Iiihistory Of G Lucidum As A Medicinal Mushroom

The first book wholly devoted to the description of herbs and their medicinal value is called Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, written in the Eastern Han dynasty of China (a.d. 25-220). This book is also known as Classic of the Materia Medica or Shen-nong's Herbal Classic and describes botanical, zoological, and mineral substances. It was composed in the second century under the pseudonym of Shen-nong, the Holy Farmer (31). The book, which has been continually updated and extended, describes the beneficial effects of several mushrooms and there is reference to the medicinal mushroom G. lucidum (4,11,31). In the book Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (''Supplement to Classic of Materia Medica,'' a.d. 502-536) and in the Ben Cao Gang Mu by Li Shin-Zhen, which is considered to be the first pharmacopoeia in China (a.d. 1590, Ming dynasty), the mushroom was attributed with certain medicinal effects, including tonifying effects, enhancing vital energy and strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory, and having antiaging effects (17,32). However, its reputation as a panacea may have been earned more by virtue of its irregular distribution, rarity, and usage by the rich and privileged members of Chinese society than by its actual effects. According to the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China (33), G. lucidum acts to replenish Qi and ease the mind, to relieve cough and asthma, and it is recommended for dizziness, insomnia, palpitation, and shortness of breath.

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