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Ganoderma

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More

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Updated June 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Reishi mushrooms
Jessica Boone/The Image Bank/Getty Images

More commonly known as reishi, ganoderma is a hard, bitter mushroom used to promote health and longevity in traditional Chinese medicine. Proponents claim that ganoderma can relieve fatigue, keep cholesterol in check, curb high blood pressure, tame inflammation, build stamina, and support the immune system.

An increasingly popular natural remedy, ganoderma is used only as a medicinal mushroom and is not recommended for cooking.

Health Benefits of Ganoderma

Ganoderma shows promise in reducing cholesterol levels and easing allergy-related inflammation of the airways, according to preliminary evidence from animal-based studies. Here's a look at more of the science behind ganoderma's health-enhancing effects.

1) Cancer and the Immune System

Often used as an immune stimulant by people with cancer, ganoderma has been shown to strengthen immunity as well as combat cancer-cell proliferation. In a 2003 study of 34 people with advanced-stage cancer, for instance, taking ganoderma in supplement form three times daily for 12 weeks led to a significant increase in T-cells (known to play a central role in immune defense).

Lab tests on breast cancer cells, meanwhile, found that combining extracts of ganoderma and green tea heightened the mushroom's ability to slow cancer-cell growth.

See Also: Natural Remedies for Cancer | Turmeric for Cancer DefenseCan Essiac Conquer Cancer? | Vitamin D for Cancer Defense | Natural Treatments for Cancer-Related Sleep Problems

2) Antioxidant Benefits

Several small studies have suggested that regular use of ganoderma supplements may increase your levels of antioxidants, compounds thought to protect against disease and aging.

3) Relief of Urinary Tract Symptoms

In a 2008 study of 88 men with urinary tract symptoms, researchers found that ganoderma was significantly superior to placebo in providing symptom relief.

Other Common Uses

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Candida
  • Common Cold
  • Herpes
  • HIV
  • Hair Loss
  • Lyme Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Vitiligo
  • Weight Loss

Using Ganoderma For Health

Ganoderma is available in capsules and liquid extracts, both of which can be found at health food stores. Ganoderma coffee is also available. You can also take ganoderma in tea or coffee form, but beware that the flavor may be bitter.

Some people experience dry nose, dry throat, nausea, and gastrointestinal problems (such as nausea) when taking ganoderma. Since the mushroom might interact with certain medications (such as anticoagulants and some chemotherapeutic agents), it's important to tell your physician if you're currently taking or considering the use of ganoderma. Learn more about using supplements safely.

OTHER MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS:  Cordyceps | Chaga | Maitake | Shiitake Mushrooms | Phellinus LenteusPoria | AgaricusBeta-Glucan | AHCC

Sources

Ajith TA, K Janardhanan K. "Indian medicinal mushrooms as a source of antioxidant and antitumor agents." Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 2007 40(3):157-62.

Chen WQ, Luo SH, Ll HZ, Yang H. "Effects of ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides on serum lipids and lipoperoxidation in experimental hyperlipidemic rats." Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2005 30(17):1358-60.

Gao Y, Zhou S, Jiang W, Huang M, Dai X. "Effects of ganopoly (a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract) on the immune functions in advanced-stage cancer patients." Immunological Investigations 2003 32(3):201-15.

Liu YH, Tsai CF, Kao MC, Lai YL, Tsai JJ. "Effectiveness of Dp2 nasal therapy for Dp2- induced airway inflammation in mice: using oral Ganoderma lucidum as an immunomodulator." Journal of Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection 2003 36(4):236-42.

Noguchi M, Kakuma T, Tomiyasu K, Yamada A, Itoh K, Konishi F, Kumamoto S, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Matsuoka K. "Randomized clinical trial of an ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum in men with lower urinary tract symptoms." Asian Journal of Andrology 2008 10(5):777-85.

Thyagarajan A, Zhu J, Sliva D. "Combined effect of green tea and Ganoderma lucidum on invasive behavior of breast cancer cells." International Journal of Oncology 2007 30(4):963-9.

Wachtel-Galor S, Szeto YT, Tomlinson B, Benzie IF. "Ganoderma lucidum ('Lingzhi'); acute and short-term biomarker response to supplementation." International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 2004 55(1):75-83.

Wachtel-Galor S, Tomlinson B, Benzie IF. "Ganoderma lucidum ("Lingzhi"), a Chinese medicinal mushroom: biomarker responses in a controlled human supplementation study." The British Journal of Nutrition 2004 91(2):263-9.

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