Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi is a type of mushroom grown in China, Japan and the United States. Known as ling-zhi in Chinese medicine, it was once only available to the emperor and the wealthy. It has been used for thousands of years in China. Herbal remedies using the herb have been studied for over 30 years, giving ample scientific evidence for its healing properties. While the cultivated herb is readily available, the wild variety is almost impossible to find any more.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Reishi has been proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Even those who don't respond to prescription medicine to lower blood pressure responded to doses of this herb. It detoxifies the body and can help prevent cirrhosis of the liver in early cases. It helps to reduce emotional stress. It also dulls the central nervous system, so it helps reduce pain and is also used to enhance memory.
The herb is used to boost the immune system to deal with allergies, asthma, poisoning from mushrooms, yeast infections and chemotherapy. It also contains compounds that works against liver cancer and blocks a substance known as basic fibroblast growth factor that can lead to fibroids forming in the uterus and breasts. It also stimulates the creation of bone marrow protein.
Reishi has also been used to treat hepatitis, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, back pain, headache, stomachache, diabetes, altitude sickness, fatigue, high triglycerides and asthma. It is being studied as a remedy for HIV. It is considered an adaptogen, which is a substance that adapts to correct imbalances in the body.
Externally The herb has been used for skin care and to treat hair loss. It has also been used as an herbal remedy for toothache.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Like most Chinese medicines, reishi is best when used in combination with other herbs in formulas made to fit the individual patient. One combination that is extremely good is with placenta.
Plant body The mushroom, or fruiting body of the plant, is used medicinally.
If you are allergic to mushrooms or molds, do not take this herb. In any case, it should not be taken for more than three months continuously. Prolonged use can cause symptoms that include nosebleeds, dry throat, stomach upset and bloody stools. Reishi is not recommended if you are taking blood-thinning medications, since it may increase bleeding time. Pregnant or lactating women should avoid.
Preparation and Dosage
Reishi is available commercially as herbal tea, capsules, tablets, tincture and extract. Fresh mushrooms can also be eaten. Standard dosage is 1.5 to 9 grams of dried mushroom per day, which translates to 1 to 1.5 grams of powdered mushroom or 1 ml per day of tincture.