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For many different diseases, the effect of reishi on the immune system has been studied in in-vitro (test tube) experiments. The aim of one of these studies was to explain the potential therapeutic effect of Reishi on rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term, progressive, and disabling autoimmune disease. It causes inflammation, swelling, and pain in and around the joints and other body organs. The specific cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known, and as a result there is no known cure for the disease, only treatments to alleviate its symptoms. (1)
The effects of Reishi on cell proliferation and cytokine production were monitored in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts. Synovial fibroblasts are cells that have gained great interest over the years during the search for a cure, since it has become clear that they strongly influence their environment and neighboring cells. Unfortunately, these cells carry a variety of innate immune receptors that cause joint destruction in the cartilage and thus are key cells responsible for rheumatoid arthritis. (2)
The experiment on Reishi used synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers demonstrated that the Reishi extract was able to significantly reduce the growth of production of synovial fibroblast cells, possibly via the nuclear factor-kappa B transcription pathway, a pathway that controls cellular resistance to invading pathogens. (3) The study stated "the results warrants further investigation into its mechanism of action."
Research and herbalists of Eastern Medicine know from experience that Reishi has anti-inflammatory properties and could prove useful in the prevention of cytotoxic inflammatory responses, in both laboratory experiments and individual case studies. (4)(5) Since inflammation is a major symptom of arthritis, it only makes sense Reishi has been a strong candidate to alleviate the affected areas within the body.
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