Ganoderma is more commonly known as reishi mushroom. This bitter, hard mushroom is a staple in traditional Chinese medicine. While this mushroom is widely used for medicinal purposes, it is not recommended for cooking. Ganoderma can be found in liquid extracts and in capsules. Both of these are usually easily found in health food stores. While it is often quite bitter, this mushroom can also be consumed in coffee or tea form. There are several different uses of ganoderma and its proponents.
Animal-based research studies show preliminary evidence that this mushroom could be effective in easing airway inflammation related allergies and in lowering cholesterol levels.
One of the many uses of ganoderma is as an immune system stimulant. It is purported for use in patients with HIV and cancer to fight cancer-cell proliferation and strengthen immunity.
A 2008 study showed that this mushroom helped to provide relief of symptoms related to urinary tract ailments affecting men.
Several different small studies show that this mushroom, when used on a regular basis, may help in increasing antioxidant levels. This may help in fighting against aging and a variety of different diseases and conditions.
The purported uses of this mushroom include fatigue, HIV and AIDS, immunostimulation, stamina and strength, high cholesterol, hypertension, inflammation and viral infections.
Some patients report this mushroom helping to ease the adverse side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, such as loss of appetite, bone marrow suppression, fatigue, hair loss and infection risk. However, there is also the chance that this mushroom could adversely affect chemotherapy drugs.
Further research needs to be conducted to determine how effective this mushroom is so all patients must talk to their doctor before using it.
Some patients report nausea and other gastrointestinal problems, dry nose and dry throat. Other possible side effects may include slight rise in blood pressure, body pain, skin rash, dizziness, digestive issues, red dots on the skin, itchiness, increase in acne, headache and leg swelling. For most patients, these side effects are usually temporary.
Ganoderma may also adversely interact with anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications, immunosuppressant medications, antihypertensive medications and chemotherapeutic agents.
With anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications, combining these with this mushroom, there is an increased risk of bleeding.
Additive hypotensive effects occur when combining this mushroom with antihypertensive drugs.
An enhanced immune response can occur when this mushroom is combined with immunosuppressant drugs.
An increase in plasma antioxidant capacity can occur when this mushroom is combined with chemotherapeutic agents.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. (2008). Reishi Mushroom. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: https://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69353.cfm
Engelbrecht, K. and Volk, T. (2005). Ganoderma Lucidum. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from The University of Wisconsin Madison: https://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/mar2005.html
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