Scientific Name(S): Ganoderma lucidum (Leysser ex Fr.) Karst. Family: Polyporaceae
Common Name(S): Reishi, ling chih, ling zhi, "spirit plant"
Reishi Mushroom is also known by the name Lucky Fungus. Reishi Mushrooms grow wild on decaying logs and tree stumps in the coastal provinces of China. The fruiting body of the mushroom is employed medicinally. Reishi occurs in six different colors, but the red variety is most commonly used and commercially cultivated in North America, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.
Uses of Reishi Mushroom:
Reishi is medically known for its ability to relieve fatigue and weakness, asthma, insomnia, and coughs. It contains several major constituents including sterols, coumarin, mannitol, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids called ganoderic acids.
Side Effects of Reishi Mushroom:
Side effects from reishi can include dizziness, dry mouth and throat, nosebleeds, and abdominal upset. These rare effects may develop with continuous use over three to six months. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult a physician before taking reishi.
Drug Interactions: Do not take with anticoagulants.
Side Effects: Side effects from reishi may include dizziness, dry mouth, stomach upset, nose bleed, sore bones, irritated skin, diarrhea, or constipation from initial use, which may disappear with continued use or may develop from use over 3 to 6 months. Because reishi may increase bleeding time, it is not recommended for use with anticoagulants. Pregnant or lactating women should consider these issues and consult a doctor before taking reishi.
Summary: The reishi mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 4000 years. It is high in polysaccharide content, which is mainly responsible for anticancer and immunostimulatory effects. It has liver protectant actions, beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, antiviral actions, and other effects. Side effects are mild and may include dizziness, GI upset, or irritated skin. The use of reishi with anticoagulants or in pregnant or lactating women is not recommended.
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