Reishi/Ganoderma lucidum

July 30 2009 post. I found a verrry interesting item while reading “Jaymun’s Journey” (see: Thanks, Dave! Incidentally, I am so thankful and happy that Jaymun is home now, what a relief!), which then led me to the following abstract: Wowiezeewie!

In September, I will ask Sherlock if she can get me the full study…in the meantime, we will have to be content with what can be gleaned from the abstract, such as this glorious titbit: Ganoderma lucidum extract has a profound activity against leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma cells and may be a novel adjunctive therapy for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. Profound effect??? That sounds super…but what is this stuff?

Well, ganoderma lucidum is a mushroom species…a fungus that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used in medicine, as we can read in its write-up in Wikipedia: Perhaps many of you will recognize, as I did!, the Japanese word for this mushroom: Reishi. Ah yes. It seems to be another one of those fix-all-and-more remedies…it is used to treat conditions as diverse as rheumatism, heart problems, asthma, fatigue, psoriasis, high blood pressure, HIV and…cancer. And more…

I urge you to have a look at the above Wikipedia link. The “History” section is absolutely fascinating. For instance, the oldest book in oriental herbal medicine (2,000 years old!) states the following: “The taste is bitter, its energy neutral, it has no toxicity. It cures the accumulation of pathogenic factors in the chest. It is good for the Qi of the head, including mental activities… Long term consumption will lighten the body; you will never become old. It lengthens years.” Uhm…never become OLD?!!! Words escape me at the moment…

In Chinese, by the way, it is called “lingzhi,” which means “herb of spiritual potency” and my personal favourite: “mushroom of immortality.”

Wikipedia also provides suggestions on how to cook this mushroom as well as a list of scientific studies backing its rather impressive anti-this and anti-that properties. Can you tell that I am excited? There are also heaps of studies on the mushroom of immortality in PubMed…I have already found a reliable source and will buy some of the, er, immortal extract, even though I don’t have the time now to go through any of these studies (but what I have read is enough to convince me to give it a whirl…)…

Update. September 9 2009 post. On July 30th, I posted about Reishi, or Ganoderma lucidum, and its murderous effect on leukemic, lymphoma and MM cell lines. At the time, I had been able to read only the abstract.

Soon thereafter, a blog reader (thank you!) kindly let me know that the full study is available online: Slight problem: my online copy (I hope this doesn’t happen to everyone!) comes to an abrupt halt at the end of page 7, which means that the final Discussion points are missing, as are the references. Very peculiar. As usual, though, Sherlock (grazieee!) came to the rescue by sending me the complete study, so I was able to fill in the missing bits.

Let’s see. Since the full study (or rather, most of it!) is online, I won’t make but a few comments. Reishi was tested against the above-mentioned cell lines together with other five herbs with known anti-cancer activities (see above link, the Discussion part, page 7) and was found to be the most active of all. It was especially effective against the blood cancer cell lines.

The following excerpt is from page 8, my mysteriously “missing” online page: Taken together, our study is the first to examine the effects of G. lucidum extract on a large panel of hematologic cell lines. Our results show that G. lucidum extract has activity against leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma cells and may be a novel adjunctive therapy for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. Further research is planned to isolate the triterpenoid constituent of G. lucidum (ganoderic acid) and to examine its anti-cancer potential.

I bought a Reishi extract while in the U.S. this summer and plan to test it, on myself of course!, at some point this winter. Interesting times lie ahead…I hope!

1 Comment

  1. Margaret, my warm advise- not to try Reishi.I did it in 2006 and my IgG jumped from 3530 to 3860 and paraprotein from 2.5 to 2.8 g/dL. It took to me two months to reduce it back (with large amounts of curcumin and EGCG).


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