Ganoderma is a basidiomycete white rot fungus which has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries particularly in China, Japan and Korea. A great deal of work has been carried out on Ganoderma lucidum. The common names for preparations include Lingzhi, Munnertake, Sachitake, Reishi and Youngzhi. This review collates the publications detailing activities and compounds by representative species whilst considering the most valid claims of effectiveness. The biological activities reported of preparations from Ganoderma are remarkable and given most emphasis herein as distinct from structure/activity information. The metabolites consist of mainly polysaccharides and terpenoids. Many are activities against the major diseases of our time and so the present review is of great importance. The list of effects is huge ranging from anti-cancer to relieving blockages of the bladder. However, the reports have not all been tested scientifically with the convincing evidence is reserved for assays of pure compounds. It is a prime example of an ancient remedy being of great relevance to the modern era. There does appear to be an assumption that the therapeutic effects attributed to the fungus have been proven. The next step is to produce some effective medicines which may be hampered by problems of mass production.