In traditional Chinese medicine, ganoderma, commonly referred to as reishi mushroom, is a widely favored natural medicine that can promote overall health. Preparation of the mushroom could involve cooking, and large-scale production may involve preparation of liquid extracts. Ganoderma can also be dried and processed into tea or capsules, which are available in many Chinese stores.
Ganoderma and its derivatives are widely popular in many local Chinese populations, who consume the mushroom to alleviate asthma and other allergy-related complications. Some individuals also report lowered cholesterol levels after consumption of this medicinal mushroom.
Among other therapeutic uses of ganoderma, some of the most popular include stimulation of the immune system, curbing the onset of urinary tract disorders, and keeping other symptoms from manifesting as a result of a compromised immune system – the commonly associated condition of which is HIV infection and cancer.
Because ganoderma is known to stimulate the body’s immune system, immune deficiency related disorders such as viral infections, loss of appetite, fatigue, and even the side effects of chemotherapy are alleviated to a certain degree. It is advised, however, that individuals who regularly take chemotherapy drugs consult a professional medical practitioner because some components of ganoderma have been observed to interact with some chemicals found in chemotherapy drugs.
Possible Health Risks
Just like other mushrooms, ganoderma contains substantial doses of potent compounds that may or may not cause harmful side effects in some individuals.
Common adverse side effects may include rashes with accompanied itchiness, skin breakouts, headache, dizziness, increase in blood pressure, and even swelling in the lower parts of the limbs. The severity and frequency of the side effects may vary and in most cases, these side effects are temporary.
It is also important to note that ganoderma should be carefully taken – or not at all – if you happen to be under medical treatment that may include immunosuppressant drugs, anti-platelet medicines, and chemotherapy drugs. There are reports that show an interaction between anticoagulants and ganoderma, which can cause profuse bleeding in some patients.
Other studies have shown that simultaneous intake of chemotherapeutic agents and ganoderma may cause a substantial increase in plasma antioxidant processes in the blood. Moreover, symptoms of hypertension can be aggravated when compounds of this mushroom interact with antihypertensive medications.
Lastly, the level of immune responses may also be affected if ganoderma is orally taken by patients who are under immunosuppressant medications.