Wed

30

May

2012

Life on Distant Hill Blog ... Hemlock Varnish Shelf Mushroom

A Cure For Cancer?

A Hemlock Varnish Shelf growing on a dead Eastern Hemlock in the woods at Distant Hill.
A Hemlock Varnish Shelf growing on a dead Eastern Hemlock in the woods at Distant Hill.

Hemlock Varnish Shelf mushroomsGanoderma tsugae, grow on dead or dying Hemlock trees. There are four species of Hemlock occurring in North America. At Distant Hill Gardens you will only find the Eastern Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis.  

 

The Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shatin, Hong Kong, conductrd a scientific study in 2006 and found that extracts of the Hemlock Varnish Shelf, along with extracts from both Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma sinense supress breast cancer tumors.  In a  2008 scientific study, conducted by Taipei Medical University in Taipei, Taiwan, extract from Ganoderma tsugae, the Hemlock Varnish Shelf mushroom, was found to inhibit colorectal cancer cell growth.

Hemlock Varnish Shelf mushrooms starting to grow on an Eastern Hemlock stump.
Young Hemlock Varnish Shelf mushrooms.

Mushrooms of the genus Ganoderma are popularly referred to as shelf mushrooms or bracket fungi. Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma tsugae as a group are commonly called Lingzhi or Reishi mushrooms.

 

Ganoderma lucidum  enjoys special veneration in East Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. This makes it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally.