Reishi Mushrooms: Harnessing Their Healing Power to Fight Cancer

National Cancer Wellness and Awareness Day happens on June 26th. With a shocking number of 1 in 2 Canadians developing cancer in their lifetime, it’s clear that working to prevent cancer and taking a comprehensive approach to cancer wellness is needed. That includes exploring treatments that can complement traditional cancer therapies.

In recent years, medicinal mushrooms like reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) have become increasingly recognized for their potent healing properties. Used in traditional medicine for centuries, especially in China and Japan, reishi mushrooms have many benefits when it comes to addressing cancers.

Understanding Cancer and the Need for Alternative Treatments

Cancer remains one of the most formidable challenges in modern medicine, with its complex nature and diverse manifestations. Conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, are powerful tools in the fight against cancer. But they often come with debilitating side effects that can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. As a result, there is a growing interest in exploring natural and holistic approaches to cancer management, and reishi mushrooms have emerged as a promising candidate in this regard.

The Immune-Boosting Power of Reishi Mushrooms

One of the key ways in which reishi mushrooms can address cancer is through their ability to bolster the immune system. The intricate interplay between the immune system and cancer cells highlights the importance of enhancing immune function in combating the disease. Reishi mushrooms contain bioactive compounds such as beta glucans that can stimulate the production of immune cells, including T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells, which play a crucial role in identifying and destroying cancerous cells within the body. By fortifying the immune response, reishi mushrooms empower the body to better recognize and eliminate cancer cells.

Targeting Cancer Cell Growth with Reishi Mushrooms

In addition to bolstering immune function, reishi mushrooms show promise in their potential to directly inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Research has shown that the triterpene compounds found in reishi mushrooms can induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells, effectively stopping their uncontrolled growth. Moreover, these medicinal mushrooms can help regulate angiogenesis, the process by which tumours develop new blood vessels to fuel their growth, thereby cutting off the blood supply to cancerous cells and impeding their progression.

Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are key drivers of cancer development and progression. Reishi mushrooms exhibit potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can mitigate these harmful processes in the body. By reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals, reishi mushrooms help create an internal environment that is less conducive to cancer growth. Furthermore, these mushrooms can support overall cellular health and enhance the body’s defence mechanisms against carcinogenic insults.

Supporting Liver Health and Detoxification

The liver plays a critical role in detoxifying the body and processing harmful substances that could contribute to the development of cancer. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to support liver function and promote detoxification processes, which can help reduce the body’s overall toxic burden and protect against carcinogens. By enhancing liver health, reishi mushrooms contribute to overall systemic wellbeing and create a more resilient internal environment that is less hospitable to cancerous growth.

Dealing with the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are powerful weapons when it comes to fighting cancer. And they need to be. But nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue are common side effects that may be mitigated with the appropriate use of reishi mushroom supplements. Not only that, but because one of reishi’s main actions, as an adaptogen, is to help calm the nervous system, it may help reduce anxiety, manage stress, and support restful and restorative sleep without being a sedative.

Integrating Reishi Mushrooms into Cancer Care

While incorporating reishi mushrooms into a comprehensive cancer treatment plan can offer patients a natural and holistic approach to managing the disease, it’s essential to discuss its use with qualified healthcare providers, including oncologists. It’s possible that it may not be suitable for use alongside certain medications and therapies.

Still, whether used as a complementary therapy alongside conventional treatments or as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of cancer development, reishi mushrooms hold significant promise in the realm of integrative oncology. With their multifaceted benefits ranging from immune modulation to anti-cancer effects, reishi mushrooms offer a complementary avenue for individuals seeking a more holistic approach to cancer care and prevention. 

Reishi Mushrooms for Oral Health

Did you know that the health of your mouth can both reflect and affect your overall health? Your mouth is, obviously, an entry point to your body, and regular care such as tooth brushing and flossing can help keep bad bacteria from causing cavities and gum disease as well as cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

However, even with regular oral hygiene, some diseases and medications can contribute to infection and inflammation in the mouth. As a result, taking care of your whole body and your immune system are key to preventing dental issues. Fortunately, there is a friendly fungus out there that can help enhance your immune system and your oral health.

Reishi mushrooms can help strengthen your body as a whole, as well as improve your oral health.

Disease and Medications Can Affect Oral Health

Diabetes, some cancers, chronic infections, and autoimmune disorders like HIV/AIDS, Sjogren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis can increase inflammation and lower the body’s resistance to infection, increasing the risk for gingivitis, periodontitis, and cavities. Osteoporosis can also cause periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Acid reflux or gastroesophageal disease (GERD), if poorly treated or missed (as in “silent reflux”), can weaken the teeth, as the acid erodes the protective enamel.

