Reishi is effective against cancer cells in vitro
but according to some sources, only if it contains the spoors of the fungus. They had been growing the mycelia in a medium, and extracting from that, similar to the method used for cordyceps. Now the Chinese herbal extract industry is growing the Ganoderma mushrooms to maturity and using the spoor oil. It is considered to be a potent anti-carcinogen by traditional Chinese herbalists, and I hope studies will bear this out.
2,3,5,4' tetrahydroxy stilbene (THS
) including its glucoside is considered the active ingredient in he shou wu,
and occurs at a concentration of about 1% or more in the raw root, slightly less in the processed root (usually processed to a dark color by boiling with other herbs, which removes the emodin which is a potent laxative.) Its pharmokinetic profile in the link revenant gave above appears quite similar to resveratrol, from which it differs by a single 'OH' in the 2 position of the stilbene ring. I am unfamiliar with whether THS inhibits telomerase, and I have reason to doubt that resveratrol actually inhibits it either: there are conflicting studies. Some have found resveratrol activates telomerase. I've not gone into the methods section of the half dozen or so papers reporting resveratrol's effect vis a vis telomerase
, but it's possible the effect depends on concentration. As for THS, it is the only substance I know of that has been reported to break crosslinking of pentosamine AGEs. That spells wrinkles. Maybe it would make a dynamite skin cream. I am actively working with a botanical extractor to see if we can extract some THS at 98% purity. They are reluctant, as the raw ingredient is very expensive and they do not see a commercial application. It would be an interesting substance to try on one's aging pets.
FWIW, he shou wu means something like "Mr. Haye's black hair". According to legend, Mr. He was 63, not healthy, gray-haired and unmarried. He discovered the herb, and began using it daily. His hair soon turned black, he regained his youthful vigor, and married and sired sons. The herb has been used traditionally for 1000 years as an anti-aging tonic. Topical application is supposed to restore youthful hair color. Superstition perhaps, but it suggests a starting point for investigation. If you want to find a shampoo or conditioner containing he shou wu in a traditional formula that purportedly treats gray hair, google "American Diety of Hair". Let me know if it works.
Astragalus' use in traditional Chinese medicine includes treating immune deficiency and fatigue, to heal wounds, and to improve digestion and reduce edema caused by cardiac weakness. It can cause headache and hypertension. In combination with other herbs it is is used to treat nephritis. Nothing in these uses suggests specific anti-aging properties, which I would expect would have been discovered 1000 years ago if: 1) astragalus preparations lengthen telomeres, and 2) lengthened telomeres result in rejuvenation and life extension.
Edited by maxwatt, 01 October 2011 - 05:01 AM.