Also known as Lingzhi in China and Japan, this saprophyte parasite mushroom grows on dead or living wood in temperate or subtropical forests in China, Europe, North and South America.
It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 2500 years to treat chronic hepatitis, nephritis, hypertension, cancers and stimulate immunity.
Several molecules explain its anti-tumour activities: lucidenic acid, ganoderic acids and polysaccharides, beta-D-glucans (as in Shiitake). Ganoderic acid inhibits the growth of in vitro cancer cells and in vivo metastases by metallic-protease inhibition, decreased cell motility and adhesion capacity (CHEN & al, 2010). Ganoderic acid has a marked cytotoxicity to cancer cell lines, as Johnson Et al showed on prostate cancer in 2010.
As for beta-glucans, immune system stimulation is the main mechanism of their anti-tumour activity (XU & al, 2011).They improve immunity, stimulate the activity of cytotoxic NK and T lymphocytes, and induce apoptosis of cancer cells (ZHANG & al, 2007) they also stimulate B lymphocytes and dendritic cells (PAN & al, 2013).
In mice, the administration of Reishi has helped to control the side effects of cyclophosphamide (which causes immunosuppression as early as 3 days), allowing for the recovery of bone marrow functions as of 5 days, a resumption of haematopoiesis and the synthesis of T and B lymphocytes as of 8 days. It improves the phagocytosis and anti-tumour activity of macrophages and NK towards day 12 (XIAO-LING ZHU, 2006).
In both horses and ponies, daily consumption of Reishi has been shown to increase both the cellular immune line (CD4+, CD5+ and CD8+) and the humoral line by increasing antibody synthesis, in addition to decreasing liver enzymes and increasing haemoglobin (SHAO-WEN LAI & al, 2004).
Free radicals are produced by various long-term metabolic reactions that accelerate cell aging and cause DNA damage.
Reishi stimulates enzymes that protect against free radicals and cause their deterioration: superoxide dismutase enzyme, catalase and glutathione peroxidase (HASNAT & al, 2013).
Polysaccharides of Ganoderma lucidum have shown a strong growth inhibition capacity against Bacillus cereus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (KAMRA & al, 2012).
According to Heleno Et al in 2013, Ganoderma shows higher bactericidal activity than ampicillin and streptomycin against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus.
The nickname of Reishi is “the mushroom of immortality” so to make old bones, you know what you have to do!