Ganoderma Lucidum: Description and Characterization

The Ganoderma Lucidum Karst (Lingzhi) is a polypore fungus belonging to the genus Ganoderma, which is in the family Ganodermataceae. Ganoderma lucidum, an oriental fungus, has a long history of use for promoting health and longevity in China, Japan, and other Asian countries. It is a large, dark mushroom with a glossy exterior and a woody texture. The Latin word lucidus means “shiny” or “brilliant” and refers to the varnished appearance of the surface of the mushroom. In China, G. lucidum is called lingzhi, whereas in Japan the name for the Ganodermataceae family is reishi or mannentake.

Among cultivated mushrooms, G. lucidum is unique in that its pharmaceutical rather than nutritional value is paramount. A variety of commercial G. lucidum products are available in various forms, such as powders, dietary supplements, and tea. These are produced from different parts of the mushroom, including mycelia, spores, and fruit body. The specific applications and attributed health benefits of lingzhi include control of blood glucose levels, modulation of the immune system, hepatoprotection, bacteriostasis, and more. The various beliefs regarding the health benefits of G. lucidum are based largely on anecdotal evidence, traditional use, and cultural mores. However, recent reports provide scientific support to some of the ancient claims of the health benefits of lingzhi.[1]

Lingzhi has been recognized as a medicinal mushroom for over 2000 years, and its powerful effects have been documented in ancient scripts[2]. In the Supplement to Classic of Materia Medica (502-536 AD) and the Ben Cao Gang Mu by Li Shin-Zhen, which is considered to be the first pharmacopoeia in China (1590 AD; Ming dynasty), the mushroom was attributed with therapeutic properties, such as tonifying effects, enhancing vital energy, strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory, and anti aging effects. According to the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (2000)[3], G. lucidum acts to replenish Qi, ease the mind, and relieve cough and asthma, and it is recommended for dizziness, insomnia, palpitation, and shortness of breath.

Owing to its irregular distribution in the wild and to an increasing demand for G. lucidum as a medicinal herb, attempts were made to cultivate the mushroom. Varieties and Cultivars

The family Ganodermataceae describes polypore basidiomycetous fungi having a double-walled basidiospore (Donk 1964). Basidiocarps of this genus have a laccate (shiny) surface  that is associated with the presence of thickwalled pilocystidia embedded in an extracellular melanin matrix. In all 219 species within the family have been assigned to the genus Ganoderma, of which G. lucidum (W. Curt.: Fr.) P. Karsten is the species type[4].

The cultivar used in this drug product is Red Ganoderma Lucidum Karst( Red Lingzhi) Prior Human Experience

Ganoderma Lucidum Karst is umbrella-shaped, with a kidney-shaped cap, semi-circular or nearly circular. Ganoderma lucidum spores are the male and female gametes of the reproductive generations of Ganoderma lucidum, which contain a lot of functional active ingredients such as polysaccharides, triterpenes and peptides.

Ganoderma lucidum (GL), a traditional medicinal fungus, has been widely used as an adjuvant in clinical anti-tumor therapies.[5]