top of page

Ganoderma - The Food for The Emperor

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Red Lingzhi/Reishi Mushroom

Ancient Chinese & Japanese Medical Use of Ganoderma

The name Ling Zhi first appeared in the 11th century in China, which meant the "divine herb that energizes the 'chi' or 'life force'. The Japanese gave the red mushroom the name Reishi. It was classified as superior and premier medicinal herb, and was regarded as one of the "Herbs of God". It was regarded as sacred because it gave its users perpetual youth and longevity.

Modern Use of Ganoderma Lucidum

The mushroom was given by mycologists, the botanical name Ganoderma Lucidum, which was a description of how the mushroom looked like: Gano in Greek means 'Bright'; while Derma is 'Skin' and Lucidum means 'Shining'. The topside of the Red Reishi has that lacquered-look that is smooth and shiny.

In the wild, the mushroom thrives in densely wooded sides of mountains, in tropical climate and in humid conditions. Its juvenile form is a white horn-like stalk called Mycelium (this will be further elaborated in another post 'Ganocelium'). While its mature form produces a cap that is called the Fruit Body.

There are at least SIX known varieties of Ganoderma Lucidum, and each variety is represented by specific colour, white, yellow, red, blue, purple and black. The Red variety, however, has been found to be the most POTENT of all.

In the wild, the mushroom was hard to find. The spores of the mushroom are tough and do not easily germinate, and this made the mushroom rare. With the low supply but high demand, Ganoderma became very expensive for the ordinary person, and almost exclusive to the royal family who was the only one able to afford the mushrooms. This have the mushroom the title "The Herb of The Kings".

Active Neutraceuticals in Ganoderma

(Neutraceuticals: Nutrients that have therapeutic or healing properties)

DXN Ganoderma Lucidum, which is also known as RG (Reishi Gano), derives from 3 month-old Reishi mushroom. The spores of these more matured mushrooms are then harvested and they are widely known as "King of Herbs" due to the main active ingredients available:

  • Polysaccharides

  • Tritepenes

  • Adenosine

  • Organic Germanium

Let’s examine these components of Ganoderma in details, one-by-one:

1) Polysaccharides

The first group of active neutraceuticals prominent in Ganoderma is the Polysaccharide Group. Polysaccharides are carbohydrates made up of many sugar molecules. They are usually big molecules and compose a major part of the plant's cell wall.

a) Anti-cancer activity

One of the more popular polysacharides found in Ganoderma is Beta-D-Glucan. This high molecular weight polysaccharide has been found to have a high anti-tumour activity.

Following extensive research and observation, Dr Raymond Chang of Cornell recommended the use of Ganoderma supplements in cancer management. He believes that Ganoderma supplementation is valuable in :

- Reducing the side effects during chemotherapy or radiotherapy

- Prolonging survival and minimizing metastasis

- Improving the quality of life

- Preventing occurrence or recurrence

b) Immune system enhancement

Scientists have also discovered the low molecular weight polysaccharide in Ganoderma which can activate the receptors in the surfaces of white blood cells and cause both the awakening of the cells and the subsequent release of many anti-viral and anti-tumour chemicals. Interferon and lymphokines are some of them.

Interferon is a protein that the cells employ to communicate with each other. Functioning like the cellular phone of the cells; it is used to send messages to other cells to alert them coming of viral attacks and helps neutralize the attack of the virus. When attacked by a virus, normal cells release Interferon to warn the other uninfected cells about the attack. The more Interferon produced, the better the cellular defense. With proper warning, the infection spread stops.

The polysaccharides in the mushroom have the ability to raise the levels of Interferon in the body by stimulating the release of this protein from the white blood cells. This gives the person better immune resistance.

Dr Fukumi Morishige, in his studies, also found that the polysaccharide in Ganoderma activates the macrophages and the T-killer cells of the immune system early on in the battle. It makes them more aggressive in phagocytosis or in eating the enemy and neutralizing their toxins. These white blood cells help in the battle earlier and assist in limiting the spread of the disease more effectively.

Polysaccharides can also improve the ability of the antibodies to fight bacteria. According to a study published by the Drug Research Institute in Toyoma, Japan, the production of the antibodies, especially antibody Immunoglobulin G, is improved by the polysaccharide extract of Reishi.

Another polysaccharide, D6 has been seen to help the quick build up of the bone marrow the site where many white blood cells called B-cells, which produces the antibodies, and macrophages are produced. This helps in the replenishment of the warrior white blood cells when the war against germs gets rough.

c) Antioxidant effect

There are also reports that link polysaccharides to an increase in the levels of the antioxidant Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD). SOD is one of the most potent antioxidants produced by the body.

