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Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular và Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.



Ganoderma lucidum, an oriental fungus (Figure 9.1), has a long history of use for promoting health và longevity in China, Japan, và other Asian countries. It is a large, dark mushroom with a glossy exterior và a woody texture. The Latin word lucidus means “shiny” or “brilliant” & refers to lớn the varnished appearance of the surface of the mushroom. In China, G. Lucidum is called lingzhi, whereas in japan the name for the Ganodermataceae family is reishi or mannentake.



(See màu sắc insert.) The lingzhi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum). (Courtesy of North American Reishi/Nammex.)

In Chinese, the name lingzhi represents a combination of spiritual potency & essence of immortality, & is regarded as the “herb of spiritual potency,” symbolizing success, well-being, divine power, và longevity. Among cultivated mushrooms, G. Lucidum is chất lượng in that its pharmaceutical rather than nutritional value is paramount. A variety of commercial G. Lucidum products are available in various forms, such as powders, dietary supplements, & tea. These are produced from different parts of the mushroom, including mycelia, spores, và fruit body. The specific applications and attributed health benefits of lingzhi include control of blood glucose levels, modulation of the immune system, hepatoprotection, bacteriostasis, & more. The various beliefs regarding the health benefits of G. Lucidum (Figure 9.2) are based largely on anecdotal evidence, traditional use, & cultural mores. However, recent reports provide scientific tư vấn to some of the ancient claims of the health benefits of lingzhi.



Lingzhi has been recognized as a medicinal mushroom for over 2000 years, & its powerful effects have been documented in ancient scripts (Wasser 2005). The proliferation of G. Lucidum images in art began in 1400 AD, and they are associated with Taoism (McMeekin 2005). However, G. Lucidum images extended beyond religion and appeared in paintings, carvings, furniture, & even women’s accessories (Wasser 2005). The first book wholly devoted to the mô tả tìm kiếm of herbs & their medicinal value was Shen nống Ben Cao Jing, written in the Eastern Han dynasty of trung quốc (25-220 AD). This book is also known as “Classic of the Materia Medica” or “Shen-nong’s Herbal Classics.” It describes botanical, zoological, & mineral substances, và was composed in the second century under the pseudonym of Shen-nong (“the holy farmer”; Zhu, 1998). The book, which has been continually updated và extended, describes the beneficial effects of several mushrooms with a reference lớn the medicinal mushroom G. Lucidum (Zhu, 1998; Upton 2000; Sanodiya et al. 2009). In the Supplement to lớn Classic of Materia Medica (502-536 AD) và the Ben Cao Gang Mu by Li Shin-Zhen, which is considered to be the first pharmacopoeia in trung quốc (1590 AD; Ming dynasty), the mushroom was attributed with therapeutic properties, such as tonifying effects, enhancing vital energy, strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory, và antiaging effects. According khổng lồ the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of china (2000), G. Lucidum acts khổng lồ replenish Qi, ease the mind, and relieve cough & asthma, and it is recommended for dizziness, insomnia, palpitation, và shortness of breath.

Wild lingzhi is rare, & in the years before it was cultivated, only the nobility could afford it. It was believed that the sacred fungus grew in the trang chủ of the immortals on the “three aisles of the blest” off the coast of china (McMeekin 2005). However, its reputation as a panacea may have been earned more by virtue of its irregular distribution, rarity, and use by the rich và privileged members of Chinese society than by its actual effects. Nevertheless, the Ganoderma species continue khổng lồ be a popular traditional medicine in Asia và their use is growing throughout the world (Wachtel-Galor, Buswell et al. 2004; Lindequist, Niedermeyer, & Jülich 2005).

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The family Ganodermataceae describes polypore basidiomycetous fungi having a double-walled basidiospore (Donk 1964). In all, 219 species within the family have been assigned lớn the genus Ganoderma, of which G. Lucidum (W. Curt.: Fr.) phường Karsten is the species type (Moncalvo 2000). Basidiocarps of this genus have a laccate (shiny) surface that is associated with the presence of thickwalled pilocystidia embedded in an extracellular melanin matrix (Moncalvo 2000). Ganoderma species are found all over the world, và different characteristics, such as shape and màu sắc (red, black, blue/green, white, yellow, and purple) of the fruit body, host specificity, and geographical origin, are used lớn identify individual members of the species (Zhao & Zhang 1994; Woo et al. 1999; Upton 2000). Unfortunately, the morphological characteristics are subject lớn variation resulting from, for example, differences in cultivation in different geographical locations under different climatic conditions & the natural genetic development (e.g., mutation, recombination) of individual species. Consequently, the use of macroscopic characteristics has resulted in a large number of synonyms and a confused, overlapping, and unclear taxonomy for this mushroom. Some taxonomists also consider macromorphological features to lớn be of limited value in the identification of Ganoderma species due to lớn its high phenotypic plasticity (Ryvarden 1994; Zhao and Zhang 1994). More reliable morphological characteristics for Ganoderma species are thought to include spore shape và size, context màu sắc and consistency, and the microanatomy of the pilear crust. Chlamydospore production và shape, enzymatic studies and, lớn a lesser extent, the range and optima of growth temperatures have also been used for differentiating morphologically similar species (Gottlieb, Saidman, và Wright 1998; Moncalvo 2000; Saltarelli et al. 2009). Biochemical, genetic, and molecular approaches have also been used in Ganoderma species taxonomy. Molecular-based methodologies adopted for identifying Ganoderma species include recombinant (rDNA) sequencing (Moncalvo et al. 1995; Gottlieb, Ferref, & Wright 2000), random amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR (RAPD; PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction), internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences (Hseu et al. 1996), sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP; Sun et al. 2006), enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC) elements, & amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP; Zheng et al. 2009). Other approaches to the problem of G. Lucidum taxonomy include nondestructive nearinfrared (NIR) methods combined with chemometrics (Chen et al. 2008), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics (Wen et al. 2010), và high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for generating chemical fingerprints (Su et al. 2001; Chen et al. 2008; Shi, Zhang et al. 2008; Chen et al. 2010).


