Hemlock Varnish Shelf extract contains an abundance of antioxidants. [827, 828, 829, 830] A study from 1999 found Hemlock Varnish Shelf (Ganoderma tsugae) to possess “the strongest antioxidant activity of five species of Ganoderma tested,” and stronger than Vitamin E. 
Hemlock Varnish Shelf (Ganoderma tsugae) is the local variety of Reishi (Ganoderma spp.) for eastern United States. It is common on Eastern Hemlock trees (Tsuga canadensis) throughout the Appalachian range.
Much of the therapeutic benefits are the same as those of the Common Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), which is the oldest used medicinal mushroom in Traditional Chinese Medicine with a 2,000 year history.
Hemlock Varnish Shelf is not limited to the U.S., though, and plenty of Asian research has been conducted specifically on this species of Reishi.
Grown commercially in Taiwan as a medicinal mushroom, Hemlock Varnish Shelf is exported to mainland China, where it is traditionally used to treat autoimmune diseases and asthma, as well as other conditions involving inflammation.
As far as modern research goes, a 2001 study reported “improved the survival rate of lupus”  when patients were given Ganoderma tsugae extract in addition to the conventional treatment.
When it comes to conditions involving inflammation of lung tissue, three studies have been conducted on Hemlock Varnish Shelf. It has been reported to “exert anti-inflammatory effects on airway responses”  in allergic asthma and other forms of broncheoalveolar inflammation. [802, 803]
A unique and increasingly popular use of Hemlock Varnish Shelf is as a form of skin substitute to aid in wound healing. Sold under the name of Sacchachitin, this Ganoderma tsugae-derived skin substitute has been shown in many studies to help speed up skin healing. It’s been reported that “rapid wound healing” occurs when the injured area is covered by Sacchachitin as compared to gauze.  A “wound area covered by SACCHACHITIN completely healed by 21 days, while that covered with cotton gauze did not,” states one paper. [805, 806, 807]
Hemlock Varnish Shelf extract has also been tested for its antitumor properties with promising results. [808, 809, 810, 811, 812] In particular lung cancer [813, 814, 815] and breast cancer  have responded favorably in scientific research. It was also shown in one study to help prevent cancer metastasis. 
As with the Common Reishi, Hemlock Varnish Shelf extract appears to be immunomodulatory [817, 818, 819, 820, 821, 822, 823] – meaning that it will adjust the immune system up or down depending on what is needed. It helps strengthen a weak immune system,  but will calm an over-active immune system in cases of inflammation  or autoimmune conditions.
One study conducted in 2004 found Hemlock Varnish Shelf extract to posses liver protective properties and be anti-fibrotic. 
Note: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult a licensed medical practitioner before using any herb (or mushroom) for medicinal purposes.
Dr. Markho Rafael has worked with natural health since finishing Chiropractic College in 1996. He currently specializes in medicinal mushrooms, specifically working with MycoMedicinals from Paul Stamets, including reishi synergistic blends such as G5 (Ganoderma Five) and CordyChi Extract. For research references to this article, please go to the Ganoderma tsugae research list.