Saliva is important to wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by bacteria that are in the mouth. That’s why medications—including antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, and some painkillers and antidepressants—that reduce salivary flow can negatively affect oral health.

Poor Oral Health Increases Risk of Other Diseases

Whenever my dogs have had health checkups, their vet always checks their teeth. Why? Because my dogs can’t easily tell anyone what they are feeling, and dental health can indicate other health issues. While we can tell our healthcare providers what’s going on with us, our mouths can also provide visual (and scent) information.

Studies have shown that those with periodontal disease are at an increased risk for coronary heart disease and are more likely to suffer a stroke. This is thought to be due to an accumulation of bad bacteria in the mouth contributing to artery-clogging plaques and inflammation within the lining of the heart and heart valves (endocarditis).

Since we can inhale micro-organisms through the mouth, if they reach the lower respiratory tract, they can worsen and promote bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema. These bacterial infections, if they become severe, can also increase blood sugar levels, making diabetes more difficult to manage. And, as if that weren’t enough, it may also contribute to issues with pregnancy, impact sleep, and be a factor in behavioural and developmental problems in children.

Reishi Mushrooms for Oral Health

For good oral health, we want to address oxidative damage, inflammation, and infections. Reishi mushrooms are powerful medicinal mushrooms that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides and triterpenes, which are, amongst other things, powerful antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage, one of the foundation elements that contributes to chronic inflammation, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.

Reishi mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, which have been shown to help establish a healthy immune response, while also promoting healthy cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health. We want our immune systems to respond quickly and appropriately to the bad bacteria that can be found to accumulate in our mouths. But we also want our immune response to be moderated so that it doesn’t overreact in an autoimmune dysfunction. And, while you might think that all you have to do is use antibacterial mouthwashes, remember that you also have good bacteria in your mouth that these rinses will destroy.

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, taking Japanese reishi mushrooms can help you treat or avoid the infection and chronic inflammation that are primary components for problems associated with oral health. These powerful mushrooms promote a better immune response, fight infection, and manage inflammation to help you avoid the need for urgent dental visits. A bonus benefit of reishi include that it can help calm your nervous system, so you can attend those important regular dental checkups, even if they scare you.

If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your smile, reishi mushrooms could be just what the dentist ordered!

Can Reishi Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

September is Arthritis Awareness Month, and we’re here to help you get the support you need.

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, but most forms of arthritis are more common in older adults. Even though it’s a common condition, there are still many people who don’t understand what arthritis is or how it can impact your life. If you’re one of them, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

What is Arthritis? 

Arthritis isn’t just about pain—it’s about the physical limitations that come with having a chronic health condition like arthritis. It’s about being unable to do things you love because of the pain, discomfort, or limitations in your ability to move your body. It’s about the emotional toll that comes from feeling helpless against something as simple as walking downstairs or getting out of bed.

There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but one common type is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. When people think of arthritis, they usually think of the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the immune system attacks the healthy tissue of your joints. This can eventually lead to deformities of the joints.

The joints may feel tender and warm and appear swollen. The stiffness of the joints is usually worse in the mornings and after periods of inactivity, improving with movement. RA tends to affect the smaller joints of the body first, especially in the joints where the fingers attach to the hands and the toes attach to the feet. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can spread to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, and hips. The pain and dysfunction typically appear in the same joints on both sides of the body. Some people with RA also experience signs and symptoms unrelated to the joints, but affecting the skin, salivary glands, nerves, blood vessels, bone marrow, eyes, lungs, heart, or kidneys. It can also cause fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

There are many treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, and (where appropriate) weight loss. But one effective ways to fight rheumatoid arthritis that you may not yet know about is to include reishi mushroom as part of your routine.

How Reishi Mushroom Fights Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and are you looking for a natural and effective way to treat your symptoms, this revered mushroom is worth a close look.

Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to calm the nervous system, strengthen the body, and treat lung and heart issues. It has been called “the food of the immortals.” Reishi has now been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, while its ability to help regulate the immune system can help tame the overzealous immune system.

The benefits of reishi mushroom for rheumatoid arthritis include:

1) Anti-inflammatory effects: Reishi’s main active ingredient is a group of compounds called triterpenoids. Studies (1, 2) have shown that these compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling in your joints and slow down the progression of your disease. 

