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Reishi Mushrooms: The Mushroom of Immortality

Reishi Mushrooms: The Mushroom of Immortality

Reishi mushrooms, scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum, have a history that spans over 4,000 years and numerous continents. Respected in traditional Chinese medicine as the "mushroom of immortality," it is used to increase energy, improve mood, reduce fatigue and boost the immune system, and for amazing for improving overall health. Reishi can be supplemented in capsules, tablets, extracts, powders, coffees, and teas. The mushroom belongs to the polypore family and is unique for growing on trees and logs with a reddish-brown cap and a glossy surface appearance. This mushroom is one of the most studied mushrooms. You can go into PubMed and type in any disease condition with reishi mushroom and a study will pop up. 

The reishi mushroom is an adaptogen which is a class of herbs and mushrooms that help your body overcome, maintain resilience, and adapt to physical, chemical, and biological stress. Basically, whatever your body needs, it helps to balance your body. Additionally, reishi contains antioxidants, prebiotic fibers, vitamin D precursors, and bonus enzymes that support general health. 

This mushroom has so many amazing benefits and it also has all of these beneficial components to improve our overall health such as: 

  • Peptides
  • Amino Acids
  • Polysaccharides
  • Dietary fibers
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Triterpenoids
  • Proteins
  • Alcohols
  • Phenols
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals- zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, iron

What are the Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms?

  • Boost the immune system
  • Increase strength and stamina
  • Lower cholesterol
  • In men, help with lower urinary tract symptoms such as having to pee at night, weak urine flow, peeing more times than usual, and not being able to control urine flow.
  • Elevate mood: help to improve anxiety and depression
  • Cancer prevention and treatment
  • Increase energy
  • Diabetic support
  • Antioxidant- free radical scavenger
  • Helps with allergies
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral
  • Liver and stomach injury support
  • Help lower blood pressure
  • Better sleep
  • Support heart health
  • Improve memory and cognitive function
  • Enhanced skin health
  • Seizure prevention
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-aging

What Conditions Can Reishi Help With?

Because the reishi mushroom is used mainly as an immune enhancer and health supplement which it can really help with: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Asthma
  • Hepatitis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Leukopenia
  • Cancer

Remember to always consult with your healthcare providers before taking reishi supplements. Herbal supplements are stronger than the ones that would be used to cook with. Supplements and herbs can also interact with some prescription medications and affect how they work. 

Reishi Immune System and Cancer Support

Sometimes reishi is referred as the ‘mushroom of longevity,’ due to how it boosts the production of peculiar cells in our immune system that make antibodies and other immune cells to help fight off infections. 

The reishi mushroom could help with treating and preventing cancer many different types of cancer. According to the National Library of Medicine, there is substantial evidence that reishi assists in the immunostimulation activities in the cytokine production in cells such as the T and B lymphocytes, splenic mononuclear cells, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells. Furthermore, the reishi’s polysaccharides suppress tumor cells and improve the immune responses in those with advanced-stage cancer. One study found a significant reduction in the antigen levels in prostate cancer patients, which it is theorized that because of the mushroom’s antioxidant and radical-scavenging properties it could be used in helping to prevent cancer and shrink tumors. There was another study that showed that reishi suppresses tumor intrusiveness in breast and prostate cancers. An additional study found it has an antitumoral effect in breast cancer, hepatoma, and myeloid leukemia. In general, when it comes to cancer, reishi has been found to induce cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis (cell death) in various human and rodent tumor cells.

Natural Mood Booster

Reishi has been used to help anxiety with its effects comparable to Valium, a well-known anti-anxiety medication. In 2018, a published showed that reishi contained compounds that may calm the nervous system, helping lower stress, and improve relaxation. An additional study in 2020, found that the mushroom may possibly help to ease anxiety and depression which could potentially be a natural method in mental health support.

Diabetic Support

Reishi has been shown to have mild antidiabetic effects. In one research study, it was found that reishi significantly reduced glucose levels in diabetic mice. In another study, it showed that in late-stage diabetes it has the potential to increase insulin secretion and decrease glucose output. There have been additional studies that advocate for positive effects within a few weeks of taking the mushroom.

Improved Skin Health and Anti-Aging

Of course, at Be Whole we must discuss reishi’s potential in helping to improve the health of the skin and anti-aging properties. Due to reishi’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the mushroom may be an effective skincare supplement. Research has shown that Ganoderma lucidum supports wound healing, can prevent post-burn infections, helps burns heal quicker, and has possibility as a skin cancer treatment. Anti-aging

Because reishi is a free radical scavenger, it may possibly help keep you youthful. There have been studies that show reishi improving the age-related decline of mitochondria antioxidants. Even though we can’t turn back the clock, reishi supplementation could help slow down the clock.

What are the side effects?

Side effects of reishi may include:

  • Nausea 
  • Insomnia 
  • Liver injury
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Rash

Who should not take reishi mushrooms?

Please talk with your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements or herbs. People should avoid reishi mushrooms if they are pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or preparing for surgery due to potential adverse effects on hormones and blood clotting. Also, those with allergies to mushrooms or fungal products should avoid it. 

Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re on any of these medications prior to taking reishi:

  • Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin®, because reishi can increase your risk of bleeding, 
  • Immunosuppressants because it can enhance the immune response.
  • If you’re taking reishi mushroom spore powder due to the increased levels of a substance called CA72-4 in your body which could interfere with cancer treatment.
  • Chemotherapeutic agents due to an increase plasma antioxidant capacity, and in theory may interact with chemotherapeutic agents that rely on free radicals.

How much is safe to take?

The recommended dosages of reishi can differ depending on the form of reishi you’re using. The dosage is determined upon whether you are taking the whole, dried mushroom or something like a tincture, or alcohol extract. But most of the research shows that for whole food mushroom powder, you’d need to be taking two grams daily to get an adequate amount. 

When should I take reishi?

It is recommended to take reishi in the evening, typically between 5 and 8 p.m. due to its calming and sleep-promoting effects. But when in the Organo coffee, you can take it throughout the day to help boost your mood and manage stress. 

How to choose the best reishi supplements?

It’s important to buy reishi supplements from reputable brands that follow quality control processes for accurate, reliable dosing. In a study of 19 reishi products sold in the United States found that only five out of the 19 products (26.3%) had ingredients that matched their labels. 

At Be Whole, our favorite brand of reishi mushroom supplements is Organo. The products are organic, and mold tested. Our nurse practitioner, Jennifer, has several cups of their King Coffee with reishi mushroom spores in them. The coffee is what helped her get out of postpartum depression. She can’t recommend King Coffee enough! Additionally, Organo takes out the 13 amino acids that makes coffee acidic as well which helps decrease acid reflux that coffee can cause. The company also makes teas, oral supplements, different types of coffee blends, and hot chocolate with reishi mushrooms in it. 

Reishi mushroom has numerous benefits that can help you feel better, boost the immune system and protect your overall health. It was one of our favorite supplements here at Be Whole Wellness Center!