Herbal Supplements
Reishi - the Mushroom for Heart and Liver
Description
 
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma tsugae) is a fun-shaped mushroom often found on both dead and living wood, growing as a saprotroph or parasite on them. Ganoderma lucidum is known in the herbal practice as one of having the oldest history of use for medicinal purposes. Around 4 thousand years ago Chinese herbalists noticed its tonic properties and that’s why gave the reishi a corresponding name – “lingzhi”, translated as “herb for spiritual potency”, or from other sources – “immortality mushroom”.
Reishi is quite a rare mushroom – it prefers growing on plum trees and the frequency of its occurrence is really low. Due to this, the indoor cultivation of the plant has been developed. Naturally distributed, the plant is found growing in coastal areas of China, North America, Japan, Taiwan, and Corea.
 
Parts Used
 
The fruiting body of the fungus is used for the variety of medicinal purposes. According to the Chinese believes, certain shapes and colors of the plant have a potential to heal definite body parts, which reishi constituents corresponds to. Red parts of the plant are beneficial for heart, white – for lungs and skin, green – for liver, black – for brain and kidneys, yellow – for spleen, and purple – for joints.
 
Reishi Constituents
 
Among reishi constituents there has been found a group of chemicals (triterpenes) that is similar in structure to steroid hormones. Together with the polysaccharides (beta glucans) in the mushroom they provide adaptogenic, anti-allergic and antihypertensive, immunostimulating and antitumor  effects. The rest of the chemical content is made up by coumarin, lactones, mannitol, alkaloids, fatty acids, ergosterol, minerals and vitamins. Water proportion in reishi is 25 percent.
 
Reishi for Heart and Liver
 
As found during the research performed in Japan, titerpenes in reishi are able to decrease high blood pressure, lower cholesterol level in cells, and slow down platelet aggregation (the clotting of blood cells), which in most cases are the factors leading to heart problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, arteriosclerosis and related disorders. In addition, researches held in China proved that chemicals in reishi enhance the blood flow and stimulate heart muscle in oxygen consumption. Also, it has been found that reishi is effective in preventing plaque build-up settling down on the blood vessels’ walls and thus inhibits blocking actions that lead to atherosclerosis. So, reishi is used as a universal tonic for the whole cardiovascular system. Clinical trials proved that while treating heart disorders and high pressure, the plant has no side effects in patients using it.
 
As known, the increase of cholesterol levels in blood leads to arteriosclerosis causing liver disorders as well. So by inhibiting the growth of serum cholesterol, reishi is used as a liver tonic. Reishi also works in preventing liver cirrhosis caused by the destructive action of the alcohol. It has proved to be helpful on the early stages of the disease, and unfortunately not in its acute phase. Moreover, the ganoderic acid (titerpenes) in reishi has been subjected to anti-viral studies and found to provide effective actions against viruses and toxic elements. This suggests a conclusion that reishi is potent against hepatitis, which is supported by the Chinese herbalists who prescribe reishi to fight this disease. In research groups, consumption of reishi resulted in successful treatment of liver failure and a promoted liver regeneration.
 
Reishi is also used to deal with such disorders as nausea, stomatitis, sore throat, vomiting, appetite, general weakness and insomnia.
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