Theraputic Mushrooms 101 Meet Ganoderma Lucidum References & Research

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References & Research

Mushrooms, often misperceived and misunderstood in the rest of the world, have, for more than 7,000 years, been used as power remedies in Chinese Apothecaries and as herbal tonics and medicines for the royal families of China.

One mushroom in particular has been used extensively to treat a variety of conditions. Better known in modern scientific circles as Ganoderma Lucidum, this powerful mushroom has been applied with some success against a number of pathologies ranging from insomnia and arthritis to hepatitis, cancer, consumption and heart disease. A related species, Ganoderma Tsugae, is believed to hold medicinal properties as well, and is thought to be another variety of Ganoderma Lucidum.

What Does Ganoderma look like?

Ganoderma Lucidum in its various incarnations belongs to a large group of fungi (various types) called polypores. Distinguishing this group are the tubes on the underside of the fruiting body, in which spores are produced. Each tube ends in a tiny "mouth" called a pore, and a fruiting body includes many hundreds or thousands of pores that discharge countless brown spores. Polypores are a diverse group and are also known by several common names such as shelf fungi, bracket fungi and conks.

Where can it be found and can you grow it?

Ganoderma Lucidum can grow in several surroundings but, in the wild, seems to prefer hardwood deciduous trees such as maple and oak. This can be a problem for foresters, as these fungi will rot valuable trees. Fortunately for those who seek to gather large quantities of these fungi for medicinal purposes, Ganoderma Lucidum can be cultivated and is now being grown commercially with great success on plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. In fact, an entire field of study called mycology is devoted almost exclusively to the research, development, farming and harvesting of mushrooms - with the Ganoderma Lucidum, leading the way in terms of both commercial variety and therapeutic potential.

How does it really work?

According to virtually hundreds of scientific studies and laboratory reports, Ganoderma Lucidum can be used in virtually hundreds of ways. And according to a number of studies, it has become noted for its antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral and antipruritic qualities. It apparently also helps balance blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, enhance the human immune system, balance kidneys and help detoxify the liver. In fact, its antioxidant qualities are (it has more than 150) are the very things that seem to set it apart from any other mushroom, herb, or food.

Looking forward...

Research continues, but many Chinese and scientists in the Pacific Rim already use preparations of Ganoderma Lucidum on a daily basis to promote good health. Ganoderma Lucidum has been officially listed as a treatment for cancer in Japan. The medicinal properties of Ganoderma Lucidum are gaining popularity in the United States. Ganoderma Lucidum products are widely available in health food stores, drug stores and from Chinese herb dealers on the Internet.