British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Study of potential cardioprotective effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi): results of a controlled human intervention trial

Tanya T. W. Chua1, Iris F. F. Benziea2, Christopher W. K. Lama3, Benny S. P. Foka1, Kenneth K. C. Leea4 and Brian Tomlinsona1 c1

a1 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

a2 Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong

a3 Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

a4 Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Sunway Campus, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Previous studies have suggested that Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) has antioxidant effects and possibly beneficial effects on blood pressure, plasma lipids and glucose, but these have not been confirmed in subjects with mild hypertension or hyperlipidaemia. The objective of the present study was to assess the cardiovascular, metabolic, antioxidant and immunomodulatory responses to therapy with Lingzhi in patients with borderline elevations of blood pressure and/or cholesterol in a controlled cross-over trial. A total of twenty-six patients received 1·44 g Lingzhi daily or matching placebo for 12 weeks in a randomised, double-blind, cross-over study with placebo-controlled run-in and cross-over periods. Body weight, blood pressure, metabolic parameters, urine catecholamines and cortisol, antioxidant status and lymphocyte subsets were measured after each period. Lingzhi was well tolerated and data from twenty-three evaluable subjects showed no changes in BMI or blood pressure when treated with Lingzhi or placebo. Plasma insulin and homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance were lower after treatment with Lingzhi than after placebo. TAG decreased and HDL-cholesterol increased with Lingzhi but not with placebo in the first treatment period, but significant carry-over effects prevented complete analysis of these parameters. Urine catecholamines and cortisol, plasma antioxidant status and blood lymphocyte subsets showed no significant differences across treatments. Results indicate that Lingzhi might have mild antidiabetic effects and potentially improve the dyslipidaemia of diabetes, as shown previously in some animal studies. Further studies are desirable in patients with hyperglycaemia.

(Received October 07 2010)

(Revised April 15 2011)

(Accepted June 16 2011)

(Online publication August 01 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Professor B. Tomlinson, fax +852 2632 3139, email


Abbreviations: 11-β HSD2, 11-β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2; HDL-C, HDL-cholesterol; LDL-C, LDL-cholesterol