Ganoderma Lucidum

Author: Marco Briguglio
Date: 11/01/2014


Ganoderma Lucidum

Main characteristics.

Ganoderma lucidum is a saprophytic or parasitic fungus that prefers oak or chestnut.

From the ancient times, it’s known in China for its properties, since, according to some people, it’d contain some active principles which are able to regulate cholesterol blood levels and glycemia and act positively on cardiac arrhythmia.

It’s not edible cause it’s extremely woody; it has a hat of about 15 cm of diameter, reddish-brown coloured, an almost always eccentric stem (of the same colour of the hat) which is about 15-30 cm.

Ganoderma lucidum and its close relative Ganoderma tsugae, grow in the northern Eastern Hemlock forests.
These two species of bracket fungus have a worldwide distribution in both tropical and temperate geographical regions, growing as a parasite or saprotroph on a wide variety of trees.

Ganoderma lucidum generally occurs in two growth forms, one, found in North America, is sessile and rather large with only a small or no stalk, while the other is smaller and has a long, narrow stalk, and is found mainly in the tropics.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Main active principles contained in Ganoderma.

  • polysaccharides (beta polysaccharides and hetero beta glucans) stimulates immunitary system, activating antitumoral defences
  • proteins and { color:red}peptides regulate blood pressure, cholesterol blood pressure, making an antiallergic function.
  • oleic acids prevent from histamine release, which is responsible of the allergic reactions
  • pantothenic acid has a specific function on the nervous system
  • adenosine and guanosine with antiplatelet effect, muscle relaxant (skeletal muscle) and sedative SNC
  • and finally, the ganoderic acid, which belongs to the family of triterpenoids, and its steroids promote positive effects on liver and help cellular breathing.

    One of the most important mineral is organic germanium, which has curative properties against leukaemia and breast cancer. Its positive effects can be found even in the treatments of come diseases, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, hepatitis and cataract.

It has also remarkable anti- inflammatory and anti- viral effects, and contrasts mercury poisoning.
The other minerals contained in Ganoderma are sulfur, calcium, iron and phosphorus.

Active Principles

Principal benefits.

Blood pressure.

It has been purported as a potent remedy in the treatment and prevention of hypertension, since anti-ACE proteins were isolated from the mycelia of the fungus.

Experiment: Ganoderma lucidum mycelia were cultivated in a liquid containing brown sugar and spent brewer’s yeast.
Intracellular proteins were fractionated from mycelia crude water extract by ammonium sulphate precipitation, and their angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory activity was evaluated.
The potential anti-ACE protein fractions were further separated and characterised using proteomics platforms.

Preliminary studies demonstrated the presence of four proteins which were able to inhibit ACE function. These proteins are cystathionine beta synthase-like protein, DEAD/DEAH box helicase-like protein, paxillin-like protein, and alpha/beta hydrolase-like protein.

The cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) is the enzyme responsible for the trans-sulfurization of homocysteine.
The deficiency of this enzyme causes the increase of homocysteine blood levels.
High levels of homocysteine are considered a risk factor for both arterial and venous thrombosis, and are very dangerous for blood pressure, since they are involved in the reduction of arterial vascular calibre.

DEAD/DEAH box helicase is commonly involved in cellular activities.
Recently, DEAD/DEAH box helicase was suggested to exhibit antihypertensive effect through the regulation of cardiac cellular activities instead of RAAS.
Cardiac helicase activated by MEF2 protein (CHAMP), which belongs to DEAD box proteins, has an important role in the suppression of cardyiomyiocite growth in cardiac hypertrophy.
CHAMP inhibits cellular proliferation by up-regulating the cell cycle inhibitor p21.
Regression of cardiac hypertrophy leads to the recovery of diastolic function and coronary flow reserve; these effects contribute to lower blood pressure.

The third antihypertensive-related protein is paxillin.
In general, paxillin serves primary functions in the signalling pathway and cell motility due to the presence of multidomain bindings.
Anyway, recent studies has demonstrated an important role of paxillin in the blood pressure lowering through the regulation of the vascular smooth muscle.
Positioned at the dense plaques of the smooth muscle tissue, paxillin acts as the signalling protein mediated actin cytoskeleton remodelling process.
Polymerisation and depolymerisation of actin are closely related to contraction or relaxation of smooth muscle; so, through the action of actin cytoskeleton mediated by paxillin, which promotes the relaxation of smooth muscle, subsequent vasodilation triggers to blood pressure reduction in hypertensive patients.

