Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a highly appreciated Medicinal Mushroom. Its beneficial effects have been confirmed scientifically over the last fifty years thanks to hundreds of studies. In fact, from the universities of Japan and China it has become well-known in Europe and the United States.
Reishi boosts the immune system and fights viruses and bacteria (Wasser, 2005). It acts as a cortison-like anti-inflammatory agent, without determining the typical side effects of this drug, thanks to a different mechanism of action (Stavinoha et al., 1991 e 1995).
It is also useful in different forms of allergy, as emerges from the work of Dr. Powell, an English doctor, (Powell, 2006; Sanodiya et al., 2009) and is an excellent gastroprotector, as confirmed by other researchers.
Another study confirmed the presence of at least four substances, triterpenoids, which protect the liver (Lin et al., 2002); ganoderic acids R and S and ganosporeric acid A have been shown to increase the activity of liver enzymes (Chen and Yu, 1993; Wang et al., 2002).
Reishi reduces anxiety, improves sleep (Wang et al., 2001) and lightens the pressures of everyday life, improving mood and vitality (Tang et al., 2005).
This Medicinal Mushroom also helps the neurological structure of the brain’s memory centres (Zhou et al., 2012) and has excellent cardiotonic properties. It increases the energy yield of the heart and thanks to adenosine it improves blood circulation throughout the body (Berne, 1980; Toda et al., 1982). Finally, Reishi promotes female sexual functions, as documented by some studies (Shimizu et al., 2009) and is increasingly being added to the ingredients of beauty products. Not surprisingly, in the East, women have always used it as part of their beauty routine.
Reishi has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 4000 years, so much so that it appears in the oldest manual of Chinese medicine dating back to 2800 BC - "Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing", the "Divine Farmer's Materia Medica". The guide places it among the ten most important "high class" remedies, thanks to its wealth of benefits and absence of side effects.
Throughout traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia, Reishi is appreciated because it tones up psychophysical energy, and that of the blood and the heart.
It is also able to nourish and strengthen all organs, eliminate the accumulation of toxins and expectorate mucus and cough. As regards psychological balance, Reishi was used to increase concentration, sharpen intelligence, improve memory, strengthen willpower and relax disturbed minds.
Reishi is not present only in the practices of Traditional Oriental Medicine: some research has shown that this Medicinal Mushroom is extremely important also in Mexican Popular Medicine. The indigenous peoples of South America, in fact, used it to treat many illnesses, in particular heart diseases but also as a natural product useful for ensuring multiple benefits.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) means "mushroom of immortality" and in Eastern art and popular tradition it symbolizes well-being and luck, a bit like the four-leaf clover in the Western world.
This Medicinal Mushroom belongs to the saprophyte family and grows wild in Asia, but also in many other areas of the world, such as European woods.
Thanks to its exceptional immune defences, it manages to survive in hostile environments, full of germs and viruses, which is why it also has excellent properties against pathogenic germs in humans.
Reishi is one of the Medicinal Mushrooms richest in biological properties: there are about 400. Their presence or deficiency significantly affects the metabolic balance of the body (Baby et al., 2015; Sanodiya et al., 2009).
In Reishi there are several active ingredients, in particular: