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Extract of Reishi for Arthritis

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Extract of Reishi /
For over 2,000 years, Reishi extract has been used as a "cure-all" herbal remedy in Chinese Health, with the oldest written record of any health supporting mushroom in
Shen Nong's Herbal Classic. Although it may not be totally accurate to claim that Reishi extract cures everything, traditional as well as modern use indicates that it may be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent in a large host of conditions, including arthritis.


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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

Reishi Extract and
                        Arthritis An American study conducted in 1993 by Lin et al. concluded that a water extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) demonstrated "significant anti-inflammatory activity." 4 A study out of India ten years later found that an extract of Reishi decreased inflammation in conditions of acute edema and chronic edema by 56% and 60%. 3 Seven additional research papers were found during the writing of this article that all concluded that Reishi is a potent anti-inflammatory mushroom. 5,6,7,8,9,10,11

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.


Reishi Extract (Ling
                    Zhi)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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-2017 Fungi Perfecti & Paul Stamets - all images of mushrooms, fungi, and products
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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.