Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide used for treating physical frailty in China

Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2019;163:179-219. doi: 10.1016/bs.pmbts.2019.02.009. Epub 2019 Mar 26.


Ganoderma lucidum is an edible medicinal mushroom known as "Lingzhi" in China and "Reishi or Manetake" in Japan. It is a highly prized vitality-enhancing herb for >2000 years. G. lucidum polysaccharide (GLPS) has been identified as one of the major bioactive components and developed into a drug named "Ji 731 Injection" in China since 1973. The large-scale production of the drug began in 1985 and approved by the Chinese FDA as "Polysacharidum of G. lucidum Karst Injection in 2000, which is applied intramuscularly. After more than 40 years of clinical use, its efficacy, safety, and long-term tolerability have been recognized by neurologists. It is one of a few non-hormonal drugs used for treating neurosis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, atrophic myotonia and muscular dystrophy. It is also used for combination therapy, which reduces the amount of glucocorticoid required for myopathy patient who is in remission. In addition, it reduces adverse reactions and improves the quality of life for cancer patients during chemotherapy. We found 81 qualified chemical, biochemical, preclinical, and clinical studies of GLPS both in English and Chinese spanning from 1973 to 2017 by searching CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), Wan Fang, and PubMed databases. The molecular mechanisms underlying GLPS's antioxidant, anti-tumor, immune-modulatory, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and other activities are discussed. Both preclinical and clinical studies are either deliberated or indexed in current article. We aimed to provide a molecular picture as well as a clinical basis to comprehend GLPS as one of few polysaccharide-based modern medicines with complicated chemical and pharmacological properties.

Keywords: Cancer; Chemotherapy; G. lucidum polysaccharide; Lingzhi; Polysacharidum of G. lucidum Karst Injection; Refractory myopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • China
  • Frailty / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Reishi / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Polysaccharides