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Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum), commonly known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, is a herbal mushroom known to have miraculoushealth benefits, has shown in recent studies to be helpful for heart health, including normal cholesterol, blood pressure, and circulatory system support. Reishi mushroom contains a high amount of polysaccharides which are essential for proper functioning of the immune system. Reishi Mushroom is used as a tonic and a sedative.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi was thought to "mend the heart." Reishi is a cardio tonic that supports normal blood and oxygen flow to the heart. Reishi Mushroom is one of the most valued plants in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Reishi has been used for over thousands of years as a miraculous remedy for a variety of diseases from traumatic wounds, inflammation, various ulcers. Reishi mushroom extracts have been shown to exert many beneficial effects which seems to support Reishi historical use as an "adaptagen". An adaptagen is defined as a substance which increases the resistance to stress and improves the general tone of the body and mind.

Background
Ganoderma lucidum has several common names. The mushroom is called Reishi or Mannentake (10,000 year mushroom) in Japan, and Ling Chi or Ling Zhi (herb of immortality) in China and Korea. Ganoderma is known from Chinese medical writings from over 2,000 years ago and it is a popular symbol and subject in Chinese art.
Reishi mushrooms are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical climates. It is a decomposer and grows on dead hardwood. Several similar species are found in North America, and it is possible that these are ecotypes or variants of Ganoderma lucidum and not truly distinct species.
Reishi mushrooms are easily grown on logs or in bags of sawdust/wood chips using techniques similar to those used for other wood-inhabiting mushrooms. Commercial cultivation is well established in Asia and to some degree in North America.

Benefits

Reishi has been used is an exalted medicinal herb used in China since the 2nd Century B.C. The Shen Nong's Herbal Classic, a 2000-year old medicinal Chinese book, ranks Reishi as one of the superior medicines, effective for multiple diseases and for maintaining and restoring the body balance. It has no negative side-effects. Reishi, according to The Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, can be classified into six categories as per their shapes and colors. Each of the categories of this medicinal herb nourishes a different part of the body. Red colored Reishi for heart, purple is for joints, green for liver, white for lungs and skin, yellow nourishes spleen and black colored herb for kidneys and brain.

reishi-mushroom
Like all mushrooms, Reishi is a good source of B vitamins and amino acids. Polysaccharides are suspected to be a major active ingredient in many mushrooms consumed for medicinal use. Reishi extracts contain elevated quantities beta-glucan polysaccharides as well as triterpenoids (ganodermic acids). For general health benefits, Reishi is taken as a general immune system stimulant, to boost energy and to combat fatigue

Preliminary studies indicated that ganoderic acids help alleviate common allergies by inhibiting histamine release, improve oxygen utilization and improve liver functions. Triterpenes are bitter in taste and the level of the triterpene content contained in a product can be determined by the bitterness.

Regular consumption of red Reishi can enhance our body's immune system and improve blood circulation, thus improving better health conditions. Generally, Reishi is recommended as an adaptogen, immune modulator, and a general tonic. Red Reishi is also used to help treat anxiety, high blood pressure, hepatitis, bronchitis, insomnia, and asthma.

 

Red Reishi is primarily composed of complex carbohydrates called water-soluble polysaccharides, triterpeniods, proteins and amino acids. Researchers have identified that water-soluble polysaccharides are the most active element found in Red Reishi that have anti-tumour, immune modulating and blood pressure lowering effects.

Another major active ingredient found inAnalgesic
Anti-allergic activity
Bronchitis-preventative effect, inducing regeneration of bronchial epithelium
Anti-inflammatory
Antibacterial, against Staphylococci, Streptococci, and Bacillus pneumoniae (perhaps due to increased immune system activity)
Antioxidant, by eliminating hydroxyl free radicals
Antitumor activity
Antiviral effect, by inducing interferon production
Lowers blood pressure
Enhances bone marrow nucleated cell proliferation
Cardiotonic action, lowering serum cholesterol levels with no effect on triglycerides, enhancing myocardial metabolism of hypoxic animals, and improving coronary artery hemodynamics
Central depressant and peripheral anticholinergic actions on the autonomic nervous sytem reduce the effects of caffeine and relax muscles
Enhanced natural killer cell (NK) activity in vitro in mice
Expectorant and antitussive properties demonstrated in mice studies
General immunopotentiation
Anti-HIV activity in vitro and in vivo
Improved adrenocortical function
Increased production of Interleukin-1 by murine peritoneal macrophages in vitro
Increased production of Interleukin-2 by murine splenocytes in vitro

Key active constituents :
Beta and hetero-Beta-glucans (antitumour, immunostimulating )
Ling Zhi-8 protein (anti-allergenic, immuno-modulating)
Ganodermic acids – triterpenes (anti-allergenic agents, cholesterol and blood pressure reducing

Side Effects
Most people tolerate Reishi well. The first use should be a small dose of tea or extract to make sure there is no allergic reaction. Possible minor side effects include:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Stomach discomfort
• Dry nose and throat


Very high doses may be damaging to cells but this has not been shown in actual use. Interference with the effectiveness of some drugs (especially immunosuppressants) is possible but not well substantiated.

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