2) Antioxidant effects: Reishi contains many antioxidants that help protect your body from free radicals which would cause damage to cells and tissues throughout your body.

3) Addressing the overactive immune system: Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder whereupon the body attacks its own healthy cells, getting to the root of the problem means helping to regulate the immune system. One of the main benefits of reishi is its ability to help regulate the immune system—called immunomodulation.  

In addition to doing your best to stay active, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and manage your stress, taking a premium reishi mushroom supplement can help you manage your arthritis so that you can live a better life. 

7 Reasons Why Reishi is an Anti-Aging Wonder

Let’s face it. We all want to live longer and feel younger at the same time. When I feel the need to complain about aging, I remind myself that getting older is a privilege that not everyone gets to achieve. But it’s not just about years; it’s largely about enjoying healthy aging. While there’s no easy quick fix to aging gracefully, there are certain herbs long revered for their wide range of health benefits. Reishi mushrooms are one of these remedies that is so highly sought-after that it was once reserved only for royalty. Read on to find out how reishi mushrooms may help slow the effects of the hands of time.

Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for Skin

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it readily shows the effects of time, the sun, lifestyle choices, and our environment. Youthful skin is firm, plump, and supple. Over time, we lose the components that contribute to this, including moisture, collagen, and elastin. Our cells also become slower at repairing damage. Wrinkles, sagging, age spots, skin tags, and scarring are common effects of aging.

#1 – Fights free radicals
Reishi mushrooms contain antioxidants that fight free radicals — unstable molecules that damage cells and lead to premature aging, both inside the body as well as at the surface. Antioxidants prevent these molecules from attacking healthy cells, which helps keep your skin soft and smooth.

#2 – Protects against UV damage
Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides that protect against UVB radiation by scavenging free radicals before they can cause damage to healthy cells in the body. As a result, these miraculous mushrooms are particularly useful for protecting against future skin damage caused by exposure to sunlight.

#3 – Boosts skin repair
Collagen is responsible for maintaining the strength and elasticity of our skin. It helps prevent sagging and wrinkles as we age. Reishi mushrooms contain compounds called triterpenes which may help accelerate skin repair, increase cell production, and lay down more collagen, resulting in smoother, plumper skin, and a firmer complexion.

#4 – Fights inflammation
Inflammation is one of the most common causes of skin problems like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. Chronic inflammation can also lead to premature skin aging by causing fine lines and wrinkles, as well as damage to collagen. Reishi mushrooms’ triterpenes come to the rescue here as well, decreasing inflammation to treat the cause of many kinds of skin issues.

Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for Health

#5 – Increases energy levels
Parents, grandparents, and anyone spending any amount of time around kids knows, they have more energy than we do. Over time, we begin to notice we simply don’t have the pep we once had. It could be that we have more on our plates with responsibilities and stressors that we need to attend to. But it’s also that age is showing its effects.

Reishi mushrooms have been used as a tonic to increase energy levels for centuries. They do so without having a stimulant effect, avoiding the jitters and insomnia effects of caffeine. Reishi contains polysaccharides and triterpenes that help improve circulation, reduce fatigue, and increase stamina. The triterpenes also help protect the liver, which is essential for overall good health.

#6 – Takes care of the heart
Heart disease is the second most common cause of death in Canada. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) calls the heart the “king” organ of the body, so if you’re aiming for healthy longevity, clearly you need to attend to the needs of this monarch.

Reishi mushrooms contain compounds that help lower elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Since these are two of the most recognized indicators for heart disease risk, managing this can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

#7 – Supports healthy immune system
In 1900, the top three causes of death (in the United States) were pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea and enteritis—all infectious diseases. While hygiene, antibiotics, and other medical procedures have helped drop those numbers considerably, as the last couple of years has demonstrated, we have not—and likely never will—beat infectious diseases. So, if you want to live a long and healthy life, take care of your immune system, so it can protect you when needed.

Reishi mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, which helps support the production of antibodies when the body encounters a virus. Reishi has also been shown to improve the function of white blood cells, helping to fight infection and disease. It’s often recommended for people who have weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or cancer treatment. At the same time, it helps calm an overreactive immune system that is causing allergies or autoimmune disease, as reishi is an immunomodulator, meaning it helps the immune system provide a balanced response.

It’s no wonder that with all these benefits, reishi mushrooms are quickly becoming one of the most talked about superfoods. Not only can these mushrooms slow down the aging process, but they can even promote long-term health benefits. This is a bandwagon worth jumping on!

