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The Mushroom of Immortality The Mushroom of Immortality published in the magazine "Paracelsus", 5/VI 2009 (page 48-51)

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The Mushroom of Immortality

In China, the Ling-Zhi mushroom has been known for its highly curative and vitalizing effect for many hundreds of years. Now scientific research confirms its extraordinary healing properties for cardiac diseases and cancer.

by Ulrich Arndt and Frank-Daniel Schulten

Even glacier man Ötzi knew it: some mushrooms are not only appropriate for food. They also have amazing healing effects. In fact, research has shown that prehistoric Alpine residents suffered from whipworms during their lifetimes, which can cause diarrhea and hefty stomachaches. Meanwhile scientists agree that “Ötzi” used the mushrooms that were found besides his mummy – the so-called ruinous polyspore –to fight these parasites.
The healing forces of mushrooms were already known in the Middle Ages. The holy Hildegard von Bingen wrote, for example:
Mushrooms that grow on living and cut down trees are quite appropriate for a diet and, now and then, also as a medicine. Those from the walnut tree help with worms; those from the birch tree help with a cold and a stomach with too much phlegm; those from the willow help with lung and spleen problems as well as with the veil in front of the eyes; those from the pear tree are suitable for scab.
Unlike in Asia, the use of healing mushrooms (except in form of penicillin) is not really established here in Germany. In Asia, since living memory, various mushrooms with different medical effects have been used very successfully. The most significant one among them is the so-called Ling-Zhi or Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum, lingzhi), which has been considered to be one of the most important remedies in Asia for nearly 4,000 years. Modern medical tests in Japan, Korea, the United States and China confirmed its amazing healing effect. For example, the mushroom brought relief from cardiac arrhythmia to 60 percent of the patients tested, relieved cardiovascular diseases in 84 percent and headaches in 86 percent when only a few grams daily were taken for several weeks. One gram daily is already sufficient to significantly strengthen the immune system. Ling-Zhi detoxifies the body, helps in case of allergies, asthma and skin diseases, and alleviates liver problems, inflammation of the joints and disturbances of sleep.

Cancer Prevention

Experiments with cell cultures – as for example conducted at the Institute for Microbiology and Biochemistry of Sklowodowska University in Warsaw, Poland – have also proven to be effective with harmful viruses and bacteria such as smallpox virus and streptococci (causing scarlet, meningitis and cardiac diseases). For Dr. Fukumi Morishige from the famous Linus Pauling Institute for Science and Medicine in Big Sur, California, the intake of Ling-Zhi is even “the best method to prevent cancerous diseases.”

Ganoderma LucidumGanoderma Lucidum
Sowerby´s Coloured Figures of English Fungi, 1797

As tests have shown, certain polysaccharides in the mushroom (long-chained carbohydrates, so-called Beta-D-Glucans), among other things, inhibit the growth of tumors (see box). The Center of National Federation of Studies in Cancer Development in the United States and the Medical Department of the National Universities in the USA therefore attested Ling-Zhi a healing effect on cancer.
In Japan, this mushroom was already officially registered for the treatment of stomach cancer. Products containing Ling-Zhi are used in Japanese hospitals in the follow-up treatment of cancer patients. Such products also alleviate the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy. The Japanese company Teikoko Chemical Industry Co. has already patented numerous Ling-Zhi ingredients as tumor medications.
Generally, in Asian countries Ling-Zhi is an essential component of the so-called “Fu-Zeng-Treatment,” the Eastern equivalent to the occidental immune therapy. Ling-Zhi and certain herbs, as well as Ginseng, are administered to patients in order to strengthen their immune system. Hence, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine the flow of Qi – the flow of life energy – can be balanced.
In classical Chinese Medicine, Ling-Zhi is said to be a remedy that slows down the aging process – therefore its flowery name “Divine Mushroom of Immortality.” Even today, the entire Chinese leadership is said to take this mushroom, which is understood to be the reason for their proverbial longevity.
Once, It Was More Expensive than Gold.
Because Ling-Zhi’s occurrence is very rare in nature, there are numerous legends told about it. Once it was more expensive than gold and, according to old reports, the Chinese emperors sent out whole fleets in order to find Ling-Zhi. The mushroom’s power was sung about in poetry and great feasts were celebrated when one was found. To discover a Ling-Zhi was always deemed to be a good omen. Yet, the mushroom was not only used for medicine. It served also a talisman, and in Taoist circles it was a symbol of immortality. Furthermore, Ling-Zhi was placed over the doorsill or the bed in order to banish daemons and bad spirits. This eye-catching mushroom often is kidney-shaped; its surface looks like it has been painted with a coat of glossy enamel. The most treasured examples, however, were those that looked like a stag’s antlers. For such “antler’s mushrooms” huge sums were paid.
This mushroom lignifies when being dried. Then its consistency looks like cork; its taste is slightly bitter; and it emanates a pleasantly spicy fragrance. The red Ling-Zhi is said to be the most curative of all.
In the oldest Chinese book of herbs it is written: “The upper class of remedies consists of twenty-one kinds, the task of which is to reign like kings. They preserve human nature and resemble the sky. They are not poisonous, no matter in which quantity or perpetuity they are taken. If you wish to relieve and strengthen your body, if you wish to live long without aging, use this remedy!” The Ling-Zhi was considered to be the most important medicine – even more important than the legendary Ginseng.

