Did You Know…that one of history’s most ancient medicinal mushrooms is such a potent virus-fighter that it’s even being used in the U.S. bioterrorism defense program?
The lingzhi mushroom (G. lucidum) has perhaps the longest record of medicinal use of any mushroom in recorded history—it has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for more than two centuries!
The Chinese word “lingzhi” is formed from two characters: “ling,” which translates roughly as “spirit, soul, miraculous, sacred, divine, and/or efficacious,” and “zhi,” the character used to denote traditional plants of longevity. As both characters hold a multitude of meanings, the term has many English translations such as…
“Possessed of soul power”
“Herb of Spiritual Potency”
However, the most apt translation of them all may in fact be this one: “Mushroom of Immortality.” That’s because next-generation scientific testing indicates that this mushroom’s health-enhancing properties are exceptionally potent.
Researchers have identified more than 400 active enzymes in the lingzhi mushroom. In a Huffington Post article, renowned mycologist Paul Stamets wrote that the variety of enzymes indicates that lingzhi are “miniature pharmaceutical factories that can produce hundreds of medicinally-interactive compounds.”
From Royal Remedy to Bioterrorism Shield
The lingzhi mushroom first appears in medical records during the reign of Shinghuang of the Chin Dynasty, the first emperor of China. Ancient tradition dictated that it be prepared as a tea or infusion, reserved for royal use only, for the purpose of extending life and improving health. Thanks to its long, rich history of medicinal use, lingzhi was one of the first species of mushrooms whose DNA was fully sequenced: it has 16,113 genes.
According to Paul Stamets, internationally renowned mycologist (scientist who studies fungi) and author of 6 books and countless articles on mushrooms, the Lingzhi mushroom may be a potent antiviral weapon.
The ability of lingzhi to fight off viruses is so impressive, in fact, that the NIH-governed BioShield BioDefense program hired Stamets to develop novel mushroom-based defenses against bioterrorism. “In my work with the U.S. Defense Department’s BioShield BioDefense program, ethanol and water extracts of [lingzhi] inhibited virus replication” Stamets said.
And Stamets isn’t just talking about warding off the common cold. Lingzhi reduced the “viral yield” of killer viruses, as well, such as Flu A (H5N1)—the “bird flu” strain—and Flu B viruses.
Patients who got the standard treatment without salt therapy showed much smaller improvements (only a 3% and 19% difference respectively).
An Entire Medicine Chest’s Worth of Benefits
In her book New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Rebecca Wood wrote that the lingzhi mushroom could be used to treat a number of conditions, such as…
Some digestive conditions
Japanese researchers found linzhi contains a compound called lanostan that act as an antihistamine. It’s also proven effective in treating muscle aches and arthritis. Dr. William B. Stavinhoa of the University of Texas Health Science Center showed that lingzhi relieves pain as effectively as hydrocortisone, and with essentially no side effects.