As an antioxidant, it acts by neutralizing the circulating free radical toxins. Free radical toxins are waste products produced by the chemicals ingested, the various infections, drugs and the stress. They attack the cells in the body and change their characteristics resulting in tissue malfunction or even destruction. The whole process of free radical attack and change is called oxidation. Cholesterol cells, when oxidized by free radical toxins, turn into a sticky fat blob that clings on to the walls of the artery. Cells that are oxidized can also turn bad and start producing cancer cells.

There are chemicals, however, that neutralize free radicals and prevent them from oxidizing the cells in the body. These are called Antioxidants. Vitamins A, C, E, Selenium, Lycopene, Beta-carotene are some examples of these. In the body, the SOD is the most powerful antioxidant ever produced.

Dr Denham, in his Free Radical Theory of Aging believed that our bodies begin to age when the levels of SOD begin to drop and the free radical levels rise. This happens at age 25. It is hypothesized that with a regular intake of Ganoderma, aging is delayed, if not reversed.

d) Colon cleansing

On the other hand, Beta-D-glucan in Ganoderma provides dietary fibers that cleanse the colon of hazardous toxins by absorbing them and neutralizing them. The same dietary fibers cause a mild laxative action that flushes the toxins out.

e) Lowering of Cholesterol levels

Other benefits of the polysaccharides are seen in it ability to attract fats and cholesterols in the diet and prevent their absorption in the intestine. This action of the dietary fiber helps lower the cholesterol levels in the blood.

2) Triterpenes

Triterpenes are simple lipids that are responsible for the Ganoderma's bitter taste and several medicinal properties. Majority of the triterpenes occur as fatty acids caled 'Lucidenic' or 'Ganoderic' acids. There are around 200 of these fatty acids in the mushroom and many of them have been associated with various therapeutic properties.

a) Lowers Cholesterol levels

Some of the Ganoderic triterpenes are powerful inhibitors of cholesterol formation. In 1988, Japanese scientists have isolated Ganoderic B, C, Mf or T-O, which are active in inhibiting the formation of cholesterol in the body. This helps people with high cholesterol problems in the blood.

b) Anti-hypertensive

Triterpenes isolated by the Tokyo Institute from the Ganoderma fruit body has demonstrated anti-hypertensive or blood pressure lowering activity. These triterpenes stop an enzyme that converts angiotensinogen, the raw material, to angiotensin, a powerful vasoconstrcting chemical.

Angiotensin causes the contraction of the muscles around arteries resulting in the narrowing of the arteries of the body. This action raises the person's blood pressure.

The raw material for the production of Angiotensin is Angiotensinogen. To convert from the raw material to Angiotensin, an enzyme Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) is required. The Ganoderic Triterpenes isolated from the Ganoderma fruit body, Ganoderic acids K, Y, D, B and others inhibit the ACE from converting the raw material to Angiotensin, thus preventing a rise in blood pressure, or if the blood pressure is already up, help lower it.

c) Acts like steroids

Other triterpenes can act like steroids because they attach themselves on the same receptors that steroids are attached to. This enhances the action of the body's hormones giving the person a feeling of well-being and an increase resistance to stress.

d) Other known benefits of Triterpenes are:

(i) Insulin-like action. Improvement of the use of glucose in the blood

(ii) Anti-allergy. The Triterpenes prevent the breakdown of Mast Cells, which release Histamine, a chemical that cause the symptoms associated with allergy.

(iii) Anti-hepatoxic action. Protects the liver from damage induced by toxins and helps flush out lingering toxins while strengthening the liver's ability to function.

3) Adenosine

Adenosine is classified as Nucleotide and is a core component of the chemicals cycle AMP and ATP, the energy giving chemicals that power the cells.

a) Energizing the body

Cyclic Adenosine Mono-Phosphate (AMP) or Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) is the power source of every chemical reaction in the cells. They give the chemicals the energy to proceed with the various reactions necessary to sustain life. What is noticeable in this chemical is the core of the energy power chemicals - ADENOSINE.

Modern Chinese scientists believe that the physical reservoir or storage area of the body's CHI or life energy is the ADENOSINE. They believe that the adenosine in the Ganoderma is the reason for the increase energy levels or the CHI in the person.

