Reishi Extract
                And Inflammation

Reishi Extract And Inflammation

by Dr. Markho Rafael


Reishi extract has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat arthritis and other forms of inflammation for over 2,000 years. Also commonly known by its Latin name as "Ganoderma," or Chinese "Ling Zhi," Reishi is by far the most searched medicinal mushroom on the Internet with over 200,000 searches per month. And although it may not be the panacea ("cure-all") that some hold it to be, the fact that modern research confirms it as an inflammation modulator may help explain why it has long been heralded as such in the Orient.

In fact, Chinese medical practitioners have been prescribing Reishi extract for ages in cases of arthritis, bronchitis and other conditions involving any type of inflammation. Modern research in Asia as well as in America and Europe confirm the validity of these uses. Out of 19 papers used for this article, 17 reported positive results in the use or Reishi extract for arthritis. Only two were studies were inconclusive, both of which were conducted by the same research team. (1,2)

A U.S. based study conducted in 1993 showed that a water extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) exhibited "significant anti-inflammatory activity." (4) Ten years later, an Indian research paper was published which stated that the use of Reishi extract helped decrease inflammation in acute edema by 56% and in chronic edema by 60%. (3) Using the "Article References" link on this page, you will find references to seven additional research articles that confirm Reishi extract as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. (5,6,7,8,9,10,11)

Other Reishi studies have been performed which more directly relate to arthritis. A 2006 report by Kenneth Blum et al. provided support that clinical evidence demonstrates the effectiveness and safety of natural substances for joint health, such as glucosamine sulfate , chondroitin sulfate, and Ganoderma lucidum [Reishi]. (12)

Also that same year, a Chinese study by Xi Bao et al. came to the conclusion that Reishi plus another medicinal herbal remedy commonly used in China seemed to have a "beneficial immunomodulatory effect" on arthritis. (13)

Just how Reishi accomplishes its beneficial influence on arthritis may have been stumbled upon by Ho et al. in 2007 (14) when they discovered that GL-PP [Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide peptide] helped to significantly reduce one of the causative agents of rheumatoid arthritis known as RASF, short for "Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts."

A number of other studies also report positive findings for using Reishi extract with arthritis (15,16,17) One of them even reports favorable results in comparing Reishi with prednisone, and without the side effects. (18) Furthermore, a different study found that supplementation with Reishi extract actually helped to balance the side effects of prednisolone experienced by some patients, including proteinuria and cell toxicity. (19) (Prednisone breaks down in the body to form prednisolone, which is the active compound.)

In conclusion, the findings of 17 out of the 19 scientific papers referenced for this article agree that Reishi can help support joint health in cases of arthritis. However, it is important to always consult a licensed medical practitioner before using any herb for medicinal purposes, and to never change the use of existing prescription drugs without talking to your doctor about it first.

Name clarification: The Japanese name Reishi includes many closely related species. By far the most prevalent is Ganoderma lucidum (Common Reishi or Red Reishi), a species rare in the U.S. but common in South East Asia. The English common name for Ganoderma lucidum is Varnished Conk. In China, its known as Ling Zhi.

Other related species that are often called "Reishi" include: "Hemlock Reishi" (Ganoderma tsugae)," which is common on hemlock trees in eastern U.S.; the Chinese species known as "Black Reishi" (Ganoderma sinense); another American species found on the west coast which is sometimes referred to as "Red Reishi" (Ganoderma resinaceum), although "Red Reishi" more often refers to G. lucidum in contrast to "Black Reishi," G. sinense; and finally two Japanese species, one that is sometimes known as "Purple Reishi" Ganoderma japonicum, and one without any English name, Ganoderma neo-japonicum.

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