• Reishi

    Ganoderma lucidum

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    Reishi mushroom is one of the most highly respected botanicals in Chinese herbal traditions. Reishi has been used for at least 2000 years, mentioned numerous times in Chinese historical records dating back to 200BC for treating a wide array of ailments.

    Beyond treating illness, Reishi was revered as the “spirit mushroom” or “mushrooms of the immortals” and used as a longevity herb to promote a long, healthy life.

    The official Latin name of Reishi is Ganoderma Lucidum (since 1881).

    The Ganoderma lucidum moniker is actually covering several species, and mycologists are still investigating the differences among these. Probably the most striking variation is the color; six colors (red, purple, black, white, green and yellow) are found in nature.


    Red Reishi is the most researched variation of these six, and, according to research, the most potent one, therapeutically speaking. There are several other Ganoderma species with therapeutic properties, such as G. applanatum (artists conk), G. annulare, G. tsugae, G. resinaceum and G. oregonense.


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    Above picture: different reishi mushrooms in wild

    Key Actions:

    • Anti-atherosclerotic
    • Anti-diabetic
    • Anti-hypertensive
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Antioxidant
    • Antiviral & antimicrobial
    • Cancer & tumour adjuvant
    • Geroprotective
    • Hepatoprotective
    • Immunomodulatory
    • Lipid-modulatory
    • Microbiotica-modulatory
    • Neuroprotective
    • Renoprotective

    Key Indications:

    • Aging
    • Cancer adjuvant therapy
    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Cognitive decline
    • Diabetes & insulin resistance
    • Fatty liver disease
    • Heavy metal toxicity
    • Hepatitis and liver injury
    • Hypercholesterolaemia
    • Hyperlipidaemia
    • Kidney disease/injury
    • Lower urinary tract symptoms
    • Osteopenia
    • Stress
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    Key active compounds:


    Polysaccharides - Beta glucans, Alpha glucans, Glycoproteins, Heteroglycans

    Terpenes and terpenoids - over 140 oxygenated lanostane type triterpenes isolated so far.

    Ganoderic acids A, B, C2, D, F, DM, X, Y, ganoderol lucidenic acid

    Ganoderic acids are a subset of the terpenes/terpenoids

    Meroterpenoids - lucidumones ganodermaones A-B, ganodumones A-F

    Proteins - high levels of bioactive proteins inluding Ling-Zhi-8 and oher immunomodulatory proteins, LZP-1, LZP-2, LZP3, Enzymes

    Sterols & steroids: ergosterol and derivatives including ergosterol peroxide. Sterol compounds.

    Alkaloids: Lucidimine A-D

    Nucleosides: Adenosine, cystidine, guanosine, inosine, thymidine, uridine

    Nucleotides: Adenine, guanine, hypoxanthine, thymine, eracil



    Dual extraction is necessary to unlock the full therapeutic potential:

    • hot water extraction to unlock the water soluble beta glucans
    • alcohol extraction to unlock the secondary metabolites such as triterpenes and ganoderic acids  

  • More about the bioactive compounds and what they do

  • Reishi cultivation 


    Whilst Reishi can be found across Asia and Europe, the particular species of Red Reishi that is revered by the ancients and most studied by scientists, is very rarely found in the wild.

    If you are lucky, a Red Reishi can be found at the base and stumps of deciduous trees, especially maples. However only two or three out of 10,000 such aged trees will have the elusive Red Reishi. Reishi is a polypore mushroom, meaning instead of gills it has tubes (like pores) through which it releases its spores. Red Reishi was successfully cultivated in the early 1970’s by the Japanese.



    Reishi can be cultivated using the following methods:


    Method 1: Wood log cultivation


    This is the most effective method, resulting in superior quality Red Reishi with significant and uniform levels of the key bioactive compounds. Indoor cultivation gives the maximum level of control over contamination. It is the most expensive cultivation method as it requires a specific type of wood, which must be seasoned and prepared.

    These wood logs are called ‘duanwood’ which means ‘original wood’ – the same wood Reishi grows on in nature. After inoculation with Reishi spawn they are buried in nutrient-rich soil and after 5 - 12 months of carefully ensuring the correct levels of humidity and temperature are maintained, the fruiting body is ready to be harvested. In combination with high quality Reishi strains this is the best option for growing therapeutically potent Reishi.


    Method 2: Saw dust / wood chips in bags


    This method is much cheaper but the resulting Reishi fruiting bodies are smaller and have a lower level of key bioactive compounds, even when high quality Reishi strains were used as a base.


    Method 3: Bioreactor cultivation using liquid substrate.


