The combination of active ingredients in Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum; Lingzhi) and green tea can produce a synergetic effect that can halt the growth of tumors and also slow down the time of death in people having sarcoma, researchers have suggested.
The study led by Yan Zhang, of Pharmanex BJ Clinical Pharmacology Center in Beijing, has cited that both enhance the body's immune functions and hold the potential for treatment and prevention of many types of cancer.
Reishi grows in damp, sunless mountain areas and was once a rare commodity. Today Reishi, like green tea polyphenols, is manufactured as an extract.
The researchers conducted 2 studies, for which they examined products sold as ReishiMax and Tegreen, made by Utah-based Nu Skin Enterprises. ReishiMax contains high concentrations of the active components in the mushroom itself and cracked spores of the mushroom, including polysaccharides (13.5 percent) and triterpenes (6 percent), and Tegreen is almost completely (98-99 percent) made of tea polyphenols.
For the first study, which aimed to look at cancer treatment, mice were first injected intraperitoneally with sarcoma cells and then were given either low, medium or high dosages of ReishiMax or low, medium, or high dosages of a combination of ReishiMax and Tegree. A control group received neither product.
All mice died of sarcoma development after treatment for 28 days. But treatment with the combination of reishi and green tea extracts delayed the animals' death within the first 12 days after sarcoma injection, compared to the animals receiving only ReishiMax.
For the second study, which aimed to look at cancer prevention, groups of healthy mice were given either low, medium or high dosages of ReishiMax or low, medium, or high dosages of a combination of ReishiMax and Tegreen. A control group received neither product. After receiving the specified treatment for 14 days, mice were given a suspension of sarcoma cells subcutaneously, while the treatments were continued. On day 28, the sarcoma tumors under the skin were recovered from the mice and weighed.
The tumour weight was reduced by 45 percent with the combination therapy, but in a much lesser degree with only the Reishi, compared to tumors in mice receiving no treatment, further confirming the synergy of the two together.
According to Dr. Jia-Shi Zhu of Pharmanex research Institute in Provo, Utah, these findings suggest the therapeutic values of the combined use of the substances in both cancer prevention and adjuvant treatment.
The findings of these studies were presented at Experimental Biology 2008 in San Diego.