It is, then, no wonder that ingestion of the Ganoderma adenosine seems to recharge the person's body and helps power the various chemical reactions in the body.

b) Inhibition of platelet aggregation

Adenosine also possesses anti-platelet aggregation activity. Impaired platelet function forms clots in the blood that cause clogs or obstruction in very small arteries and capillaries. This leads to decreased blood flow to a particular tissue or organ resulting to Ischemia or oxygen deprivation of the tissues. Adenosine inhibits platelet clotting and thus prevents the ischemia associated with blood flow obstruction.

Doctors give post-stroke patients and candidates for a stroke a regular dose of Aspirin, primarily, for the purpose of preventing blood clots. With a regular intake of Ganoderma, the patients are protected from harmful effects of clot formation in the blood vessels.

c) Improves blood flow and circulation

Adenosine has also been known as a powerful vasodilator. The Ganoderma adenosine facilitates the dilation of blood vessels and can help in the treatment of Ischemia or decreased blood flow to the heart, and many vascular problems like Raynaud's disease or spasm of the peripheral arteries, Migraine or Tinnitus or ringing in the ears.

Other studies show that the Ganoderma mushroom, when administered to patients with acute myocardial ischemia or heart attacks, results in smaller infarction size and improved blood flow. This helps lessen heart muscle damage and helps the patient recover faster.

d) Strengthens nerves and brain functions

Furthermore, experiments show that adenosine has a calming and protective effect in the brain. Professor Hikino showed that the Ganoderma adenosine had a calming and sedating effect when given to patients for a period of time. Its brain protection effect is seen in brain injury, trauma, stroke or dementia as adenosine levels go up in an attempt by the brain to protect it.

e) Other benefits of Adenosine:

(i) Promotes healing in the body. Receptors in the surface of inflammatory cells respond to adenosine and increase the speed of healing.

(ii) It also has an analgesic effect. Adenosine facilitates pain relief.

4) Organic Germanium

Germanium is a mineral that is present in many therapeutic herbs like garlic, aloe vera, chloerella, ginseng and watercress. The mineral also is abundant in Ganoderma where it was discovered to have the highest concentration of Organic Germanium of all.

a) Improved oxygenation of cells

The mineral helps deliver oxygen to the cells. Since oxygen is indispensable to the life of the cell and an integral part of its metabolism, Organic Germanium helps improves tissue function and integrity, enhancing one's overall health.

b) Lowers high blood pressure

The clinical report of the Japan Cancer Association correlated Organic Germanium with the lowering of blood pressure in animals with high blood pressure. Tests show that blood pressure of animals went back to normal in 7 to 10 days when given the mineral.

Dr, Akira Ishikawa even demonstrated the decrease in retinal or eye blood pressure in patients taking the mineral. This translates to better eye health for the elderly. An extensive study reference about Organic Germanium can be found in this link:

c) Strengthening of immune function

Other studies show that organic germanium improves the immune function of the patients. It induces the production of interferon according to the Journal of Interferon Research published in 1984. It has an anti-tumour effect secondary to improved macrophage activity according to the Japanese research paper: Gan To Kagaku Ryoho.

d) Pain relief

A publication in The Journal of Pharmacological Dynamics showed that organic germanium facilitates analgesia or pain relief in both oral administration and injection. It does so by releasing natural morphine-like chemicals called endorphins in the body and activating the receptors that produce a morphine-like pain relief.

Ganoderma has the advantage of having the highest concentration of Organic Germanium among the therapeutic herbs available today.

How does Ganoderma works in our body?

1. Scanning our body (1 – 30days)

2. Detoxifying and cleansing (1 – 30 weeks)

– removes toxins, excess cholesterol, fat deposit, calcium deposit, bad tissue and chemical accumulation through 1) sweating 2) urination and stool 3) boils, rashes, phlegm and mucus discharge.

3. Regulating (1 – 12 months)

– after removing the toxins restore our body to normal functions

4. Building (6 – 24 months)

– builds and heals body parts that are injured or damaged and strengthens the body, immune system, restores mental calmness and gives more resistance to disease

5. Supplying

– Minerals and Triterpenoides for the recovery of our body

6. Regenerating (1 – 3 years)

– It ensures our body is functioning at its optimum level.

The summarized health benefits from RG:

  • Remove fats and water soluble toxins.

  • Improve blood circulations.

  • Stabilize our emotions/ increase resistance to stress.

  • Enhance immune system.

  • Increase oxygen level in the body.

  • Prevent tissue and cells degeneration.

  • Balance body functions.


  1. Dillague,G 2001 'Ganoderma and Your Health', Dichron Multimedia, Philippines.


bottom of page