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Mushroom Immunity Support - Ganoderma Lucidum - Red Reishi - Lingzhi

The lingzhi or reishi mushroom (Traditional Chinese; pinyin: língzhī; Japanese: reishi; literally: "supernatural mushroom") encompasses several fungal species of the genus Ganoderma, and most commonly refers to the closely related species, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma tsugae. G. lucidum enjoys special veneration in East Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years,[1] making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally. Because of lingzhi's presumed health benefits and apparent absence of side-effects, it has attained a reputation in the East as the ultimate herbal substance. Lingzhi is listed in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium.

Taxonomy and naming

Names for the lingzhi fungus have a two thousand year history. The Chinese term lingzhi was first recorded in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE). Petter Adolf Karsten named the genus Ganoderma in 1881.[1]
[edit] Botanical names

The lingzhi's botanical names have Greek and Latin roots. The generic epithet Ganoderma derives from the Greek ganos γανος "brightness; sheen", hence "shining" and derma δερμα "skin".[2] The specific epithet lucidum is Latin for "shining" and tsugae for "hemlock" (from Japanese Tsuga ).

There are multiple species of lingzhi, scientifically known to be within the Ganoderma lucidum species complex and mycologists are still researching the differences among species within this complex.[3]
[edit] Chinese names

Chinese language lingzhi compounds ling "spirit, spiritual; soul; miraculous; sacred; divine; mysterious; efficacious; effective" (cf. Lingyan Temple) and zhi 芝 "(traditional) plant of longevity; fungus; mushroom; excrescence". Fabrizio Pregadio explains, "The term zhi, which has no equivalent in Western languages, refers to a variety of supermundane substances often described as plants, fungi, or "excresences"."[4] Zhi occurs in other Chinese plant names such as zhima "sesame", and was anciently used a phonetic loan character for zhi 芷 "Angelica iris". Chinese differentiates Ganoderma species between chizhi 赤芝 "red mushroom" G. lucidum and zizhi "purple mushroom" G. japonicum.

Lingzhi 靈芝has several synonyms. Ruicao "auspicious plant" (with "auspicious; felicitous omen" and the suffix cao "plant; herb") is the oldest; the (ca. 3rd century BCE) Erya dictionary defines qiu 苬 (interpreted as a miscopy of jun "mushroom") as zhi "mushroom" and the commentary of Guo Pu (276-324) says, "The [zhi] flowers three times in one year. It is a [ruicao] felicitous plant."[5] Other Chinese names for Ganoderma include ruizhi "auspicious mushroom", "divine mushroom" (with shen "spirit; god' supernatural; divine"), xiancao 仙草 "immortality plant" (with xian "(Daoism) transcendent; immortal; wizard"), and lingzhicao or zhicao "mushroom plant".

Since both Chinese ling and zhi have multiple meanings, lingzhi has diverse English translations. Renditions include "herb of spiritual potency" or "mushroom of immortality",[6] "numinous mushroom",[7] "divine mushroom",[8] "divine fungus",[9] and "magic fungus"[10]
[edit] Japanese names

Japanese language reishi is a Sino-Japanese loanword from lingzhi. This modern Japanese kanji 零 is the shinjitai "new character form" for the kyūjitai "old character form".

Reishi synonyms divide between Sino-Japanese borrowings and native Japanese coinages. Sinitic loanwords include literary terms such as zuisō (from ruicao) "auspicious plant" and sensō (from xiaocao) "immortality plant". A common native Japanese name is mannentake 万年茸 "10,000 year mushroom". The Japanese writing system uses shi or shiba 芝 for "grass; lawn; turf" and take or kinoko 茸 for "mushroom" (e.g., shiitake). Other Japanese terms for reishi include kadodetake 門出茸 "departure mushroom", hijiridake "sage mushroom", and magoshakushi "grandchild ladle".
[edit] English names

English lingzhi or ling chih (sometimes misspelled "ling chi") is a Chinese loanword. The Oxford English Dictionary gives Chinese "líng divine + zhī fungus" as the origin of ling chih or lingzhi, and defines, "The fungus Ganoderma lucidum, believed in China to confer longevity and used as a symbol of this on Chinese ceramic ware."[11] The OED notes the earliest recorded usage of the Wade-Giles romanization ling chih in 1904,[12] and of the Pinyin lingzhi in 1980.
[edit] Description

Lingzhi is a polypore mushroom that is soft (when fresh), corky, and flat, with a conspicuous red-varnished, kidney-shaped cap and, depending on specimen age, white to dull brown pores underneath.[6] It lacks gills on its underside and releases its spores through fine pores, leading to its morphological classification as a polypore.
[edit] Varieties
Jreishi2.jpg

Ganoderma lucidum generally occurs in two growth forms, one, found in North America, is sessile and rather large with only a small or no stalk, while the other is smaller and has a long, narrow stalk, and is found mainly in the tropics. However, many growth forms exist that are intermediate to the two types, or even exhibit very unusual morphologies,[6] raising the possibility that they are separate species. Environmental conditions also play a substantial role in the different morphological characteristics lingzhi can exhibit. For example, elevated carbon dioxide levels result in stem elongation in lingzhi. Other forms show "antlers', without a cap and these may be affected by carbon dioxide levels as well.
[edit] Biochemistry
Ganoderic acid A, a compound isolated from Lingzhi.

