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For more than 4,000 years, traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine have included Ganoderma lucidum as a remedy to promote longevity and treat asthma, cough, fatigue and liver disorders, according to More commonly known as reishi or ling zhi, this large, woody mushroom is sometimes used by cancer and HIV patients as an immune system booster, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Most side effects are mild.

Most Common Effects

The most common side effects associated with Ganoderma lucidum are dizziness, dry nose and throat, headache, and skin irritation that may involve itching or a rash. A small percentage of patients experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort when taking Ganoderma lucidum, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Symptoms may include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Abnormal Bleeding

Ganoderma lucidum contains a component called adenosine, which may inhibit platelet aggregation and lead to blood thinning, says Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This can lead to prolonged bleeding from even minor injuries, or gastric bleeding, such as with ulcers. If you have a bleeding disorder, or are taking anticoagulant medications, discuss the safety of taking Ganoderma lucidum supplements with your physician.

Liver Damage

An extremely rare, serious side effect of Ganoderma lucidum powder involves liver damage, as noted by a study published in a 2007 issue of the "Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand." The authors report the case of a patient who experienced liver toxicity after taking the powder. In another case, a patient developed fatal hepatitis after taking a similar preparation. Both had used the powder for one to two months, and neither had experienced toxic effects when previously taking Ganoderma lucidum in a traditional boiled form.

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About the Author

Shelley Moore

Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.