Ganoderma_lucidum_01GANODERMA LUCIDUM, also named Lingzhi or Reishi – Chinese language named – has been widely used all over the world. It is a species of the class Basidiomycetes, which belongs to the family Polyporaceae commonly known as a wood-decaying fungus. It causes white rot of a wide variety of trees and can thus be described as a phytopathogenic fungus. Because of its perceived health benefits, its fruiting body has gained wide popularity in recent years as a dietary supplement. The reasons it attracts international attention as a valuable Chinese herb is due to the wide variety of its biological activities. The diversity in the biological actions of Lingzhi may be attributed to the fact that it is composed of different organic chemical entities, including alkaloids, amino acids and peptides inorganic elements, steroids and fatty acids. The major compounds of in the mushroom with significant pharmacological activities appear to be triterpenes and polysaccharides.

According to the Chinese tradition, Lingzhi is also known as the “miraculous zhi” or “auspicious herb” and it is usually considered to symbolize happy augury and to be speak good fortune, good health and longevity, even immortality.

Ganoderma lucidum can penetrate and work on the five key human organs for impairment of the heart, lung, liver, pancreas, and kidney. Ganoderma lucidum cures the sickness of various human systems including respiratory, circulatory, digestive, neural, endocrine, locomotory, etc, involving medical, surgical, gynecological, paediatric, and ENT. All these are because of its fundamental effect of “supporting the vital essence and securing the basics”, thus to improving the immune system. It differs from any other medicines that are used to cure specific disease, or supplementary nutrients that only address particularly body requirements. Ganoderma lucidum helps regulate entire body mechanism and metabolism to ensure that all organs function properly.

Tumor is the disorder of or poor performing immune system. Ganoderma lucidum can best regulate and activate the immune system. It prominently enhances the body immune function and increase self defense capability against tumor. Ganoderma lucidum enhances the function of monocytic macrophage via activating synthesis of interleukin. Ganoderma lucidum speeds up metabolism of both medicine and toxic substances in liver, leading to curing of toxicated hepatitis. Ganoderma lucidum is also suitable for treating chronic hepatitis. Clinical studies and experiments with animals confirm that Ganoderma lucidum can effectively dilate coronary artery, increase coronary vessel blood flow, and improve circulation in cardiac muscle capillaries, thus increase the supply of oxygen and energy to cardiac muscle. Therefore, Ganoderma lucidum helps to protect the heart from shortage of blood supply, and it is ideal for both curing and preventing heart diseases like nausea. Ganoderma lucidum can obviously reduce the level of blood cholesterol, lipoprotein and triglycerides in hypertensive patients. The polysaccharides and polypeptides found in Ganoderma lucidum can effectively delay aging by the following mechanisms.1). To enhance and regulate immune function. Such enhancement and regulation can effectively delay aging in adult and aged people. For the youngster, the immune system will be optimized to ensure healthy growth.2). To regulate metabolism and enhance synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. Research works have shown that Ganoderma lucidum enhances synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins in blood plasma, liver, and bone marrow, hence effectively prevent aging. It is observed that the use of Ganoderma lucidum to prevent aging benefits not only the aged, but also the young, since growth and development process will ultimately lead to aging.

Ganoderma lucidum can stop coughing, clear sputum, and suppress asthma. It also relieves the symptoms of the related illnesses. Since Ganoderma lucidum can activate the immune system, it can prevent from flu and asthma.

The author has received her M.Sc Honours in Mycology from University of Sindh.  She proceeds to M. Phil in Taxonomy of Mycology from Quaid-e-Azam University and currently is serving in Pakistan Museum of Natural History as a Research Associate.


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