Ganoderma Lucidum Side Effects Benefits and Cancer Research

Ganoderma Lucidum is a mushroom belonging to a group of fungi named polypores. Reishi is the name for Ganoderma Lucidum. Grows in 6 different colors, however red is used most frequently. (The red Ganoderma lucidum is regarded as superior to all others). Ganoderma Lucidum have been used in China as herbal treatment for over two thousand years. Active constituents in Ganoderma Lucidum are sterols, mannitol, coumarin, polysaccharide and triterpenoids called ganoderic acids.

Ganoderma Benefits

The medicinal effects of reishi mushroom are the subject of remarkable scientific research. It has been demonstrated that reishi mushroom enhances immunity and fights the proliferation of cancer cells. May inhibit angiogenesis, or inhibit the migration of the cancer cells and metastasis. It is further thought that they work by inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells. Studies proves that the polysaccharide beta-1,3-D-glucan in reishi enhances the immune system by raising the level of macrophages T-cells, which has major implications for patients suffering from AIDS and other immune system disorders. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ganoderma Lucidum is indicated for the treatment ofcoronary heart disease, dizziness, bronchial asthma, stomach ulcers, impotence, insomnia, depression.

Immunostimulating Effects

Ganoderma lucidum is used as an immunestimulant by patients with HIV and cancer. A number of polysaccharides present in Ganoderma, as beta glucans, have demonstrated antitumor and immunostimulating effects. Extracts of reishi mushroom have demonstrated the ability to encourage macrophages and to alter the levels of TNF and interleukins. Ganoderma contains high concentration of Polysaccharides, Organic Germanium and Triterpenes. These components are proven to enhance our immunity cells and develop immune system. The experts of Chinese Academy of Sciences confirmed that the polysaccharides and triterpenes in Ganoderma lucidum are the critical ingredients to maintaining a physiological balance within the human body. Studies have shown that reishi enhances synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins in blood plasma, liver, and bone marrow, therefore effectively prevent aging. Reishi polysaccharides possess the effects that are very similar to SOD which can remove the free radicals and prevent its harm to the body by stopping over-oxidation of lipid. Also, Ganoderma polysaccharides prominently enhance DNA synthesis in cell nucleus, and enhance the number of cell divisions, which results in delayed aging.

Ganoderma and Cancer

Combining with the inhibitory property on cancer cells provided by certain ingredients in Ganoderma, it becomes one of the effective medicines for anti-tumor, prevent cancer, and supplement to cancer treatment. The active anti-cancer constituents in Ganoderma Lucidum are named Beta-D-glucan. Beta-D-glucan, stimulate or modulate the immune system by activating immune cells such as macrophage and helper T-cells, as well as enhance the immunoglobin levels to produce a heightened response to foreign cells, whether bacteria, viruses, or tumor cells. According to a study Bellarmine University; Ganoderma lucidum contain polysaccharides, strong compounds that may aid in the recovery of cancer tumors by inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

Evidence from an animal-based study reported in the July 2007 of Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry found that Ganoderma Lucidum compounds might suppress cell signaling processes involved in the development of prostate cancer. Reishi mushroom inhibits proliferation of human lung cancer cells by blocking NF-kB and AP-1 activation, reports a 2003 study described in the journal Interactive Cancer Therapies. In studies on patients with advanced  tumors, reishi mushroom  was prescribed for one month and the results found a important positive effect on the immune with an increase in T lymphocytes and decreased CD8 counts. Beckman Research Institute in 2008 found that reishi mushroom helps to revive the immune system and protect against cancer development and spread.

Liver Health

Ganoderma Lucidum enhances liver detoxification. In this way improving liver function and stimulating the regeneration of liver cells. These medicinal mushrooms have the preventive effect on the liver damage which caused by diversity of physical, chemical and biological factors. Is commonly prescribed in China for the treatment of chronic hepatitis. An experimental study of patients suffering from hepatitis B and high liver enzymes and bilirubin, patients were given reishi for 3 months. After one month, pronounced reduction in SGPT and SGOT were seen, and 3 months later all values were within a normal range. A study reported in 1995 in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” found that reishi mushroom helps maintain the body against free radical damage as well as liver damage. The findings of study, reported in the June 2006 issue of the journal Biotechnology Letters, shows reishi mushroom inhibits the formation of intracellular hepatitis B virus.

