Lingzhi Major Bioactive Components

Polysaccharides, peptidoglycans, and triterpenes are three major physiologically active constituents in Lingzhi cracked spores.

Various polysaccharides have been extracted from the fruit body, spores, and mycelia of lingzhi; they are produced by fungal mycelia cultured in fermenters and can differ in their sugar and peptide compositions and molecular weight (e.g., ganoderans A, B, and C). G. lucidum polysaccharides (GL-PSs) are reported to exhibit a broad range of bioactivities, including anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, antiulcer, antitumorigenic, and immunostimulating effects.

Various bioactive peptidoglycans have also been isolated from Lingzhi, including Ganoderma lucidum proteoglycan (GLPG; with antiviral activity; Li, Liu and Zhao 2005), Ganoderma lucidum immunomodulating substance (GLIS; Ji et al. 2007), PGY (a water-soluble glycopeptide fractionated and purified from aqueous extracts of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies; Wu and Wang 2009), GL-PS peptide (GL-PP; Ho et al. 2007), and F3 (a fucose-containing glycoprotein fraction; Chien et al. 2004).

Lingzhi cracked spores is clearly rich in triterpenes, and it is this class of compounds that gives the herb its bitter taste and, it is believed, confers on it various health benefits, such as lipid-lowering and antioxidant effects. However, the triterpene content is different in different parts and growing stages of the mushroom. The profile of the different triterpenes in Lingzhi can be used to distinguish this medicinal fungus from other taxonomically related species, and can serve as supporting evidence for classification. The triterpene content can also be used as a measure of quality of different Lingzhi samples (Chen et al. 1999; Su et al. 2001)

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