An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Mushroom, Reishi - Ganoderma lucidum - family: Ganodermataceae, order: Ganodermatales, class: Homobasidiomycetes.
This edible annual Mushroom has a visible portion (fruitbody) which is
a large reddish-brown cap that is supported by a brown stalk. The cap may
grow to about twelve inches high and twelve inches across. It produces brown
spores. It is found growing on dead hardwood trees, such as oaks. It releases
its spores in the summer. It has been used medicinally in China, Japan and
Korea for at least two thousand years. It has been reputed to lengthen life
and even to cure cancer. Traditional Asian use of Reishi as a folk aphrodisiac.
This Mushroom has been cultivated in eastern Asia for hundreds of years.
The fruitbody (Ling Zhi) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and
in Kampo (traditional Japanese herbal medicine) as a remedy for allergies,
anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, liver problems, memory problems and
pain. Modern Japanese (Kampo) use of fruitbody in the medical treatment
of some cancers. Modern Japanese and American use of extracts of this mushroom
to support immune systems. Caps are currently used in North America as a
remedy for allergies, depression, hay fever and jet lag. Modern American
folk use as a remedy for alcoholism, diabetes-related infections and yeast
infections. Suggested by some as possibly being useful for those suffering
from the attention deficit disorder (ADD). Note: large doses may cause diarrhea
or skin rashes. Note: continuous use over a period of several months may
produce some side effects, such as dizziness, dry throat, indigestion, nose
bleed or skin rashes. Worldwide distribution: native to Europe, Africa,
Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. Cultivated as
a medicinal mushroom in China.
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Web page last updated on 22 May 2003.