Reishi (Ling-zhi)

Other names: Lucerne?

Scientific name: Ganoderma lucidum

Common names:

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names: Ling zhi

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    فطر ريشي (fiter reeshi)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae?

Approximate number of species known: more than 200

Common parts used: Whole herb, sprouts


Annual/Perennial: Annual



Known Constituents:

Constituents Explained:


Traditional Use:

Used for thousands of years in China, Japan and Korea.  Reishi is a fungus; a dried mushroom. It’s growing popularity has seen it tested for its used in HIV, cancer and yeast overgrowth in the human body.  It has been taken by mountain climbers in China to help prevent sickness due to the high altitude.

Clinical Studies:

The fatigue prevalence in breast cancer survivors is high during the endocrine treatment. However, there are few evidence-based interventions to manage this symptom. 

A study investigated the effectiveness of spore powder of Ganoderma lucidum for cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing endocrine therapy. Spore powder of Ganoderma lucidum is a kind of Basidiomycete which is a widely used traditional medicine in China. 

48 breast cancer patients with cancer-related fatigue undergoing endocrine therapy were randomized into the experimental or control group. FACT-F, HADS, and EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaires data were collected at baseline and 4 weeks after treatment. 

The concentrations of TNF-α, IL-6, and liver-kidney functions were measured before and after intervention. The experimental group showed statistically significant improvements in the domains of physical well-being and fatigue subscale after intervention.

These patients also reported less anxiety and depression and better quality of life. Immune markers of CRF were significantly lower and no serious adverse effects occurred during the study. 

This pilot study suggests that spore powder of Ganoderma lucidum may have beneficial effects on cancer-related fatigue and quality of life in breast cancer patients undergoing endocrine therapy without any significant adverse effect.

Administration of hot water extracts of a herbal formula containing Ganoderma lucidum, WTMCGEPP (Wisteria floribunda 0.38, Trapa natans 0.38, Miristica agrans 0.38, Coix lachryma-jobi 0.75, cultivated Ganoderma lucidum 0.75, Elfuinga applanata 0.38, tissue cultured Panax ginseng 0.3, and Punica granatum 0.38: numerals designate dry weight gram/dose), decreased herpes zoster pain for five Japanese patients suffering from shingles.

Pain relief started within a few days of intake and was almost complete within 10 days. Two acute herpes zoster with manifestations including trigeminal nerve ophthalmia (both 74 years old), lower body zoster (70 years old), herpes zoster oticus (17 years old), and leg herpes (28 years old), responded quickly to treatment and no patient developed post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) after more than one year of follow-up.


Zhao H, Zhang Q, Zhao L, Huang X, Wang J, Kang X. “Spore Powder Of Ganoderma Lucidum Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue In Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy: A Pilot Clinical Trial.” 2012

Hijikata Y, Yasuhara A, Sahashi Y. “Effect Of An Herbal Formula Containing Ganoderma Lucidum On Reduction Of Herpes Zoster Pain: A Pilot Clinical Trial.” 2005



Herb Name:  Reishi

Other names:


Ling chih,

Ling chi mushroom

Latin name: Ganoderma lucidum

Family: Polyporaceae

Common part used: 

Whole plant.

Known as ling-zhi in China, this herb is the fruiting body of a mushroom. It is produced commercially in China, Japan, and the United States. In Japan it grows in the wild on plum trees, but most of the supply is cultivated.

Reishi 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.

Medicinal Uses: This medicinal mushroom has been used in Asia to increase energy, stimulate the immune system, and promote longevity for thousands of years. In Western countries reishi is thought to act as an adaptogen, or a substance that adapts itself to correct any imbalances in the body. Herbalists recommend reishi for strengthening the immune system against allergies, asthma, mushroom poisoning, and the immunosuppressant side effects of chemotherapy. Reishi reduces the amount of inflammatory histamines in the body. Studies have also shown that reishi may protect the body against some types of cancer as well. It contains compounds called ganoderic acids, which act against liver cancer, and blocks production of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), a substance that can lead to the formation of fibroids of the breast and uterus.

The compounds in reishi help reduce emotional stress by inhibiting the flow of nerve impulses though the central nervous system. For hundreds of years, Eastern physicians have recommended reishi to treat chronic stress. In Japan, reishi’s dulling effect on the central nervous system has lead to its use as a treatment for severe physical pain symptoms experienced by patients with shingles and neuralgia. In addition, reishi has a long history of use to help prevent memory loss.