Extract of Reishi for Arthritis
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Extract of Reishi!
While researching scientific papers in preparation for this article, seventeen out of nineteen presented positive results in using Reishi extract to treat inflammatory conditions. This appears to validate the traditional use of the herb in China, where it has long been used as an analgesic, and prescribed to treat inflammation and arthritis. Only two studies out of the nineteen that are referenced for this article showed inconclusive results. Both of those studies were conducted at the same institution. 1, 2
Other research has been conducted on Reishi extract that relate specifically to arthritis. In 2006, Kenneth Blum et al. published findings in support of both the effectiveness and safety of using Reishi extract for "joint health," providing "clinical evidence" to back up their claim. 12
Also that same year, a Chinese study by Xi Bao et al. came to the conclusion that Reishi plus another herbal remedy commonly used in China seemed to have a "beneficial immunomodulatory effect" on arthritis. 13
The mechanism through which Reishi achieves this beneficial effect on arthritis was suggested in a study the following year, 2007, by Ho et al., which states that GL-PP [Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide peptide] significantly inhibited the proliferation of RASF [Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts] 14
Five additional studies are included in the references that report positive findings between Reishi and arthritis. 15,16,17 One goes so far as to state that Reishi shows favorable results when compared to prednisone, and is free from the side effects. 18 In extension of this, a separate study also found that not only was Reishi extract free of the side effects of prednisone, it could also help balance the existing side effects of prednisolone* such as cell toxicity and proteinuria. (*Prednisolone is the active compound of prednisone. The liver breaks down prednisone and converts it to prednisolone.) 19
In conclusion, the majority of research on the use of Reishi extract for inflammation or arthritis appears to support its effectiveness. Please remember that it is very important to always consult a licensed medical doctor before using any herb for medicinal purposes.
Note: "Reishi" is the Japanese name on the mushroom known in English as "Varnished Conk." It actually encompasses several closely related species, the most common of which is Ganoderma lucidum (Common Reishi or Red Reishi). This species can be found in the U.S. but is much more common in South East Asia. It is also well known by its Chinese name, Ling Zhi.
Other related species that are often called "Reishi" include: "Hemlock Reishi" (Ganoderma tsugae)," which is common on hemlock trees in eastern U.S.; the Chinese species known as "Black Reishi" (Ganoderma sinense); another American species found on the west coast which is sometimes referred to as "Red Reishi" (Ganoderma resinaceum), although "Red Reishi" more often refers to G. lucidum in contrast to "Black Reishi," G. sinense; and finally two Japanese species, one that is sometimes known as "Purple Reishi" Ganoderma japonicum, and one without any English name, Ganoderma neo-japonicum.
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Please note that the claims on this page and this web-site have not yet been verified by the FDA. We recommend that you consult a licensed medical practitioner before using any substance for medicinal purposes, including Extract of Reishi for Arthritis.