Saturday, February 7, 2009

Reishi - The Mushroom Of Immortality

Here is a very in depth article (no idea who wrote it) on reishi that I have had stored in one of my folders on my computer for quite a while now and would like to share this with everyone...


The Reishi mushroom, also known by its formal name of Ganoderma and its Chinese name Lingzhi, has attained an unparalleled reputation in the Orient as the ultimate herbal substance. For over three thousand years it has been the most sought-after product of nature by mountain sages and by the emperors and empresses of all Eastern nations. In the first Chinese herbal text (Shennong's Pharmacopeia) written about 2400 years ago, Reishi was classified as a "superior herb" which is defined as one that "serves to maintain life, promote radiant health and long life because of its normalizing action, and to cause no side effects, even when used continuously." That ancient book said that "continuous consumption of Reishi makes your body light and young, lengthens your life and turns you into one like the immortal who never dies." Thus Reishi was traditionally called "the mushroom of immortality."

The Reishi Mushroom grows wild only upon old trees and roots of certain types of trees in remote mountain forests of China, Japan and Korea. Only in the fifteen years have we seen the cultivation of Reishi, and thus the commercial availability of this amazing health product. Reishi has been the object of intensive scientific studies to discern its many health functions from a modern perspective. Traditionally, Reishi is believed to be a tonic to all of the body's energies. It was revered as a major tonic to each of the three Treasures, Jing, Qi and Shen.

As a Jing (Essence) tonic, Reishi is believed to have major life lengthening effects when consumed over a long period of time. It is believed to build primal power and to replenish energy spent handling stressful situations.

As a Qi tonic, Reishi is used to build energy, although it is slightly sedative in the short run. It is most famous as an herb used to build the immune system. Many studies done in Japan have shown Reishi to have a powerful effect on the body's overall resistance to disease. Reishi is believed by Japanese and Chinese researchers to have a regulatory effect on the immune system, bringing up immune functions in cases of immunodeficiency and reducing the excesses associated with auto-immune conditions. Reishi is a superb tonic for people who suffer from chronic allergies. Reishi is also believed to have major benefits on the lungs and liver. Studies done in Japan have shown that Reishi protects the liver from damage due to toxic chemicals, including pharmaceutical metabolites. Furthermore, studies done in Japan and elsewhere have also demonstrated that Reishi is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, since it appears to help regulate coronary and cerebral blood flow and also seems to help reduce levels of blood lipids and in lowering elevated cholesterol.

As a Shen tonic, nothing compares to Reishi. It is simply the greatest Shen tonic of them all. It is believed by the Chinese to protect the Spirit and to nurture the growth of intelligence, wisdom and spiritual insight. Reishi is a superb anti-stress herb. Everyone who takes Reishi notices the peacefulness that seems to accompany its use. Many people are able to stop using chemical drugs. And Reishi seems to be cumulative, gradually strengthening the nerves and actually changing how we perceive life. It has routinely been used by mountain hermits, monks, Daoist adepts and spiritual seekers throughout Asia because it was believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, improve memory, sharpen concentration and focus, build will power and, as a result, help build wisdom. That is why it was called the "Mushroom of Spiritual Potency" by these seekers. The people of Asia believe more than ever in Reishi's power to improve the quality of life by improving the inner life of a human being. All the scientific validation only explains the physical nature of Reishi, but it is the profound ability of Reishi to improve one's life on every plane that makes it so incredible.

Studies done in Asia indicate that Reishi is a supreme health food supplement that has virtually no toxicity or side effects.

There are many Reishi products coming to the market at this time, but very few are truly excellent. Reishi must be extracted to be digestible and assimilable. Unfortunately, most Reishi products are not extracted and most are made from inferior quality hot house mushrooms or use inferior cultivated Ganoderma mycelium.


Qualities
Ganoderma is arguably the most revered herbal substance in Asia, certainly ranking with ginseng as the elite substance for the attainment of radiant health, longevity and spiritual attainment. It has maintained that position for at least 2000 years, and its reputation and value are only increasing. Numerous legends provide a rich and extensive record of Ganoderma in Asian society.

Reishi has traditionally been used as an anti-aging herb and has been used for many diseases and disorders as well. It has long been a favorite tonic food supplement by the Chinese Royal family and virtually any one who could obtain it. Ganoderma was particularly revered by the followers of the Taoist tradition as the "Elixir of Immortality." Taoists have continuously claimed that Reishi promotes calmness, centeredness, balance, inner awareness and inner strength. They have used it to improve meditative practices and to protect the body, mind and spirit so that the adept could attain both a long and healthy life and spiritual immortality. Due to its rarity, the common people could rarely obtain a Reishi mushroom, but it was popularly revered as a greater treasure than any jewel.

