Unclear skin? Mild allergies? Low energy? Need something extra for that workout session or late nights at the office? The reishi mushroom could be your answer!
Reishi is one of the most accessible medicinal mushrooms on Earth. This unique fungus has been deemed “the king of mushrooms,” thanks to its nutritional benefits. The potential of reishi mushrooms to help improve your health and well-being is a result of compounds called polysaccharides.
These polysaccharides work inside your body to boost the immune system. Not only that, but they also protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to inflammation.
Want to learn how to take advantage of this potential wonder food? Check out our breakdowns for all the information you need about reishi mushroom benefits, side effects, and the proper dosage.
Overview Of Reishi Mushroom
For almost 2,000 years, the reishi mushroom has been one of the most popular and venerated staples in the medicinal history of several Eastern cultures. The “Mushroom of Immortality” and the “Elixir of Life” is the earliest reference to this mushroom in Chinese medical literature.
Ling Zhi is its Chinese name meaning “herb of spiritual potency” or “divine fungus.” Both of these terms reference the adaptogenic properties of this revered tonic.
The Chinese called reishi a “three treasure” herb that balances jing (life force), qi energy), and shen (spirit), as quoted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Hence, reishi mushrooms symbolize success, divine power, longevity, and well-being.
Reishi is highly distinguishable from other mushrooms due to its kidney-shaped caps and shiny red-brown hue. Its formal taxonomic name is Ganoderma lucidum, derived from the Greek words ganos, meaning “sheen or brightness,” derma meaning “skin,” and lucidum, meaning “glowing.”
Generally, reishi mushrooms grow on decaying hardwood trees, most common in the temperate forest areas of Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States. Reaching eight inches in diameter, mushrooms have 90% water and 10% solid content.
Reishi mushrooms are rich in macronutrients, namely protein, carbohydrates, and a small percentage of fat. In addition, they contain beneficial minerals, including zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, acting as a source of essential micronutrients.
Today, modernization in scientific research has revealed the diversity of reishi mushrooms in terms of bioactive compounds. Moreover, researchers have successfully isolated over 400 bioactive substances in these mushrooms. The polysaccharides, sterols, fatty acids, nucleotides, steroids, peptides/proteins, and triterpene compounds make reishi a highly coveted mushroom.
Because of the incredible rareness, the reishi mushroom was once reserved for kings and emperors only. Luckily, mycologists have found the best ways to cultivate highly potent and bioavailable forms of reishi mushrooms on organic oats. Thus, it is accessible to consumers in different forms on the market.
Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits
The reishi mushroom is a globally recognized staple, famous for its powerful health benefits and medicinal features. With scientific research advancements, reishi has joined the ranks of other medicinal mushrooms. These include chaga and the portobello mushroom, which share the superfood characteristics with the reishi mushroom, making it a powerhouse of nutrition.
Bioactives are the active compounds in reishi. They offer beta-glucans polysaccharides and triterpenes to your body. Following are some of the most valuable features that you can get through reishi mushrooms:
Protects Against Infections and Viruses
Having a well-nourished immune system is the best proactive and preventative strategy. Reishi mushrooms benefit the immune system since they are rich in polysaccharides.
Polysaccharides compounds present in reishi mushrooms boost your immunity in multiple ways. It influences your immunity by triggering immune cells, including macrophages and helper-T cells. Therefore, it influences cellular immunity.
In addition, the reishi mushroom acts as a stimulus to improve your immunoglobulin levels, thus, impacting humoral immunity. These mushrooms are considered natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal substances because of their bioactive compounds.
For instance, in addition to relieving allergies, triterpenes in reishi provide excellent protection against viral, fungal, and microbial infections. Many plant foods are rich in triterpenes, and the bitter taste of these plants is an indicator of high triterpene content that makes them protective and offers a defense against predators.
For this reason, reishi mushrooms have been widely used to help treat symptoms and underlying issues of urinary tract infections (UTIs), hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. Moreover, reishi is helpful in the downregulation of an overactive immune system. An overactive immune system could lead to allergic reactions and inflammation.
