Today I would like to tell you more about the superstar among medicinal mushrooms. One does not get called ”mushroom of immortality” for doing some basic business. Especially not by Chinese and Japanese, that have been using them for over 2000 years.
Reishi mushroom (or reishi), latin Ganoderma lucidum, naturally grows on the side of plum trees. It can range in color, but red reishi is considered to be the most effective and potent. They used to be so rare and precious, that only kings and aristocracy were able to get them. Lucky for us, they developed techniques for their cultivation in the past century, which enabled for reishi mushroom to become one of the most widespread medicinal mushroom on our planet.
But put down your frying pan, because you wouldn’t want to eat them on their own. They have a woody texture and a bitter flavor, so the way to consume them is in forms of soups, tea, capsules or powder. Why bother you ask? Check my list of health benefits of reishi mushroom, and let me know after, if you will still be left with a doubt.
Health benefits of reishi mushroom
There are many health benefits connected to reishi mushroom, and since they are the most studied medicinal mushrooms worldwide we can expect for the benefits to expand. For now, this is why the immortality nickname remained throughout the centuries:
Helping our body’s safeguard
In traditional medicine reishi mushrooms are used to naturally enhance immune systems, through their ability to help body to fight disease and weakness. Beta glucans are the reason behind. Beta what?
Beta glucans are acting as immunomodulator agents in our bodies. This means they trigger events in our body that help regulate immune system, by making it more efficient.
Several studies have also shown that genes in white blood cells can be affected by reishi mushrooms. Why should we care about this? Because it lowers inflammation levels, thus help our body to fight against infections.
The triterpenes found in reishi mushrooms can lower blood pressure and the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood. Our hearth sure does love blood pressure and bad cholesterol on the lower side.
Consequently, reishi can help us protect against heart attacks, strokes, and other types of heart disease.
Detoxifying liver and kidneys
Reishi mushroom helps body with natural processes of detoxification, which results in improving liver health. They are also known to be powerful enough to combat fatty liver disease.
Because of their detoxification power, reishi may prevent or limit injury after someone consumes poison or too much alcohol.
Consuming reishi additionally helps protect the kidneys, which are right after liver in importance of detoxifying and cleaning our organs.
Gut loves them
Reishi mushrooms are beneficial for digestive system because they are acting like a prebiotic for the gut. This can help feed and sustain gut bacteria we’ve been all told to love, since it does wonders for us.
Additionally, reishi can help alter the gut in a way that it can improve one’s ability to lose weight.
Keeping us younger
You may say this benefit has nothing to do with health. My reason for disagreeing is in the fact that so much of how we feel is related to how we perceive ourselves to be. If we think we are youthful, vital individuals, we will do more of what it will keep us that way (and consequently keep us healthier). After all, aging is a topic we encounter daily, and why not use reishi mushroom and their adaptogen content to assist us in the eternal strive to look younger?
Long-term use of reishi is believed to reduce wrinkles (by slowing down tissue degeneration) and older appearance due to its antioxidant and radical-protective activity.
Looking after our mental health
Reishi helps protect the nervous system with its antioxidant protection against inflammation in nerves.
This protection lessens stress, ease depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. On top of that, it can help with memory problems, such as brain fog and dementia.
Reishi mushrooms have been used for centuries by monks, shamans and spiritual seekers. Many people who take reishi regularly claim it brings them peacefulness, that for the moment cannot be explained by science.
With its antihistamine effects reishi can improve the body’s oxygen supply, which is key to those suffering from allergies, chronic or allergic asthma, bronchitis, irritable bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis.
The reason behind reishi being able to help people with allergies also lies in elements that it contains, such as ganoderic acid, lanostina, triterpenoids and antioxidants.
- Ganoderic acid decreases tendency towards allergies by reducing over-production of histamines
- Lanostina helps shorten allergy symptoms, by being used as a tonic for the supra-renal glands
- Triterpenoids helps reduce inflammation in the respiratory system and calms respiratory discomforts
- Antioxidants help reduce allergy symptoms such as itching, sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, shortness of breath and tiredness.
More to come…
Above mentioned health benefits of reishi mushroom are just a few. Many studies are being conducted to reveal more, and they have to catch up, since what has been used in traditional medicine in Asia, was neglected for centuries by conventional medicine.
I am grateful a switch in our minds is slowly, but steadily taking place. We are starting to re-connect with nature and with what it is offering to us. Do you feel the same way, and are as excited about it as I am?
I am sure scientists will provide us with more data about positive effects of reishi mushroom on our health. I will happily revise this article according to the new findings.
Please note: it is generally safe for people to consume reishi mushrooms and products that contain them, however they can cause side effects – you should always consult with your doctor before incorporating them into your health routine. As always, purpose behind my post is to share my findings about magical world of medicinal mushrooms, and I am not in any way certified to give you professional health advice – for such you should always consult with your doctor or other professionals.