Since Reishi has been known to have many functions, it has been the subject of a great deal of research in recent years. It is absolutely safe, being non-toxic. It ranks in Asia with Ginseng, deer antler, Astragalus and Cordyceps as a pre-eminent tool in the attainment of radiant health.

Its health benefits of Reishi are extremely broad and it is virtually non-toxic. Though it is now used much like ginseng, Eleutherococcus and Astragalus as a general tonic to help develop energy, to improve digestion and to improve sleep, scientists are exploring its potential in their terms

Ganoderma is a profound immune potentiator. It has been found to significantly improve the functioning of the immune system whether the immune system is deficient or excessive. In this sense, it is an immune "modulator"---that is, it helps to modulate, or regulate, and fine tune the immune system. Our immune system is a virtually miraculous network of activities designed over millions of years to protect us from viruses, bacteria, parasites, molds, dust, pollen and malignant cells. It is the responsibility of the immune system to detect the intrusion, or invasion, of these entities and to mount a defense in order to eliminate them. A healthy immune system is capable of resisting most such intruders and a very hardy system may be able to resist invasions that many other people's systems cannot. If the immune system is weakened or malfunctioning, the invading microbes can easily establish a foothold in our body and disease sets in. Antibiotics can often be used to stop the invasion at this time, but chronic use of antibiotics further weakens the immune response. Furthermore, antibiotics are useless against viruses, pollens and most parasites. They are certainly useless against malignant (cancerous) cells generated in our own bodies. It is much better to resist the invasion from within with a fully fortified immune system and not become ill in the first place. This is where herbs like Reishi our now attracting the attention of scientists and consumers alike.

Many chemical constituents play a role in GL's immune modulating capacity. The polysaccharide components in particular seems to play an important role in attacking cancerous cells, but not healthy ones, while simultaneously strengthening the body's overall immune functions. The polysaccharides appear to help the body attack microbial invaders such as viruses, bacteria and yeast.

But Reishi does not just "stimulate" the immune system. It regulates it. And that is what makes Reishi so precious. If the immune system is excessive, as is the case with auto-immune diseases and allergies, Reishi can have significant positive influence. A group of chemicals known as the ganoderic acids help fight auto-immune diseases such as allergies. Ganoderic acids inhibit histamine release, improve oxygen utilization and improve liver functions. Ganoderic acids are also potent antioxidant free-radical scavengers.

Still another component, Beta-1, 3-glucan, helps regulate and stabilize blood sugar levels. Not only that, but these same components have been shown to have powerful anti-tumor properties.

Reishi is widely used in Asia to improve the cardiovascular system. It helps lower HDL (the "bad" cholesterol) and reduce excess fatty acids. It has been found to prevent and treat hardening of the arteries, angina and shortness of breath associated with coronary heart disease.

In 1977 it was discovered in Japan that Reishi had potent anti-cancer activity. It was first used to treat, and quite successfully, hairy-cell leukemia, which is caused by a retrovirus closely related to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. It has been an approved drug for cancer in Japan since that time and has been used safely and effectively, often in conjunction with other drugs or radiation. It has been demonstrated that Reishi can help reduce the side-effects of many kinds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment and simultaneously contribute to the rebuilding of the immune system---an essential part of the recovery from cancer. Ganoderma stimulates the production of interferon and interleukins I and II, all being potent natural anti-cancer substances produced in our own bodies. Reishi may well prove to be the greatest prevention against cancer because it helps us to protect ourselves by our own power.

It has also been approved in Japan and China for the treatment of myasthenia gravis, a serious auto-immune disease. Besides that, it is commonly prescribed by Md.'s in Japan for chronic bronchitis, memory loss, insomnia, hyperlipidemia and a whole range of degenerative diseases of the elderly, including disorders associated with senility.

Reishi is a superb anti-stress herb. Throughout history it has been used to bring balance into the lives of people who needed help in this department, and that means most everyone. Deep in antiquity, it was routinely used by mountain hermits, monks, Taoist adepts and spiritual seekers throughout Asia because it was believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, strengthen memory, sharpen concentration, improve focus, build will power and, as a result, help build wisdom. That is why it was called the "Mushroom of Spiritual Potency" by these seekers. The people of Asia have never lost their faith in Reishi. They believe more than ever in Reishi's power to improve the quality of life by improving the inner life of a human being. All the scientific validation only explains the physical nature of Reishi, but it is the profound ability of Reishi to improve one's life on every plane that makes it so miraculous. Reishi is indeed calming and centering. Everyone who takes Reishi notices the peacefulness that seems to accompany its use. Many people are able to stop using chemical drugs. And Reishi seems to be cumulative, gradually strengthening the nerves and actually changing how we perceive life.