Reishi Mushrooms Relieve Fatigue and Stress
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi is idolized as the chief adaptogen, according to the Chinese Pharmacopeia. The natural substances that assist your body in relieving and adapting to chemical, physical, and biological stressors are called adaptogens.
Reishi has potent bioactive compounds that work harmoniously for meditation, up-regulation, and down-regulation. Therefore, it supports your body’s natural response to stress factors.
Moreover, reishi mushrooms greatly support your endocrine system, specifically the adrenal cortex. This way, they help maintain stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in a balanced state.
Research suggests that taking reishi mushrooms can be beneficial for a reduction in anxiety and restoring balance and tranquility. In addition, reishi helps find a more stable and long-lasting focus while it also promotes restful sleep.
The reishi mushroom impacts the endocrine system, covering the gland in your body that produces hormones. Hence, reishi assists your body in coping with stress more efficiently and helps regulate hormone levels for optimal health. Besides, its effects can be far-reaching as your endocrine system directly relates to metabolism, growth, sexual function, sleep, and mood.
Helpful in Lowering Blood Pressure
Chemical compounds present in reishi mushrooms may be beneficial in keeping high blood pressure at bay, as per a 2014 rat study. Moreover, researchers regarded it for its numerous cardioprotective properties.
Studies have concluded that bioactive compounds in reishi mushrooms, primarily triterpenes, may support cholesterol and blood pressure management. Therefore, the reishi mushroom supports oxygen consumption in the cardiac muscle and improves blood flow. Furthermore, it inhibits platelet clotting and hinders activation, leading to dangerous blood clotting events.
Triterpenes in reishi mushrooms are likely to lower inflammation within blood vessels and arteries while working on hormonal management. Moreover, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can be the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances.
Such hormonal issues include high amounts of stress and thyroid disorders. Therefore, taking the reishi mushroom supplement will give you a strong cardiovascular system with optimal hormonal balance.
Reishi Mushrooms May Be an Ally Against Cancer
Numerous studies have revealed the health impacts of reishi mushrooms on cancer cells. Like other anti-inflammatory staples, these mushrooms are jam-packed with essential nutrients, and Antioxidants, amino acids, and beta-glucan are some of them.
According to researchers, polysaccharides are one of the highly beneficial compounds of reishi mushrooms. The polysaccharides in reishi have substantial water solubility, as found in carbohydrate foods. Therefore, it has anti-tumor characteristics.
Polysaccharides are immunomodulators. These are also present in healthy plant foods, including sweet potatoes and beets. These compounds cause reishi mushrooms to protect your DNA and hinder cell mutations. On the other hand, they preserve robust cells in your body.
Some studies suggest that medicinal mushrooms like reishi assist your body in fighting cancer. These mushrooms are effective for cancer treatment because they are rich in polysaccharides having vital biological benefits. Antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-diabetes, anti-fatigue, radio-protective, and anti-osteoporosis are some of the notable biological features of polysaccharides.
Furthermore, according to laboratory tests, triterpenes present in reishi mushrooms may have anti-cancer characteristics. Primarily, this is why people use bitter-tasting or brightly colored antioxidants-containing foods, including black rice, berries, and pumpkin.
Triterpenes in plant foods have strong properties to obstruct tumor progression and metastases. These compounds limit the linkage of endothelial cells to cancerous cells in the body. Besides, beta-glucans in reishi mushrooms may help in cancer treatment by fighting off cancer cells and blocking their spread. This way, it increases the functioning of the immune system in the body.
Studies have shown promising connections between cancer prevention and reishi mushroom. Therefore, researchers have successfully used it in in-vitro studies to fight cancer in prostates, liver, lungs, ovaries, and breasts.
According to research on cancer patients, the reishi mushroom has chemopreventive and antiproliferative properties. Thus, it helps minimize adverse effects linked to chemotherapy treatment, such as nausea and low immunity, while enhancing the radiotherapy effects.
