More than just a pizza topping, mushrooms have been used in medicine centuries before. Yes, we all love that savory, umami-ness on our pizza, but did you know that these tasty fungi are a powerhouse of nutrients and therapeutic properties? One curative shroom, reishi mushroom, has been used for centuries to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation. Now that is as enticing as a mouth-watering pizza!
Come along, and let’s dive into the rich history of reishi, its benefits, how to take it, and shed light on some of the most commonly asked questions about reishi.
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The Definition: Reishi Mushroom is a polypore fungus ("bracket fungus") native to East Asia. It is a reddish-brown kidney-shaped mushroom popular for its therapeutic benefits.
The Process: Reishi mushroom is usually dried and ground into powder. The most common way to consume them is to take them as a supplement in the form of a capsule, powder, or tea.
How To Take: For general health and well-being, it is recommended to take 1-2 grams of reishi mushroom powder daily. For more specific therapeutic purposes, such as improving liver health, it is recommended to take between 3-6 grams of reishi mushroom powder daily.
History: In the first century, Taoist priests experimented with reishi believing it granted longevity, eternal youth, and immortality. It has long since been used in traditional Chinese medicine
The Breakdown: Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for eons, revered for its health benefits, including boosting the immune system, regulating blood sugar levels, and improving heart health. These mushrooms are also thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to promote relaxation.
Reishi mushrooms are typically grown on logs or in a controlled environment. And unlike other mushrooms, it is not a culinary mushroom because it has a bitter, woody taste and is usually taken in tea or other beverages. Nowadays, the reishi mushroom can be found in the form of powder, capsules, or extract.
What Is The History Of The Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi is believed to have been used as a medicinal mushroom for 2000 years. The rare and revered mushroom was sought by many in the belief that it promotes immortality. Taoist priests used the mushrooms to make a magic potion that granted longevity, eternal youth, and immortality.
The “phantom mushroom”, was another name given to the reishi mushroom because of its scarcity. It was so rare and valuable that it was reserved only for the Emperor and upper classes of Ancient China.
In the modern era, reishi mushroom has also gained popularity in the West and is now sold as a dietary supplement in many health food stores and online. It has been studied for its potential to help support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve heart health.1 Additionally, some research suggests that it may have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties2.
What Are The Benefits Of Reishi Mushrooms?
Considered as “one of the most important elixirs in the Orient”, Reishi mushrooms are known for their rich health benefits. Let’s check out why this rare mushroom deserves the fame.
Blood Sugar And Heart Health
Reishi mushroom has been found to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that Reishi mushroom may help to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. In one study, participants with type 2 diabetes were given Reishi mushroom extract for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the participants had significantly lower blood sugar levels compared to the control group.3
Reishi mushroom may also help to protect the heart. Studies suggest that Reishi mushroom may help to reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and protect against cardiovascular disease. In one study, participants with high cholesterol were given Reishi mushroom extract for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the participants had significantly lower cholesterol levels compared to the control group.4 It may also help to reduce inflammation, which is associated with heart disease.
These studies suggest that Reishi mushroom may help to support healthy blood sugar levels and protect against cardiovascular disease. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Reishi mushrooms are known for their powerful antioxidant properties, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Studies have found that Reishi mushrooms can reduce oxidative stress in the body and have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.5 Additionally, they can help boost the immune system, reduce fatigue, improve cognitive function, and have anti-tumor effects and can help protect against some forms of cancer.
Reishi mushrooms have been found to have compounds that can help reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with relaxation and happiness.
Reishi mushrooms also contain polysaccharides that can help reduce inflammation, which is often responsible for feelings of anxiety and stress. It is thought to help reduce fatigue and improve mood, as well as enhance the body's ability to cope with stress and promote relaxation.
What Is The Recommended Dosage For Reishi Mushrooms?
