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LINGZHI MUSHROOM




  • Comon names: Lingzhi mushroom,
    -Scientific name: Ganoderma lucidum (Curtis) P. Karst.
     
     

    Scientific classification

    -Kingdom: Fungi.
    -Phylum: Basidiomycota.
    -Class: Agaricomycetes.
    -Order: Polyporales.
    -Family: Ganodermataceae.
    -Genus:Ganoderma P. Karst.
    -Species: Ganoderma lucidum
    -The neighbour species:G. applanatum, G. brownii, G. curtisii, G. lobatum, G.   multipileum, G. orbiforme, G. philippii, G. pseudoferreum, G. tornatum, G. tsugae, G. zonatum, G. boninense…

    a-About Genus Ganoderma

    +Ganoderma is a genus of polypore mushrooms which grow on wood and include about 80 species, many from tropical regions.
    Because of their extensive use in traditional Asian medicines, and their potential in bioremediation, they are a very important genus economically. Ganoderma can be differentiated from other polypores because they have a double walled basidiospore. They are popularly referred to as shelf mushrooms or bracket mushrooms
    Ganoderma are characterized by basidiocarps that are large, perennial, woody brackets, also called “conks”. They are lignicolous, leathery, and either with or without a stem. The fruit bodies typically grow in a fanlike or hooflike form on the trunks of living or dead trees. They have double-walled, truncate spores with yellow to brown ornamented inner layers.
    The name Ganoderma is derived from the Greek ganos/γανος “brightness, sheen”, hence “shining” and derma/δερμα “skin”.
    The genus was named by Karsten in 1881. Members of the family Ganodermataceae were traditionally considered difficult to classify because of the lack of reliable morphological characteristics, the overabundance of synonyms, and the widespread misuse of names. Until recently, the genus was divided into two sections – Section Ganoderma with a shiny cap surface (like Ganoderma lucidum) and Elfvingia, with a dull cap surface, like Ganoderma applanatum.
    Phylogenetic analysis using DNA sequence information derived from mitochondrial SSU rDNA, have helped to clarify our understanding of the relationships amongst Ganoderma species.The genus may now be divided into six monophyletic groups:
    -G. colossus group
    -G. applanatum group
    -G. tsugae group
    -Asian G. lucidum group
    -G. meredithiae group
    -G. resinaceum group
    In 1905, American mycologist William Murrill delineated the genus Tomophagus  to accommodate the single species G. colossus (then known as Polyporus colossus) which had distinctive morphological features that did not fit in with the other species. Historically, however, Tomophagus has generally been regarded as a synonym forGanoderma. Nearly a century later, phylogenetic analyses vindicated Murrill’s original placement, as it has shown to be a taxonomically distinct appropriate genus.
    Several species of Ganoderma have been used in traditional Asian medicines (specifically in Korea, Japan and China) for thousands of years. Collectively, the Ganoderma are being investigated for a variety of potential therapeutic benefits: anticancer, immunoregulatory, liver-protecting, hypoglycemic ,antibacterial , antiviral and antifungal effect; antioxidant activities,  reducing blood cholesterol, inhibiting blood vessel regeneration (angiogenesis, antifibrotic effects, protection against radiation-induced damage, reducing lower urinary tract symptoms, increasing endurance for vigorous exercise.
    +Notable species:
    Ganoderma applanatum – Also known as the Artist’s conch.
    -Ganoderma lucidum – Also known as Reishi or Lingzhi
    -Ganoderma multipileum – the correct name for G. lucidum in tropical Asia
    -Ganoderma philippii – A plant pathogen.
    -Ganoderma pseudoferreum – Responsible for the root rot of cacao, coffee, rubber and tea trees
    -Ganoderma tsugae – A polypore which grows on conifers, especially hemlock; thus the common name, Hemlock varnish shelf. Similar in appearance to Ganoderma lucidum, which typically grows onhardwoods.
    +Industry: Ganoderma are wood-decaying fungi with a cosmopolitan distribution, and can grow on both coniferous and hardwood species. They are white-rot fungi, and have enzymes that allow them to break down wood components such as lignin and cellulose. There has been significant research interest in trying to harness the power of these wood-degrading enzymes for industrial applications such as biopulping or bioremediation.

    b- Lingzhi mushroom

    +Some Asian countries’names
    The lingzhi mushroom or reishi mushroom (traditional Chinese: “pinyin”: língzhī;  Japanese: “ reishi”; Vietnamese: “linh chi”; literally: “supernatural mushroom”) encompasses several fungal species of the genus Ganoderma, and most commonly refers to the closely related species, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma tsugae. G. lucidum enjoys special veneration in East Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally. Because of lingzhi’s presumed health benefits and apparent absence of side-effects, it has attained a reputation in the East as the ultimate herbal substance. Lingzhi is listed in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium.
    +Taxonomy and names
    Names for the lingzhi fungus have a two thousand year history. The Chinese term “lingzhi”was first recorded in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE).
     Petter Adolf Karsten named the genus Ganoderma in 1881.
    +Botanical names
    The lingzhi’s botanical names have Greek and Latin roots. The generic name Ganoderma derives from the Greek ganos “brightness; sheen”, hence “shining” and derma “skin”.The specific epithet lucidum is Latin for “shining” and tsugae for”hemlock”  (from Japanese Tsuga ).
    There are multiple species of lingzhi, scientifically known to be within the Ganoderma lucidum species complex and mycologists are still researching the differences among species within this complex.
    +English names
    English lingzhi or ling chih (sometimes misspelled “ling chi” from French EFEO Chinese transcription) is a Chinese loanword.
    The Oxford English Dictionary gives Chinese “líng divine + zhī fungus” as the origin ofling chih or lingzhi, and defines, “The fungus Ganoderma lucidum, believed in China to confer longevity and used as a symbol of this on Chinese ceramic ware.”. The OED notes the earliest recorded usage of theWade-Giles romanization ling chih in 1904, and of the Pinyin lingzhi in 1980. In addition to the transliterated loanword, English names include “glossy ganoderma” and “shiny polyporus”.

