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Nutritional Supplement

Reishi

  • Prostate Support

    Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

    A double-blind trial found that an extract of Ganoderma lucidum mushroom was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving urinary symptoms in men with BPH.
    Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
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    In a double-blind trial, an extract of Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum; 6 mg per day for 8 weeks) was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving urinary symptoms in men with BPH. Reishi extract appears to work by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to its more active form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).6
  • Blood Sugar and Diabetes Support

    Type 2 Diabetes

    Reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes.
    Type 2 Diabetes
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    Multiple studies using experimental and animal models of type 2 diabetes have reported anti-diabetes effects of reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) and its constituents.7,8,9,10 However, in a placebo-controlled trial with 84 participants, 3 grams per day of reishi mushroom for 16 weeks had no effect on glycemic control or any metabolic markers in people with type 2 diabetes.11

    Type 1 Diabetes

    Reishi may improve immune function and has demonstrated benefits in diabetic animals.
    Type 1 Diabetes
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    Animal studies suggest reishi extract may improve immune function and wound healing in the context of type 1 diabetes.12,13 Furthermore, reishi has demonstrated anti-diabetic actions, such as lowering high glucose levels and increasing insulin levels, in animal studies.14 Clinical trials are needed to confirm these effects in humans.
  • Heart and Circulatory Health

    Hypertension

    One trial reported that reishi mushrooms significantly lowered blood pressure.
    Hypertension
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    A double-blind trial reported that reishi mushrooms significantly lowered blood pressure in humans.15 The trial used a concentrated extract of reishi (25:1) in the amount of 55 mg three times per day for four weeks. It is unclear from the clinical report how long it takes for the blood pressure-lowering effects of reishi to be measured.

    Hawthorn leaf and flower extracts have been reported to have a mild blood pressure–lowering effect in people with early stage congestive heart failure.16 In a double-blind study, supplementation with a hawthorn extract significantly decreased diastolic blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. The amount used was 1,200 mg per day of an extract standardized to 2.2% flavonoids corresponding to 6 per day of dried flowering tops.17

  • Immune System Support

    Infection

    Reishi supports the immune system in the fight against microbes.
    Infection
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    Herbs that support a person’s immune system in the fight against microbes include the following: American ginseng, andrographis, Asian ginseng, astragalus, coriolus, eleuthero, ligustrum, maitake, picrorhiza, reishi, schisandra, and shiitake.

    HIV and AIDS Support

    Reishi is medicinal mushroom with immune-modulating effects that may be beneficial for people with HIV infection.
    HIV and AIDS Support
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    Immune-modulating plants that could theoretically be beneficial for people with HIV infection include Asian ginseng, eleuthero, and the medicinal mushrooms shiitake and reishi. One preliminary study found that steamed then dried Asian ginseng (also known as red ginseng) had beneficial effects in people infected with HIV, and increased the effectiveness of the anti-HIV drug, AZT.18 This supports the idea that immuno-modulating herbs could benefit people with HIV infection, though more research is needed.

What Are Star Ratings?
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Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Reishi has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for at least 2,000 years.19 The Chinese name ling zhi translates as the “herb of spiritual potency” and was highly prized as an elixir of immortality.20 Its Traditional Chinese Medicine indications include treatment of general fatigue and weakness, asthma, insomnia, and cough.21

References

1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 255-60.

2. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 96-107.

3. Jones K. Reishi mushroom: Ancient medicine in modern times. Alt Compl Ther 1998;4:256-66 [review].

4. Kammatsuse K, Kajiware N, Hayashi K. Studies on Ganoderma lucidum: I. Efficacy against hypertension and side effects. Yakugaku Zasshi 1985;105:531-3.

5. Jin H, Zhang G, Cao X, et al. Treatment of hypertension by ling zhi combined with hypotensor and its effects on arterial, arteriolar and capillary pressure and microcirculation. In: Nimmi H, Xiu RJ, Sawada T, Zheng C (eds). Microcirculatory Approach to Asian Traditional Medicine. New York: Elsevier Science, 1996, 131-8.

6. Noguchi M, Kakuma T, Tomiyasu K, et al. Effect of an extract of Ganoderma lucidum in men with lower urinary tract symptoms: a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized and dose-ranging study. Asian J Androl 2008;10:651-8.

7. Yang Z, Wu F, He Y, et al. A novel PTP1B inhibitor extracted from Ganoderma lucidum ameliorates insulin resistance by regulating IRS1-GLUT4 cascades in the insulin signaling pathway. Food Funct 2018;9:397–406.

8. Yang Z, Chen C, Zhao J, et al. Hypoglycemic mechanism of a novel proteoglycan, extracted from Ganoderma lucidum, in hepatocytes. Eur J Pharmacol 2018;820:77–85.

9. Xiao C, Wu Q, Xie Y, et al. Hypoglycemic mechanisms of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides F31 in db/db mice via RNA-seq and iTRAQ. Food Funct 2018;9:6495–507.

10. Wang F, Zhou Z, Ren X, et al. Effect of Ganoderma lucidum spores intervention on glucose and lipid metabolism gene expression profiles in type 2 diabetic rats. Lipids Health Dis 2015;14:49.

11. Klupp N, Kiat H, Bensoussan A, et al. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of Ganoderma lucidum for the treatment of cardiovascular risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Sci Rep 2016;6:29540.

12. Yurkiv B, Wasser S, Nevo E, Sybirna N. The Effect of Agaricus brasiliensis and Ganoderma lucidum Medicinal Mushroom Administration on the L-arginine/Nitric Oxide System and Rat Leukocyte Apoptosis in Experimental Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Int J Med Mushrooms 2015;17:339–50.

13. Tie L, Yang H, An Y, et al. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide accelerates refractory wound healing by inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative stress in type 1 diabetes. Cell Physiol Biochem 2012;29:583–94.

14. Ma H, Hsieh J, Chen S. Anti-diabetic effects of Ganoderma lucidum. Phytochemistry 2015;114:109–13.

15. Jin H, Zhang G, Cao X, et al. Treatment of hypertension by ling zhi combined with hypotensor and its effects on arterial, arteriolar and capillary pressure and microcirculation. In: Nimmi H, Xiu RJ, Sawada T, Zheng C (eds). Microcirculatory Approach to Asian Traditional Medicine. New York: Elsevier Science, 1996, 131-8.

16. Schmidt U, Kuhn U, Ploch M, Hübner W-D. Efficacy of the hawthorn (Crataegus) preparation LI 132 in 78 patients with chronic congestive heart failure defined as NYHA functional class II. Phytomed 1994;1(1):17-24.

17. Walker AF, Marakis G, Simpson E, et al. Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Gen Pract 2006;56:437-43.

18. Cho YK, Kim Y, Choi M, et al. The effect of red ginseng and zidovudine on HIV patients. Int Conf AIDS 1994;10:215 [abstract no. PB0289].

19. Jones K. Reishi: Ancient Herb for Modern Times. Issaquah, WA: Sylvan Press, 1990, 6.

20. Willard T. Reishi Mushroom: Herb of Spiritual Potency and Wonder. Issaquah, WA: Sylvan Press, 1990, 11.

21. Shu HY. Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide. Palos Verdes, CA: Oriental Healing Arts Press, 1986, 640-1.

22. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 96-107.

23. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A (eds). American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 55.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.