Ganoderma / Reishi Mushroom, the Ancient Superfood Answer for Today’s Immune Health

Concerned about your immunity?  This ancient mushroom may be the answer to preventing modern-day health problems.

The Long History of Ganoderma Mushroom

The Chinese have known of the dynamic health benefits of Reishi or Ganoderma mushroom for at least 2000 years or more.  Known as the ‘Mushroom of Immortality’, it is an important herbal of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) armoury against harmful health conditions and to assist in healthy ageing.  Ganoderma’s powerful actions were documented in the first pharmacopeia (medical herb dictionary) of China in1596. To this day Ganoderma is still part of the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China and is classified as essential for replenishing the Qi or lifeforce energy of the body, and for ‘easing the mind’.  This long history of use is a verification of Ganoderma’s significant restorative and protective abilities.

What makes Ganoderma Mushroom Unique
Also known as ‘Lingzhi’ in China, Ganoderma mushroom is considerably more impressive than the usual button mushrooms found in the supermarket.  Normally growing to the size of a dinner plate, Ganoderma has a woody hard texture which requires careful processing to extract its vital health stimulating components. These specific components have been well researched and indicate Ganoderma’s exceptional content of effective natural alkaloids, sterols, triterpenes, and polysaccharides, as well as essential nutrient elements. 

So how can Ganoderma help your health?  For a start, enhanced energy levels are a natural outcome of Ganoderma use.  In Chinese medicine it is regarded as an‘adaptogen’ herb, meaning it helps the body to resist the negative effects of stress and assists recovery from adrenal exhaustion. The high protein and micronutrient content of Ganoderma mushroom invigorates red blood cell levels, increases the metabolic rate, and improves muscle function, aiding recovery from fatigue and lethargy due to overwork or illness.

Other advantages of Ganoderma mushroom are its content of beta-glucans polysaccharides which have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels and liver function, while its GABA (natural tranquiliser) content has a calming and sedative effect on the nervous system and is helpful for anxiety. Allergies are another prime target for Ganoderma. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory Quercetin content has a stabilising effect on mast cells and reduces histamine release, providing soothing relief from persistent allergy symptoms.

The Immune Advantages of Ganoderma Mushroom
However, it is in the realm of immunity that Ganoderma excels.  Chinese medicine views Ganoderma as an ‘amphoteric’ herb, meaning its natural plant elements increase the white blood cell production of the bone marrow, the spleen, and the gut, and regulate excessive inflammation.  By enhancing the function of these tissues, immune fitness is supported and regained.

From a western viewpoint, Ganoderma contains a significant content of bio-active Triterpenes, natural plant compounds renowned for their strong immune system support via their anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antiproliferative activities.  Studies indicate they specifically support lung function and regeneration. Added to this, the presence of powerful Quercetin and Rutin flavonoids in Ganoderma provide robust antioxidant protection.  Both of these significant factors make Ganoderma a vital herb to consider for current concerns regarding viral and bacterial spread.  With regular intake Ganoderma can help to provide substantial resistance to these climatic and environmental elements.

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Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism; Donald Yance
Antitumour, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Antiacetylcholinesterase Effect of Ganoderma Lucidum Terpenoids and Polysaccharides: A Review. Darija Cör et al.
Effects of triterpenes on the immune system. José-Luis Ríos
Fungi Royalty – The Immortal Power of Reishi Mushroom, December 2019
Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), A Medicinal Mushroom. Sissi Wachtel-Galor et al.  Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition
Chiu, Hui-Fang et al. Triterpenoids and polysaccharide peptides-enriched Ganoderma lucidum: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study of its antioxidation and hepatoprotective efficacy in healthy volunteers, Pharmaceutical biology vol. 55,1 (2017): 1041-1046.
Ćilerdžić Jasmina et al. Ganoderma lucidum - from tradition to modern medicine, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Biology, 2017.