And at least three species have demonstrated phenomenal healing potential: maitake, shiitake, and reishi. These medicinal mushrooms have been shown to boost heart health; lower the risk of cancer,; promote immune function; ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi; reduce inflammation; combat allergies; help balance blood sugar levels; and support the body's detoxification mechanisms.
Maitake, shiitake, and reishi mushrooms have many overlapping properties: all boost immune function, all support cardiovascular health, and all show promise in lowering the risk of - or treating - cancer. However, maitake is specifically recommended for the stomach and intestines, as well as blood sugar levels; shiitake treats nutritional deficiencies and liver ailments; and reishi promotes respiratory health and spirituality.
Reishi mushrooms benefit people stricken with a variety of ailments
How can one fungus help the human body in so many ways? Traditional Eastern medical science explains reishi's wide range of medicinal applications better, perhaps, than mainstream medicine ever could. According to Eastern thought, the body needs to defend itself against threats to its "equilibrium." These threats can be physical, such as viruses and bacteria that cause infection; emotional, such as stressors that cause anxiety; or energetic, in that they reduce alertness. Whatever the threat, reishi helps the body maintain its defense against these threats to its equilibrium, helping the body to maintain balance. In this sense, diseases like heart disease and cancer mean that the body is out of balance, which is why an equilibrium-enhancing remedy such as reishi can help so many diverse ailments.
Skeptics can doubt the previous explanation as Taoist "mumbo jumbo," but laboratory research proves many of reishi's medicinal applications. As Dr. Andrew Weil writes, reishi "has been the subject of a surprising amount of scientific research in Asia and the West." Research shows that the polysaccharide beta-1,3-D-glucan in reishi boosts the immune system by raising the amount of macrophages T-cells, which has major implications for people suffering from AIDS and other immune system disorders.
This immune-boosting action also works wonders in the prevention and treatment of cancer, as the T-cells are then able to fight cancer cells more effectively. However, reishi may help the body defeat cancer in not just one, but four ways. In addition to boosting the immune system, the glucan in reishi helps immune cells bind to tumor cells. Many experts believe that it also actually reduces the number of cancerous cells, making it easier for T-cells and macrophages to rid the body of them. Another substance in reishi, called canthaxanthin, slows down the growth of tumors, according to "Prescription for Dietary Wellness" author Phyllis A. Balch and other experts. As a result of these amazing anti-cancer abilities, laboratory research and traditional medicinal usage of reishi to fight cancer is so positive that the Japanese government officially recognizes it as a cancer treatment.
Besides cancer, reishi can help and treat another of America's top killers: cardiovascular disease. The protection reishi offers against heart disease and stroke is truly remarkable because it helps prevent so many different risk factors, due to its high content of heart-saving substances like sterols, ganoderic acids, coumarin, mannitol and polysaccharides. Experts believe that the ganoderic acids in particular lower triglyceride levels, remove excess cholesterol from the blood, lower blood pressure, reduce platelet stickiness and even help correct arrhythmia. In fact, for 54 people with hypertension unresponsive to medication, taking reishi extract three times a day for four weeks was enough to significantly lower blood pressure, according to a study reported by Burton Goldberg in "Heart Disease." Just imagine how the incidence of cardiovascular disease could be reduced if using reishi really caught on in the Western hemisphere.
While you protect your body against infectious disease, cancer and heart disease, your use of reishi can also help relieve your everyday discomforts. Do you have allergies? Japanese researchers discovered that the lanostan in reishi acts as a natural antihistamine. Do you suffer from muscle aches or arthritis? Dr. William B. Stavinhoa of the University of Texas Health Science Center found that reishi is as powerful as five milligrams of hydrocortisone, but with minimal side effects. What about anxiety or insomnia? According to "Mind Boosters" by Dr. Ray Sahelia, the reishi mushroom can calm the mind, as well as improve memory, concentration and focus. With all these benefits, reishi truly is the "medicine of kings."
Ganoderma extract or grinding
Some company simply grinds this herb into powder form. Some uses high technology extraction method to extract only its essences into powder form.
Extraction concentration can be as high as 16 to 1. That means, 1000kg of this fungus is extracted to only 60kg. One capsule of Ganoderma extract at 16 to 1 concentration is equivalent to 16 capsules of the grinded one.
Needless to say, Ganoderma herb supplement using extraction method is many times more effective and purer than grinding method.
2) Capsulated or log wood cultivation
Most Ganoderma products are capsulated (vacuum packing) cultivated using wooden crams and chemicals. This produces softer fruit body with less active components for effective health improvement.
Because of the chemicals used, some may even be contaminated with toxics and even heavy metals such as mercury.
Meanwhile, log wood cultivated Ganoderma is a few times more potent in its medicinal values. It is purer with higher content of beneficial active components.
However, this cultivation method is much more expensive in term of the space used and time required. So, many manufacturers prefer to use capsulated cultivated Ganoderma.
3) Ganoderma spore powder
Spore powder is the most precious part of Ganoderma herb with the most concentration of active components like Organic Germanium, Polysaccharides and Triterpenes.
Choose Ganoderma extract with spore powder for better results. Make sure the spore shell is broken to release its essences.