    Description

    Lingzhi is a polypore mushroom that is soft (when fresh), corky, and flat, with a conspicuous red-varnished, kidney-shaped cap and, depending on specimen age, white to dull brown pores underneath. It lack sgills on its underside and releases its spores through fine pores, leading to its morphological classification as a polypore.
    Ganoderma lucidum generally occurs in two growth forms, one, found inNorth 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. However, many growth forms exist that are intermediate to the two types, or even exhibit very unusual morphologies, raising the possibility that they are separate species. Environmental conditions also play a substantial role in the different morphological characteristics lingzhi can exhibit. For example, elevated carbon dioxide levels result in stem elongation in lingzhi. Other forms show “antlers’, without a cap and these may be affected by carbon dioxide levels as well.

    Biochemistry

    Ganoderma lucidum produces a group of triterpenes, called ganoderic acids, which have a molecular structure similar to steroid hormones. It also contains other compounds many of which are typically found in fungal materials including polysaccharides such as beta-glucan, coumarin, mannitol, and alkaloids.

    Habitat

    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, including North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia, growing as a parasite or saprotroph on a wide variety of trees. Similar species of Ganoderma have been found growing in the Amazon. In nature, Lingzhi grows at the base and stumps of deciduous trees, especially maple.Only two or three out of 10,000 such aged trees will have Lingzhi growth, and therefore its wild form is generally rare. Today, Lingzhi is effectively cultivated both indoors under sterile conditions and outdoors on either logs or woodchip beds.

    History

    The Chinese classics first used zhi during the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE) and lingzhi during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE).
    The word lingzhi was first recorded in a fu “rhapsody; prose-poem” by the Han dynasty polymath Zhang Heng (CE 78–139).
    The (ca. 1st-2nd century CE) Shennong bencao jing “Divine Farmer’s Classic of Pharmaceutics” classifies zhi into six color categories, each of which is believed to benefit the qi “life force” in a different part of the body:
    – qingzhi “green mushroom” for liver, 
    -chizhi “red mushroom” for heart, 
    huangzhi “yellow mushroom” for spleen, 
    baizhi “white mushroom” for lung,
    -heizhi “black mushroom” for kidney,
    -and zizhi “purple mushroom” for essence. Commentators identify this redchizhi (or danzhi “cinnabar mushroom”) as the lingzhi.
    Chinese pharmaceutical handbooks on zhi mushrooms were the first illustrated publications in the history of mycology. The historian of Chinese science Joseph Needham discussed a no-longer extant Liang Dynasty (502-587) illustrated text called Zhong Shenzhi “On the Planting and Cultivation of Magic Mushrooms”.
    The (1444) Ming Dynasty edition Daozang “Daoist canon” contains the Taishang lingbao zhicao pin “Classifications of the Most High Divine Treasure Mushroom Plant”, which categorizes 127 varieties of zhi. A (1598) Ming reprint includes woodblock pictures.
    In Chinese art, the lingzhi symbolizes good health and long life, as depicted in the imperial Forbidden City and Summer Palace. It was a talisman for good luck in the traditional culture of China, and the goddess of healing Guanyin is sometimes depicted holding a lingzhi mushroom.

    Research and therapeutic usage

    Lingzhi may possess anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic  activities, supported by studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and myceliaof this fungus (reviewed by R. R. Paterson and Lindequist et al.). It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure (via inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme), cholesterol, and blood sugar.
    Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer, including epithelial ovarian cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis, with potency comparable to Lentinan from Shiitake mushrooms.
    The mechanisms by which G. lucidum may affect cancer are unknown and they may target different stages of cancer development: inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new, tumor-induced blood vessels, created to supply nutrients to the tumor) mediated by cytokines, cytoxicity, inhibiting migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells. Nevertheless, G. lucidumextracts are already used in commercial pharmaceuticals such as MC-S for suppressing cancer cell proliferation and migration.
    Additional studies indicate that ganoderic acid has some protective effects against liver injury by viruses and other toxic agents in mice, suggesting a potential benefit of this compound in the treatment of liver diseases in humans, and Ganoderma-derived sterols inhibit lanosterol 14α-demethylase activity in the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Ganoderma compounds inhibit 5-alpha reductase activity in the biosynthesis of dihydrotestosterone.
    Besides effects on mammalian physiology, Ganoderma is reported to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities. Ganoderma is reported to exhibit direct anti-viral with the following viruses; HSV-1, HSV-2, influenza virus, vesicular stomatitis. Ganoderma  mushrooms are reported to exhibit direct anti-microbial properties with the following organisms; Aspergillus niger, Bacillus cereus, Candida albicans, and Escherichia coli.
    References:

    1- From  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –Lingzhi.
    2-“The pharmacological potential of mushrooms.”. Lindequist, U.; Niedermeyer, T.H.J. ; Jülich, W.D. (2005). 

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