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    Ganodorma (Ling Zhi) (靈芝)
    lingzhi1.jpglingzhi2.jpgThe lingzhi mushroom or reishi mushroom (traditional Chinese: 靈芝; pinyin: língzhī; Japanese: reishi; Vietnamese: linh chi; literally: "supernatural mushroom") encompasses several fungal species of the genus Ganoderma, and most commonly refers to the closely related species, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma tsugae. G. lucidum enjoys special veneration in East Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally. Lingzhi is listed in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium.

    Lingzhi is a polypore mushroom that is soft (when fresh), corky, and flat, with a conspicuous red-varnished, kidney-shaped cap and, depending on specimen age, white to dull brown pores underneath. It lacks gills on its underside and releases its spores through fine pores, leading to its morphological classification as a polypore.

    Lingzhi may possess anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus (reviewed by R. R. Paterson and Lindequist et al.). It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure (via inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme), cholesterol, and blood sugar.

    Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer, including epithelial ovarian cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis, with potency comparable to Lentinan from Shiitake mushrooms.

    The mechanisms by which Ganoderma lucidum may affect cancer are unknown and they may target different stages of cancer development: inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new, tumor-induced blood vessels, created to supply nutrients to the tumor) mediated by cytokines, cytoxicity, inhibiting migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells. Nevertheless, Ganoderma lucidum extracts are already used in commercial pharmaceuticals such as MC-S for suppressing cancer cell proliferation and migration.

    Additional studies indicate that ganoderic acid has some protective effects against liver injury by viruses and other toxic agents in mice, suggesting a potential benefit of this compound in the treatment of liver diseases in humans, and Ganoderma-derived sterols inhibit lanosterol 14α-demethylase activity in the biosynthesis of cholesterol .Ganoderma lucidum compounds inhibit 5-alpha reductase activity in the biosynthesis of dihydrotestosterone.

    Besides effects on mammalian physiology, Ganoderma lucidum is reported to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities.Ganoderma lucidum is reported to exhibit direct anti-viral with the following viruses; HSV-1, HSV-2, influenza virus, vesicular stomatitis. Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms are reported to exhibit direct anti-microbial properties with the following organisms; Aspergillus niger, Bacillus cereus, Candida albicans, and Escherichia coli. Other benefits were studied such as the effect of lowering hypertension, cholesterol, and anti-inflammatory benefits through the ganoderic acid properties.

    Its genome, with about 12,600 genes on 13 chromosomes, was sequenced in 2012.


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