Understanding Celiac Disease and How to Live With It

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, a time for celiacs worldwide to come together and highlight the struggles and issues surrounding this autoimmune disease and its management. That’s why we’ve created this blog to spread awareness around celiac disease and give you tips on how to live with it.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley — will trigger your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine. When this happens, it can make it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients from food.

If you think you may have celiac disease, you might be considering a gluten-free diet. If you try this and feel an improvement in your symptoms, but want to get tested, know that you’ll need to eat gluten again before you get the test. Otherwise, you may not get an accurate result. Also, if you’re considering starting a gluten-free diet, you may want to speak to a health professional to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

The symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person. Some people may experience none at all, while others may experience severe symptoms. These include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue and weakness

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a health professional for assessment. Even if you don’t have celiac disease, you may be gluten-sensitive and feel better with reduced or no gluten in your diet. It’s also possible that you don’t feel better with a gluten-free diet, so it’s not a panacea.

Is there a cure for celiac disease?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for celiac disease. The only treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. The goal of this diet is to eliminate all traces of gluten from your diet and allow your small intestine to heal completely so it can absorb nutrients properly again.

What foods can I eat if I have celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a lifelong condition, so it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot eat. A dietitian, nutritionist, or other qualified health professional can help you learn about your options for a healthy diet that includes foods that are safe for your body.

Here are some gluten-free foods that you can eat:

  • Gluten-free grains: rice, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat (note that the latter two are actually seeds, but are cooked like grains)
  • Gluten-free flours: almond flour, coconut flour, potato starch, and arrowroot powder
  • Gluten-free oats (make sure they aren’t processed in the same equipment that processes wheat products)
  • Beans: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and edamame beans

If you have celiac disease, it’s important that you follow a strict gluten-free diet for life. You may also find it helpful to carefully select where you eat out. Ask restaurants if they can accommodate your gluten-free requests, including not using the same utensils and cooking tools for your gluten-free meal as they use for other gluten-containing foods.

Can reishi mushrooms help treat celiac disease?

Reishi mushrooms have long been used in Chinese medicine to improve health and treat various ailments. They contain many active compounds including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and ergosterols that help improve immune function.

Some studies show that reishi mushrooms may help improve symptoms of patients with celiac disease by reducing inflammation caused by an autoimmune response triggered by gluten ingestion. If you’ve been “glutened,” taking reishi mushrooms may help you suffer less and recover more quickly.

The more that awareness is created around celiac disease, the more it can help give those diagnosed with it a chance at living a happier and healthier life because people won’t just assume that those asking for “gluten-free” are doing it to follow a health trend. The month of May is dedicated to raising as much public awareness as possible and giving those with celiac disease a chance to embrace a brighter future.

Fight Off Seasonal Allergies with Red Reishi

Budding flowers, blooming trees, and singing birds can mean only one thing—spring is finally here. While many of us enjoy this beautiful time of year, pollen from trees, grass, and flowers can send our immune systems into overdrive. For millions of people, these offending substances (or antigens) can trigger an allergic reaction, causing a number of unpleasant symptoms like sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and itchy, watery, red eyes.

Don’t Let Seasonal Allergies Keep You Indoors

Over-the-counter products, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays often provide some relief, but come with troublesome side effects—drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion—that can actually make symptoms worse if used for long periods of time. Because of this, an increasing number of allergy sufferers are turning to Mother Nature for a safer, alternative solution. If spring is making you miserable, there is a natural solution that will help keep your seasonal allergies under control.

Nature’s Cure All

Used for thousands of years in the Eastern World, Japanese red reishi is a mushroom proven to have phenomenal health benefits. Though there are six different types of reishi (red, purple, green, white, yellow, and black), the red variety is the most medically potent. This miraculous fungus is able to fight cancer, ward off heart disease, support nerve and liver function, as well as regulate the immune system to help fight off infections at the same time as it can prevent it from overacting and resulting in allergic reactions.

Allergy Alleviator

In numerous trials and clinical experiments, Japanese red reishi has been shown to be an effective treatment for allergies and other respiratory ailments. These adaptogenic and immune-supporting mushrooms contain compounds that have strong anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory agents. Researchers discovered that the ganoderic acids found in Japanese red reishi act as a natural antihistamine, helping diminish the symptoms of allergies without any of the harmful side effects associated with over-the-counter medications.

The Right Type of Red Reishi

In order to have the medicinal effects noted by these studies, red reishi must contain the powerful constituents—particularly ganoderic acids—that are found only in the fruiting body of the mature red reishi mushroom. In fact, unextracted reishi powder can actually cause an allergic reaction in some people.