Reishi | 10 Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
Red Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a bracket fungi that, in nature, grows primarily at the base and stumps of deciduous trees in warmer climates. Cultivators grow reishi mushrooms typically on hardwood logs or sawdust/wood chips. This mushroom is soft (when fresh), corky, and flat, with a conspicuous red-varnished, kidney-shaped cap and, depending on age, white to dull brown pores underneath. It does not have gills on its underside and instead releases its spores through fine pores, giving it its morphological classification as a polypore. These mushrooms are an edible type of medicinal fungus that have been used over thousands of years by many cultures for numerous forms of healing. Reishe mushroom supplements, which have become increasingly popular due to their reported health benefits, are available in the forms of extracted oil, powder, tea and dietary supplement capsules.
Throughout history in holistic medicine practices, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi mushrooms (or Lingzhi in traditional Chinese) have been considered to be adaptogen herb-like substances, meaning they help us deal with the negative effects of stress, such as depleted energy levels, increased inflammation, damaged blood vessels, and various types of hormonal imbalances. Studies have shown time and again that reishi mushrooms have antioxidant abilities that allow them to strengthen the body’s defenses against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, allergies, infections, chronic hepatopathy, hypertension, neurasthenia, insomnia, bronchitis, gastric ulcers, and diabetes in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries for more than 2,000 years.
These mushrooms are non-toxic and can be taken daily without producing any side effects. According to classical literature, Red Reishi is classified as a superior herb. Superior herbs are said to be non-toxic and can be consumed in large quantities and for long periods of time without any side effects.
After 2,000 years, scientists have still not reported any side effects caused from reishi mushrooms. However, very sensitive individuals may experience some detoxification symptoms such as mild digestive upset, dizziness, sore bones, and skin rashes during the initial period of intake. This is the excretion of accumulated toxins from modern foods and intense activities of the body metabolism. These are all normal signs of recovery and a signal that the medicinal effect of Red Reishi is functioning well. These detoxification symptoms will usually go away within a few days of continuous use of reishi mushrooms.
So what other qualities do reishi mushrooms have that make them so healing?
1. When taken regularly, reishi mushrooms can restore the body to its natural state, enabling all organs to function normally.
Most of the scientific research that has been conducted on reishi mushrooms appears to strongly support Red Reishi’s role as a normalizing substance—a nutritional supplement that can yield medical benefits through its normalization and regulation of the body’s organs and functions.
2. Immune Modulator – Regulates and Fine Tunes the Immune System.
Reishi mushrooms boost immune system cells so that attackers may be more effectively removed. “Natural killer” cell development is supported, allowing the immune system to more effectively target and destroy cancer cells and viral attacks. Reishi mushroom extract also deactivates carcinogens, inhibits cancer cell proliferation, and promotes cell death in cancer cells.
3. Improves Liver Function
Adaptogen herbs or supplements like reishi mushooms are one important factor when it comes to maintaining the right balance within the body (others include a healthy diet, exercise and meditation) because they’re believed to help strengthen the digestive system, where nutrients are actually broken down and absorbed.
This bracket fungi can help improve liver function and prevent liver disease, allowing waste and toxins to be flushed from the body more effectively and efficiently, improving immunity against diseases that can develop over time.
4. Improves Blood Sugar Levels
By enhancing utilization of blood glucose by body tissues, reishi mushrooms serve as a substitute to insulin to inhibit release of fatty acids. This thus improves symptoms in high blood glucose and high urine glucose patients. Water-soluble compounds known as polysaccharides in reishi suppresses insulin-independent diabetes.
5. Fights Allergies and Asthma
One of the active ingredients of reishi mushrooms is triterpenes, a type of ganoderic acid that can cause a reduction in allergies and asthma. They are capable of lowering allergic reactions in that they affect the immune system, lower inflammation, strengthen the digestive organs, inhibit a histamine release, protect the gut lining, improve oxygen utilization, and improve liver functions.
6. Reduces Risk for Infections and Viruses
These corky mushrooms are considered a natural antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal substance. Aside from reducing allergies, they offer protection against infections and viruses. Because reishi mushrooms can improve blood circulation and lower inflammation, they can help resolve infections, reduce pain, and also fight off fatigue. Reishi mushrooms have been used to help treat symptoms and underlying causes of urinary tract infections (UTIs), hepatitis, respiratory and sinus infections, bronchitis and HIV and AIDS.
7. Slows Aging
The actions triggered by Ganoderma mushrooms produce important changes that may contribute to their promotion of longevity. Reishi extracts are known to:
- Protect cellular DNA from oxidant damage that causes aging.
- Protect mitochondrial DNA and the mitochondria themselves from oxidant damage that weakens their energy-producing abilities and makes them inefficient, another major cause of aging.
- Increase levels and activity of a large suite of natural intracellular antioxidant molecules, resulting in reduced oxidation of cell membranes and organelles that lead to aging and its related diseases.
- Increase expression of a key longevity gene and promote an increased life span in species ranging from yeasts, to primitive worms, to mammals such as mice.
8. Neuroprotective Properties
These mushrooms can have highly therapeutic effects on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease. These mushrooms support the production of nerve growth factor, a protein that is vital for healthy neurological function.
9. Cancer Prevention and Treatment
The triterpenoids found in reishi mushrooms have the ability to reduce the metastasis of cancerous cells and prevent tumor growth. Furthermore, the active ingredients of reishi mushroom extract can seek out and neutralize cancerous cells within the body.
10. Combats Depression
This mushroom has well-known, effective, and efficient impacts on the state of your mind. Known for its mood improving and calming properties, Reishi is one of the most sought after anti-depressant herbs. It eases irritability and anxiety, calms the mind, relaxes the body, and helps you overcome depression.
Find out more about reishi mushrooms and which reishi supplements we recommend here.
Thank you for reading.