Lingzhi, a popular medicinal mushroom, has been used in China, Japan, and Korea for the promotion of longevity and health since ancient times. The Chinese and Koreans know it as Lingzhi (mushroom of herb and immortality), whereas the Japanese call this mushroom Reishi or mannentake (10,000-year mushroom).
Lingzhi encompasses several Ganoderma species, the most commonly used for medicinal purposes and health foods are Ganoderma tsugae and Ganoderma Lucidum. Ganoderma tsugae is a special local species in Changbai-mountain region in China. It differs from Ganoderma Lucidum in colour and shape of the fruit body and is called Songshan Lingzhi in Changbai-mountain region.
The medicinal mushroom Ganoderma tsugae var. jannieae (“Sung-Shan-Ling-Chih” or “Jannieae Lingzhi”) is a highly prized new variety which has very important medicinal properties as a producer of biologically active substances.
Lingzhi has been used in folk medicine of China and Japan. Lingzhi has been cherished for over 4,000 years as a longevity-promoting tonic.
Medicinal use of Lingzhi in ancient Far East countries include the treatment of “deficiency fatigue”.
Over 300 reports have been published concerning the chemical constituents of G. lucidum and related species. The fruiting body, mycelia, and spores of G. lucidum contain approximately 400 different bioactive compounds, which mainly include triterpenoids, polysaccharides, nucleotides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, proteins/peptides, and trace elements.
Ganoderma tsugae var. jannieae contains a large amount of polysaccharides, especially different types of β-glucans. This species is rich in nutriceutical agents and biologically active compounds including proteins rich in essential amino acids and carbohydrates, vitamins, and lipids rich in essential fatty acids. Also, dietary fibers belonging to glucans, chitin, pectinous substances, and hemi-celluloses or polyuronides are abundant in mycelial biomass.
Lingzhi has been reported to have a number of pharmacological effects including antioxidative and radical-scavenging properties.
G. tsugae var. jannieae also has a unique importance as a modulator of the NF-κB activation pathway that plays critical roles in a variety of physiological and pathological processes. It is an antioxidant suitable as supplements in the human diet for preventing or reducing oxidative damage caused by oxidative stress reaction.
The novel beta glucan (1-3, 1-4, 1-6) found in G. tsugae var jannieae can be used for the stimulation of the immune system.
Lingzhi is usually prescribed in various forms. It may be ingested as a soup, syrup, tea, tablets, capsules, tincture, or bolus (powdered medicine in honey). The dose in tincture form (20%) is 10 mL three times daily, that of tablet is one g tablet three times daily, and syrup is 4 to 6 mL/day.
In oral treatments, some patients, when initially taking a powder extract of Lingzhi, have experienced temporary symptoms of sleepiness, thirst, rashes, bloating, frequent urination, abnormal sweating, and loose stools.
The inhibition of platelet aggregation by Lingzhi may present an additive effect in those taking blood-thinning medications such as daily aspirin or warfarin.