Researchers in Taiwan have said that a mushroom, which has been in use for centuries in Chinese medicine, and has traditionally been sold for "health and longevity", reduces weight gain.

According to the study, published in Nature Communications, the mushroom called Ganoderma lucidum slowed weight gain by altering bacteria in the gut.

To this end, the researchers suggested the mushroom could eventually be used in the treatment of obesity.

The researchers at Chang Gung University analysed the impact of the mushroom on mice being fed a high-fat diet and found that those on just a high-fat diet reached 42g after their first two months whereas mice that were also fed a high dose of mushroom extract reached only 35g.

In their report, the team said mushroom extract "may be used as pre-biotics to reduce body weight gain, chronic inflammation and insulin resistance [type 2 diabetes] in obese individuals."

Prof Colin Hill, a microbiologist at University College Cork in Ireland told BBC that the idea of Chinese medicine coming back into science was a good development, he however said no intervention will overcome someone who drinks lots of soft drinks.