Owing lớn its irregular distribution in the wild & to an increasing demand for G. Lucidum as a medicinal herb, attempts were made to cultivate the mushroom (Chang & Buswell 2008). Different members of the Ganoderma genus need different conditions for growth & cultivation (Mayzumi, Okamoto, và Mizuno 1997). Moreover, different types are favored in different geographical regions. For example, in South China, black G. Lucidum is popular, whereas red G. Lucidum is preferred in Japan. G. Lucidum thrives under hot and humid conditions, và many wild varieties are found in the subtropical regions of the Orient. Since the early 1970s, cultivation of G. Lucidum has become a major source of the mushroom. Artificial cultivation of G. Lucidum has been achieved using substrates such as grain, sawdust, wood logs (Chang và Buswell 1999; Wasser 2005; Boh et al. 2007), & cork residues (Riu, Roig, và Sancho 1997).

Since it takes several months lớn culture the fruiting body of G. Lucidum, mycelia-based and culture broth-based products have assumed greater importance due khổng lồ demands for increased chất lượng control and year-round production (Sanodiya et al. 2009). The processes and different growth parameters (e.g., temperature, pH) involved in submerged mycelial culture can easily be standardized under controlled conditions, & purification and other downstream processing of active components such as polysaccharides released into the culture medium usually involve relatively simple procedures. Different culture conditions and medium compositions have also been reported to lớn strongly influence mycelial growth & the production of biopolymers (e.g., polysaccharides) that are extruded from the cell (exopolysaccharides ; Mayzumi, Okamoto, & Mizuno 1997; Chang và Buswell 1999; Habijanic and Berovic 2000; Fang and Zhong 2002; Boh et al. 2007; Sanodiya et al. 2009). For example, Yang và Liau (1998) reported that polysaccharide production by fermenter-grown mycelia of G. Lucidum was optimum at 30°C–35°C và a pH of 4–4.5, và the addition of supplements such as fatty acids was found khổng lồ accelerate mycelial growth và the production of bioactive components. In a submerged culture of G. Lucidum, the optimum pH for cell growth has been shown to be lower than that for EPS formation. A two-stage pH-control strategy, developed lớn maximize mycelial biomass and EPS production, revealed that culture pH had a significant effect on EPS yield, chemical composition & molecular weight, and mycelial morphology (Kim, Park, và Yun 2006). The productive mycelial morphological size for EPS production was a dispersed pellet (controlled pH shift from 3.0 lớn 6.0) rather than a compact pellet with a dense bộ vi xử lý core (pH maintained at 4.5) or a featherlike pellet (controlled pH shift from 6.0 lớn 3.0). Three different polysaccharides were obtained under each pH condition, & their molecular weights & chemical compositions were significantly different (Kim, Park, và Yun 2006). More recently, a novel three-stage light irradiation strategy has been developed in submerged cultures of G. Lucidum for the efficient production of polysaccharides and one of the triterpene components, ganoderic acid (Zhang và Tang 2008).

A decade ago, more than 90 brands of G. Lucidum products were registered and marketed internationally (Lin 2000). Worldwide consumption is now estimated at several thousand tonnes, and the market is growing rapidly. Although there are no recently published data relating lớn the total world market value of ganoderma products, in 1995, the total estimated annual market value given by different commercial sources was US$1628 million (Chang và Buswell 1999). Numerous G. Lucidum products, prepared from different parts of the mushroom, are currently available on the market (Chang & Buswell 2008). In manufacturing terms, the simplest type consists of intact fruiting bodies ground to lớn powder và then processed khổng lồ capsule or tablet form. Other “nonextracted” products are prepared from the following three sources: (1) dried and powdered mycelia harvested from submerged liquid cultures grown in fermentation tanks; (2) dried and powdered combinations of substrate, mycelia, và mushroom primordia, following inoculation & incubation of a semisolid medium with fungal mycelia; và (3) intact fungal spores or spores that have been broken by mechanical means or have had the spore walls removed. Although spore preparations have been researched và promoted vigorously in recent years, any added medicinal effects attributable khổng lồ the removal or breakage of spore walls, which represents an additional và often costly step in the production process, are still controversial. Other products are prepared with materials (e.g., polysaccharides, triterpenes) extracted, usually with hot water or ethanol, from fruiting bodies or mycelia harvested from submerged liquid cultures and then evaporated lớn dryness & tabulated/encapsulated either separately or integrated together in designated proportions. The adoption of supercritical fluid CO2 extraction technologies has enlarged the spectrum of extracted substances due lớn the low temperature required during processing. Several other products have been prepared as binary, ternary or more complex mixtures of powdered ganoderma và other mushrooms (e.g., Lentinula edodes, Agaricus brasiliensis, Grifola frondosa, Pleurotus spp., và Flammulina velutipes) and even with other medicinal herbs (e.g., spirulina powder or flower pollen grains).