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.