Lingzhi has been recognized as a medicinal mushroom for over 2000 years, and its powerful effects have been documented in ancient scripts.
The proliferation of G. lucidum images in art began in 1400 AD, and they are associated with Taoism.
The first book entirely devoted to the description of medicinal mushrooms was Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, written in the Eastern Han dynasty of China (25-220 AD). This book is also known as “Classic of the Materia Medica”. The book describes the beneficial effects of several mushrooms with a reference to the medicinal mushroom genus Ganoderma.
The second book was the Ben Cao Gang Mu by Li Shi-Zhen, which is considered to be the first pharmacopoeia in China (1590 AD; Ming dynasty). In this book, the mushroom was attributed with therapeutic properties, such as detoxifying effects, enhancing vital energy, strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory, and anti-aging effects.
Currently, according to the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (2000), Ganoderma acts to replenish Qi, ease the mind, and relieve cough and asthma. With its traditional Chinese name Lingzhi, Ganoderma was called Reishi by Japanese name, so "Reishi mushroom" is the common name for Ganoderma.
Wachtel-Galor et al, Ganoderma lucidum: A Medicinal Mushroom. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 2nd edition.