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nightsurfer on 2009-12-26"Língzhī (traditional Chinese: 靈芝; simplified Chinese: 灵芝; Japanese: reishi; Korean: yeongji, hangul: 영지) is the name for one form of the mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, and its close relative Ganoderma tsugae. Ganoderma lucidum enjoys special veneration in Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used in medicine.
Lingzhi may possess anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus (reviewed by R. R. Paterson and Lindequist et al.). It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure (via inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme), cholesterol and blood sugar.
Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis, with potency comparable to Lentinan from Shiitake mushrooms.
The mechanisms by which G. lucidum may affect cancer are unknown and they may target different stages of cancer development: inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new, tumor-induced blood vessels, created to supply nutrients to the tumor) mediated by cytokines, cytoxicity, inhibiting migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells