Studies on Bioactive Substances and Medical Effects of REISHI
Reishi, the fruiting body of Mannentake, Ganoderma lucidum has been known in Japan, China, and other countries as a food and raw material for the development of drugs. Recent studies have shown that that carcinostatic substance in Reishi is a polysaccharide, beta (1-3)- D – glucan. This polysaccharide seems to have promise as a new type of carcinostatic agent which might be useful in immunotherapy. Unlike chemicals used in chemotherapy, it has few toxic side effects because its effect is based on immunological enhancement in the host. Reishi also seems to contain other substances which reduce blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels; and inhibit platelet aggregation, etc.
Recently, in vitro immunomodulating effects of Reishi extracts, and clinical study of micronized Reishi in Thai HIV and AIDS patients were attempted in Thailand. Some lanostane tri-terpenoids have been isolated from G. lucidum. These are highly oxidized compounds which show interesting biological activities.
Takashi Mizuno, Shizuoka University, Japan