Cholesterol-lowering properties of Ganoderma lucidum in vitro, ex vivo, and in hamsters and minipigs. Lipids Health Dis 3, 2 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-3-2.
  15. Available from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2020/7136075/.
  16. Rajasekaran and C. Kalaimagal, 2012. Cardioprotective Effect of a Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum Against Adriamycin Induced Toxicity. International Journal of Pharmacology, 8: 252-258.
  17. Available from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.00272/full.
  18. Sun XZ, Liao Y, Li W, Guo LM. Neuroprotective effects of ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides against oxidative stress-induced neuronal apoptosis. Neural Regen Res. 2017;12(6):953-958. doi:10.4103/1673-5374.208590.
  19. Phan, C., David, P., Naidu, M. et al. Neurite outgrowth stimulatory effects of culinary-medicinal mushrooms and their toxicity assessment using differentiating Neuro-2a and embryonic fibroblast BALB/3T3. BMC Complement Altern Med 13, 261 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-13-261.
  20. Huang S, Mao J, Ding K, Zhou Y, Zeng X, Yang W, Wang P, Zhao C, Yao J, Xia P, Pei G. Polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum Promote Cognitive Function and Neural Progenitor Proliferation in Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Jan 10;8(1):84-94. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2016.12.007. PMID: 28076758; PMCID: PMC5233449.
  21. Available from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40816-019-0101-7.
  22. Sohretoglu D, Huang S. Ganoderma lucidum Polysaccharides as An Anti-cancer Agent. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(5):667-674. doi:10.2174/1871520617666171113121246.
  23. Available from https://www.mdpi.com/2305-6320/4/1/15/htm.
  24. Gill BS, Navgeet, Kumar S. Ganoderma lucidum targeting lung cancer signaling: A review. Tumour Biol. 2017 Jun;39(6):1010428317707437. doi: 10.1177/1010428317707437. PMID: 28653896.
  25. Yongshou Yang, Dwi Eva Nirmagustina, Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee, Yukako Okazaki, Hiroyuki Tomotake & Norihisa Kato (2017) Feeding of the water extract from Ganoderma lingzhi to rats modulates secondary bile acids, intestinal microflora, mucins, and propionate important to colon cancer, Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 81:9, 1796-1804, DOI: 10.1080/09168451.2017.1343117.
  26. Suarez-Arroyo IJ, Rosario-Acevedo R, Aguilar-Perez A, Clemente PL, Cubano LA, Serrano J, et al. (2013) Anti-Tumor Effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in Inflammatory Breast Cancer in In Vivo and In Vitro Models. PLoS ONE 8(2): e57431. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057431.
  27. Deepalakshmi K, Mirunalini S. Modulatory effect of Ganoderma lucidum on expression of xenobiotic enzymes, oxidant-antioxidant and hormonal status in 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced mammary carcinoma in rats. Phcog Mag 2013;9:167-75.
  28. Robert M. Levin PhD, Li-Xia, Wu Wei, Catherine Schuler, Robert E. Leggett, Alpha D-Y Lin MD, Effects of Ganoderma Lucidum on Biochemical Dysfunctions of the Rabbit Urinary Bladder using an In-Vitro Model of Ischemia / Reperfusion(2017)SDRP Journal of Plant Science 2(2):65-72.
  29. Available from https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/493297.
  30. Jian-Guo Wu, Yong-Jun Kan, Yan-Bin Wu, Jun Yi, Ti-Qiang Chen & Jin-Zhong Wu (2016) Hepatoprotective effect of ganoderma triterpenoids against oxidative damage induced by tert-butyl hydroperoxide in human hepatic HepG2 cells, Pharmaceutical Biology, 54:5, 919-929, DOI: 10.3109/13880209.2015.1091481.
  31. Hong Ngoc Pham, Le Son Hoang & Van Trung Phung | Tsai-Ching Hsu (Reviewing Editor) (2016) Hepatoprotective activity of Ganoderma lucidium (Curtis) P. Karst against cyclophosphamide-induced liver injury in mice, Cogent Biology, 2:1, DOI: 10.1080/23312025.2016.1267421.
  32. Matsuzaki H, Shimizu Y, Iwata N, et al. Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013;13:370. Published 2013 Dec 26. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-370.
  33. Available from https://www.ijmrhs.com/medical-research/anxiolyticlike-activity-of-ethanol-extract-of-ganoderma-lucidum-reishi-in-mice.pdf.
  34. Chang CJ, Lin CS, Lu CC, et al. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota [published correction appears in Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 11;8:16130]. Nat Commun. 2015;6:7489. Published 2015 Jun 23. doi:10.1038/ncomms8489.
  35. Available from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.00731/full#h1.
  36. Thyagarajan-Sahu A, Lane B, Sliva D. ReishiMax, mushroom based dietary supplement, inhibits adipocyte differentiation, stimulates glucose uptake and activates AMPK. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Sep 19;11:74. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-74. PMID: 21929808; PMCID: PMC3224355.
  37. Yang Y, Yu T, Tang H, et al. Ganoderma lucidum Immune Modulator Protein rLZ-8 Could Prevent and Reverse Bone Loss in Glucocorticoids-Induced Osteoporosis Rat Model. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:731. Published 2020 May 19. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00731.
  38. Lull C, Wichers HJ, Savelkoul HF. Antiinflammatory and immunomodulating properties of fungal metabolites. Mediators Inflamm. 2005;2005(2):63-80. doi:10.1155/MI.2005.63.
  39. Guggenheim AG, Wright KM, Zwickey HL. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(1):32-44.
  40. Mallard B, Leach DN, Wohlmuth H, Tiralongo J. Synergistic immuno-modulatory activity in human macrophages of a medicinal mushroom formulation consisting of Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake. PLoS One. 2019;14(11):e0224740. Published 2019 Nov 7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0224740.
  41. Henao SLD, Urrego SA, Cano AM, Higuita EA. Randomized Clinical Trial for the Evaluation of Immune Modulation by Yogurt Enriched with β-Glucans from Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), in Children from Medellin, Colombia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2018;20(8):705-716. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2018026986. PMID: 30317947.

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