Reishi mushroom supplement
A review of research studies in humans and animals. Benefits and risks of reishi mushroom extract

Reishi is a herbal medicine commonly used in oriental countries as a remedy for treating various medical conditions.  The dried powder of reishi was popular as a cancer chemotherapy agent in ancient China. We will update this page with more research as they are published. The benefits of reishi mushroom are varied and further investigations will reveal the full potential of this interesting supplement.

Reishi Mushroom (Full Spectrum), 460 mg, 100 Tablets - Planetary Formulas

Full Spectrum Reishi Mushroom - A Treasure for 2,000 years!
Reishi contains more than 100 oxygenated lanostane teripenesm , many of which are known for their ability to support our immune defenses.  Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum Reishi Mushroom combines a highly concentrated extracted of the nature fruiting body with the mycelia biomass, to ensure that every bit of reishi activity is present and easily assimilable.
Reishi Mycelia Biomass,
Mature Reishi Mushroom Extract.


Ganoderma lucidum contains polysaccharides that stimulate spleen cell proliferation and cytokine expression. Reishi also contains lanostanoids and triterpenes such as lucidenic acid.


Reishi and cancer
Reishi has been shown to be a potential agent in the treatment or prevention of certain cancers. In one study, reishi
suppressed cell adhesion and cell migration of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells, suggesting its potency to reduce tumor invasiveness. Reishi clearly demonstrates anticancer activity in experiments with cancer cells and has possible therapeutic potential as a dietary supplement for an alternative therapy for breast and prostate cancer.

Water soluble extracts from Reishi inhibit colon tumors in mice.
AHCC is a mushroom extract nutrient used for immune system benefit and cancer treatment.

Reishi may enhance the immune response in those with end stage cancer.

Cytotoxic lanostanoid triterpenes from Ganoderma lucidum reishi.
J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2008; Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Shanghai Research Center for TCM Modernization, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.
Two new lanostanoid triterpenes, together with 17 known compounds, were isolated from the fruit bodies of Ganoderma lucidum. The cytotoxic assay of the above compounds showed against p388, Hela, BEL-7402, and SGC-7901 human cancer cell lines.

Breast cancer
Combined effect of green tea and Ganoderma lucidum on invasive behavior of breast cancer cells.
Int J Oncol. 2007. Thyagarajan A, Zhu J, Sliva D. Cancer Research Laboratory, Methodist Research Institute, E504, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Epidemiological studies have suggested that consumption of green tea may decrease the risk of a variety of cancers. In addition, reishi mushroom has been used for the promotion of health, longevity and treatment of cancer in traditional Chinese medicine. In the present study we show that extract from green tea increased the anticancer effect of reishi extract on cell proliferation (anchorage-dependent growth) as well as colony formation (anchorage-independent growth) of breast cancer cells. Our study suggests the potential use of combined green tea and reishi extracts for the suppression of growth and invasiveness of metastatic breast cancers.

Regression of gastric large B-Cell lymphoma accompanied by a florid lymphoma-like T-cell reaction: immunomodulatory effect of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi)?
Int J Surg Pathol. 2007. Department of Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Wylie Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Complete regression of high-grade lymphoma is extremely rare. We report 1 such case that might have been conceivably mediated by reishie. A 47-year-old man presented with epigastric pain. Endoscopy revealed a large gastric ulcer, which on biopsy was diagnostic of large B-cell lymphoma. At gastrectomy 11 days later, no evidence was found of large B-cell lymphoma despite thorough sampling. Instead, there was a dense and permeative infiltrate of CD3(+) CD8(+) cytotoxic small T lymphocytes spanning the whole thickness of the gastric wall. In situ reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for T-cell receptor beta-chain family did not detect a monoclonal T-cell population. We postulate that the cytotoxic T cells may represent an active host-immune response against the large B-cell lymphoma that resulted in a complete regression. On questioning, the patient had taken megadoses of reishi, which might have triggered the successful immune reaction.

Prostate cancer
Ganoderma lucidum inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells PC-3.
Methodist Research Institute, Indianapolis, IN .
Int J Oncol. 2004.
Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), an oriental medical mushroom, has been widely used in Asian countries for centuries to prevent or treat different diseases, including cancer. However, the mechanism(s) responsible for the effects of reishi on cancer cells remain to be elucidated. We have previously demonstrated that reishi down-regulated the expression of NF-kappaB-regulated urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and uPA receptor (uPAR), which resulted in suppression of cell migration of highly invasive human breast and prostate cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of reishi  on cell proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells PC-3. Our data demonstrate that reishi  inhibits cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner by the down-regulation of expression of cyclin B and Cdc2 and by the up-regulation of p21 expression. The inhibition of cell growth was also demonstrated by cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase. Furthermore, reishi induced apoptosis of PC-3 cells with a slight decrease in the expression of NF-kappaB-regulated Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl. However, the expression of proapoptotic Bax protein was markedly up-regulated, resulting in the enhancement of the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 and Bax/Bcl-xl. Thus, reishi  exerts its effect on cancer cells by multiple mechanisms and may have potential therapeutic use for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Toxicity, side effects
Toxicity of a traditional Chinese medicine reishi, Ganoderma lucidum, in children with cancer.
Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2008; Gill SK, Rieder MJ. 1Departments of Paediatrics, Physiology and Pharmacology and Medicine, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
In an attempt to prevent opportunistic infections, Ganoderma lucidum, a mushroom that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, is being used by some people as an adjunctive to chemotherapy to help boost the immune system. Although extensive research is being conducted to determine its immunostimulatory properties, there is essentially no data on toxicity. The purpose of this study was to determine toxicity of low and high concentrations of 3 different extracts of G. lucidum (GL, Reishi and PSGL) on the viability of 1) Jurkat E6.1 cells, 2) LG2 cells, and 3) PBMCs isolated from a) healthy adults, b) healthy children, and c) paediatric patients undergoing chemotherapy. When Jurkat E6.1 and LG2 cells were treated with increasing concentrations of the 3 extracts, both time- and concentration- dependent decreases in cell viability were observed. However, when human PBMCs were treated with the same extracts, variable results were obtained. Although there was no consistent pattern, toxicity was observed in PBMCs. This is the first study that examines the toxicity of 3 different extracts of G. lucidum in both adults and children's PBMCs. Contrary to previous belief, our results suggest that extracts of reishi should be used with caution as there appears to be potential for toxicity.

