Ling Zi mushroom or Ganoderma lucidum, perhaps best known as reishi mushroom has been used in TICM for more than 4,000 years. The Chinese name lingzhi means herb of spiritual potency. It has been dubbed the mushroom of immortality and has been used to treat anything from the flu to cancer. It is one of the main herbs that I prescribe to cancer patients.
The mushroom is native to China, Japan, and North America but is cultivated throughout many other Asian countries. It enters the meridians of the Heart, Lung and Liver with a neutral and sweet essence. Recently it has gained notoriety in the wellness world for being a calming adaptogen, supporting healthy brain function. It’s powers are seemingly endless.
This antioxidant powerhouse treats fatigue, inflammation, asthma, cough, liver ailments, metabolic syndrome, prostate cancer, has a therapeutic effect on insulin resistance and promotes longevity. It is also known to have anti-cancer effects, able to activate natural killer cells, increasing their activity and the body’s ability to fight tumours.
In TICM it is known do have the following impact: nourishing the Heart and calming the Shen (spirit) by nourishing Heart Blood and Spleen Qi. Through this, it treats deficiency causing insomnia, fatigue, poor memory, and poor appetite. It supports the Lung by stopping coughs and dispersing phlegm. Reishi tonifies Blood and Qi with deficiencies that cause poor digestion with loose stools, low appetite, dizziness fatigue, and lower back pain.
The mushroom is able to reduce immune system activity when the system is overstimulated, and bolster the immune system when it is weakened. In general, it increases the amount of active immune system cells. Within the mushroom, there are several molecules, including triterpenoids, polysaccharides and peptidoglycans, that may be responsible for its health effects.