Tonic for emperors. Food of gods. Elixir of life. Lucky Fungus. Ling Zhi…
I am absolutely sure that hardly anyone can guess what all these names refer to. Miraculous medicine? Exotic drink? Perhaps, some delicacy? I would like to see your surprise when you learn that these are different names of the Reishi mushroom, one of the herbal mushrooms praised for its numerous health benefits and superior properties to boost energy and prolong life.
Reishi mushroom, or Ling Zhi, belongs to polypore mushrooms. This plant has one more name in Latin – Ganoderma lucidum – which is translated as “shiny skin” and refers to the Reishi caps, which have six colour variations – from reddish-orange to black. Reishi mushroom is kidney-shaped and has approximately 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. It grows wild on oak and plum tree stumps and logs in dark and damp forests of Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States.
Being practically unknown in the West, Reishi mushroom has a long history in Chinese and Japanese medicine. It has been used for more than 2,000 years to treat liver problems, asthma, cancer, high blood pressure, etc. Reishi mushroom was believed to have superior power, giving strength and long life. Great Chinese emperors and Japanese royalty drank tea of the mushrooms for vitality and longevity.
Wild Reishi is very rare and difficult to cultivate. That is why it was very expensive for a long time and only rich people could buy such a luxury. In the 1980s, a Japanese scientist developed a complex method of cultivating Reishi indoors, which had made the mushrooms more available.
More and more researches were conducted to study and test Ganoderma lucidum. As a result, scientists had identified key chemical elements of Reishi mushroom and explained their influence on human organism.
Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides that are known as anticancer agents and immune system stimulators. They help body fight cancerous tumors and protect it from different infections.
Triterpenoids, which have also been found in Reishi mushrooms, are responsible for blood pressure lowering and circulation improving.
Reishi mushrooms also contain sterols, which influence the hormonal system, and natural antihistamines, which reduce allergic reaction. Besides, Reishi is a source of antioxidants that prevent aging of the human tissues.
As you can see, structural elements of Reishi mushrooms have a positive influence on the human organism. That is why Ganoderma lucidum is usually used as a tonic for improving general health and increasing energy.
In modern medicine Reishi mushrooms can be indicated for the treatment of coronary heart disease, cancer, AIDS, bronchitis, hepatitis. They may also help patients with high blood pressure, asthma, nervous disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis. In China, they are used by mountain climbers to combat altitude sickness and are given as an antidote to patients, who have eaten poisonous mushrooms.
Reishi mushroom seems to be a real miracle of the herbal medicine. It is non-toxic and can be taken daily without any side effects. Regular consumption of Reishi is said to enhance human immune system and improve general health.