The Reishi mushroom has long held a distinct place in the annals of traditional Chinese medicine as being a potent herb for the achievement of overall well-being and longevity. The mushroom is increasingly being mentioned as one of the herbs with a potential to be considered a viable anti-tumor and anti-cancer fighter in the modern age.
Known by its official name of ganoderma lucidum and its Chinese name of lingzhi, the Reishi mushroom is mentioned in Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic – one of the most celebrated and monumental works in Chinese medicine – as being the top-ranked of all herbs in the superior category. The superior category is reserved for herbs that are effective for multiple diseases, are responsible for the maintenance and restoration of the body’s balance, and can be taken for long periods of time without serious side effects. By virtue of it being picked as the most superior of all the herbs, it has enjoyed special reverence amongst practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine
The reishi mushroom has a rich content of organic polysaccharides and triterpenes (known as ganoderic acid). These natural nutrients have been proven to enhance the body’s immune functions and hold the potential for the treatment and prevention of many types of cancer.
Studies of reishi in cancer research have been largely conducted in Japan and China . In 1986, Dr. Fukumi Morishige, M.D., Ph.D, a renowned Japanese surgeon and a member of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, found that reishi may be used as part of cancer treatment for cases given up as hopeless. He found that the active anti-cancer constituent in this mushroom is a polysaccharide called beta-D-glucan, which is thought to stimulate or modulate the immune system by activating immune cells, as well as enhance the immunoglobin levels to produce a heightened response to foreign cells.
Meanwhile, two successive studies by Chinese scientists in 2008 found that reishi mushrooms, combined with green tea, results in synergetic effects that inhibited the growth of tumors and delayed the time of death in mice with sarcomas.
As studies mount that show Reishi mushrooms may be potentially viable in the treatment for cancer, it won’t be far-fetched to conceive of a future where even Western cancer medicine may come to embrace this ancient herb. The process may have already begun as Reishi has recently been added to the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved the use of Reishi as a form of medical treatment. Observers note that it may take several more years for the requisite tests and trials to be completed before the herb is approved for medical use. But certainly, more than 2 millennia’s worth of knowledge gained from human observations would have a profound impact on any course of action that the authorities of Western medicine may take as regards this highly exalted herb.
And who knows, the Reishi tea infusion or decoction might even approach the popularity of green tea, black tea or oolong tea as more people discover the healing anti-cancer properties of the mushroom. As mushrooms possess chitin, a polymer that locks up the medicinal constituents, preparations of the Reishi are unlikely to be medicinally active unless there has been a prolonged extraction in hot water. As such, taking Reishi tea is a recommended method upon which to derive the health benefits of the mushroom. To make Reishi tea, add a handful of thinly sliced or pulverized Reishi (either fresh or dried) to a pot of boiling water. Let the mix simmer for about two hours. The resulting reishi tea should be fairly bitter in taste but packs in it a wallop in terms of health benefits, especially ones that fight tumors and cancers.