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Cellular and Physiological Effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)

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In Asia, a variety of dietary products have been used for centuries as popular remedies to prevent or treat different diseases. A large number of herbs and extracts from medicinal mushrooms are used for the treatment of diseases. Mushrooms such as Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), Lentinus edodes (Shiitake), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Hericium erinaceum (Yamabushitake), and Inonotus obliquus (Chaga) have been collected and consumed in China, Korea, and Japan for centuries. Until recently, these mushrooms were largely unknown in the West and were considered “fungi” without any nutritional value. However, most mushrooms are rich in vitamins, fiber, and amino acids and low in fat, cholesterol, and calories. These mushrooms contain a large variety of biologically active polysaccharides with immunostimulatory properties, which contribute to their anticancer effects. Furthermore, other bioactive substances, including triterpenes, proteins, lipids, cerebrosides, and phenols, have been identified and characterized in medicinal mushrooms. This review summarizes the biological effects of Ganoderma lucidum upon specific signaling molecules and pathways, which are responsible for its therapeutic effects.
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Keywords: ganoderma lucidum; mushroom; polysaccharides; signaling pathways; triterpenes

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Cancer Research Laboratory, Methodist Research Institute, 1800 N. Capitol Ave., E504, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.

Publication date: 01 October 2004

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  • The aim of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is to publish short reviews on the important recent developments in medicinal chemistry and allied disciplines.

    The scope of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry will cover all areas of medicinal chemistry including developments in rational drug design, synthetic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, high-throughput screening, combinatorial chemistry, drug targets, and natural product research and structure-activity relationship studies.

    Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal and pharmaceutical chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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