Improves Brain Health
In some animal studies, researchers concluded that reishi mushrooms might be therapeutic for neurodegenerative diseases. The polysaccharides and triterpenes in reishi mushrooms may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Also, they may cushion the brain from seizures.
However, the research on the beneficial aspects of reishi mushrooms for brain health is limited. Therefore, there is substantial room for further research to confirm the benefits.
Beneficial for Type-2 Diabetic Patients
High blood sugar levels in the body can negatively affect overall health. Due to this, symptoms like frequent urination, unintentional weight loss, and fatigue might be prominent.
In one small double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers found that reishi mushrooms help decrease blood sugar levels. The components in mushrooms function by inhibiting an enzyme involved in glucose production.
Furthermore, researchers concluded that reishi mushrooms might help prevent or block kidney complications in type 2 diabetic patients. Besides, one review out of Taiwan concluded that reishi mushrooms could help lower mice’s blood sugar and insulin levels. In this study, reishi has triggered the modification of certain enzyme levels that are a part of blood sugar management. Thus, it showed the potential of reishi mushrooms to improve insulin’s blood sugar transporting mechanism.
Reishi Mushrooms Could Improve Liver Health
The liver is the body’s largest organ that promotes a human’s overall health. It is in control of promoting blood detoxification, thus helping clean and healthy blood circulate throughout the body. Generally, its functions involve cleaning, processing, storing, and circulating healthy blood with high nutrient content.
Due to their adaptogenic nature, reishi mushrooms help nourish liver health. Also, it prevents your liver from going out of function and catching any liver disease.
The nutrients in reishi mushrooms enable the body to excrete toxins and harmful substances like bacteria efficiently. Therefore, reishi mushrooms heighten your immunity against various health diseases.
In 2013, a study was disclosed in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. It demonstrated that reishi mushrooms have hepatoprotective properties. Also, it may be beneficial for patients with acute liver injury. Since it contains high levels of antioxidants, it aids in fighting overactive immune responses to preserve liver function.
Besides, reishi mushroom spores may be beneficial in inducing and promoting liver cell regeneration in mice. This way, it improves the liver’s ability to flush out toxins from the body. You can also take liver supplements for liver cleansing.
Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent cellular damage. Since antioxidants have this potent feature of dodging harm, people have a significant interest in foods and supplements with high antioxidant content.
Although the reishi mushroom is famous as “the mushroom of immortality,” it won’t help you to live forever. However, reishi mushrooms have antioxidant features that may alleviate the risk of disease that comes with age and premature aging.
Protect Against Allergies and Asthma
In reishi mushrooms, triterpenes are one of the most active compounds. These compounds relate to ganoderic acid, which aids in the reduction of histamine and allergic reactions.
Therefore, people since ancient times have been using reishi mushrooms as a safe and potent natural remedy for asthma. Naturally, triterpenes possess the properties of alleviating allergic responses since they influence the body’s immune system and reinforce digestive organs.
Aside from that, triterpenes help lower the risks of inflammation, improve oxygen uptake, inhibit histamine release, and boost liver functions.
Nutrition In Reishi Mushroom
Reishi supplements typically carry low calorie content with a low percentage of protein and dietary fibers. The actual health benefits of reishi mushrooms are because of the compounds that manufacturers do not usually print on product labels.
Primarily, reishi mushrooms are bursting with health-boosting compounds and antioxidants. Triterpenes and polysaccharides are two of the most beneficial compounds present in reishi mushrooms.
These potent nutrients impart several health advantages, and many studies have shown their anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory features. Many traditional and cultural medicines harness reishi’s full benefits and treat various ailments.
As a revered superfood in Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi mushrooms promote slow aging, reinforce heart and liver health, and heighten vitality and strength. Furthermore, the reishi mushroom is acclaimed for its relaxing and calming properties. Therefore, people often use this mushroom to complement spiritual enactments.