Reishi is a substance that builds health on all levels. It is the rarest of jewels in Nature. Life itself is based on the ability to adapt to the stresses, the attacks, the challenges that come our way every day. Reishi seems to provide an incredible resource of the full range of energies we need to meet these challenges. Reishi is indeed "the great protector," protecting us on every level---physically, immunologically, mentally, spiritually. It helps us adapt to the world and provides additional power for us to achieve a superior level of life. When we are so protected and so provided for, we can achieve things that otherwise would be impossible. That is why Reishi has been called the "herb of good fortune."

Scientific Data
1. Constituents

1.1. The primary constituents responsible for Ganoderma's medicinal actions are polysaccharides and highly oxygenated lanostanoid triterpenes, including multiple pairs of C-3 stereoisomers and C-3/C-15 positional isomers. More than 100 different triterpene molecules have been identified in Ganoderma. In addition, constituents of Reishi fruiting body include: b & x glucans, beta sitosterol, heteropolysaccharides composed of D-glucose, D-galactose, D-mannose, L- (or D-)arabinose, D-xylose, and L-fucose (soluble in water), heteroglycans, steryl esters, adenosine[, ergosterol, uridine, oleic acid, cyclooctasulphur[4], fungal lysozyme, acid protease and amino acids. Amino Acids: Serine (15.2), alanine (14.8), glycine (12.7), threonine (12.4), aspartic acid (9.9), glutamic acid (8.1), proline (6.9), valine (5.3), and other minor amino acids. (Upton)

1.2. Constituent Variation: Constituent content varies between different strains of Ganoderma. Differentiation's include a change in both the amount and pattern of triterpenes. Several triterpenes, not present in the mycelium, increase in concentration as the cap of the fruiting body develops. This includes ganoderic acid A. Quantitatively, the caps provide the richest source of triterpene acids, followed by the stem and then the spores. The underside of the outer layer of the cap yields a higher concentration of triterpenes than the other sections of the cap. Qualitatively, the HPLC patterns are similar for each. Samples grown on cherry wood yield higher amounts of triterpenes but grow more slowly and produce less than samples grown on the oak Quercus variabilis. During the initial fruiting stage of an antlered strain (Saegusa), ganoderic acids and lucidenic acids were not present, however they began to develop within one week of fruiting, subsequently becoming major constituents. (upton)

1.3. Comparative constituent analysis was conducted on three strains of Reishi; red (sekishi), purple (shishi) and black (kokushi). The red and purple strains analyzed had similar triterpenoid patterns. The black Ganoderma analyzed contained little acid material. Others have also reported on the significant constituent variation in the different parts of the mushroom including the pileus, stalk and underground portion. (upton)

1.4. Germanium fortification. In an effort to yield higher organic-germanium contents of Ganoderma, some producers enrich the growing substrate with germanium dioxide. Wild Ganoderma yields
1.3-17.8 ppm of germanium. Enriching the substrate with germanium dioxide at 1.5 ppm, 5 ppm and 10 ppm yielded germanium contents of 5.1 ppm, 15.3 ppm and 24.6 ppm respectively. (upton)

1.5. At least two particular characteristic constituent patterns have been identified in Ganoderma-C27 strains richer in lucidenic acid, and C30 strains richer in ganoderic acid. The fruiting body has also been classified as being rich in ganoderic acid A, while the mycelium has been most noted for its concentration of ganoderic acid T [18]. Two other strains, an antlered form and a full cap (Nagano) were rich in ganoderic acids, but showed no definitive signs of lucidenic acid. (upton)

1.6. Identification: The mapping of twenty-five well characterized triterpenoid using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), has been used as a standard reference for compositional comparison of constituents between different strains and species of Ganoderma. (upton)


2. Effects on Cardiovascular System

2.1. Ganoderma contains a water soluble derivative of adenosine (5'deoxy-5'-methylsulphinyladenosine), a platelet aggregation inhibitor. At 50 mg/ml-1 5'deoxy-5'methylsulphinyladenosine exhibited a 20-50% inhibitory rate. This action is reportedly due to the activation of platelet phospholipase. Adenosine content varies dramatically among different strains of G. lucidum. (upton)

