Reishi (Ling Zhi)
Botanical Name: Ganoderma lucidum
Famous for its miraculous health benefits, Reishi contains compounds said to prevent and reduce various cancer tumors. Reishi mushrooms significantly reduce the effects of allergic reactions, including asthma, congestion, contact dermatitis, stiff necks, and conjunctivitis.
Below is an overview of Reishi, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Reishi.
Western Name: Reishi
Also Known As: Red Reishi
Organs/Systems: Immune System, Whole Body Tonic
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Immune Enhancing, Anti-allergic, Anti-inflammatory, Anticonvulsant, Antioxidant, Antitumor, Diuretic, Laxative, Sedative, Tonic.
Pin Yin: Ling Zhi
Also Known As: Muchroom of Immortality, Mushroom of spirit, Mu Ling Zhi, Zi Ling Zhi
Meridians: Heart, Lung, Liver, Kidney, Spleen
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: There are six different types of G. lucidum. Each mushroom classified by color and each having slightly different properties. The most commonly used and most potent is the red variety. Calms Shen: insomnia, reduces anxiety, restlessness, promotes emotional well-being. Tonifies Wei Qi and Blood: enhances immunity, allergies, longevity. Nourishes the Heart: lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, supports Shen. Removes Toxicity: calms allergic reactions, sooths nausea. Disperses Accumulations: tumors, reduces arthritis. Supports the Three Treasures (Jing, Qi and Shen): longevity, immunity and spiritual and emotional well-being.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Mushroom
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Warming
Caution: Non-toxic, can be eaten daily.
History/Folklore: The botanical name, “Ganoderma” derives from the Greek and Latin roots meaning “brightness or sheen” describing the appearance of the mushrooms caps.
The Japanese name is Rieshi. Other words for Reishi can be translated as “sage mushroom, grandchild ladle and departure mushroom.”
The Chinese name is Ling Zhi. In Chinese, “Ling Zhi” is made up of the compounds, “Ling” meaning “spirit, soul, miraculous, sacred, divine, mysterious or effective” and “Zhi” meaning “plant of longevity, fungus, seed, branch, or mushroom”. Taken together, “Ling Zhi” can mean “auspicious plant, divine mushroom or immortality plant, magic fungus or marvelous fungus.”
Ling Zhi mushrooms have been used in Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years , making them one of the oldest mushrooms known to be used medicinally. They were originally thought to be an elixir of life for gaining immortality. As such, they were valued by Taoist monks for both their properties of increasing health and aiding the development of spritual experiences and understanding. Ling Zhi was said to “absorb earthly vapors and leave a heavenly atmosphere.”
In China, only two or three out of 10,000 aged trees still have Ling Zhi growing at their bases, making the wild variety extremely rare. In Japan 99% of all wild mushrooms are found on old Japanese plum trees, but are so rare that only a few are found per 100,000 plum trees.
The polysaccharides in the mushrooms provide the anticancer effect by preventing abnormal blood vessel formation while also boosting immunity. The triterpenes protect the liver, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, fight allergic responses triggered by histamine and also possess anticancer activity.
Reishi also enhance bone marrow nucleated cell production as well as increase white blood cells and hemoglobin.
Triterpenes (called Ganoderic acids, that have a molecular structure similar to Steroid Hormones), Polysaccharides, Coumarin, Mannitol, Alkaloids. Isolated Sterols include: Ganoderol, Ganoderenic acid, Ganoderiol, and Ganodermadiol. Carbohydrates, Amino acids, Lipids, Riboflavin.
The Chinese attribute Ling Zhi with increasing virility.
A Bitter Taste
Often described as being “tough” and “woody” with a bitter taste. Reishi is often traditionally prepared as a hot water extract, tea or decoction, that is brought to a boil and then left to simmer for up to two hours.
Protects Cellular DNA
Reishi protect cellular DNA from oxidant damage caused by aging and cancer.
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