Know the Mycology of the Chinese Mushroom of Immortality

Editorials News | Feb-02-2021

Know the Mycology of the Chinese Mushroom of Immortality

LING ZHI, Ganoderma lucidum is known as the Chinese Mushroom of Immortality. Pre-modern China is extremely rich and complex in the history of classic medicine. The association of it with the long-standing beliefs and hygienic practices of elite groups of political people, great scholars, landowners, merchants, and many of the specialists that catered to the physical and psychological health of the privileged ones.


Various popular books and articles; even those which are written by Chinese medical researchers insist on the fact that the potential medicinal compounds found in Ganoderma lingzhi are longevity drugs or immortality substances. Due to the belief in this polypore usage in ancient China; it is still impossible to discover any supporting evidence that Ganoderma lingzhi has a two to seven – thousand-year history of antiquity use in China. It is not even mentioned in the original Chinese medical source prior to the ones which are recent. Just two references mention it to which researchers of Chinese medicines pointed when they said that this polypore had been used from early imperial times. The first reference was recorded during the Han dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD) in prose poetry about the mythical Islands of the Immortals called “Western Metropolis Rhapsody” by Zhang Heng (AD 78 – 139). In today’s world, zhi means fungus or lichen or an iris. In ancient times, it may be referred to a multitude of supermundane substances often told as immortality substances which were believed to be auspicious spiritual substances. Only the emperor was permitted to possess it as the fungus was considered to be rare in the 15th century.


There is a lack of proof that this polypore was ever employed as a longevity or immortality drug prior to the late twentieth century. Then, the rich paid good wealth to procure these fungi from all over the world. As in ancient times, it was forbidden for commoners gave it popularity later and made it valuable and a symbol of higher ranks and higher economy in life. The attempts of Lingzhi cultivation to be used medicinally by the Chinese population started in the late 1960s. It first successful cultivation was in 1992 in China. Later the techniques of cultivating Ling Zhi spread all over China, Asia, and everywhere.

By: Kiara Sharma

Mahaveer Public School