Ganoderma is a common abbreviation for the mushroom species called Ganoderma lucidum, or reishi mushroom. This mushroom has a significant history of usage in China and other Asian countries, and it’s sometimes used in the U.S. as an immune system booster for people with cancer or HIV/AIDS. Reishi use can potentially trigger a number of mild or serious side effects. Speak with your doctor before using a mushroom product labeled as Ganoderma or reishi.
Reishi products are obtained from both the caps and stems of G. lucidum. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center lists active ingredients in the mushroom that include long-chain sugars, or polysaccharides, called beta-D-glucans and substances called proteinase triterpenes. Additional constituents of the mushroom include amino acids, vitamin C and substances classified as glucosides, alkaloids and lipids. The beta-D-glucans in reishi appear to achieve their effects by suppressing tumor formation and stimulating the immune system. The triterpenes appear to achieve their effects by suppressing the spread of cancer cells and reducing high blood pressure and allergic reactions.