The World Health Organization estimates that 8.3 million people die each year from cancer. It’s likely the number of cancer cases will continue to grow until the medical field figures out how to stop the rapid growth of cancerous cells. With a rampant scurry to find the cure for cancer, you would think we would look back to history for answers. It seems every day a new commercial is being played, on a constant loop, to convince Americans to buy the “latest” synthetic drug the FDA has approved. Of course with a calm narrative voice informing you of the hundred possible side effects that come along with taking the drug. However, the Federal Drug Administration doesn’t administer everywhere; In particular, Asia.
Ganoderma Lucidum (G. Lucidum) is a species of fungus that has been used for therapeutic purposes for over 2,000 years. Known as the Lingzhi mushroom in China and the reishi mushroom in Japan, G. Lucidum dates back to around 1400 A.D. where it’s depicted in Taoism art. Reishi mushrooms, and others of the same genus, have been included in numerous ancient herbal medicine books. The fungus has such a good rep it is often referred to as the “immortal mushroom.” Several Asian countries today consume these mushrooms to promote health and longevity, including fighting off cancer.
For a long time the power of the G. Lucidum mushroom was simply believed in only because tradition told of its benefits. There has not been a lot of thorough research done on Ganoderma Lucidum to date, let alone its capabilities of fighting cancer. Research is slow, underfunded, and often times ignored or prohibited due to big business greed getting in the way.
So what exactly does it help with? It has been used to lower blood pressure, relieve pain, treat allergies and asthma, heal the mind and spirit, help with depression, and even used as a supplement for cancer patients going through chemo or radiation therapy.
The mushroom is widely used as a tool to strengthen the immune system. The herb contains high concentration of germanium, polysaccharides and triterpenes. All these help support our immune system, which help fight off diseases, such as cancer. These components also increase your white blood cells which help detect infected cells faster when a tumor is in its infancy, and easier to alleviate medically.
Ganoderma Lucidum also helps fight off the infection once the disease has been detected. Published in Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 58 basidiomycetes mushrooms (a certain type of fungal group) were tested for their ability to kill cancer cells. G. Lucidum proved most effective in cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. Apoptosis is the process of cells “committing suicide” as they are no longer needed. This process can be beneficial in the fight to reduce a cancerous tumor.
Another studied published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine showed G. Lucidum being effective in fighting off B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL). Ganoderma Lucidum inducted cytotoxicity on the B-cell, simply meaning it became toxic, and caused DNA fragmentation and apoptosis. Their conclusion was that the high cytotoxicity observed on the B-cells “support its potential anti-leukemia role in combined therapeutic strategies. That is, benefits an individual going through therapy for leukemia.
So what’s the bad side of taking these mushrooms, the long line of side effects? WebMD’s long list of side effects for consuming reishi mushrooms includes dry and itchy throat, upset stomach, nosebleeds, and bloody stools. No seizures, heart disease, blindness, or death. Side effects that we have all heard said some time on an ad for a new “FDA-approved” medication. However, G. Lucidum is not a mushroom one consumes daily with a meal. It’s in no way toxic, but no medicinal extract should be taken freely without knowing how it’ll interact with other medications or diets. The Lingzhi mushroom has been shown to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.
One may ask, ‘so why don’t cancer patients just consume mushrooms to cure their cancer?’ Good question. It is important to point out that these mushrooms are not a cure to cancer or leukemia. Many of your big cancer charity organizations want to make sure you know this. Cancer Research UK states simply on their website that there is currently “no evidence that any type of mushroom or mushroom extract can prevent or cure cancer.”
But this isn’t the entire story. Maybe it can’t cure cancer, but could it help prevent it? If history tells us anything it’s that the Lingzhi mushroom has shown promise to humans for centuries and continues to radiate optimism in the medical field. Although research is rather primitive and unexplored; the few studies that have been done do support the argument that the immortal mushroom really does hold healing powers within.
The unfortunate part is that I’m not able to reveal all the powers of the immortal mushroom to you. Simply because no medical research team has truly tried to harness the mushroom’s healing magic. Or, maybe research teams have wanted to explore its potential further and have been unsuccessful. Why might this be? Is there a lack of funding for research? It doesn’t seem so. The FDA approves a new drug nearly every day. Maybe there is something else. Something to deal with power and greed that is keeping the reishi mushroom from showing its true potential.
Regardless, consuming the immortal mushroom is nothing new; though, it seems to be overlooked or underappreciated here in the United States. Is it because there is not enough hard scientific evidence for the FDA to support the consumption, similar to their case with marijuana? Why is G. Lucidum known to be commonly used in Asia and is rarely heard about in the Western world? I don’t believe it is common knowledge that the Lingzhi mushroom exists, or that it’s natural, beneficial, cheap and easy to find online. You don’t have to pay for a prescription to obtain it. Maybe that’s why we never see a television ad for the Lingzhi mushroom.
Either way it seems like a reasonable option to look into if you’re looking to strengthen your immune system, fight off the horrendous symptoms from chemo and radiation therapy, or simply trying to heal the soul. There is no reason to wait on the FDA to tell you G. Lucidum has medical potential. Two-thousand years of civilizations consuming the immortal mushroom should be enough for anyone to believe that there is truly something beautiful about the fungus. Mother Nature offers all the answers, we just need to utilize her medicines and not let the pursuit for profit get in the way.