Ganoderma lucidum produces a group of triterpenes, called ganoderic acids, which have a molecular structure similar to steroid hormones.[13] It also contains other compounds many of which are typically found in fungal materials including polysaccharides such as beta-glucan, coumarin,[citation needed] mannitol, and alkaloids.[13]
[edit] Habitat

Ganoderma lucidum, and its close relative Ganoderma tsugae, grow in the northern Eastern Hemlock forests. These two species of bracket fungus have a worldwide distribution in both tropical and temperate geographical regions, including North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia, growing as a parasite or saprotroph on a wide variety of trees.[6] Similar species of Ganoderma have been found growing in the Amazon.[14] In nature, Lingzhi grows at the base and stumps of deciduous trees, especially maple.[15] Only two or three out of 10,000 such aged trees will have Lingzhi growth, and therefore its wild form is generally rare. Today, Lingzhi is effectively cultivated both indoors under sterile conditions and outdoors on either logs or woodchip beds.
[edit] History

The word lingzhi was first recorded in a fu 賦 "rhapsody; prose-poem" by the Han dynasty polymath Zhang Heng (CE 78–139). His (ca. 100) Xijing fu 西京賦 "Western Metropolis Rhapsody" parallels lingzhi with shijun 石菌 "rock mushroom": "Raising huge breakers, lifting waves, That drenched the stone mushrooms on the high bank, And soaked the magic fungus on vermeil boughs."[16] The commentary by Xue Zong (d. 237) notes these fungi were eaten as drugs of immortality.

The (ca. 1st-2nd century CE) Shennong bencao jing "Divine Farmer's Classic of Pharmaceutics" classifies zhi into six color categories, each of which is believed to benefit the qi "life force" in a different part of the body: qingzhi 青芝 "green mushroom" for liver, chizhi 赤芝 "red mushroom" for heart, huangzhi 黃芝 "yellow mushroom" for spleen, baizhi 白芝 "white mushroom" for lung, heizhi "black mushroom" 黑芝 for kidney, and zizhi 紫芝 "purple mushroom" for essence. Commentators identify this red chizhi (or danzhi 丹芝 "cinnabar mushroom") as the lingzhi.

Chi Zhi (Ganoderma Rubra) is bitter and balanced. It mainly treats binding in the chest, boosts the heart qi, supplements the center, sharpens the wits, and [causes people] not to forget [i.e., improves the memory]. Protracted taking may make the body light, prevent senility, and prolong life so as to make one an immortal. Its other name is Dan Zhi (Cinnabar Ganoderma). It grows in mountains and valleys.[17][18]

The (ca. 320 CE) Baopuzi, written by the Jin Dynasty Daoist scholar Ge Hong, has the first classical discussion of zhi.[19] Based upon no-longer extant texts, Ge distinguishes five categories of zhi, each with 120 varieties: shizhi 石芝 "stone zhi", muzhi 木芝 "wood zhi", caozhi 草芝 "plant zhi", rouzhi 肉芝 "flesh zhi", and junzhi 菌芝 "mushroom zhi. For example, the "mushroom zhi".

Tiny excresences. These grow deep in the mountains, at the base of large trees or beside springs. They may resemble buildings, palanquins and horses, dragon and tigers, human beings, or flying birds. They may be any of the five colors. They too number 120 for which there exist illustrations. All are to be sought and gathered while using Yu's Pace [a Daoist ritual walk], and they are to be cut with a bone knife. When dried in the shade, powdered, and taken by the inch-square spoonful, they produce geniehood. Those of the intermediate class confer several thousands of years, and those of the lowest type a thousand years of life.[20]

Pregadio concludes, "While there may be no better term than "mushrooms" or "excresences" to refer to them, and even though Ge Hong states that they "are not different from natural mushrooms (ziran zhi 自然芝) (Baopuzi 16.287)", the zhi pertain to an intermediate dimension between mundane and transcendent reality."[21]

The (1596) Bencao Gangmu ("Compendium of Materia Medica") has a zhi 芝 category that includes six types of zhi (calling the green, red, yellow, white, black, and purple ones from the Shennong bencao jing the liuzhi 六芝 "six mushrooms") and sixteen other fungi, mushrooms, and lichens (e.g., mu'er 木耳 "wood ear" " Cloud ear fungus; Auricularia auricula-judae"). The author Li Shizhen classified these six differently colored zhi as xiancao 仙草 "immortality herbs", and described the effects of chizhi "red mushroom":

It positively affects the life-energy, or Qi of the heart, repairing the chest area and benefiting those with a knotted and tight chest. Taken over a long period of time, agility of the body will not cease, and the years are lengthened to those of the Immortal Fairies.[22][23]

Stuart and Smith's classic study of Chinese herbology describes the zhi.

