Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chinese Herbal Medicine: Reishi Mushroom

This is the first in a series of posts that will start to introduce my patients and interested community members, herbalists and acupuncture patients to Chinese Herbal Medicine. High quality tinctures of these herbs are available to my patients at Acupuncture and Healing Arts. These are made by me in order to be able to guarantee high quality fresh herbs and in an appropriate concentration. Tinctures of this quality made in Memphis are rare.

The first herb that I would like to introduce to you is called Reishi. It is a mushroom used extensively through out Asia. Reishi is actually the Japanese name. Ganoderma lucidum is the latin name.

Here is a photo:

It is a non toxic herb that has many healing properties. Reishi can help build the immune system and boost your energy. Also go to this wiki page for more information. Here is what it says about Reishi or Lingzhi in chinese.

Lingzhi research and therapeutic usage

Lingzhi may possess anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus (reviewed by R. R. Paterson[4] and Lindequist et al.[7]). It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure (via inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme[8]), cholesterol and blood sugar.[9]

Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis,[10] with potency comparable to Lentinan from Shiitake mushrooms.[11]

The mechanisms by which G. lucidum may affect cancer are unknown and they may target different stages of cancer development: inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new, tumor-induced blood vessels, created to supply nutrients to the tumor) mediated by cytokines, cytoxicity, inhibiting migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells.[4]

Additional studies indicate that ganoderic acid has some protective effects against liver injury by viruses and other toxic agents in mice, suggesting a potential benefit of this compound in the treatment of liver diseases in humans,[12] and Ganderma-produced sterols inhibit lanosterol 14α-demethylase activity in the biosynthesis of cholesterol .[13] Ganderma compounds inhibit 5-alpha reductase activity in the biosynthesis of dihydrotestosterone.[8]

Besides effects on mammalian physiology, Ganoderma is reported to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities.[14][15] Ganoderma is reported to exhibit direct anti-viral with the following viruses; HSV-1, HSV-2, influenza virus, vesicular stomatitis. Ganoderma mushrooms are reported to exhibit direct anti-microbial properties with the following organisms; aspergillus niger, bacillus cereus, candida albicans, and escherichia coli.
[edit] As weight loss aid

Some oriental preparations containing Lingzhi extract are marketed as a weight loss aid. They are advertised as a "slimming formula"[4] in Japanese markets and Lingzi is combined with other herbal extracts. Research is scarce to show the validity of these claims in terms of Lingzhi as a weight loss aid.