The reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum or lingzhi, is used in traditional Asian medicine to treat a wide variety of health conditions from cancer to hypertension. This mushroom, which has become increasingly popular due to the reported health benefits, is available in the form of powder, tea and dietary supplement. This particular mushroom is rich in compounds called triterpenes, which are believed to provide the health benefits. Some side effects have been documented, particularly in high doses and with long-term use, so speak with your doctor before starting this supplement.
According to the book “Herbal Medicine: Bimolecular and Clinical Aspects,” reishi mushrooms have been studied, with some intriguing results, for their health benefits, including antioxidant properties and improvements to blood sugar, blood pressure, immunity and liver health. Reishi mushrooms have also been studied for their anticancer activity. A 2003 article published in “Integrative Cancer Therapies” reviewed the action of powdered reishi mushrooms on breast and prostate cancer cells, concluding this supplement had anticancer activity, but the precise mechanism of action was not clear. However, human studies are limited. Most of these studies have been completed on animals. In addition, the human studies did not contain a large enough sample size to provide strong results, and the results were not consistent with animal studies.