The Side Effects of Ganoderma Lucidum Extract
What is ganoderma?
Ganoderma Lucidum is a popular type of mushroom which is more commonly referred to as Reishi or Ling Zhi. The mushrooms grow on all types of hardwood species and have bitter, hard caps.
Ganoderma has a variety of different medicinal applications and is commonly available as an extract from natural health food stores. Ganoderma coffee is also a popular remedy and is made by mixing regular coffee with the pulverized reishi mushroom extract.
What are the benefits of ganoderma extract?
For thousands of years, ganoderma has been used in Chinese medicine to treat many diseases and ailments. It's rich in antioxidants, making it the perfect herb for detoxifying the body and removing any harmful agents that compromise the immune system. Ganoderma is also an adaptogen, a type of herbal remedy that helps balance the adrenal system and improves the body's response to daily stress.
Ganoderma is traditionally used to treat many serious illnesses, including:
- Liver disease: Since the liver is so essential to the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and hemoglobin, it's important that it remains free from toxins. Numerous scientific studies have shown that ganoderma helps protect the liver from disease and also detoxifies harmful substances. For patients with chronic disease, such as hepatitis or liver cirrhosis, ganoderma can help cleanse the liver and decrease physical symptoms of illness. Ganoderma can also help improve liver function in patients who have suffered chronic drug or alcohol abuse.
- Cancer: For many decades, ganoderma has been used to help decrease side effects of radiation or chemotherapy in cancer patients. It also increases T-cells in the body, which help support and repair the immune system. When taken in combination with green tea, ganoderma can even help shrink cancerous tumors in affected patients. Although the benefits of ganoderma are still relatively unexplored by Western researchers, a study conducted at Columbia University also linked a diet rich in ganoderma with the prevention of prostate cancer.
- HIV/Aids: Ganoderma helps control the HIV virus in affected patients by boosting their immune systems.
Ganoderma is also used to treat a variety of minor illnesses and diseases, including:
- Asthma: Many alternative health experts believe that ganoderma helps clear up illnesses affecting the respiratory tract, including asthma and bronchitis. Ganoderma works by reducing inflammation and relaxing the airway, making it easier to breathe. In Chinese medicine, it's also used to suppress wheezing or coughing in patients with colds or flu-like symptoms.
- Urinary tract infections: UTIs can be extremely painful and are much more common in women in than men. Besides drinking fluids, taking cranberry extract, and eating a diet rich in antioxidants, patients with a UTI can take ganoderma extract to support their immune system and help clear up symptoms. Ganoderma also supports general prostrate health and is often taken by men as a preventative measure against disease.
- General fatigue: Many patients take ganoderma to help manage everyday fatigue and stress. It's also known to reduce the effects of sleep disorders such as insomnia.
- High cholesterol and blood pressure: Ganoderma can help reduce the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries and lower blood pressure.
- Obesity: Ganoderma has been known to help balance blood sugar and increase the metabolism, making it a great herb for supporting weight loss.
Ganoderma is also a popular anti-aging herb that helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes on the skin. Many patients report that ganoderma makes them "feel" younger since it increases energy levels and helps improve brain function.
What are the side effects of ganoderma?
Despite its potential health benefits, taking ganoderma extract does produce side effects. These side effects range from mild to severe, and vary greatly from person to person. Many patients with pre-existing medical issues, such as diabetes and liver disease, should not take ganoderma because of the negative impact on their health. As well, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should stay away from ganoderma due to the risk of adverse side effects.
Whatever state your physical health is in, you should always consult with a health care practitioner before incorporating ganoderma into your diet. There is a possibility that using reishi mushrooms could interfere with other medications you are taking, including aspirin and other blood thinners.
Some of the other side effects of ganoderma include:
- Diarrhea: There are many cases of patients experiencing gastrointestinal problems after ingesting ganoderma. For some people, stomach problems can be prolonged or severe and can lead to diarrhea, blood in the stool, or chronic constipation. Ganoderma can also cause pre-existing ulcers to become more painful.
- Breathing problems: Some patients claim they feel tightness in the chest after ingesting ganoderma. Dry nasal passages or sinuses may also make breathing difficult after taking the extract.
- Skin rash: Ganoderma extract may cause your skin to become scaly and itchy, especially if you have naturally dry skin. You may also note the appearance of acne-like red spots or raised bumps on the skin.
- Bleeding: Ganoderma acts as a type of blood thinner by inhibiting platelets from forming in the blood. As a result, it becomes harder for blood to clot properly once ganoderma is ingested. The extract can cause bleeding, usually in the form of mild nose bleeds. In severe cases, ganoderma can also cause gastric bleeding.
- Fluctuations in blood pressure: Using ganoderma may cause your blood pressure to fluctuate. Both exceedingly high and exceedingly low blood pressures have been reported in patients after using the extract. Ganoderma may also negatively affect blood sugar, particularly in people with diabetes. These fluctuations may lead to extreme dizziness or even fainting spells.
- Hepatotoxicity: Hepatotoxicity refers to serious, chemically-induced damage to the liver. Ganoderma is typically used to treat liver disorders, not cause them, but there have been a few reported cases of hepatotoxicity resulting from ganoderma ingestion, including a patient who developed liver hepatitis from taking the extract.
- Allergic reaction: It's also possible to experience an allergic reaction after taking ganoderma. Chest pains and difficulty breathing are symptomatic of an allergic reaction. If you experience either of these symptoms, you should stop taking ganoderma and consult with a health care professional.
Should you use ganoderma?
While a wide variety of side effects are associated with ganoderma, there are thousands of people who believe it has helped drastically improve their health. In fact, many users of ganoderma report feeling no side effects at all.
Decisions about ganoderma should be made on an individual basis, in consultation with a trusted doctor or alternative medicine expert. Whether you're using the extract to treat general fatigue, or a more serious disorder, you should carefully monitor any side effects that occur. Fortunately, many side effects of ganoderma, even those that are particularly severe, are often temporary and will dissipate over time.