Top 7 Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

Top 7 Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

The reishi mushroom is an edible type of medicinal fungus that has been used for its healing abilities for thousands of years and fits the definition of a true superfood. Also known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, these mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and tied to longevity, better immune function and mental clarity, earning them the nickname “king of mushrooms.”

Because they work as an “immune modulator,” reishi mushrooms can help restore hormonal balance, bring the body back to homeostasis and regulate the activity of the immune system. This can help fight tumours and cancerous cells. Research shows that reishi mushrooms act as a normalising substance, regulating various cellular functions and systems, including the endocrine (hormonal), immune, cardiovascular, central nervous and digestive systems.

Keys Benefits of Reishi Mushroom:
  1. Improves Liver Function
  2. Promotes Heart Health
  3. Balances Hormone Levels
  4. Stabilises Blood Sugar
  5. Fights Allergies and Asthma
  6. Protects Against Infections and Viruses
  7. Contains Powerful Anti-Cancer Properties

Like other disease-fighting mushrooms, reishi mushrooms are a type of fungus that grow outdoors. They’re native to several parts of Asia, including China, Korea and Japan. While they’re edible and often described as bitter-tasting with a tough texture, you’re much more likely to find them in supplement, tincture or powder form.

Reishi mushrooms, also known by their scientific name Ganoderma lucidum, grow above ground and produce “a fruiting body” along with connective strands (called mycelium), which are turned into herbal medicine, tinctures, teas, powders and extracts. 

Over the past several decades, dozens of different studies conducted in Japan, China, the U.S. and the U.K. have demonstrated that reishi mushrooms are capable of offering protection against numerous diseases or illnesses.

Top 7 Reishi Mushroom Benefits

Improves Liver Function

The liver is one of the most vital organs in the body. It is responsible for aiding in detoxification and helping clean, process, store and circulates healthy blood and nutrients. 

Reishi mushrooms work as adaptogens to help improve liver function and prevent liver disease. They allow your body to flush out toxins and bacteria more efficiently and improve immunity against diseases that can develop over time.

Promotes Heart Health

The triterpenes found in the reishi mushroom may have blood pressure-lowering abilities as well as benefits for blood-clotting and cholesterol. This is likely because they help lower inflammation within blood vessels and arteries while also restoring hormonal balance. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can sometimes be caused by hormonal issues, including thyroid disorders or high amounts of stress. Reishi mushrooms help restore optimal hormonal levels to strengthen the cardiovascular system.

Balances Hormone Levels

Reishi mushrooms work as adaptogens. They can help your body cope with stress more efficiently and help regulate hormone levels to optimise your health. Although research is currently limited to mostly animal models, some studies indicate that reishi mushroom extract could help normalise levels of certain receptor hormones, which may be beneficial in the treatment of cancer.

Stabilises Blood Sugar

Sustaining high levels of blood sugar can bring detrimental effects to overall health, causing symptoms like fatigue, unintentional weight loss and frequent urination. Some research shows that reishi mushrooms may have anti-diabetic properties, helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels to prevent adverse side effects.

Fights Allergies and Asthma

Triterpenes are active ingredients in reishi mushrooms. They are a type of ganoderic acid tied to a reduction in allergies and histamine reactions associated with asthma. For this reason, the reishi mushroom is often used as a safe and effective asthma natural remedy. Triterpenes are capable of lowering allergic reactions because of the way they affect the immune system, strengthen the digestive organs, protect the gut lining, lower inflammation, inhibit a histamine release, improve oxygen utilisation and improve liver functions.

Protects Against Infections and Viruses

Reishi mushrooms are considered natural antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal substances thanks to the active compounds that they contain. For example, aside from relieving allergies, triterpenes offer protection against microbial, viral and fungal infections. Triterpenes can be found in many plant foods that taste somewhat bitter, a sign that they’re protective in nature and defend the plant against predators.

Contains Powerful Anti-Cancer Properties

Just like other anti-inflammatory foods, reishi mushrooms are packed with important nutrients, including antioxidants, beta-glucans and amino acids. Researchers believe that some of the most beneficial components of the reishi mushroom are its polysaccharides. These are water-soluble types of nutrient found in carbohydrate foods that are known to have anti-tumour abilities.

Because reishi mushrooms can improve blood circulation and lower inflammation, they can help resolve infections more quickly, reduce pain and fight fatigue. Reishi mushrooms have been used to help treat symptoms and underlying causes of urinary tract infections, hepatitis and even HIV/AIDS.

Taking Reishi Mushrooms

In supplement form, reishi mushrooms typically contain little to no calories and only a small amount of dietary fibre and protein. However, the true reishi mushroom health benefits come from the ingredients that aren’t listed on the nutrition label. 

In particular, reishi mushrooms are jam-packed with antioxidants and health-promoting compounds, such as polysacchraides and triterpenes. These powerful compounds are linked to a number of health benefits and have been shown to account for many of the anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties of the reishi mushroom.

It’s important to always read the directions carefully since dosage can vary depending on how concentrated the product is. The likelihood of having side effects can increase when you take too much.

When to take Reishi?

Reishi mushrooms are often said to be most effective if you take them in the morning on an empty stomach. Drinking water along with reishi seems to help them absorb best, as does pairing them with vitamin C foods, which can ensure proper absorption of the active ingredients and antioxidants. You can also try using them to brew a cup of reishi mushroom tea or Ganoderma coffee to start your morning on the right foot.

It’s important to always read the directions carefully since dosage can vary depending on how concentrated the product is. The likelihood of having side effects can increase when you take too much.

Precautions/Side Effects

Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in all kinds of patients, and very few side effects have ever been recorded. Reishi is classified as “Class 1: Herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately.” On occasion, some mild digestive upset and skin rashes may occur, but these side effects seem to go away and are typically only a threat in sensitive people with impaired immune systems.

If you notice any of the following reishi mushroom side effects, discontinue use immediately and visit your doctor to make sure you’re not having an allergic reaction or experiencing liver toxicity:

  • dryness of the mouth
  • dry or itchy throat
  • itchiness in the nasal area
  • strong indigestion, heartburn or stomach upset
  • nosebleeds
  • bloody stool
  • skin rashes

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid reishi mushrooms unless under medical supervision. Additionally, if you have had any type of bleeding disorder; recently underwent surgery; take blood pressure medications, blood thinners, chemotherapy drugs or immunosuppressant medications; or have trouble with blood clotting, don’t take reishi mushrooms since they can increase blood pressure, impact blood clotting and increase the risk for bleeding.

Research and information credit – Dr Josh Axe.

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