Also known as lingzhi and Ganoderma lucidum, the reishi mushroom is a fungus that grows abundantly in hot and humid conditions. It’s native to Asia and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
Reishi is available in nature and is also cultivated extensively in modern times. It’s also used to make mycelium furniture, bricks, and other items, so it’s in high demand.
We learned that people have been using the mushroom in homemade remedies and local doctors in their concoctions for a long time. So, this article will focus on the health benefits of reishi mushrooms.
What Does Reishi Mushroom Contain?
Like other fungi, reishi mushroom also contains plenty of substances. They include polysaccharides, peptides, and triterpenoids. It also has dietary fiber and a host of minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
The vitamins present in the mushroom includes
- Vitamins B
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamins A and C
- D-aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
The last four appear in tiny amounts
Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
As you can see, reishi has loads of substances, and studies suggest that it can benefit your health in many ways. We will see how the mushroom can help your body.
It can Improve the Immune System
Initial studies indicate that reishi extract can boost the immune system. The white blood cells in our body are vital components of the immune system. The substances in the reishi extract target these cells and boost the system.
Research has also shown that some kinds of reishi mushrooms may change the passageways of inflammation in white blood cells.
A kind of white blood cells known as “natural killer cells” fights cancer and infections in the body. Studies show that some molecules in reishi mushrooms boost the natural killer cells’ activity and inhibit cancer cells and infections.
One more study showed that reishi mushrooms could also enhance the number of lymphocytes, another kind of white blood cells.
While research indicates that reishi can benefit sick people, it may also affect healthy people in a positive way. But more studies need to be done to learn about reishi’s impact on the body’s various systems and functions.
It may fight depression and fatigue
Reishi mushrooms may also help reduce fatigue and fight depression, according to some studies. At the same time, it may also help enhance the quality of life.
Volunteers who participated in an experiment mentioned that they felt less tired after taking reishi supplements for about eight weeks.
The participants were individuals who suffered from a condition called neurasthenia which can cause dizziness, headaches, aches, pains and irritability.
One other experiment with breast cancer survivors also showed improvement in quality of life and a decrease in fatigue after using reishi supplements for around four weeks.
The volunteers also said they didn’t feel depressed or anxious as before after the said duration.
Though the supplements affect people with ailments positively, the result isn’t conclusive regarding healthy people.
It may fight cancer cells and inhibit their growth
For a long time, people have been consuming the fungus because of the potential cancer-fighting properties that it supposedly contains.
Over the years, studies and research have also shown that reishi indeed can help inhibit cancer cells and prevent their growth.
Long-term use of reishi supplements may help with prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and also prevent recurrence of breast cancer.
Some studies also show that tumors in the large intestine shrank when patients took reishi supplements.
Simultaneously, research had also indicated that the patients’ well-being improved when they took reishi supplements for a certain period.
However, the details are debatable and the outcome inconclusive, and experts need to study a lot more to know if reishi can fight and prevent cancer.
Experts also suggest that patients combine reishi supplements with regular treatment for better results.
It may protect heart health
Experiments conducted on at least twenty-six people showed that consumption of reishi supplements might boost the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides.
Interestingly, it didn’t produce the same results when another study was conducted on healthy adults.
Hence, there is much research to be done before we can come to a conclusion.
But since it did show positive results in one study, you can use a reishi supplement after consulting with a specialist.
It may lower and maintain blood sugar levels
A number of experiments conducted on animals indicated that some molecules present in reishi mushrooms might lower blood sugar.
Initial studies on humans also showed similar results. But most research has shown no positive effects at all.
It is, therefore, hard to say whether reishi supplements can exactly help with the condition or not. More studies have to be done to learn about the mushroom’s effects on blood sugar.
It may improve the amount of some antioxidants
Antioxidants prevent cell damage, and so it’s essential to have them in the body.
There is a strong claim that reishi can boost the levels of some antioxidants. However, initial research hasn’t shown any positive results regarding the levels of antioxidants.
Experts need to research more to learn if reishi can improve antioxidant levels in some way or not.
What do you learn from the above?
With the initial studies showing positive results, it’s likely reishi mushrooms can indeed help in several ways.
Now only supplements are available, but the mushroom may be included as a medicine for many ailments n days to come. So, let’s wait and see what happens.
You get the highest dose of reishi when you consume the fungus. But the dried powder form is the most widely available variety, so it may be less potent.
The dosage for a particular quantity may also differ from one brand to another. So, it’s best to follow the prescribed dosage provided on a product’s label or recommended by your physician.
Though considered a safe fungus, high doses can have adverse effects. You may suffer from side effects in the long run. Hence, you must always follow the correct dosage and not overdo it.
Final Thoughts – Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms certainly can offer several health benefits, and they may help improve your health in many ways.
However, since experts have not yet conducted extensive research, much cannot be said. We will only know when they study more and come out with solid results.
But in the meantime, you can use reishi supplements from trusted brands that make top-quality products.