Ganoderma lucidum was acclaimed as a divine herb that could bestow
longevity. It was also deemed as an elixir of life that it could augment
good health and well-being. This might be the case when certain mushrooms
were treated as objects of worship or as objects of mysteries describing
them as celestial herbs possessing panaceal properties. Nowadays, modern
research has revealed its active ingredients, which include polysaccharides,
organic germanium, triterpenoids, adenosine, LZ-8, and an array of amino
acids besides numerous mineral types.
Cultivation of Ganoderma Lucidum In Malaysia
Cultivation of G. lucidum in Malaysia was initially attempted
by Teow in 19841) using sawdust in polypropylene or polyethylene
bags in sheds under palm oil trees. Subsequently, better hybrids were obtained
through cross breeding which only required 40 to 45 days of incubation2)
for its cultivation. The annual production of the basidio-carps of G. lucidum
in Malaysia is estimated to be around 300 tons but the production of mycelium
Utilization of Ganoderma Lucidum
The basidiocarps are sliced and brewed and are taken as a tonic or Ganoderma tea. It may also be powdered or extracted with chemical solvent and the finished product is then processed into capsules.
Medicinal Effects of Ganoderma Lucidum
G. lucidum has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Hepatitis B resulting in the lowering of SGPT and SGOT levels to normal, and the sero-conversion of HBs antigen to HBs antibody3). Extract of G. lucidum when administered concurrently with glutathione against liver damage by carbon tetrachloride, proved to be beneficial against hepatic necrosis and hepatitis4). It was also discovered that extract of G. lucidum could probably augment the rate of toxin transformation and subsequent bile excretion, thereby acting as a liver detoxicant and protectant5).
Effect on Diabetes
Extract of G. lucidum has also been found to be effective
in reducing the blood glucose level after two months of treatment3).
Ganoderan B was considered to enhance glucose utilization because it increased
the plasma insulin level in normal and glucose loaded mice, but did not
affect the insulin binding to isolated adipocytes 6). The hypoglycaemic
activity of G. lucidum is thus due to an increase of the plasma
insulin level and an acceleration of glucose metabolism occurring not only
in the peripheral tissues but also in the liver.
Effect on Hypertension
G. lucidum is also effective in lowering hypertensive blood pressure. This is due to the presence of lanostane derivatives especially ganoderic acids B, D, F, H, K, S and Y which exert their hypotensive activities7).
Effect on Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia
Acute myeloblastic leukaemic patients were treated with high doses of
lucidum (6 capsules 3 times a day) prior to chemotherapy and continued
for a period of three months. The chemotherapy regimen consisting of cytarabine
and daunorubicin was given on a monthly basis in order to induce remission.
CNS prophylaxis was given with cranial irradiation. All the patients had
a subjective response when G. lucidum was included in their treatment regimen.
Changes in their WBC, haemoglobin and platelet counts were either significant
or very significant after 3 months of treatment. Despite the remission
for the past 3 years, the long term prognosis seems encouraging.
Effect on Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
Five patients with stage Ill nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) were given 6 capsules of G. lucidum 3 times a day for 1 week before radio-and chemotherapy and continued for a course of 3 months while they were given a complete course of irradiation lasting for 6 weeks. The chemotherapy regimen consisting of cyclophosphamide, lomustine, dau- norubicin and vincristine was administered every month for a period of 4 months. Objective response occurred in all the NPC patients with very significant tumour shrinkage after 40 days of treatment with G. lucidum in concurrence with radio- and chemotherapy. The tumours were completely regressed after 90 days of combined treatment and were in remission for the last three and a half years. It is conceivable that G. lucidum plays an adjuvant role in combination with radio- and chemotherapy, thereby rendering the complete regression of the tumours. Since both polysaccharides and organic germanium derived from G. lucidum are not cytotoxic to tumour cells, the antitumour effect is attributable to induced immunopotentiation. As an immunopotentiator, G.lucidum accelerates the production of interlukin-2 from helper T cells and potentiates the induction of different types of anti-tumour cells, such as NK cells and cytotoxic macrophages, in addition to the induction of interferon production. The patients felt more energetic, and had a better appetite and slept better. Nausea and vomiting were mild whereas stomatitis and sore throat were transient. Their pain was alleviated, and no other side effects were observed.
Effect on Wound Healing
Three patients with diabetic wounds were healed between 15 to 22 days. This might be due to the glucan from the cell walls of G. lucidum that could activate the fibroblast migration in order to achieve wound healing and tissue proliferation.
Considering all these effective findings, further research on G. lucidum as a potential nutriceutical for similar illnesses or other ailments seems warranted.
2. Teow, S. S. 1994. Ganoderma lucidum in 40 days. In Abstract. '94 International Symposium on Ganoderma Research. P 21.
3. Teow, S.S. 1997. The effective application of Ganoderma nutriceuticals. In B.K. Kim, C.K. Moon, and T.S. Kim (Eds), Recent Progress in Ganoderma lticidum Research (pp. 21-39) Seoul, Korea. The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea.
4. Byun, S. H. & Kim I.H. 1987. Studies on the concur rent administration of Ganoderma lucidum extract and glutathione on liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride in rats. J. Pharm.. Soc. Korea, 31:133-139.
5. Liu, G. Bao, T., Niu, X. @ Li, S. & Sung, Z. 1979. Some. pharmacological actions of the spores of Ganoderma lucidum and the mycelium of Ganoderma capense cultivated by submerged fermentation. Chinese Med. J.92:496-500.
6. Hikino, H. Ishiyama, M.,Suzuki, Y. & Kono, C. 1989. Mechanism of hypoglycemic activity of Ganoderma B: A glycan of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies. Planta Medica, 55:423-428.
7. Morigiwa, A., Kitabatake, K., Fujimoto, Y. & Ikekawa 1986.
Angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibiting triterpenes from Ganoderma lucidum.
Chem. Phar. Bull. 34:3025-3028.
Dr. Teo Sun-Soo received his B.Sc. (Hons) in Microbiology M. Sc, in Medical Microbiology from the Panjab University Ph. D. in Genetic Engineering from the National University of Malaysia. He has been lecturing at the MARA Institute of Technology for tha past 24 years and is holding the post of an associate professor in Medical Microbiology. He is 54 years old.