Reishi Mushroom and Honeysuckle

The Tranquilizing and Immune Supporting Effects of Reishi Mushroom

by Brien Quirk

Director of R & D

  • Neuro-immune effects induce sleep via serotonin

  • Increased sleep time, and non-REM sleep

  • Clinical effects in neurasthenia (mental fatigue)

  • Immune support for athletes

  • Adjuvant immune therapy

  • Bronchial cough

Reishi is known historically as the “mushroom of immortality” and the “elixir of life” in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The botanical name is Ganoderma lucidum  and in Chinese it is known by the name Ling Zhi. Reishi is a hard polypore mushroom that grows on a variety of hardwood trees such as white oak or maple. The mushroom is edible and soft when it is fresh, but becomes very hard upon drying. It typically has a red varnished appearance, and is found in other colors including purple, white, yellow, and black.

In TCM, Reishi is considered a Shen tonic for tonifying the spirit ( mind) and is used for removing tumors, treating deficiency fatigue, insomnia, neurasthenia (mental fatigue), and bronchial cough. It is known to have tranquilizing effects, improve memory, promote agility, and lengthen life span. The fruiting body, mycelia and spores of Ganoderma lucidum contain approximately 400 different bioactive compounds which mainly include triterpenoids, ganoderic acids, polysaccharides, nucleotides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, proteins/peptides and trace elements.

Reishi is used as a tranquilizing agent based on its “An-Shen” properties which in TCM  is indicated for the treatment of restlessness, insomnia, and palpitation. In a study of how reishi influenced sleep, it was determined that the mechanism of action was related to the polysaccharides affecting an immune pathway related to TNF-alpha (Cui). When reishi was given for 3 days to mice, it significantly increased total sleep time and non-rapid eye movement. TNF-alpha levels were significantly increased in blood serum, the hypothalamus, and in the dorsal raphe nucleus, a part of the brain where serotonin is synthesized. The raphe nucleus has the function of filtering of incoming neural inputs during sleep. The novel hypnotic immune effect of reishi is a unique neuro-immune function.

In another brain related area of health, Reishi polysaccharide extract had mood and emotional health supporting effects. A study treating 132 patients for neurasthenia, which is type of mental fatigue related to depression, showed a 51.6% improvement in the reishi treatment while only 24.6% improved in the placebo group (Gao).

Reishi polysaccharide fractions have potent immune stimulating effects and documented anti-tumor activity. Reishi’s effect on Immune function was tested in 34 advanced-stage cancer patients given 1800 mg of reishi extract three times daily for 12 weeks. The treatment resulted in a significant increase in concentrations of plasma immune factors and a significant increase in natural killer cell activity, an important immune function for fighting tumors, viruses, and other invaders (Gao, 2003). Its potent anti-tumor effects have been documented in mice resulting in a 60% inhibition of sarcoma tumor growth (Zhang 2010).

A study that measured immune function in football players who were subjected to the stress of a 28-day high altitude training regimen. Reishi significantly improved T lymphocytes levels in the players subjected to intense physical activity and exposure to hypoxia (low oxygen levels). The increased levels of T lymphocytes improved cell-mediated immune function in the players (Zhang).

Draco supplies a full spectrum, water soluble, bioavailable extract of Reishi standardized to 10% polysaccharides for all of your formulating needs.


The flavonoid luteolin, abundant in Honeysuckle has valuable skin bioactive effects

  • Protection against photoaging (Kim)

  • Reduction in skin redness from UV exposure

  • Skin cooling to reduce thermal effects of the sun

  • Luteolin: anti-inflammatory for UV exposed skin

  • Luteolin penetrates deep into the skin

  • Antiaging effect reduces enzymatic damage of collagen by glucose (AGES)

In traditional Chinese medicine Japanese Honeysuckle is a beautiful and fragrant flowering plant used for its cooling, anti-inflammatory effects in a wide variety of inflammatory (heat) and infectious conditions. One of the active compounds found abundantly in Japanese Honeysuckle leaf and flower is the flavonoid luteolin, which has bioactive skin effects.


These effects include:

  • anti-inflammatory properties for UV exposed skin (Wolfle)
  • reduced enzymatic damage of collagen for antiaging (Hwang)
  • protection against photoaging (Kim)
  • reduction in skin redness from sunburn/UV exposure (Casetti)
  • skin cooling properties to reduce thermal effects of the sun (Papaliadis).


For highly effective results, Luteolin penetrates deep into the skin when used in the right type of ingredient formulation, according to studies showing this bioactive to be bioavailable to skin cells (Seelinger; Merfort).

Draco supplies a full spectrum, water soluble, Japanese Honeysuckle extract standardized to 10% caffeoylquinic acid for all of your personal care formulating needs.

Please call us today at (408) 287-7871 for pricing and availability!

References for both articles are available upon request.

Draco Natural Products
539 Parrott Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Tel: 408-287-7871
Fax: 408-287-8838

Disclaimer: The contents of this document is intended as background information about botanicals as a compilation of historical, ethnobotanical, traditional uses and research studies which are widely available. No health claims are made or implied from this information, and any product use should be based on the independent evaluation of actual merits to make appropriate and accurate structure function claims. This information was compiled based on interest in the current state of research background for botanicals in general, does not necessarily imply the same effect would be found for the extract sold by Draco. This information is not intended to diagnose, cure, and treat diseases in the US. Usage and claims for these products should be evaluated and used in conformance to the particular regulatory laws and statutes of countries where it is to be marketed.

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