芝 (Chih) is defined in the classics as the plant of immortality, and it is therefore always considered to be a felicitous one. It is said to absorb the earthy vapors and to leave a heavenly atmosphere. For this reason it is called 靈芝 (Ling-chih.) It is large and of a branched form, and probably represents Clavaria or Sparassis. Its form is likened to that of coral.[24]

The Bencao Gangmu does not list lingzhi as a variety of zhi, but as an alternate name for the shi'er 石耳 "stone ear" "Umbilicaria esculenta" lichen. According to Stuart and Smith,

[The 石耳 Shih-erh is] edible, and has all of the good qualities of the 芝 (Chih), being also used in the treatment of gravel, and being said to benefit virility. It is specially used in hemorrhage from the bowels and prolapse of the rectum. While the name of this would indicate that it was one of the Auriculariales, the fact that the name 靈芝 (Ling-chih) is also given to it might place it among the Clavariaceae.[25]

In Chinese art, the lingzhi symbolizes good health and long life, as depicted in the imperial Forbidden City and Summer Palace. It was a talisman for good luck in the traditional culture of China, and the goddess of healing Guanyin is sometimes depicted holding a lingzhi mushroom.[26]
[edit] Lingzhi research and therapeutic usage

Lingzhi may possess anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus (reviewed by R. R. Paterson[13] and Lindequist et al.[27]). It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure (via inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme[28]), cholesterol, and blood sugar.[29]

Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis,[30] with potency comparable to Lentinan from Shiitake mushrooms.[31]

The mechanisms by which G. lucidum may affect cancer are unknown and they may target different stages of cancer development: inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new, tumor-induced blood vessels, created to supply nutrients to the tumor) mediated by cytokines, cytoxicity, inhibiting migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells.[13] Nevertheless, G. lucidum extracts are already used in commercial pharmaceuticals such as MC-S for suppressing cancer cell proliferation and migration.

Additional studies indicate that ganoderic acid can help to strengthen the liver against liver injury by viruses and other toxic agents in mice, suggesting a potential benefit of this compound in the prevention of liver diseases in humans,[32] and Ganoderma-derived sterols inhibit lanosterol 14α-demethylase activity in the biosynthesis of cholesterol .[33] Ganoderma compounds inhibit 5-alpha reductase activity in the biosynthesis of dihydrotestosterone.[28]

Besides effects on mammalian physiology, Ganoderma is reported to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities.[34][35] Ganoderma is reported to exhibit direct anti-viral with the following viruses; HSV-1, HSV-2, influenza virus, vesicular stomatitis. Ganoderma mushrooms are reported to exhibit direct anti-microbial properties with the following organisms; Aspergillus niger, Bacillus cereus, Candida albicans, and Escherichia coli.
[edit] Preparation

Due to its bitter taste, Lingzhi is traditionally prepared as a hot water extract.[2] Thinly sliced or pulverized lingzhi (either fresh or dried) is added to a pot of boiling water, the water is then brought to a simmer, and the pot is covered; the lingzhi is then simmered for two hours.[citation needed] The resulting liquid is fairly bitter in taste, with the more active red lingzhi more bitter than the black. The process is sometimes repeated. Alternatively, it can be used as an ingredient in a formula decoction or used to make an extract (in liquid, capsule, or powder form). The more active red forms of lingzhi are far too bitter to be consumed in a soup.