How To Use Reishi Mushroom
Are you wondering where I should head to buy reishi mushroom supplements? Thanks to their skyrocketing popularity in the modern age, finding different reishi mushroom supplements is a piece of cake.
Since people are getting to know the benefits of reishi mushrooms, many manufacturers have come forth with unique formulations, in quality health food stores, whether online or physically, you will come across reishi mushroom powder and mushroom capsules.
Not only that, but you can also even find reishi mushroom extracts in the supplement aisle of many health stores. Although reishi mushrooms offer countless health benefits, they are useless if not used rightly in the supplement.
Moreover, any reishi mushroom supplement’s dosage depends on the product’s concentration. If you are unaware of the concentration and happen to overdose on it, the chances of adverse reactions increase. Therefore, it is essential to pay substantial attention to the supplement directions.
Besides, mushroom foraging is an excellent option for someone who prefers a bit more adventure. Generally, these mushrooms grow on deciduous trees in the warm regions of the Southeast United States, South Pacific, Southern Europe, and Asia.
If you are interested in gardening, you can try your luck growing the reishi mushroom in your garden. Just buy reishi spawn from online stores and grow your reishi mushrooms.
When you are in the market to purchase reishi, it is better to look for supplements and products that have a pure certified label on them. In addition, manufacturers in the Asian region produce high-quality reishi mushroom products. So, it’s your best bet to prefer them over non-Asian producers. Besides, if you want to experience the full scope of health benefits of reishi, buy a product that has it in essence or extract form.
Purchasing Reishi Mushroom Products
The market is overflowing with different products containing reishi extract or mushrooms in powder form. You can get your hands on various reishi products on the market, from powders to capsules and essences.
Manufacturers formulate all of these products differently. Therefore, the concentration of active compounds in each varies greatly.
Several factors distinguish their therapeutic and nutritional benefits. Plant’s mother fungi, growing environment, and the processing steps involved in the extraction of reishi are some of the significantly affecting factors.
Consumer demand for reishi supplements from Japan is high because they contain the purest form of reishi extracts. Usually, the manufacturers in Japan cultivate reishi mushrooms using advanced methods that preserve their delicate nutritional components.
While probing the product label, check for the country of origin, species name (Ganoderma lucidum), and extract ratio. Moreover, ensure that no additive, preservative, or filler ingredient is printed on the label.
Finding a quality reishi supplement processed according to the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) is a nice start. Besides, try to look for a non-GMO, gluten-free product suitable for vegan, ketogenic, and paleo diets. Thus, you will not have to worry about the side effects of the reishi supplements you intend to use.
Reishi Mushroom Extract Recipes
Reishi mushrooms provide immense health benefits if you consume reishi in the morning before having breakfast. Also, do not forget to drink water with these mushrooms, as water increases their absorption rate.
It would be more beneficial for your health if you pair reishi mushrooms with foods rich in vitamin C. It is because vitamin C can ensure the accurate uptake of the bioactive compounds and antioxidants present in reishi due to its acidic nature.
Furthermore, if you do not want to eat them raw, you can prepare a cup of tea using fresh reishi mushrooms. Notably, the ways to incorporate reishi in your diet plan are limitless, and you can try different recipes to get the countless benefits reishi offers.
Here are some simple and tasty recipes to start your journey on the right foot. In addition to reishi coffee, you can make mushroom tea, mushroom soup with kale and carrots, and reishi ginger broth. Also, reishi baby Bella bolognese and cacao reishi green smoothie won’t disappoint you.
Dosage Of Reishi Mushroom Supplements
The right dosage of reishi mushroom depends on the supplement you wish to consume. If you prefer eating reishi mushrooms fresh and raw, the dosage may vary from 25 grams to 100 grams per day.
Contrastingly, reishi mushroom supplements like powders, capsules, and extracts have highly concentrated dosages. Furthermore, reishi extract and reishi supplements need low doses to harness the same results you can reap with optimal doses of fresh reishi.