The fourth antihypertensive-related protein is alpha/beta hydrolase.
Current study has discovered the contribution of alpha/beta hydrolase protein in blood pressure regulation, since these proteins seem to exert anti-ACE properties, but the full mechanism of inhibition is still unclear.

“Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) proteins from mycelia of Ganoderma lucidum”:

Cholesterol blood levels.

Bioassay-guided fractionation of methanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum gave a pure cholesterol esterase inhibitor.

Cholesterol esterase is an enzyme of pancreatic origin that acts on cholesterol esterified thus creating free cholesterol and free fatty acids.

The compound is a noncompetitive inhibitor of cholesterol esterase, and may be the active principle of the hypocholesterolemic effect of Ganoderma lucidum.

26-oxygenosterols ganoderol A, ganoderol B, ganoderal A, and ganoderic acid Y, which are the other isolated and identified active principle, may have a biological effect on cholesterol synthesis in a human epatic cell line in vitro.

A group of scientists found that these oxygenated sterols from G. lucidum inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis via conversion of acetate or mevalonate as a precursor of cholesterol.

By incorporation of 24,25-dihydro-[24,25-3H2] lanosterol and [3-3H] lathosterol in the presence of ganoderol A, they determined that the point of inhibition of cholesterol synthesis is between lanosterol and lathosterol.
The enzyme lanosterol 14alpha-demethylase, which converts 24,25-dihydrolanosterol to cholesterol, can be inhibited by the 26-oxygenosterols.

Effect of 26-oxygenosterols from Ganoderma Lucidum and their activity as cholesterol synthesis inhibitors:

Isolation and structure determination of a cholesterol esterase inhibitor from Ganoderma Lucidum:


Scientific studies have showed that Ganoderan B increased the plasma insulin level in normal and glucose-loaded mice but exerted no effect on insulin binding to isolated adipocytes.

Administration of ganoderan B led to an important increase of the activity of hepatic glucokinase, phosphofructokinase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and decreased the hepatic glucose-6-phosphate and glycogen synthetase activities.
Ganoderan B even reduced the glycogen content in the liver.

So, Ganoderma lucidum can be exploited as a support for diabetes.

Mechanism of hypoglycemic activity of ganoderan B: a glycan of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies:

Tumor and immunomodulation.

The antitumor and immunomodulatory activity of broken-spore of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides (Gl-BSP) were investigated in vivo and in vitro.

Studies showed that Gl-BSP promoted the splenic lymphocyte proliferation, enhanced nature killer cell (NK cell) cytotoxic activity, augmented the percentage of neutral red phagocytosis by macrophages, and increased the percentage of the CD4 or CD8 subset in S180-bearing mice (S180= Sarcoma 180).

The serum level of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and nitric oxide was increased by Gl-BSP.

These observations reveal the antitumoral properties of polysaccharides from G.lucidum, through the activation of the immune response of the host organism, which is tightly related to the stimulation of NK cells, T cells and macrophages.

Antitumor and Immunomodulatory effects of polysaccharides from Broken-Spore of Ganoderma Lucidum:

Antioxidant activity.

During a research the acetylcholinesterase inhibition and in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activities of Ganoderma lucidum grown on germinated brown rice (GLBR) were evaluated.

In antioxidant assays in vivo, mice were administered with GLBR and this significantly enhanced the activities of antioxidant enzymes in the mice sera, livers and brains (even thanks to the presence of some phenolic compounds in GLBR, which are said to have antioxidant power).
GLBR also exhibited acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity.

Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the following reaction: acetylcholine + H2O → choline + acetate.

Acetylcholinesterase inhibition and in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activities of Ganoderma Lucidum grown on germinated brown rice:


For centuries, Ganoderma lucidum has been used in Oriental medicine for the treatment of chronic bronchitis.

One of the active constituents of the fungus is cyclooctasulfur.
This one inhibits histamine release from rat peritoneal mast cells and prevent from 45Ca uptake into these cells.

Cyclooctasulfur interacts with membrane proteins so as to inhibit 45Ca uptake, and this may be the main cause of histamine release inhibition.