Reishi toxicity and safety
Giving reishi to human volunteers for a period of 4 weeks did not lead to any toxicity.

Safety and tolerability of Ganoderma lucidum Reishi in healthy subjects: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial.
Am J Chin Med. 2007. Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, The Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
In this controlled study, we evaluated the safety and tolerance of oral administration of reishi in 16 human volunteers who received 2 grams of the reishi extract or placebo twice daily for 10 consecutive days. No reishi side effects were observed after the extract intake. Although there were no obvious changes in CD4, CD8, and CD19 levels after the extract, CD56 cell count increased during the study and returned to baseline 10 days after the herbal intake. However, due to relatively high variability and small sample size, this CD56 increase did not achieve statistical significance.

Animal studies indicate reishi has the ability to lower cholesterol levels.

Diabetes, Reishi inhibits aldose reductase
The inhibitory effect on aldose reductase by an extract of Ganoderma lucidum Reishi.
Phytother Res. 2009; Department of Forest and Forest Product Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.
The human aldose reductase inhibitory effects of the methanol extracts of 17 medicinal and edible mushrooms were examined. Ganoderma lucidum showed the highest aldose reductase inhibitory activity compared with the other mushrooms. The effect of an ethanol extract of reishi mushroom on the galactitol level in the eye lens was studied in a galactosemic rat model in vivo. This mushroom significantly decreased the galactitol accumulation.

Reishi and immune function
Oral administration of reishi results in Th1-associated immuno-potentiating activities in vivo. Reishi has compounds that may have antiviral activity, including activity against the Epstein-Barr virus. Andrographis pills are also commonly used for immune system enhancement.

Combining with other mushroom extracts
There are a number of other mushroom extracts that are used as supplements, including cordyceps extract, maitake, AHCC and others.

Reishi mushroom supplement emails
Q. I received three bottles of reishi mushroom this week. There is 100 mg of Calcium with 920 mg of reishi mushroom. How does calcium work with reishi? If Calcium is abundant in the blood stream and already there is formation of plaque by cholesterol and fatty acid, fit is very likely calcium will adhere to the sticky cholesterol. repeating its process over and over until the artery is totally blocked. I am 62 years old female. In the last month I discover that I
am pre-hypertensive and sensitive to salt intake. Would reishi with calcium affect my condition negatively? I know the benefit or reishi and I have taken them on and off (brew in the Chinese way). Shells are added to the pot of reishi plus
other herbs, I believe the shells contain calcium. How long does one need to take reishi?
   A. Planetary Formulas routinely adds calcium to some of their capsules or tablets for a number of herbs as part of the production process. We don't think calcium has any significant influence on the function of reishi mushroom supplement. Only when calcium ingestion through supplements reaches more than 600 to 800 mg daily for many years should one be concerned with any possibility of plaque formation. We don't know how reishi with calcium influences blood pressure. Reishi is taken as needed. The length of time or dosage depends on the medical reasons one is taking and that is up to you and your health care provider. It is a good idea to take breaks from use of herbs and mushrooms but we can't be any more specific since each person is different.

Q. Is the Reishi by Planetary Formulas same as ReishiMax?
   A. The reishi by Planetary Formulas is a different brand than ReishiMax made by Pharmanex. There have not been any studies comparing the two brands therefore it is not possible to say whether one reishi brand is better or worse than the other brand.

Q. I am interested in acquiring either a tincture or tea of the Reishi mushroom. I have heard that the "Red Reishi" mushroom is very powerful. I am dealing with colorectal stage 4 cancer, metastases to the liver, so we are looking to maintain a good quality of life for however much time remains. We've found encouraging research data on the Reishi Mushrooms and would like to add them in one form or another to our daily routine.
   A. You may google reishi mushroom tea or tincture to find a store that sells them. We wish you well. See colon cancer for info on natural colon cancer treatment or prevention studies.

Does reishi increase dopamine levels?
   It may may be helpful in protecting brain cells that make dopamine from being harmed, but we have not seen any human or animal studies regarding the influence of reishi on dopamine levels.

I would like to know prolonged usage of reishi mushroom supplement due to added calcium in the Planetary Formulas reishi mushroom product. Is it likely that one can develop kidney stones in particular when one consumes a lot of food containing calcium in the diet - eg. spinach, sweet potatoes, peanuts, bok choy, etc.
   Kidney stones are likely when calcium ingestion through supplements is more than 800 mg or 1000 mg a day. It is difficult to blame kidney stones on calcium intake through vegetables.

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I have been teaching my family about naturopathic and homeopathic remedies for years. I have run into a conflict that I cannot get an answer to and was wondering if someone there could help me. My sis-in-law have had over 350 electro-cardio conversions and is on Tikosyn. She has "worn out" all of the other meds. She takes 400 IU of CoQ10 daily and I was wondering if you were familiar with the reishi extract. Do you think she could take it? I cant find anything on the positive side for Tikosyn but, she has run out of options. Dofetilide is used to treat irregular heartbeats. It it prescribed by doctors for heart rhythmby treatment relaxing an overactive heart.