Several studies have proved that 2-9 grams of reishi mushroom extract in powder, capsule, or tincture form is substantial for therapeutic effects. Nevertheless, different reishi supplements can have differing amounts of this extract.
Therefore, it is in your best health to consider the manufacturer’s recommendation on the label. Read them thoroughly to know the specific dosage of your supplement so that you consume the proper amount of extract.
For instance, taking a 1-gram reishi tablet is okay, and if you want strong effects, you can even take it twice a day. However, to get optimal health benefits, you must ensure it contains organic reishi and is pure from artificial and harmful ingredients.
Ganoderma Lucidum Risks And Side Effects
Ganoderma Lucidum (reishi mushroom) has a history of usage, and people have been consuming it for centuries for various ailments. Fortunately, people have reported few adverse effects of reishi mushrooms, and most are not very serious.
Researchers have classified reishi mushrooms as “Class 1: Herbs that are safe when consumed appropriately with care.” As for side effects, reishi mushrooms may cause mild skin rashes and digestive issues. However, these negative effects will go away on their own and are generally observed in sensitive people having weak immune systems.
Mostly, reishi mushrooms are healthy, well-tolerated, and highly effective for most people. Still, there are events when you should prefer talking to your physician before using any reishi supplementation.
As studies suggest, reishi mushrooms are harmless for adults if you consume them in proper doses by mouth. However, you must restrict the consumption of reishi mushrooms for up to a year. After that time window, a person may develop tolerance to the supplement, increasing the risks of side effects.
Also, powdered reishi extracts tend to be potent or contaminated in a few specific conditions. If this happens, there is an increased chance of toxicity. Therefore, you must use the reishi supplements cautiously and buy reishi mushroom powder from a trustworthy and reputable brand to avoid these risks.
Generally, if you observe any of the side effects, immediately discontinue its usage and consult your doctor. Common adverse reactions include bloody stool, skin rashes, nosebleeds, itchiness in the nasal area, dry or itchy throat, heartburn, stomach upset, or strong indigestion.
Moreover, if you are pregnant or nursing your baby, we suggest you avoid using reishi mushrooms. However, if your doctor recommends you consume it, you can only do so under medical guidance.
It is because there has not been enough research on reishi mushrooms’ long-term effects and safety for these subjects. Furthermore, if you have a history of bleeding disorders, use blood pressure medicines, have blood thinners, recently underwent surgery, or have complications with blood clotting, avoid taking reishi mushroom.
Reishi mushroom may shoot up blood pressure and the risk of bleeding while impacting blood clotting in these individuals. Therefore, not risking your health for reishi’s health benefits is another way to preserve your well-being.
Conclusion: What Is Reishi Mushroom Good For?
Used for thousands of years, Ganoderma lucidum (reishi mushroom) is revered as a superfood and “the mushroom of immortality” in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The mushroom is highly coveted worldwide because of its powerful and potential health benefits.
It shares the therapeutic features with other medicinal mushrooms, including Chaga and portobello mushrooms, cementing its great nutritional properties. Although ancient men have been using this mushroom for its various health benefits, modern science has backed its therapeutic effects with evidence.
While most of the benefits align with the results of several studies on the reishi mushroom, further research is required in some cases. The health benefits of consuming reishi mushrooms include better heart and liver health, cancer prevention, and protection against infections, allergies, and asthma.
Reishi mushroom also helps maintain the levels of different hormones in the body. Its effects on the endocrine system may help balance insulin and cortisol levels, leading to healthy blood sugar and low-stress levels.
Reishi mushrooms are edible, and people consume them fresh. However, they are now available in different supplements. You can buy reishi mushroom capsules, powders, tinctures, or extracts. Their consumption is generally safe, but you may experience some adverse effects if you do not take the supplements with caution.
The best part is that you can use these medicinal mushrooms for teas, coffees, broths, and soups for a quick way to upgrade your beverages and meals. Whether you prefer eating them raw or using organic supplements, reishi mushroom benefits are impressive!