Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) is a popular medicinal mushroom and has been used in oriental medicine because of its promoting effects on health and life expectancy. G. lucidum contains various compounds with a high grade of biological activty, which increase the immunity and show antitumour, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity. Several of these substances belong to the triterpenoids and polysaccharides classes. Proteins, lipids, phenols, sterols, etc. are also present. In the present review, an extensive overview of the presence of antitumour, antimicrobial, antioxidant and antiacetylcholinesterase compounds in G. lucidum extracts will be given, along with an evaluation of their therapeutic effects.
Keywords: G. lucidum; biological activity; polyscaccharides; triterpenoids.