Reishi Mushroom for Liver Fibrosis


Reishi Mushroom for Liver Fibrosis

Reference: Park E-J, Ko G, Kim J, Sohn DH. Antifibrotic effects of a polysaccharide extracted from Ganoderma lucidum, glychyrrhizin, and pentoxifylline in rats with cirrhosis induced by biliary obstruction. Biol Pharm Bull 1997; 20:417-20.

Summary: The female rats used in this study had liver cirrhosis induced by surgical bile duct obstruction. Another set of rats underwent a sham operation involving only an abdominal incision. Each of these two groups was further subdivided into groups treated with a high molecular weight, protein-bound polysaccharide extracted from reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), glycyrrhizin, the methylxanthine pentoxifylline, or distilled water. All treatments were administered for 28 days. None of the treatments affected weight loss experienced by the rats. Hydroxyproline content in the liver, a marker for fibrosis, was significantly lower in the cirrhotic rats treated with the reishi polysaccharide compared to those given only distilled water. Glycyrrhizin and pentoxifylline did not significantly antagonize development of liver fibrosis. All cirrhotic rats had significantly higher levels of fibrosis than the rats subjected only to the sham operation.

Rats treated with reishi polysaccharide had significantly lowered serum aspartate transaminase (AST) and total bilirubin levels significantly compared to those given only distilled water, Glycyrrhizin and pentoxifylline were similarly effective but caused significant elevations of alkaline phosphatase levels. Liver architecture was better preserved in cirrhotic rats treated with reishi polysaccharide than the controls given water. Glycyrrhizin and pentoxifylline did not have such an effect. The authors conclude that the reishi polysaccharide used in this study deserves further investigation as an agent for treatment of liver cirrhosis.

Natural Product Research Consultants, Inc.


By E. Yarnell

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