For centuries, medical practitioners in East Asia have used reishi mushroom because of this its long list of therapeutic pluses. But only recently has awareness about this highly revered superfood reached the shores of the western world. So, why is red reishi gaining so much popularity around the globe? Today, we want to dive a little deeper into the amazing health benefits of this miraculous medicinal mushroom.
Increase calm and reduce anxiety
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi is known as ling zhi, or the “herb of spiritual potency.” When a person feels anxious, depressed, manic, or agitated, or suffers from a mental illness, TCM practitioners may describe this as the spirit or “Shen” being out of balance.
Reishi is categorized in its materia medica of herbal medicines as an herb that helps “calm the Shen.” As such, it can help calm the nervous system during times of stress, without causing sleepiness. So, you can still go ahead with operating large machinery (e.g. driving) when you take reishi, unlike some sedative herbs. In fact, reishi mushrooms are also considered “Qi tonics,” loosely meaning they can improve energy.
Stress comes in a number of forms. It includes physical stressors like extremes in temperature, lack of nutrients, insufficient restorative sleep, infection, or disease. Stressors can also be mental and emotional ones like loss of a loved one, loneliness, fear, worry, anger, frustration, being overwhelmed, depression, and more. It is no wonder why this medical mushroom is the go-to tonic in TCM.
Boost the immune system
No matter the time of year, colds and flus are always a concern. One of the most beneficial effects of consuming reishi mushroom is its ability to support the immune system. The beta glucans, compounds found in this holistic herb, have been shown to promote a healthy immune response to fend off diseases and infections.
Fight off cancer
While so much surrounding the cause of cancer remains a mystery, fortunately, great strides have been made in treatment options, including reishi mushrooms. Studies have shown that including reishi mushroom supplementation renders conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments more effective at killing cancer cells. 3 Furthermore, the study groups who received reishi reported that their quality of life after these powerful conventional cancer treatments was higher than the control group who did not receive reishi during their treatments.
Further studies have shown promise with inhibiting the growth of cancer cell lines, potentially preventing cancer from developing. 2,6 Thus, reishi mushroom may be helpful as both a supportive therapy and also a preventative one for cancer.
Promote liver health
The liver plays a crucial role in eliminating toxins. So, if you want to ensure your liver is working in peak performance, consider giving reishi a try. Studies have demonstrated that triterpenes found in reishi has been shown to prevent free radical damage and support healthy liver function. 6
Keep allergies at bay
If you are looking for a more natural way to manage allergies, take reishi. Studies have revealed that the compounds found in Japanese red reishi are an effective treatment for allergies 5 and other respiratory ailments. Researchers also detected that the ganoderic acids found in this herb act as a natural antihistamine.
Reduce cardiovascular risks
Did you know that reishi mushrooms can help lower blood pressure? The ganoderic acid in reishi is responsible for a variety of heart health benefits, from decreasing high blood pressure 4 and reducing excessive cholesterol levels to lowering the risk of dangerous blood clotting. There is also evidence to suggest that this mushroom can improve blood flow and reduce plaque build-up on artery walls. 1
Choosing Reishi Supplements
When it comes to reishi mushrooms, the advantages of using this natural medicinal wonder are far too many to ignore. But it’s equally important to make sure you are getting a quality product with the medicinal compounds that your body can use.
- Firstly, if you are only getting the mycelium (root-like structure) found in some reishi supplements, you are missing out on the ganoderic acids and other useful compounds found in the fruiting body (cap and stem).
- Second, if you are getting a supplement that has only ground up the mushroom and is not an extraction, then you are unlikely to be able to absorb many of the important compounds, and those compounds are also not going to be in sufficient quantities to have true medicinal value.
- Third, a quality reishi mushroom is one that is grown cleanly in a high-nutrition foundation and allowed to sufficiently mature.