Active Ingredients in Ling-Zhi
Until today there are many ingredients of Ling-Zhi that have not yet been discovered. Of the ones discovered, the following are the most notable:
  • so far unknown proteins (Glykoproteins), which are proven to inhibit cancer
  • a so far unknown alkaloid, showing a strengthening effect on the heart
  • rare polysaccharides, which are proven to have a cancer-inhibiting effect
  • organic germanium showing the four-fold positive health effect of germanium found in Ginseng or garlic (for example, for cancer, rheumatism, asthma and osteoporosis)
  • substances regulating and strengthening the immune system
  • a substance with a strong protecting effect on the liver (gandosteron)
  • and the vitamins B1, B2 and B6, vitamin E, early forms of vitamin D, voumarin, mannitol and 15 different trace elements

Surprisingly, this herbal remedy is not well known in the West, whereas in Asia it is very famous and esteemed: in Japan alone the actual turnover of Ling-Zhi products and other healing mushrooms exceeds 770 million U.S. Dollars per year. The explanation is simple: until some time ago Ling-Zhi was available in limited quantity only. Only a few years ago this mushroom began to be successfully and professionally cultivated in large quantities. Since then, the amount of scientific research on this traditional remedy has exploded.
It has been proven by now that, first of all, Ling-Zhi is absolutely not poisonous and, therefore, may be taken unrestricted in frequency and quantity. Second, it may prevent from a great number of diseases – even from cancer – when taken as a daily food supplement. In Asian grocery stores, Ling-Zhi is mostly offered in form of capsules or teas. However, both have their disadvantages. Pure Ling-Zhi tea is of very bitter taste. With capsules, on the other hand, there is no guarantee that they contain a sufficient amount of active ingredient.
Proven and tested to be efficient has thus the intake of shredded mushroom: take one leveled teaspoon a day with some liquid. Shredded mushroom can also be applied externally. For example, a decoction of it nurtures and regenerates the facial skin. Because of the mushroom’s hard cellulose the Ling-Zhi should, however, not simply be chopped or crushed. Moreover, there are modern procedures in which the firm mushroom cells become gently disintegrated. This way, the body is able to absorb the active agents of the Ling-Zhi optimally.

Healing Teas with Ling-Zhi
In special tea mixtures the effect of Ling-Zhi and other healing herbs compliment and intensify each other:
  • Tea for migraine and headache: 20 g each of Ling-Zhi, verbena, Melissa, peppermint, rosemary and 10 g garden rue. Take 1 teaspoon of this mixture in 1 liter boiling water and brew for approximately 10 minutes. Drink three cups daily.
  • Stomach tea: 30 g each of Ling-Zhi and Ginger root, 15 g each of calamus and burnet root, 5 g each of wormwood and juniper berry. Take 1 tablespoon in 1 liter boiling water, brew for approximately 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup daily.
  • Tea for atherosclerosis: 20 g of each mistletoe and hawthorn and 40 g horsetail. Take 1 teaspoon of this mixture in 1 liter boiling water. Brew for approximately 10 minutes. Drink 2 – 3 cups daily.
  • Meditation tea: 10 g each of Ling-Zhi, mugwort, chicory and purple loosestrife. Take 1 tablespoon of this mixture in one cup of boiling water. Brew for approximately 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup one hour before meditation.

Besides its healing and harmonizing influence on the whole organism, Ling-Zhi is also said to have a psychic and spiritual effect. As this mushroom balances the Qi in the body, that is the opposing forces of Yin and Yang, it can also help to reach that equilibrated state which enables a deep meditation to begin with. In this way the “sacred mushroom” supports the inner collection and prepares body and mind for higher levels of awareness.

 

Author’s contact address:

Ulrich Arndt
Otto–Raupp–Str.5
79312 Emmendingen–Mundingen
Germany
Mail: info@horusmedia.de

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© horusmedia.de Ulrich Arndt

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