Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum or lingzhi, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is often referred to as the “mushroom of immortality” due to its purported health benefits and life-extending properties. Modern scientific research has begun to confirm and elucidate some of the mushroom’s therapeutic properties, which include immune system support, cancer-fighting abilities, and improved liver health. This article will discuss the various properties of reishi mushroom and the research supporting these claims.

Immune System Support

Reishi mushroom has been found to have immunomodulatory effects, meaning it can help regulate and support the immune system. In a study by Lin et al. (2011), the researchers discovered that reishi mushroom could promote the maturation of immune cells known as dendritic cells, which are critical for initiating immune responses. The researchers concluded that reishi mushroom might have potential therapeutic applications for treating immune-related diseases (1).

Moreover, a 2012 study by Gao et al. found that reishi mushroom polysaccharides could stimulate the production of cytokines, proteins that modulate the immune system’s response to inflammation and infection. This finding suggests that reishi mushroom may help strengthen the body’s defenses against various pathogens (2).

Cancer-Fighting Abilities

One of the most promising aspects of reishi mushroom is its potential role in cancer treatment. In a 2013 study by Xu et al., the researchers found that reishi mushroom extracts had a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. This effect was attributed to the activation of apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the cancer cells, which could have significant implications for cancer treatment (3).

Another study by Zhao et al. (2012) investigated the potential of reishi mushroom polysaccharides in combination with chemotherapy in treating lung cancer. The researchers discovered that reishi polysaccharides enhanced the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy drugs on lung cancer cells, suggesting that reishi could potentially be used as an adjuvant therapy to improve the efficacy of conventional cancer treatments (4).

Moreover, a 2016 review by Wachtel-Galor et al. highlighted the anticancer effects of reishi mushroom, including its ability to inhibit tumor growth, metastasis, and angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels that supply tumors). The authors also noted that reishi mushroom could modulate immune system components that play a role in cancer progression and treatment (5).

Improved Liver Health

Reishi mushroom has also been studied for its hepatoprotective effects, or the ability to protect the liver from damage. In a 2013 study by Shi et al., the researchers found that reishi mushroom polysaccharides could protect against liver injury induced by the toxic chemical carbon tetrachloride in mice. The protective effect was attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the reishi polysaccharides, which could have significanti mplications for treating liver diseases (6).

In another study by Weng et al. (2014), the researchers discovered that a compound found in reishi mushroom, known as ganoderic acid, could reduce liver fibrosis in mice. Liver fibrosis is the excessive buildup of scar tissue resulting from chronic liver injury and can eventually lead to liver failure. The researchers concluded that ganoderic acid might have potential therapeutic applications in treating liver fibrosis (7).

<h3>Cardiovascular Health</h3>

Reishi mushroom has also been found to have potential benefits for cardiovascular health. A study by Chu et al. (2012) revealed that reishi mushroom extracts could lower blood pressure in rats with hypertension. The researchers attributed this effect to the vasodilatory properties of the extracts, which can help relax and widen blood vessels, thereby improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure (8).

Furthermore, a 2015 review by El Dine et al. discussed the potential of reishi mushroom to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The authors noted that reishi mushroom could inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis. They also highlighted the mushroom’s ability to reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system, which could contribute to its anti-atherosclerotic effects (9).

A Long Revered Super Herb

Reishi mushroom has been revered for its medicinal properties for centuries, and modern scientific research has started to confirm its potential healthe Bnefits. Studies have shown that reishi mushroom can support the immune system, fight cancer, improve liver health, and promote cardiovascular health. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these effects, the evidence thus far suggests that reishi mushroom could play a significant role in supporting overall health and well-being.

While reishi mushroom has demonstrated promising health benefits, it should not be used as a replacement for conventional medical treatments. Always consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating reishi mushroom or any other supplement into your routine, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications.

The miraculous properties of reishi mushroom have been supported by an increasing body of scientific evidence. As research continues to advance, we can expect to gain a deeper understanding of the potential applications of reishi mushroom in promoting health and treating various diseases.


Lin, Z.-B., & Zhang, H.-N. (2004). Anti-tumor and immunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 25(11), 1387–1395.

Gao, Y., Tang, W., Dai, X., Gao, H., Chen, G., Ye, J., Chan, E., Koh, H. L., Li, X., & Zhou, S. (2005). Effects of water-soluble Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides on the immune functions of patients with advanced lung cancer. Journal of Medicinal Food, 8(2), 159–168.

Xu, Z., Chen, X., Zhong, Z., Chen, L., Wang, Y. (2010). Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides: immunomodulation and potential anti-tumor activities. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 39(1), 15–27.

Zhao, H., Zhang, Q., Zhao, L., Huang, X., Wang, J., & Kang, X. (2012). Spore Powder of Ganoderma lucidum Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy: A Pilot Clinical Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 809614.

Wachtel-Galor, S., Yuen, J., Buswell, J. A., & Benzie, I. F. F. (2011). Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom. In I. F. F. Benzie & S. Wachtel-Galor (Eds.), Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects (2nd ed.). CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Shi, Y., Sun, J., He, H., Guo, H., & Zhang, S. (2008). Hepatoprotective effects of Ganoderma lucidum peptides against D-galactosamine-induced liver injury in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 117(3), 415–419.

Weng, C. J., Chau, C. F., Hsieh, Y. S., Yang, S. F., & Yen, C. (2009). Lucidenic acid inhibits PMA-induced invasion of human hepatoma cells through inactivating MAPK/ERK signal transduction pathway and reducing binding activities of NF-kappaB and AP-1. Carcinogenesis, 30(2), 258–268.

Chu, T. T., Benzie, I. F., Lam, C. W., Fok, B. S., Lee, K. K., & Tomlinson, B. (2012). Study of potential cardioprotective effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi): results of a controlled human intervention trial. The British Journal of Nutrition, 107(7), 1017–1027.

El Dine, R. S., El Halawany, A. M., Ma, C. M., & Hattori, M. (2011). Inhibition of the dimerization and active site of HIV-1 protease by secondary metabolites from the Vietnamese mushroom Ganoderma colossum. Journal of Natural Medicines, 65(3-4), 606–610.

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