Herbal Nerd Society Exclusive Article

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has a long history of medicinal use throughout Asia. The dynamic results that it has yielded in conditions that are notoriously difficult to treat has won it respect throughout the rest of the world. It is now grown commercially around the globe as research continues to validate the effect of its constituents. Reishi has a wide variety of constituents but the over 150 different triterpenoids primarily found in the mushroom’s fruiting body is of the most interest currently.

Triterpenoids are developed by many plants and fungi as they grow in order to strengthen their disease resistance. This disease resistant lends its immune stimulating qualities to humans that add triterpenoids to their diet. Most of the triterpenoids in reishi are ganodermic acids. Only members of the Ganoderma genus produce them.

Ganodermic acids are antioxidants. They are noted for decreasing inflammation by inhibiting the release of histamines. They are specifically noted as a bronchial protective mushroom. They help the alveoli in the lungs dilate in order to gather and utilize more oxygen. This is why reishi is used for lung conditions such as asthma, COPD and allergies.

Some ganodermic acids are studied due to their protection of the liver. The anticancer, hypocholesterolemic, and antiplatelet aggregation activities are probably due to the combination of the other constituents. As with all herbal medicine, herbalists utilize a combination of effects from the wealth of chemical constituents as they interact with each other and the chemicals with our own bodies.

Counter-Indications for Reishi

Reishi is speculated to be counter-indicated with anti-coagulant, anti-hypertensive and antiplatelet medication. More research is needed to confirm this statement. Do not take reishi mushroom if you are pregnant or breast feeding without first consulting with a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Further Research

North American Journal of Medical Science – Triterpenoids from the spores of Ganoderma lucidum

Scientific Reports – Induction of apoptosis and ganoderic acid biosynthesis by cAMP signaling in Ganoderma lucidum

The Fungal Pharmacy (book) by Robert Rogers

Ganoderma lucidum: Constituents and Phytochemicals