The recommended dosage of Reishi mushrooms varies. This depends on the body’s reaction and the intended purpose. As with all supplements, it is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed. For general health and well-being, it is recommended to take 1-2 grams of Reishi mushroom powder daily. For more specific therapeutic purposes, such as improving liver health, taking between 3-6 grams of Reishi mushroom powder daily is recommended.
What Are Traditional Uses Of Reishi Mushrooms?
Reishi mushroom has been used for eons for its pharmacologically active compounds. Dubbed the “King of Herbal Medicine”, reishi mushroom have a variety of traditional uses:
- Immune booster
- Aids with digestion
- Help with respiratory issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, and allergies
- Gives relief for skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis
- Help treat liver disease
- Improve memory and concentration
How Can You Prepare And Use Reishi Mushrooms?
Reishi mushrooms can be prepared and used in different ways. With the help of modern science, it can usually be consumed as a supplement in the form of a capsule, powder, or tea. Reishi mushroom supplements are easy to find in health food stores and online.
Reishi mushrooms can also be prepared as tea. To make a Reishi mushroom tea, add a teaspoon of dried Reishi powder to a cup of hot water and steep for 10 minutes. This tea can be consumed up to three times a day.
Reishi mushrooms can also be added to food. They can be cooked and added to soups, stir-fries, and other dishes. They can also be eaten raw, or added to salads or smoothies.
Reishi mushrooms can also be consumed in tinctures or extracts. These can be taken as drops or added to food or drinks.
Are There Interactions Of Reishi Mushrooms With Medication?
Reishi mushrooms may interact with certain medications such as:
- blood thinners
- antifungal medications
- certain chemotherapy drugs
- certain medications, including those used to treat HIV/AIDS.
Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking Reishi mushrooms if you are taking any medications or have any medical conditions.
FOCL FAQs: Reishi Mushrooms
Is it safe to take Reishi every day?
Reishi mushroom is generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. However, consult your healthcare provider before taking Reishi mushroom daily, as it may interact with certain medications.
Do Reishi mushrooms make you sleepy?
Reishi mushroom may have a calming effect on the body, but it is not likely to make you sleepy. It is important to note that Reishi mushroom should not be taken in place of sleep, and that getting adequate rest is still important for overall health and wellbeing.
Does Reishi raise serotonin?
Reishi mushroom is thought to have an effect on serotonin levels in the brain. Studies have shown that Reishi may help to increase serotonin levels, which can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
Does Reishi lower testosterone?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that Reishi mushroom has an effect on testosterone levels. However, consult your healthcare provider before taking Reishi if you are taking any medications that may interact with it.
Is Reishi mushroom good for anxiety?
Reishi mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety. Studies have shown that Reishi may help to reduce anxiety and improve mood, as well as reduce stress levels.
- Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or reishi) - herbal medicine - NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
- Jin, X., Ruiz Beguerie, J., Sze, D. M.-Y., & Chan, G. C. F. (2016, April 5). Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi Mushroom) for cancer treatment. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6353236/#:~:text=Ganoderma%20lucidum%20is%20a%20natural,promising%20anticancer%20and%20immunomodulatory%20properties.
- Wińska, K., Mączka, W., Gabryelska, K., & Grabarczyk, M. (2019, November 11). Mushrooms of the genus ganoderma used to treat diabetes and insulin resistance. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891282/
- Klupp, N. L., Chang, D., Hawke, F., Kiat, H., Cao, H., Grant, S. J., & Bensoussan, A. (2015, February 17). Ganoderma lucidum mushroom for the treatment of cardiovascular risk factors. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6486141/
- Reishi Mushroom: Nutrition, Health Benefits. Netmeds. (n.d.). https://www.netmeds.com/health-library/post/reishi-mushroom-nutrition-health-benefits-and-an-easy-delectable-recipe-that-can-be-made-from-this-w#:~:text=Powerful%20antioxidants%20present%20in%20reishi,aid%20longevity%20when%20consumed%20regularly.