2.2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibition: ten lanostane triterpenes with ACE inhibiting effects have been identified in Ganoderma. Ganoderic acid F exhibited the highest inhibitory effect, while the others were relatively mild. These were identified in a 70% MeOH extract of Ganoderma. (upton)

2.3. Effects on cholesterol biosynthesis & absorption: A sterol derivative of Ganoderma identified as sterol IV with 7-oxo and l5x-hydroxy groups potently inhibited cholesterol synthesis [48]. One mechanism of action is due to the ability of Ganoderma triterpenes, which contain oxygenated functionalities at C- I5 and a hydroxyl group at C-26' to effectively inhibit the rate-limiting enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-co-enzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA) in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway. This has been demonstrated in both in vitro and in vivo assays using mevinolin as a positive control. HMG-CoA also begins the synthesis of coenzyme Q. Some researchers consider low levels of coenzyme Q to be a cardiovascular disease risk factor in itself. Therefore, it may be advantageous to supplement with coenzyme Q when using Ganoderma. In addition, other similar triterpenes are structurally similar to the post-lanosterol intermediates in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway of mammals, and inhibit lanosterol 14x-methyl-demethylase. Compounds 1, 8 & 9 have been shown to be more effective at reducing cholesterol absorption than b-sitosterol. However, these triterpenes are poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. (upton)

2.4. The tincture of fruiting body extract of G. lucidum had a significant cardiotonic effect on the isolated frog heart, as well as on the pentobarbital sodium-inhibited heart. Using an i.p. injection of 3g/kg of an alcohol extract of both the fruiting body and mycelium, the following actions were observed: increased contractility of the in situ rabbit heart, an increase of 41.08% in contraction amplitude, reduction of the heart rate, an increase of 44%-66% in coronary blood flow with concomitant increase in cerebral blood flow, and coronary dilation. (upton)

2.5. At 0.8 mg/kg-1, 5'deoxy-5'methylsulphinyladenosine lowered blood pressure in cats by 30% .(upton)

2.6. In a clinical study at Tokyo University hospital, patients with essential hypertension (genetically inherited) were given six 240-mg Reishi tablets each day. After six months on this regimen, they showed normal systolic and diastolic readings. (upton)

2.7. Searching for herbs that benefit the heart, researchers at the Cardiology Research Center at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow tested 21 herbs to see which most effectively prevented and corrected the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries.

2.8. Ninety-two patients with myocardial infarction and chest pain were treated with GL extract and 72% of these patients felt the symptoms were relieved. Hyperlipemia patients treated with GL extract also showed decreased blood cholesterol levels in 14 out of 15 patients. (Tsung)

2.9. It has been reported that Ganoderma lucidum has cholesterol-lowering properties (Xian Medical College, 1978; Shanghai Medical Supply Station, 1978; Peng,1983; Chen, Liao, Xiao, 1988). The effective rate was about 86% for 12 weeks to 6 months of treatment for hyperlipidemia patients. Arichi, et al (1979), also reported that the extract of Ganoderma lucidum is clinically effective for hyperlipemia treatment. (tsung)

2.10. Morigiwa, et al (1986) have isolated 10 antihypertensive lanostane triterpenes from Ganoderma lucidum. Among the 10 triterpenes, ganoderic acid F had the highest anti-hypertensive effect. However, Anchi, et al ( 1979) have found that compounds responsible for anti-hypertensive activity have molecular weights of more than 100,000 daltons. (tsung)

2.11. Isolation of an Inhibitor of Platelet Aggregation. The water-soluble fraction of Ganoderma lucidum was found to suppress platelet aggregation. From physico-chemical and biochemical analysis, this fraction was identified to be adenosine. (tsung)

2.12. GL also markedly improved pancreatic blood flow rate in rats (18). GL was also effective in treating abnormal cardiac impulse in rats (18). By using radioactive 86Rb uptake as a marker in the rat heart muscle, the blood flow in the rat heart muscle was increased with the increase of the administration of GL . (tsung)


3. The Effect on the Central Nervous System

3.1. The extract of GL was able to suppress the central nervous system and relaxed the muscles in an experimental mouse. An hour of sleep induced by cyclohexabarbital was extended after injection of GL extract. The extract also had an anodyne effect on animal subjects. (tsung)


4. Immunostimulating Activity

4.1. The injection of GL extract or GL polysaccharides in mice resulted in the activation of the phagocytic activity of macrophages . Macrophages play an important role in the immune system. The increase of immunoglobulin A was observed in the phlegm of chronic bronchial asthma patients after oral administration of GL for four months. (tsung)

