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Recently, a reporter from CCTV10 visited the Institue of Edible Fungi, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences and filmed a special science popularization program titled “How to Identify Medicinal Ganoderma“. In response to the common concerns of the public such as “how to select and consume Ganoderma” and “how to distinguish the quality of Ganoderma lucidum spore powder”, Zhang Jinsong, the director of the Institue of Edible Fungi, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, provided detailed answers.

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The Selection and Consumption of Ganoderma

Does a larger Ganoderma contain more nutrients?

Zhang Jinsong: Ganoderma is highly esteemed because it contains two main active ingredients: polysaccharides and triterpenes. Ganoderma polysaccharides play an important role in regulating immunity, enhancing the activity of immune cells, and improving the body’s resistance. Ganoderma triterpenes are a class of natural compounds that have tumor-suppressing, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.”

The Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that only two types of Ganoderma, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma sinense, can be used for medicinal purposes. The Pharmacopoeia requires that the polysaccharide content of medicinal Ganoderma materials should not be less than 0.9%, and the triterpene content should not be less than 0.5%.

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Select the same variety of Ganoderma, under the same cultivation conditions, and use three Ganoderma of different sizes as comparison samples to measure their polysaccharide and triterpene content.

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It was found that the polysaccharide and triterpene content of the selected samples all exceeded the national standards, but the polysaccharide and triterpene content of the three Ganoderma samples, which varied greatly in size, did not differ significantly. There is no necessary correlation between the size of the Ganoderma fruiting body and the amount of active nutrients it contains. Judging the quality of Ganoderma solely based on the size of its appearance is unfounded.

Does a brighter Ganoderma have higher active nutritional content?

Zhang Jinsong: Normally produced Ganoderma should not be bright. We can use a steamer, the “beautician” of Ganoderma, to make Ganoderma more glossy and brighter: after steaming the Ganoderma in the steamer for 30 minutes and letting it cool, it will become bright. This is because after steaming, the chemical substances on the surface of the Ganoderma cap change, making the entire Ganoderma look more bright and translucent.

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Tests were conducted on the polysaccharide and triterpene content of both steamed and unsteamed Ganoderma, and it was found that there was not much difference in the content of polysaccharides and triterpenes between the two. Merchants process Ganoderma in this way just to make it look better for sale, and it does not change the active nutritional components in Ganoderma. Therefore, the rumor of selecting Ganoderma based on its glossiness is self-defeating.

Does the longer the Ganoderma grows, the higher the content of its active ingredients?

Zhang Jinsong: People may be impressed by the story of the White Lady searching for the “Thousand-Year Ganoderma” to save Xu Xian. But in fact, the Ganoderma medicinal materials stipulated by the state only include two types, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma sinense, and they are all annuals. After they mature in the same year, they will be completely lignified and will not grow anymore. So from this perspective, the Ganoderma we can buy on the market absolutely cannot be the so-called “Thousand-Year Ganoderma”. Everyone should not believe the merchants’ propaganda about the “Thousand-Year Ganoderma”, there is no Ganoderma that has grown for a thousand years.

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Is it better to soak and drink or boil and drink for better absorption?

Zhang Jinsong: We need to compare which method, “soaking and drinking” or “boiling and drinking”, can better extract the active nutritional components of Ganoderma. For Ganoderma grown under the same conditions, two 25-gram slices are taken and subjected to one hour of soaking and boiling respectively, and the polysaccharide content in the water is measured.

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It was found that the color of the water boiled with Ganoderma is deeper than that of the water soaked with Ganoderma. After data testing, it was found that boiling can increase the polysaccharide content by about 41%. Therefore, boiling is a more effective method to extract the active nutritional components from Ganoderma.

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Does the longer the Ganoderma is boiled, the higher the nutritional value of the Ganoderma water?

Zhang Jinsong: We cut 25 grams of Ganoderma slices and put them into 500 milliliters of distilled water at 100 degrees Celsius for boiling. With a total duration of 80 minutes, we extract the Ganoderma solution every 20 minutes to measure the polysaccharide content. It was found that boiling for 20 minutes can already extract the active nutritional components from Ganoderma, so when consumers consume Ganoderma, they do not need to extend the boiling time to obtain more active nutrients.

When boiling Ganoderma, it can also be boiled repeatedly. We also tested the active ingredients for the number of times the Ganoderma was boiled. Through data, we found that compared to long-time boiling, boiling three times repeatedly can increase nearly 40% of the active nutritional components.

[Ganoderma Consumption Suggestions]

The water boiled with Ganoderma lucidum has a slightly bitter taste, and you can add honey, lemon, and other seasonings according to personal preference. Prepare a stew or congee by simmering Ganoderma lucidum with other ingredients such as chicken and lean meat. This method facilitates the integration of the medicinal properties of Ganoderma lucidum with the ingredients, enhancing their mutual absorption by the body.

Distinguishing Ganoderma Lucidum Spore Powder

There is a huge price gap in spore powder, how can consumers distinguish?

Zhang Jinsong: Ganoderma lucidum spore powder is an extremely small reproductive cell that is ejected from countless fungal tubes under the cap after Ganoderma lucidum matures. It is only 4-6 micrometers and has multiple effects, such as enhancing immunity, anti-fatigue, and lowering blood pressure. Ganoderma lucidum powder, on the other hand, is an ultra-fine powder made by crushing the Ganoderma lucidum fruiting body.

Due to the production process of spore powder, its price is relatively high, but some merchants will reduce its price by adding Ganoderma lucidum powder to the spore powder. We can distinguish from three aspects: color, taste, and touch. The color of spore powder is deep, close to coffee color; spore powder has no bitter taste, and spore powder mixed with Ganoderma powder will have a bitter taste; because spore powder contains fat, it will be moist and greasy, while Ganoderma lucidum ultra-fine powder is dry and does not feel greasy.

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What is the difference between “sporoderm-unbroken” and “sporoderm-broken” spore powder?

Zhang Jinsong: Under a microscope, the “sporoderm-unbroken” spore powder appears like watermelon seeds, while the “sporoderm-broken” spore powder is broken into fragments. We extracted 1 gram of “sporoderm-unbroken” spore powder and “sporoderm-broken” spore powder respectively to measure the polysaccharide content. It was found that the “sporoderm-unbroken” spore powder yielded 26.1 milligrams of polysaccharides, while the polysaccharide content of the spore powder increased to 38.9 milligrams after breaking the sporoderm.

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This is because the active ingredients in Ganoderma lucidum spore powder, such as fats, proteins and polysaccharides, are wrapped by the sporoderm. The sporoderm is very tough, and under normal conditions, water, acid, and alkali cannot open the sporoderm. However, using the sporoderm-breaking method can help release the active substances inside. Therefore, by choosing sporoderm-broken spore powder, you can absorb more active ingredients.

[Purchasing Suggestions]

If you want to buy quality-assured, effective Ganoderma fruiting bodies and sporoderm-broken Ganoderma lucidum spore powder, it is recommended to purchase from regular channels. If you are not sure, you can also use the method recommended in this episode to quickly distinguish the quality of sporoderm-broken spore powder, which can ensure that you buy truly reliable Ganoderma products, allowing you to eat healthily and with peace of mind.

Source of Information: China Edible Fungi Association

Post time: Jan-22-2024

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