Even oleic acid is useful to impede histamine release, while, although linoleic acid and linolenic acid effectively prevent this release, these two compounds cause marked release at concentrations higher than 10 microM and 20 microM, respectively.

Anti-allergic constituents in the culture medium of Ganoderma Lucidum. Inhibitory effect of oleic acid on histamine release:

Anti-allergic constituents in the culture medium of Ganoderma Lucidum. The inhibitory effect of cyclooctasulfur on histamine release:

HIV and inflammation.

Researchers discovered that the oxygenated triterpene named ganoderic acid alpha, with Ganoderiol F and*{color:red} ganodermanontriol*, are active anti-HIV agents, since they seem to inhibit HIV protease function.

Ganoderic acid B, ganoderiol B, ganoderic acid C1, instead, are considered moderately active inhibitors against HIV.

LPS-stimulated microglial cells produce a big amount of inflammatory mediators and cytokines (nitric oxide, prostaglandin E, IL-1 β, tumor necrosis factor-α ecc).

Ganoderma lucidum ethanol extract counteract the excessive liberation of these mediators, in a concentration-dependent manner without causing cytotoxicity, beyond to suppressing the NF-κB and TLR signaling pathways.

Anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-1-protease substances from Ganoderma Lucidum:

Ganoderma Lucidum ethanol extract inhibits the inflammatory response by suppressing the NF-kb and toll-like receptors pathways in lipopolysachharide-stimulated BV2 microglial cells:

Side effects.

Taking supplements is not recommended in the following cases:

  1. People who have undergone a transplant or who are receiving immunosuppressive drugs
  1. During pregnancy and lactation it’s always a good thing to avoid any substance which may alter the natural balance of the psycho-physical
  1. People taking anticoagulant drugs, or people who have problems of poor coagulation

In rare cases, the slight side effects reported are skin reactions, digestion problems, bone pains and dizziness.
These symptoms usually tend to disappear spontaneously, but they can even be reduced by the assumption of vitamin C.

Where you can find it?

You can buy it at the pharmacy or herbal medicine.
Based supplements of Ganoderma are mainly in the form of capsules or tablets containing the dust that comes from the drying of the product.

The recommended dosage is taking 2-3 capsules a couple of times a day, or 1 capsule three times a day, to be swallowed with water or a liquid, preferably between meals.

You can even buy directly the dry extract and use it in order to prepare herbal teas.


  • el-Mekkawy S, Meselhy MR, Nakamura N, Tezuka Y, Hattori M, Kakiuchi N, Shimotohno K, Kawahata T, Otake T), “Anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-1-protease substances from Ganoderma lucidum”
  • Yoon HM, Jang KJ, Han MS, Jeong JW, Kim GY, Lee JH, Choi YH) , “Ganoderma lucidum ethanol extract inhibits the inflammatory response by suppressing the NF-κB and toll-like receptor pathways in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV2 microglial cells”
  • Tasaka K, Mio M, Izushi K, Akagi M, Makino T, “Anti-allergic constituents in the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum. (II). The inhibitory effect of cyclooctasulfur on histamine release”
  • Kim SD, “Isolation and structure determination of a cholesterol esterase inhibitor from Ganoderma lucidum”
  • Mohamad Ansor N, Abdullah N, Aminudin N, “Anti-angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) proteins from mycelia of Ganoderma lucidum (Curtis)”
  • Hajjaj H, Macé C, Roberts M, Niederberger P, Fay LB, “Effect of 26-oxygenosterols from Ganoderma lucidum and their activity as cholesterol synthesis inhibitors”
  • Hikino H, Ishiyama M, Suzuki Y, Konno C, “Mechanisms of hypoglycemic activity of ganoderan B: a glycan of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies”
  • Tasaka K, Akagi M, Miyoshi K, Mio M, Makino T, “Anti-allergic constituents in the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum. (I). Inhibitory effect of oleic acid on histamine release”
  • Wang PY, Zhu XL, Lin ZB, “Antitumor and Immunomodulatory Effects of Polysaccharides from Broken-Spore of Ganoderma lucidum”
  • Hasnat A, Pervin M, Lim BO, “Acetylcholinesterase inhibition and in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activities of Ganoderma lucidum grown on germinated brown rice”
  • “benessere 360”:
AddThis Social Bookmark Button