Reishi Mushrooms- Benefits, Uses & Side Effects

Some of the most important health benefits of reishi mushrooms include their ability to slow the aging process, detoxify the body, reduce blood pressure, eliminate inflammation, prevent cancer, improve cognitive ability, and boost energy.

Reishi Mushrooms

Although some people don’t like the idea of eating fungi, mushrooms are one of the most popular and beneficial types of food on the planet. Reishi mushrooms, in particular, have been relied upon for thousands of years in the Asian region, but have recently come to the attention of the wider world. Scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum, “reishi” is the name by which these beneficial mushrooms are known in Japan, while in China, they are called lingzhi mushrooms. Lingzhi mushrooms as a group actually represent a species complex of fungal entities, many of which are in use throughout the world. These fascinating fungi are potent because of their unique collection of organic compounds and components, which include triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols, and various essential polysaccharides. 

Although most mushrooms are eaten in order to enjoy the health benefits and nutrients, the most popular means of using reishi mushrooms includes crushing dried mushrooms and steeping them in water. The mushrooms are extremely bitter in taste, which makes them somewhat unpleasant to consume directly or in a highly concentrated liquid form. For this reason, and because traditional herbal remedies in most western nations have been replaced by more efficient herbal supplements, you can mainly find reishi mushroom supplements in pill or capsule form, but there are plenty of places in the world where this type of mushroom is still processed and administered directly. 

Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms

lingzhimushroom

Although it has a bitter taste and but the nutrients do wonders for your body. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the fascinating health benefits of reishi mushrooms.

Anti-Aging: With popular names such as “king of herbs” and the “10,000-year old mushroom”, reishi mushrooms have been highly praised in herbal medicine for thousands of years for its effects on longevity. In ancient times, those seeking immortality often used reishi mushrooms because of this belief. However, modern studies have positively linked reishi mushrooms to certain lifespan expansion, namely due to the impressive polysaccharide content of these fungi. This is accomplished by boosting the health of the immune system and preventing certain abnormal blood vessel formations. Furthermore, certain antioxidant properties of other organic compounds in reishi mushrooms neutralize free radicals, which can cause chronic diseases and premature aging.

Cancer Prevention and Treatment: There are thousands of active studies on cancer, as it is one of the most widespread and fatal diseases faced by our society. A handful of those studies have also focused on reishi mushrooms and it has been determined that the triterpenoids found in reishi mushrooms have the ability to reduce the metastasis of cancerous cells and prevent tumor growth. Furthermore, a second study found that the active ingredients of reishi mushroom extract can seek out and neutralize cancerous cells within the body.

Detoxify the Body: Our livers are delicate and essential organs, so decreasing the level of toxins in our body and liver is a huge goal for human health. Studies have linked reishi mushroom extracts to faster regeneration of healthy liver cells and a release of free radicals that have built up in the organ, thereby promoting overall health and wellness in our system.

Cognitive Disorders: Neurological diseases can be some of the most painful and unsolvable mysteries in human health, and for cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease, there is no proven cure. However, research has shown that the extracts in reishi mushrooms can stimulate cognitive activity and display certain neuroprotective effects, particularly in the stimulation of nerve growth factor, which is a key part of a healthy cognitive function.

Anti-Inflammatory Qualities: One of the most important side effects of reishi mushroom extracts is its anti-inflammatory capacity. This is partially why it can help with cognitive disorders, by increasing the amount of blood flow to the brain, but for people suffering from arthritis or gout, reishi extracts can also be helpful. Reishi mushrooms have also been relied on for headaches and injury healing.

Respiratory Conditions: For those suffering from asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic respiratory conditions, reishi mushroom extract can have a strong effect on reducing irritation and eliminating the allergic reactions from this part of the body. By preventing the release of histamine from mast cells in the body, reishi mushrooms prevent allergic reactions, from mild skin irritation to potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.

High Blood Pressure: Hypertension is one of the most common and pervasive problems in the world today, and cardiovascular disease and complications remain the major killer in our global society. Reishi mushrooms have been proven to improve the efficiency of blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure; it also reduces the amount of oxygen consumed by the heart, which means that there is more oxygenation for the rest of the body and organ systems. Furthermore, certain elements of reishi mushroom extract can reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol in your system, further protecting you from strokes and heart attacks.

Immune System Aid: Although we’ve already mentioned antioxidants, which are a key component of the immune system, reishi mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, one of the most effective and powerful immune system boosters that we know of. By increasing the amount of beta-glucans in your body, you can protect yourself against a vast range of potential diseases and reduce the signs of aging. Some experts believe that it is this high glucan content that linked it historically with immortality and vitality.

Energy Booster: In addition to lengthening life, traditional medicine also suggested reishi for energy-boosting. As we age, our energy levels do tend to drop, but adding a spirit in our golden years would be wonderful.

Side Effects

As anything with so many good qualities, there is almost inevitably a flip side. As it happens, extended use of reishi mushrooms (1-2 months) has been connected with some side effects throughout history. Some of them include:

Although these side effects seem mild, it is still a good decision to speak with a medical professional or trained herbalist before adding reishi mushrooms to your health plan.

References
  1. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/act.1998.4.256?journalCode=act&
  2. http://www.gfvs.ch/fileadmin/template/downloads/wissenschaft/reishi-mushroom.pdf
  3. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/or/12/3/659
  4. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007731.pub3/full
  5. http://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,3389befb6be7818a,3ea891d772a09d0f.html
  6. https://books.google.com/books?id=iHieZ7E7gi0C
  7. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbdv.200790027/abstract
  8. http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/book/10.1081/E-EDS2
  9. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv1973/34/4/34_4_433/_article
  10. http://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,72e968661ff5d957,09001a9418679e96.html

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Your article says about Reishi "The mushrooms are extremely bitter in taste, which makes them somewhat unpleasant to consume directly or in a highly concentrated liquid form" I found them to have a delicious aroma and yes a bitter taste but exactly like coffee! I used a tsp with hot water and milk and made a beautiful satisfying coffee drink.

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