Cardiovascular System

Ganoderma Lucidum may help cardiovascular system and reduce high blood pressure. Triterpenes in Ganoderma inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme activity and reduce high blood pressure. Two controlled clinical trials have investigated the effects of ganoderma lucidum on high blood pressure and both studies found it could lower the blood pressure evident compared to a placebo. This medicinal mushroom can effectively dilate coronary artery, enhance coronary vessel blood flow, and improve circulation in cardiac muscle capillaries, so increase the supply of oxygen and energy to cardiac muscle. Researchers in  Japan and China detected that Ganoderma Lucidum contains ganoderic acids which belong to a group of natural substances named triterpenes.

Ganoderma Lucidum contains adenosine which is a platelet inhibitor. This antiplatelet property prevents clot formation, regularizes blood flow in the blood vessels, in the micro-circulation, thereby preventing heart attack. Adenosine is a strong vasodilator and it improves the blood supply and oxygen delivery to various organs. By improving the oxygen supply to the heart, Ganoderma is helpful in preventing Coronary Artery disease and helps to overcome angina.


Ganoderma lucidum has a relatively strong effect on the central nervous system that makes reishi an efficient substance for therapy of neurasthenia and insomnia. The efficacy of reishi on insomnia and neurasthenia has been clearly described and stated in the China State pharmacopoeia. A Japanese study showed that long-term application of Ganoderma lucidum  promoted deep, slow-wave sleep in insomniacs.

Reishi Mushroom and Vitamin C

Ganoderma Lucidum polysaccharides have high molecular weights of up to 1,050,000, which makes absorption by the intestines difficult. Vitamin C breaks down the high molecular weight polysaccharides to a molecular weight of around 30,000, in this way that they are much more easily absorbed by the intestines. As these are chain like molecules, the shorter sections of the chain have all the same properties as longer segments, however are much more easily absorbed through the stomach and intestines. Dr. Fukumi Morishige, M.D. found that people given large doses of Ganoderma Lucidum (2-9g/day) had diarrhea, but when a large dose of vitamin C was also given at the same time, there was no diarrhea.


Reishi mushroom is available in tablet, capsule, powder, tincture, syrup or dried forms. Reishi mushroom products have different levels of quality depending on the manufacturer. Ganoderma is best taken in the morning with an empty stomach. In addition recommended to take Vitamin C with Reishi as this will assist the body in absorbing the active ingredients in reishi mushroom. Researches have shown that vitamin C helps break down the complex polysaccharides into smaller manageable pieces that the body can intake.

For health preservation and prevention, you should take four divided doses of 2.5 g of reishi with food or 2.5 g on an empty stomach. For cancer, heart disease and chronic infections take 9 to 15 g daily, in 3 equal amounts. For general health maintenance, take two Reishi mycelium capsules twice per day on an empty stomach. And take 500 mg of Vitamin C per day after breakfast.When a serious disease occurs, increase the dosage to 4 capsules 4 times per day. Also take 2,000-3,000 mg of Vitamin C per day after meals.

Ganoderma Lucidum Side Effects

Common side effects from taking reishi include stomach upset, nosebleeds, dry mouth and dizziness, skin irritation, loose stool and diarrhea. Reishi mushroom may react with certain prescription drugs. Is known to affect how some medications work, including high blood pressure medications, anticoagulants and hypoglycemic medicines. Certain doses of reishi may increase the effect of antihypertensive, hypoglycemic and anticoagulant medications.

Patients who suffer from bleeding disorders such as hemophilia should not consume reishi without first talking to their physician. Reishi mushroom contains a component named adenosine, which may inhibit platelet aggregation and lead to blood thinning. Taking ganoderma with blood-thinning medications, including aspirin, can increase your risk of bleeding or bruising and should be done under the supervision of a doctor. reishi mushroom lowers blood pressure, therefore you should pay attention to your blood pressure medication. If you are taking any drug that affects autoimmune function, you should seek specialist help, as the active ingredients in reishi will also have these effects. Youshould consult your physician before taking reishi if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

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