Ganoderma, or reishi, is named from the Chinese word meaning herb of spiritual potency and it has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Ganoderma use is recorded in the oldest Chinese medical text, dating back more than 2,000 years, for a wide variety of ailments, ranging from fatigue to asthma. It is now being studied for use with numerous conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, and prostate enlargement. As with any herb, consult your doctor before using ganoderma medicinally.
According to the PaloAltoMedicalFoundation.org, or PAMF, ganoderma may lower blood pressure, decrease LDL, or bad, cholesterol and reduce platelet stickiness, which helps to prevent hardening of the arteries. The PAMF reports on one human trial conducted by H. Jin and colleagues in 1996 that showed that reishi mushroom extract taken in doses of 55 mg three times per day for four weeks lowered blood pressure significantly more than placebo, or inactive medicine.
A few research studies have shown that reishi may have some beneficial effects in people with diabetes. According to Drugs.com, animal studies have shown that ganoderma may affect carbohydrate metabolism and enhance insulin secretion. Ganoderma has also been shown to decrease blood sugar levels following a meal in some people with diabetes, says Drugs.com.
Ganoderma may be effective in relieving symptoms of an enlarged prostate. A study published in the "Asian Journal of Andrology" in 2007 studied the effects of ganoderma extract in doses of 6 mg daily on symptoms in men with prostatic enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia. Results of this study showed that ganoderma improved urinary symptoms significantly more than placebo, or inactive medicine, after eight weeks of treatment.
Preliminary human research demonstrates some efficacy for reishi in treating chronic hepatitis B. According to the PaloAltoMedicalFoundation.org, ganoderma supports the immune system and may be useful to aid in treating cancer, and some infections, including HIV and AIDS. Ganoderma's effects on the immune system may also make it beneficial in managing rheumatoid arthritis. A study published in the "Journal of Medicinal Food" in 2005 showed that ganoderma lessened the feeling of fatigue in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.