Species of the genus Ganoderma are an example of some of the most thoroughly studied representatives of Basidiomycota both in terms of chemical composition and biological activity. Among the compounds found in this kind, the therapeutic e ect is primarily associated with the polysaccharides that are heteroglycans or β-D-glucans and terpenoids represented mainly by triterpenes. Triterpene compounds have a structure composed of 30 carbon atoms, usually forming a system of five six-membered rings. Characteristic of these structures are functional groups (hydroxyl, carboxyl or ketone) and double bonds. Mycochemical studies have led to the isolation of numerous triterpenes of the lanostane type (ganoderic acids, aldehydes, alcohols, esters), lucidenic acids and others from various species of the Ganoderma genus.
The broad spectrum of biological activity determined by triterpene compounds includes antti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, and antiviral effects. This work describes biologically active triterpenes in selected species of the genus Ganoderma: Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma applanatum, Ganoderma adspersum, Ganoderma pfeifferi, Ganoderma colossum and others. These species are sources of natural compounds valued for thousands of years in the traditional medicine of the Far East, while ongoing research has confirmed their medicinal properties nowadays.