4.2. Immunostimulating Polysaccharides and Anti-Cancer Activity. The immunostimulating polysaccharides isolated from Ganoderma lucidum have shown b-(123) and b-(124) linkages in the polysaccharide structures Miyazaki et
al, 1981, 1982). The functions of the polysaccharides include intensified phagocytosis of reticuloendothelial systems, activation of macrophages, activation of T-lymphocytes, enhancement of cell-mediated immune response, and activation of the alternative pathway of the complement system. The most immunologically active polysaccharides
have an anti-cancer activity. Miyazaki, et al (1981) showed that the anti-cancer arabinoxyloglucan has (123)-b-D-glucan moiety in the structure. Mizuno, et al
(1984) also showed that the anti-cancer water-soluble b-D-glucan contains a backbone of (123)-linked D-glucose residues having single D-glucosyl branches. The attachment of polyol groups to the (123)-linked backbone significantly enhances its host-mediated anticancer activity (Sone, Okuda, et al 1985). However, Mizuno, Kato, et al (1984)
showed that the host-mediated anti-cancer polysaccharides fraction was composed of a backbone of b(123)-linked-D-glucosyl residue with a single branch of b-(126)-linked-D-glucosyl group in every four to six residues of backbone chain. Acidic b-glucan isolated from Ganoderma lucidum also showed an anti-cancer activity. (tsung)

4.3 Natural Killer Cell Activating Factor. In most of the cancer-host relationships, cancer cell destruction is accomplished by many different ways. The one mechanism of immunoactivation and anti-cancer action is to kill cancer cell through activation of natural killer cells. The hot-water extract of ganodenna lucidum showed the ability to activate natural killer cell activity (Murai, Yamashita, et al, 1987). The natural killer cell activating factor is distributed in the fruit body of Ganoderma lucidum. The concentration of natural killer cell activating factor is higher in the early budding stage and in the completion of fruit body growth stage (Tsubokura, Ogita, et all, 1988). (tsung)

4.4 Interferon-Inducing Activity. Interferons are a family of small protein molecules secreted naturally by human cells to fight viral and other infections. Interferon has been touted as a potential cancer-treating drug for nearly 30 years. Ganoderma lucidum has been found to have interferon-inducing activity (Meng, 1983). (tsung)

4.5 Fifty-two leukopenia patients were treated with GL extract and 44 patients showed increased leukocytes of about 1028/mm3 after treatment. The effective rate was 84.8%. (tsung)

4.6. The extract of Ganoderma lucidum has been used for leukopenia patients (Jiangsu New Medical College, 1978). Since AIDS patients frequently develop leukopenia, it is worthwhile to research which component of Ganoderma lucidum is the functional compound. (tsung)

4.7. Liu, et al (1980) reported that the extract of Ganoderma lucidum was effective for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. (tsung)

4.8. The effect of Ganoderma lucidum on induction of differentiation in leukemic U937 cells. Ganoderma (G.) lucidum is a herbal medicine with tumoricidal activity capable of inhibiting the proliferation of mouse Sarcoma 180 cells both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we investigated the effect of the polysaccharide fraction of G. lucidum (PS-G) on the proliferation and differentiation of human monocytic leukemia cell line, U937. Using an in vitro liquid culture system, we found that the conditioned medium from
PS-G-stimulated human blood mononuclear cells (PSG-MNC-CM) contained a activity that could significantly inhibit the growth of U937 cells and induce them to differentiate into mature monocytes/macrophages which had functions of phagocytosis and producing cytoplasmic superoxide. Neither PS-G nor normal (untreated) MNC-CM was found to have a differentiating effect on the target cells. The optimal condition for stimulating the in vitro production of MNC-derived differentiation-inducing activity was to
use PS-G at a low concentration of 50 micrograms/ml and to incubate MNC for a short period of 24 hours. Long-term (greater than 3 days) incubation resulted in a decrease in the differentiating activity of the conditioned media. (Internet 1)

4.9. Effect of Japanese Ganoderma Lucidum on production of interleukin-2 from
murine splenocytes. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of Ganoderma lucidum (GL) planted in Japan on the production of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) from murine splenocytes. It was observed that hydrocortisone (HC) 0.025-1 microgram /ml could significantly antagonize the inhibitory activity of HC and CSA to increase the production of IL-2 in vitro, P <>

Organic Reishi Mushroom

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