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The anti-cancer and immunomodulating potential of Ganoderma.

Yue G, Fung K-P, Tse G, Leung P-C, Lau C. Comparative studies of various Ganoderma species and their different parts with regard to their antitumor and immunomodulating activities in vitro. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2006;12(8):777-789.

Recent research has focused on Ganoderma lucidum (reishi or lingzhi). However the Pharmacopoeia of The People's Republic of China, classifies both G. lucidum and G. sinense as the same herbal medicine, Ganoderma (lingzhi).

Additionally in practice G. sinense and G. tsugae are the fungi commonly used for medicinal purposes and as health foods.

This study therefore examined the anti-cancer and immunomodulating properties of Ganoderma tsugae, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma sinense. The researchers compared not only these three species, but also wild versus cultivated fungi and three different botanical parts: the whole fruiting body, the pileus (cap) and the stipe (stalk).

In keeping with traditional Chinese medicine practices aqueous extracts of the Ganoderma species were prepared. These were then lyophilised into powder.

The extracts were tested for anti-cancer properties against two human breast cancer cell lines, one being oestrogen dependent and the other being oestrogen independent. The immunomodulatory properties were assessed by measuring the degree by which lymphocytes taken from mouse spleens proliferated when exposed to the extracts.

All species were found to inhibit cell proliferation in both cancer cell lines. G. tsugae was most effective followed by G. lucidum. There was generally no difference between the cultivated and wild samples, however the stipes of G. tsugae and wild grown G. sinense displayed the strongest inhibitory effects on the cancer cells.

All the extracts except those from G. tsugae whole fruiting body and G. tsugae pileus significantly stimulated the mouse lymphocytes. The stipes of G. lucidum and wild grown G. sinense showed the strongest lymphocyte stimulating properties.

Taken as a whole the results show that the fruiting bodies of all three Ganoderma species display antitumor activity against human breast cancer cells and immunomodulatory activities. Additionally the stipes should now also be included in preparations to obtain the most comprehensive spread of active ingredients.

Comments: Although this study was well designed, the above results may only be described as promising. It must be noted that all the results were obtained via in vitro experiments, and there is no guarantee that the results will be replicated within the complexities of the human body.

The next step is for well designed human clinical trials to be conducted. In the meantime however practitioners can continue to rely upon the traditional uses of Gandoerma.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:RESEARCH BRIEFS
Author:Boylan, Matthew
Publication:Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
Article Type:Clinical report
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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