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Bones, Joints, Muscles: Arthritis: Reishi Extract and Arthritis  Previous Next

Reishi Extract and Arthritis

by: Dr. Markho Rafael

Reishi extract has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat arthritis and other forms of inflammation for over 2,000 years. Also commonly known by its Latin name as "Ganoderma," or Chinese "Ling Zhi," Reishi is by far the most searched medicinal mushroom on the Internet with over 200,000 searches per month. And although it may not be the panacea ("cure-all") that some hold it to be, the fact that modern research confirms it as an inflammation modulator may help explain why it has long been heralded as such in the Orient.

In fact, Chinese medical practitioners have been prescribing Reishi extract for ages in cases of arthritis, bronchitis and other conditions involving any type of inflammation. Modern research in Asia as well as in America and Europe confirm the validity of these uses. Out of 19 papers used for this article, 17 reported positive results in the use or Reishi extract for arthritis. Only two were studies were inconclusive, both of which were conducted by the same research team. [1,2]

An American study conducted in 1993 by Lin et al. concluded that a water extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) demonstrated "significant anti-inflammatory activity." [4] A study out of India ten years later found that an extract of Reishi decreased inflammation in conditions of acute edema and chronic edema by 56% and 60%. [3] Seven additional research papers were found during the writing of this article that all concluded that Reishi is a potent anti-inflammatory medicinal mushroom. [5,6,7,8,9,10,11]

Next we'll be looking at some studies that more directly relate to the use of Reishi extract with arthritis. A paper published in 2006 by Blum et al. claimed to provide supporting clinical evidence demonstrating that use of Reishi extract for joint health was both safe and effective. [12]

The same year, another study summarized findings that Reishi in combination with a Chinese herbal remedy known as San-Miao-San demonstrated a positive "immunomodulatory effect" on rheumatoid arthritis. [13]

The mechanism through which Reishi achieves this beneficial effect on arthritis was suggested in a study the following year, 2007, by Ho et al., which states that GL-PP (Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide peptide) significantly inhibited the proliferation of RASF (Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts) [14]

Five additional studies are included in the references that report positive findings between Reishi and arthritis. [15,16,17] One goes so far as to state that Reishi shows favorable results when compared to prednisone, and is free from the side effects. [18] In extension of this, a separate study also found that not only was Reishi extract free of the side effects of prednisone, it could also help balance the existing side effects of prednisolone* such as cell toxicity and proteinuria. (*Prednisolone is the active compound of prednisone. The liver breaks down prednisone and converts it to prednisolone.) [19]

In conclusion, the majority of research on the use of Reishi extract for inflammation or arthritis appears to support its effectiveness. Please remember that it is very important to always consult a licensed medical doctor before using any herb for medicinal purposes.

Name clarification: The Japanese name Reishi includes many closely related species. By far the most prevalent is Ganoderma lucidum (Common Reishi or Red Reishi), a species rare in the U.S. but common in South East Asia. The English common name for Ganoderma lucidum is Varnished Conk. In China, its known as Ling Zhi.

Other related species that are often called "Reishi" include: "Hemlock Reishi" (Ganoderma tsugae)," which is common on hemlock trees in eastern U.S.; the Chinese species known as "Black Reishi" (Ganoderma sinense); another American species found on the west coast which is sometimes referred to as "Red Reishi" (Ganoderma resinaceum), although "Red Reishi" more often refers to G. lucidum in contrast to "Black Reishi," G. sinense; and finally two Japanese species, one that is sometimes known as "Purple Reishi" Ganoderma japonicum, and one without any English name, Ganoderma neo-japonicum.

Dr. Rafael works as a herbal researcher and writer since 1996, specializing in medicinal mushrooms. Click on Reishi extract for quality products and free articles on medicinal mushrooms. Reishi Arthritis Article References

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