Use of Reishi in Treating Liver Disease

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum) is a basidiomycete, lamellaless fungus belonging to the family of polyporaceae. Although there are more than 2000 known species of reishi mushroom, just 6 kinds have been investigated in greater detail to uncover probable health benefits black, red, white, blue purple and yellow reishi.  Of these 6 types, red and black reishi have showed the most important health-enhancing effects.

Reishi Mushroom Liver Benefits

Reishi mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for to treat liver disorders. Nowadays, the available findings from human trials together with evidence from animal studies demonstrate that reishi mushroom may have some positive effects for liver disease patients. Polysaccharides Ganoderma Lucidum extract reduced viral activity, improve immune parameters, enhance the production of its own interferon, which prevents the virus from replicating. Extract of  Ganoderma improves blood biochemical parameters that reflect the degree of  liver damage. Ganoderma Lucidum limit the activity of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is elevated in many liver problems, including inflammation, jaundice and cirrhosis.

Reishi mushroom protects the liver from harm by chemical toxins such as carbon tetrachloride. Reishi extract demonstrated anti-hepatotoxic effect with administration of the extract to mice with carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage. Researches done in Japan have shown that Reishi mushroom protects the liver from damage due to toxic chemicals, including pharmaceutical metabolites. Reishi mushroom may help prevent human hepatoma from spreading. Scientists at the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan have discovered that Ganoderma Lucidum may help with liver cancer. Researchers found that a dose-response inhibition of  metastasis could be accomplished by giving mice Ganoderma Lucidum extract. The average size, volume and weight of tumors, as well as the number of affected organs, were suppressed with the reishi mushroom  extract. The findings of the study suggest that reishi mushroom could be a strong chemopreventive agent for the tumorigenesis and metastasis of highly invasive hepatoma cells.

Reishi mushroom increases immune-protective T cells and macrophages. The mushroom demonstrates anti-viral activity, and accelerates recovery time from infectious hepatitis. A study reported in 2005 in Food Reviews International found that reishi mushroom decreased the levels of serum hepatitis B virus DNA and hepatitis B antigens. Twenty-one hepatitis patients were treated with reishi extract. For 19 patients the major symptoms were gone within 10 days after reishi mushroom therapy and the hepatitis marker enzyme serum glutamic-pyruvic tansaminase value was returned to normal 45 days after the reishi mushroom therapy. A clinical study using Ganopoly® or placebo was conducted in chronic hepatitis B patients. Ganopoly therapy decreased the level of  hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA. Polysaccharide Ganopoly treatment for six months resulted in normalization of aminotransferase levels in 33% and cleared serum hepatitis B surface antigen in 13% of  patients compared with control. Reishi mushroom  is a traditionally used in the cure of hepatitis and in a clinical study of 355 cases of hepatitis B treated with Wulingdan Pill, of which reishi is the main component, 92.4% of patients were reported to have favorable results. 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.

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