Traditional Chinese medicines make use of many different plants and fungi. The reishi mushroom is among the best known and has been used for centuries throughout Asia. The reishi mushroom benefits include nutrition, detoxification, and bioavailability.
What Is Reishi?
Reishi (also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi) is a mushroom in the family Ganodermataceae. It grows almost exclusively on various kinds of hardwood trees in mountainous forests throughout Asia, although its close relatives can be found growing in wooded highlands all across the globe.
Reishi has a variety of potential health benefits. It functions as an activator of the body’s autophagous (cellular and genetic repair) processes; promotes glowing youthful skin; boosts and balances the immune system; balances hormonal system; promotes restful sleep, stress relief, mental clarity, and energy; regulates gut health.
The bioactive compounds that it contains – over 400 in total – work synergistically to make this a mushroom worthy of its accolade “the mushroom of immortality.
Reishi Mushroom Benefits – The Extracts
Because of the health-promoting qualities of the Reishi mushrooms, it is possible that Reishi may be an effective tool to overcome nutritional deficiencies. For instance, one study published in Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide suggested that mushroom polysaccharides have a prebiotic effect on the gut microbiome with increases in Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species and decreases in Clostridium, Staphylococcus, and Enterococcus species.
As such, it has been suggested that Reishi could be useful for boosting and increasing the function of various physiological and pathological systems.
This report also notes that Reishi mushroom is of particular value when it comes to allergy support. Triterpenes found in reishi encourage a balanced histamine response. This can be helpful for people with seasonal allergies or histamine intolerance, as is very common when traveling, and many sufferers find that Reishi works to reduce these
symptoms. Also, because there is a natural component of Reishi mushroom that may reduce the toxic burden of pathogens, it can potentially be useful for disease prevention. In addition, Reishi is a natural anti-bacterial agent, which is important for supporting the immune system. This can potentially be useful for those with persistent infections.
One study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology suggests that incorporating Reishi into your diet can help support a more normal digestive system function. Specifically, the study reported that reishi spores had a hepatoprotective (liver protective) effect against cadmium, a toxic heavy metal known to cause liver damage. Other studies have found that polysaccharides found in reishi have a restorative effect on liver antioxidant systems after an infection.
The extracts of Reishi mushroom have also been reported to help support the immune system, in addition to other organs, by increasing the number of macrophages. Macrophages are another type of white blood cell that helps to destroy foreign bodies and pathogens.
While most of the available mushroom extracts have rather mild nutritional profiles, some of the mushroom extracts and powders on the market contain very strong and unique biological activities. Not only are there supplements derived from mushrooms, some are also synthesized with the key molecules in mind—including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans—bioactive compounds that are thought to be responsible for Reishi’s health effects.
What’s the best way to consume reishi to maximize reishi mushrooms benefits?
You can infuse a drink, you can brew tea, you can make it into an extract, you can add it to cold-pressed juices, you can add it to a homemade salve, you can drizzle it over food, you can add it to your favorite sauces. All these methods can bring out reishi mushroom benefits.
There is so much you can do with reishi that it makes you wonder, why isn’t it more widely consumed in the US?
Consider the source: the fructifying body (the mushroom itself) or mycelium
While most products use mycelium because it grows faster —usually grown on grain (often gluten-containing rye or wheat) or sawdust— the fructifying body is considered to have the most potent therapeutic effect.
Now that you know the reishi mushroom benefits, are you going to try it?
Author & Editor at Housholdhealthy.com
Based in Vancouver, BC
Ever since I became a mom, I loved having discussions with my other mom friends on our parenting experiences. I always wanted to share my own experiences with the mommy community, so here I am, trying to deliver the best content for my readers. I am happily married in Canada with 2 daughters aged 2 and 5 years old.
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