Habitat and origin
Reishi is a woody fungus that grows mainly on the trunks of wild plum decomposition, sometimes those of oak or hemlock. Very rare in the wild, it grows only in the mountains, in deep forests. Nowadays, it is also grown in an artificial environment in China, elsewhere in Asia and North America, including Quebec.
Dosage of reishi
In Japanese and Chinese medicine, dosages typically range from 1.5 g to 9 g per day of dried fungus or the equivalent in the form of tablets, capsules or solid or fluid extract. Consult a trained practitioner for personalized treatment.
History of reishi
This fungus has for over 2000 years, an unusual reputation in Asia. It is mentioned in the oldest written in Chinese Pharmacopoeia (classical herbarium Seng Nong – published in 56 BCE) and it is believed that Asians knew reishi for centuries, even millennia before this time.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM ) and , after him, the kempo medicine in Japan, take the flesh of reishi for a valuable tonic Qi (or Chi ) , the vital energy that supports the entire body. Therefore, it is assigned a global action such adaptogen in traditional medicine. For MTC, such substances have the power to strengthen the whole body and help maintain an optimal state of health and balance.
Reishi is particularly appreciated as it is extremely rare in the wild. It only grows in effect in deep mountain forests, usually on the trunks of plum decomposition, and it is found that 2 or 3 for 10,000 dead plum.
Although the Chinese have tried for centuries to grow reishi, it was not until the early 1970s that Japanese researchers have succeeded. From that moment, the fungus has become easily accessible to ordinary mortals. He was previously reserved for the privileged few who could afford the luxury of such a rarity.
Traditionally, there are 6 different varieties of reishi depending on the color (red, purple, blue, yellow, black or white). It was understood much later (in 1972) that these color differences are due to specific conditions of growth and not genetic variation within the species. It seems that fans prefer red reishi.
Nowadays, the fungus enjoys relative popularity among cancer patients.
Research on reishi
A preparation containing reishi and 3 other plants used traditionally in Chinese medicine has been tested in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Thirty of them were taken , in addition to their usual treatment , 4 g and 2.4 g of reishi traditional mixture per day . After 24 weeks, the treatment group experienced greater pain relief than the control group. However, the dosage of blood indicators of arthritis revealed no difference between the 2 groups.
More studies in vitro or in animal models tend to validate the use of reishi cancer promoted by traditional Chinese medicine. The mushroom contains substances (polysaccharides and triterpenes ) capable of inhibiting tumor growth , and their distribution in the body (metastasis ) 21 . These effects were observed on various kinds of cancers, including cancer and prostate cancer.
However, if laboratory studies appear to indicate the effects of reishi, clinical demonstration of efficacy is not yet established. Some trials have been published by a group of New Zealand researchers. They concern a reishi extract marketed under the name Ganopoly ®. The latter was administered to people with cancer in advanced stages. The results indicate that reishi extract could improve their quality of life. It would also strengthen their immune system weakened by chemotherapy and radiothérapie1 -4. The positive findings of these studies should nevertheless be tempered by the fact that many have methodological flaws (lack of placebo.3, 4, inconnue3 nature of cancer).
Preliminary trials have yielded results suggesting that reishi may be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Thus, in people with coronary artery disease, a 12-week treatment with (Ganopoly ®) commercial extract helped reduce several symptoms: palpitations, chest pain. It also reduced their cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure. This hypotensive effect (decreased blood pressure) was also observed by other researchers, in people prone to hypertension.
Moreover, in the 1990s, a project with healthy people with atherosclerosis or clinical trial has led to the conclusion that reishi could , in 2 cases, plaquettaire17 inhibit aggregation. Fifteen years later, a second study from another laboratory reversed these findings relative to healthy individuals. The question on the properties of reishi remains open.
Traditional use Fighting fatigue and strengthen the body in general. The results of a double-blind placebo conducted in China to 132 neurasthenic subjects (chronic fatigue) indicate that reishi extract (Ganopoly ®) was more effective than placebo in relieving the symptoms of this affection19 .
Traditional Chinese Medicine attributes to reishi the ability to stimulate immunity. Observations in immunosuppressed patients (see Cancer above) tend to confirm this. Other results obtained with healthy individuals indicate that the fungus could modulate the immune system, including changing the proportion of some of its cells.
During two preliminary trials in Thailand, reishi has halted proteinuria (excess protein in the urine) in diabetic patients with kidney disease.
On the other hand , a preparation containing extracts of reishi and 2 other plants ( ASHMI ® ) was developed by U.S. researchers from a traditional Chinese preparation consisted of 14 plants, to treat asthma . Preliminary studies in animals and humans have been sufficiently satisfactory to warrant further testing.
As reishi can lower blood pressure, its use is against – indicated in people with low blood pressure.
Because of its potential anticoagulant effect, reishi is not recommended in cases of thrombocytopenia , and before and after surgery or childbirth. Note, however, that the inhibitory effect of reishi on platelet aggregation effect is controversial (see related section in the section on cardiovascular protection).
Reishi can cause dryness of the mouth, throat and nasal passages, itching, nose bleeding and diarrhea. No Interactions with other plants, supplements or drugs have been reported.
Reishi is available in many forms: capsules, tablets, extracted solids or fluids, but also sliced and dried mushroom powder. Concentrations vary greatly from one sample to another (20:1 or 50:1, for example) and some products are standardized to contain 10% polysaccharides, one of the active ingredients suspected of reishi. Prices also vary widely.
In traditional Chinese medicine , only the flesh of the fungus ( hat and foot) are used, but many supplement manufacturers also use the mycelium , that is to say, the filaments from spore germination , a part that costs less but , according to the pharmacist Jean -Yves Dionne, is far from the therapeutic power of the flesh.
I personally remain convinced that, when all the pros and cons are tallied, tinctures remain an effective and elegant way of tapping into the remarkable therapeutic benefits that herbs bring to people who are ailing or whose health is in some way compromised.