    With this method, Reishi mycelia are grown in tanks in liquid substrate (also known as ‘deep layer cultivation’). Much research has been done to define the best strain/substrate combinations, because this is by far the cheapest method, particularly as it does not rely on fruiting body development, which takes significant time. However the result is the quality is not even at the level of sawdust cultivation, let alone wood log cultivation.

  • Reishi spore products


    Broken spore and the spore oil products are relatively new Reishi products.


    A Reishi spore is tiny: 5-8 microns in size, only visible with a microsope. Each spore contains a microscopic amount of ‘spore oil‘, mostly triterpenes.

    About 1000 kg of Reishi mushrooms are needed to collect 1 kg of spores.

    The spores are ‘cracked‘ and the oil extracted using something called ‘supercritical CO2 extraction‘. This is an expensive process and the yield is very very low. Around 20,000 kg of Reishi is needed for 1 liter of spore oil.

    Spore products are therefore always very expensive. Three to four dollars for a small capsule is about the absolute minimum.

    If you’re charged less, it is most likely an adulterated or plain fake product.

    The majority of reputable supplement sellers do not include spore products in their mushroom-products line, the main reason being that the product is exceptionally expensive, and also because the bioavailability of isolated triterpenes is very low.

    The solubility is almost zero, making absorption by the body (and therefore an actual therapeutic effect) questionable when taken orally.

    Furthermore, almost no research has been done so far.

    Another reason to be cautious is the amount of fraudulent products on the market, because so far there is no objective quality standard for spore products.

    Reishi tinctures

     n a liquid product / tincture the main ingredient is the liquid. There is no such thing as a liquid mushroom.

    Roughly 95% of the bottle contents is useless liquid and around 5% is dissolved mushroom matter, floating around in that liquid. The liquid is usually a mix of water and alcohol, but it is a substance that has no value in itself. It is only a carrier.

    Dissolved in the carrier are soluble compounds, including -hopefully- active ingredients.


    With this knowledge, it’s easy to understand why liquid products have little to nothing to offer.


    Keep in mind that all extract powders are in fact liquid products minus the liquid. After the extraction process a hot water extract is freeze dried, spray dried or air dried, resulting in a residue / powder.

    When dried out the remaining residue of 30 ml tincture is maybe 1 or 2 grams of dry matter, which is equal to maybe 2 - 5 capsules. One daily dosage at best.


    Yes, you read that correctly: a 30ml bottle with “mushroom tincture” contains at best one or maybe two daily dosages!

    Liquid extracts also do not have better bioavailability.


    Some companies claim taking a mushroom liquid sublingually is faster and more direct but this only reveals the ignorance of the seller.Here’s why: the main bioactives in mushrooms are beta-glucans, and these are very large macro-molecules. Way too big to be absorbed sublingually.

  • Research articles



    • "..used in the treatment of cancer and the regulation of the human immune system. Recently, this mushroom has been used as an eco-friendly reducing agent in the green mycosynthesis of metallic nanoparticles." (2021) Ganoderma lucidum: King of Mushroom



    • "Preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that GLP not only has anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-migratory effects on cancer cells, but also possesses anti-angiogenic and immunomodulatory effects. Hence, combined use of GLP could be beneficial to cancer patients receiving conventional chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, and help improve patient’s immune function and alleviate the toxicity of conventional therapy. Moreover, according to literatures, it appears to be safe." (2019) Ganoderma lucidum Polysaccharides as an anti-cancer agent


    • "...G. lucidum prevented from heart damage in a variety of disease models, such as streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic, high-fat-diet-induced diabetic, isoprenaline (ISO)-induced myocardial hypertrophy, acute ethanol-induced heart toxicity, and transverse aortic constriction (TAC) models." (2019) Protective Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Cardiovascular System



    • "Recently, many lines of studies have elucidated the therapeutic effects of G. lucidum and its extractions on various acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) pathogenesis, including autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, diabetic nephropathy, renal proximal tubular cell oxidative damage and fibrotic process, renal ischemia reperfusion injury, cisplatin-induced renal injury, adriamycin-induced nephropathy, chronic proteinuric renal diseases, etc." (2019) Preventive and therapeutic effect of Ganoderma lucidum on kidney injuries and diseases


    • "...approved by the Chinese FDA as Polysacharidum of G. lucidum Karst Injection in 2000, which is applied intramuscularly. After more than 40 years of clinical use, its efficacy, safety, and long-term tolerability have been recognized by neurologists. It is one of a few non-hormonal drugs used for treating neurosis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, atrophic myotonia and muscular dystrophy."
      (2019) Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide used for treating physical frailty in China