Reishi / lingzhi (spirit plant)
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) revered in China and Japan for centuries is said to promote longevity. It is called “The Mushroom of Immortality” and, in fact, has high levels of terpenoids known to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Eating reishi can protect against skin cancer and can slow down aging of the skin. The use of chemo- therapy to treat cancer can kill blood cells including white blood cells that travel through the bloodstream to infected areas to help the body heal. Bone marrow, where white blood cells are produced are sensitive to radiation and radiation reduces white blood cell synthesis. Reduction of white blood cells makes the human body more subject to disease and infection. Hebei Academy of Medical Sciences (China) experiments demonstrate that reishi prevents white blood cell count from decreasing due to exposure to irradiation.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong isolated very strong antioxidants (terpenes) in Reishi that regulate oxygen utilization. An excess of oxygen in the blood can damage our health. This is the metabolic pathway by which the terpenes found in reishi fortify the body and help to maintain balance (homeostasis).
Science has identified substances associated with controlling the growth of malignant cancer cells. The most notable of these are TNF alpha,, Interleukin 1 beta or II-1 beta, and interleukin 6. Taiwanese scientists found that polysaccharies in reishi cause an increase in these substances to a level at the high end of the normal range – high enough to kill the malignant cells but not so high that they might negatively effect healthy cells. The immune system is boosted, but not to the extent that the immune system is overstimulated.