Ganoderma is a fungus of the Ganoderma lucidurn family. This family contains many important Chinese herbs. In Japan, where it is extremely famous, it is known as the "Reishi Mushroom". In China it is called the "marvelous herb".
This herb is relatively rare and, as a result, costly. Commercial growers have recently produced sufficient supplies to lower the price. Normally the Reishi Mushroom grows on old, broadleaf trees and often attains a weight of over one pound.
Few, if any, of the mushrooms have such historic significance. It is often depicted in Chinese art due to its high regard.
According to traditional Chinese medical theory, herbs such as the Reishi Mushroom are classified as "superior" and fit into a category called Fu-Zheng. The primary function of Fu-Zheng herbs is to increase disease resistance and normalize bodily functions. Some herbalists consider these to be longevity and harmonizing herbs.
Today, through scientific research, we are able to understand why the Reishi Mushroom has achieved its tremendous reputation as an enhancer of immune function. As such, it is now being classified by scientists as a "Host Defense Potentiator".
The Reishi Mushroom contains polysaccharides and triterpenoids that are known to enhance the functioning of the immune system. In various laboratory studies, these polysaccharides suppress the growth of implanted tumor cells. This mechanism of action involves an increase in T-cell and macrophage activity.
In treatment of viral hepatitis, the Reishi Mushroom has been shown to improve symptoms such as anorexia, insomnia, malaise and liver swelling.
It has been shown to reduce lipids and cholesterol in the blood. In addition, it is a stress reducing herb effective in treating conditions such as stomach ulcers and high blood pressure.
In people suffering from insomnia, it enhances the relaxation of muscles and increases sleeping time.