References

1. ^ Karsten PA. (1881). "Enumeratio Boletinearum et Polyporearum Fennicarum, systemate novo dispositarum" (in Latin). Revue mycologique, Toulouse 3 (9): 16–19.
2. ^ Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.
3. ^ R. S. Hseu, H. H. Wang, H. F. Wang and J. M. Moncalvo (1 April 1996). "Differentiation and grouping of isolates of the Ganoderma lucidum complex by random amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR compared with grouping on the basis of internal transcribed spacer sequences" (Abstract). Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62 (4): 1354–1363. PMID 8919797. http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/62/4/1354.
4. ^ Pregadio, Fabrizio (2008). "Zhi 芝 numinous mushrooms; excrescences", in The Encyclopedia of Taoism, Fabrizio Pregadio, ed., Routledge, p. 1271.
5. ^ Tr. by E. Bretschneider (1893), Botanicon Sinicum; Notes on Chinese Botany from Native and Western Sources, Kelly & Walsh, p. 40.
6. ^ a b c d David Arora (1986). Mushrooms demystified, 2nd edition. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-89815-169-4.
7. ^ Pregadio (2008), p. 1271.
8. ^ .Hu, Shiu-ying (2006), Food plants of China, Chinese University Press.
9. ^ Bedini, Silvio A. (1994), The Trail of Time, Cambridge University Press, p. 113.
10. ^ Knechtges, David R. (1996), ' Wen Xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, Volume III, Princeton University Press, p. 201.
11. ^ Oxford English Dictionary (2009), CD-ROM edition (v. 4.0), s.v. ling chih.
12. ^ Stephen Wootton Bushell (1904), Chinese Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, p. 148. This context describes the lingzhi fungus and ruyi scepter as Daoist symbols of longevity on a jade vase.
13. ^ a b c d Paterson RR (2006). "Ganoderma - a therapeutic fungal biofactory". Phytochemistry 67: 1985–2001. doi:10.1002/chin.200650268. )
14. ^ Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture (Herbs and Health Series)by Christopher Hobbs (Author), Harriet Beinfield
15. ^ (National Audubon Society; Field guide to Mushrooms,1993)
16. ^ Tr. Knechtges (1996), 201.
17. ^ 神農本草經, 草上品. 赤芝。 苦, 平, 無毒。胸中結, 益心氣, 補中, 增智慧, 不忘。久食, 輕身不老, 延年神仙。一名丹芝。 延年神仙。
18. ^ Tr. by Yang Shouzhong (1998) The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica: A Translation of the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, Blue Poppy, pp. 17-18
19. ^ 抱朴子/卷11; tr. by Ware, James R. (1966). Alchemy, Medicine and Religion in the China of A.D. 320: The Nei Pien of Ko Hung. Dover. pp. 258.
20. ^ Tr. by Ware (1966), p. 185. This word jun [[Wikt:菌|]] means "mushroom; fungus; bacterium; germ" – not "tiny".
21. ^ Pregadio (2008), p. 1273.
22. ^ 本草綱目/菜之三. 胸中結, 益心氣, 補中, 增智慧, 不忘。久食, 輕身不老, 延年神仙。
23. ^ Tr. by Halpern, George M. (2007), Healing Mushrooms, Square One, p. 59.
24. ^ Stuart, G. A. and F. Porter Smith (1911), Chinese Materia Medica, Pt. 1, Vegetable Kingdom, Presbyterian Mission Press. p. 271.
25. ^ Stuart and Smith (1911), p. 274.
26. ^ Halpern (2007), p.59.
27. ^ Lindequist U, Niedermeyer THJ, Jülich WD. (2005). "The pharmacological potential of mushrooms". Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2 (3): 285–299. doi:10.1093/ecam/neh107. http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/2/3/285.
28. ^ a b Liu J, Kurashiki K, Shimizu K, Kondo R (December 2006), "Structure-activity relationship for inhibition of 5alpha-reductase by triterpenoids isolated from Ganoderma lucidum", Bioorg. Med. Chem. 14 (24): 8654–60, doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2006.08.018, PMID 16962782
29. ^ Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica, Third Edition by Dan Bensky, Steven Clavey, Erich Stoger, and Andrew Gamble (2004)
30. ^ Lee, SS., Chen, FD., Chang, SC., et al. (1984). In vivo anti-tumor effects of crude extracts from the mycelium of Ganoderma lucidum. J. of Chinese Oncology Society 5(3): 22-28.
31. ^ Suga, T., Shiio, T., Maeda, YY., Chihara, G. (1994). Anti tumor activity of lenytinan in murine syngeneic and autochthonous hosts and its suppressive effect on 3 methylcholanthrene induced carcinogenesis. Cancer Res. 44:5132-
32. ^ Li YQ, Wang SF (2006). "Anti-hepatitis B activities of ganoderic acid from Ganoderma lucidum". Biotechnol. Lett. 28: 837–841. doi:10.1007/s10529-006-9007-9.
33. ^ Hajjaj H, Macé C, Roberts M, Niederberger P, Fay LB (July 2005). "Effect of 26-oxygenosterols from Ganoderma lucidum and their activity as cholesterol synthesis inhibitors". Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71 (7): 3653–8. doi:10.1128/AEM.71.7.3653-3658.2005. PMID 16000773.
34. ^ Wang H, Ng TB (January 2006). "Ganodermin, an antifungal protein from fruiting bodies of the medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum". Peptides 27 (1): 27–30. doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2005.06.009. PMID 16039755.
35. ^ Moradali MF, Mostafavi H, Hejaroude GA, Tehrani AS, Abbasi M, Ghods S (2006). "Investigation of potential antibacterial properties of methanol extracts from fungus Ganoderma applanatum". Chemotherapy 52 (5): 241–4. doi:10.1159/000094866. PMID 16899973.