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Ganoderma Lucidum , also called Lingzhi in Chinese and Reishi in Japanese, is a herbal mushroom that has been used in China for over 4,000 years. The Chinese name Lingzhi, means "spiritual potency". During ancient times, the Lingzhi mushroom was reserved for emperors and royal families. In "Seng Nong Herbal Classic", Lingzhi was ranked as “the king of herbs”. Dr. Li Shizhen (1518-1593) , the most famous Chinese medical doctor of the Ming Dynasty, strongly endorsed Lingzhi in his book “Materia Medica” . He stated that "long-term taking of Lingzhi will build a strong, healthy body and assure a long life."


Ganoderma in anti-inflammation and anti-oxidation


Research has provided evidence that Ganoderma lucidum can act as an anti-inflammatory agent. This pharmacological activity may provide the basis for its effect on memory in old age. It has been found that Ganoderma lucidum is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. The water extract of the fruiting body and the spores are active against inflammation when taken orally.

Ganoderma and immunomodulation

Active compounds from Ganoderma lucidum , which can stimulate immune response in a host, include polysaccharides, triterpenes, and glycoproteins. Some compounds in Ganoderma lucidum are classified as immuno-potentiators. Ganoderma lucidum can also act to restore homeostasis in an immuno-suppressed host. Recent studies have demonstrated anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant effects. The polysaccharides can enhance immune responses in patients with advanced-stage cancer. In the experiments, the polysaccharides of Ganoderma lucidum protect liver injury by reducing NO production. In cell biology studies, Ganoderma lucidum is able to enhance phagocytic activity of human primary neutrophils and neutrophilic-phenotype cells, and increase neutrophil migration. The polysaccharides of Ganoderma lucidum can enhance lymphocyte proliferation and maturation, and the initiation of immune response. These studies provide evidence that Ganoderma lucidum can strengthen the defense system.


Ganoderma and cancer


Ganoderma lucidum has been widely used by patients with different types of cancers that are too advanced for surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy, especially in Oriental countries. For those who have gone through one of these therapeutic treatments, Ganoderma lucidum is used as an alternative therapy. Ganoderma lucidum can inhibit the migration of breast cancer cells and prostate cancer cells, suggesting its potency to reduce tumour invasiveness. The polysaccharide fraction of Ganoderma lucidum can suppress colon cancer cell activity and may act as a potent chemopreventive agent for colon carcinogenesis. The triterpenes can inhibit the growth of human liver cancer cells, but have no effect on normal human liver cells. It can also suppress tumour-induced angiogenesis. There appears to be multiple mechanisms underlying the anti-cancer effects of Ganoderma lucidum . A recent study has indicated that the sporoderm-broken spores of Ganoderma lucidum have much higher bioactivities than the whole spores.



  1. Shiao, M.S. 2003. Natural products of the medicinal fungus Ganoderma lucidum: occurrence, biological activities, and pharmacological functions. Chem Rec 3:172-180.
  2. Zhang, G.L., Wang, Y.H., Ni, W., Teng, H.L., and Lin, Z.B. 2002. Hepatoprotective role of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide against BCG-induced immune liver injury in mice. World J Gastroenterol 8:728-733.
  3. Hsu, M.J., Lee, S.S., Lee, S.T., and Lin, W.W. 2003. Signaling mechanisms of enhanced neutrophil phagocytosis and chemotaxis by the polysaccharide purified from Ganoderma lucidum. Br J Pharmacol 139:289-298.
  4. Cao, L.Z., and Lin, Z.B. 2002. Regulation on maturation and function of dendritic cells by Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides. Immunol Lett 83:163-169.
  5. Bao, X.F., Wang, X.S., Dong, Q., Fang, J.N., and Li, X.Y. 2002. Structural features of immunologically active polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum. Phytochemistry 59:175-181.
  6. Sliva, D., Sedlak, M., Slivova, V., Valachovicova, T., Lloyd, F.P., Jr., and Ho, N.W. 2003. Biologic activity of spores and dried powder from Ganoderma lucidum for the inhibition of highly invasive human breast and prostate cancer cells. J Altern Complement Med 9:491-497.
  7. Sliva, D. 2003. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in cancer treatment. Integr Cancer Ther 2:358-364.
  8. Sliva, D., Labarrere, C., Slivova, V., Sedlak, M., Lloyd, F.P., Jr., and Ho, N.W. 2002. Ganoderma lucidum suppresses motility of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 298:603-612.
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