Reishi mushrooms benefits certainly come under the category of some of the most celebrated mushrooms for their medicinal benefits, especially in Asian countries. There are a host of benefits associated with this mushroom, including supporting the immune system and fighting cancer.
However, there are still very limited research studies conducted on this mushroom to conclude its impact on health and well-being.
In this blog we are going to discuss reishi mushroom benefits, dosage, as well as its possible side effects.
So you can make a well-informed decision on whether or not you would like to make reishi mushrooms a part of your daily routine.
What Is Reishi Mushroom?
The reishi mushroom, also known as Lingzhi, is a dark mushroom with a woody texture and a glossy exterior that is grown at the base of deciduous trees. This fungus is especially hailed in Chinese culture for its medicinal properties and health benefits.
It is majorly used to improve the functioning of the immune system and is said to maintain overall health and vitality.
In Chinese, the name Ling Zhi literally translates to “the mushroom of immortality”. The Reishi mushroom is also known as the “Elixir of Life” and has been used for around 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine.
Benefits of Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is a superfood that has been linked with longevity and vitality for centuries in Eastern medicine. In recent times, the countless benefits of this medicinal mushroom have made it gain rapid popularity in western countries as well.
Reishi mushroom is often taken as an immunity booster, adaptogen, or energy booster by most people. But, reishi mushrooms are also known to improve heart, gut, and liver health. Some evidence also suggests its positive impact in fighting incurable diseases such as cancer. It is also found to be effective in reducing and preventing obesity.
Reishi mushroom benefits for skin can also not be sidelined. Free radicals present in this mushroom can effectively fight the signs of premature aging into the bargain.
1. Boost Immune System
The most popular health benefit of reishi mushroom, due to which it is consumed by most people, is its impact on the immune system. The Reishi mushroom contains a polysaccharide called beta glucans, which is shown to support the functioning of the immune system.
These beta glucans activate immune cells such as helper-T cells and macrophages. This immunological effect in-turn helps fight the body against pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
One study found that reishi mushrooms can increase the number of white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the body. Another study concluded that reishi mushroom increases the activity of natural killer cells that fight infections as well as cancer in the body.
2. Adaptogenic Property
Reishi is known for being a powerful adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs, plants, or mushrooms that counteract the effects of anxiety, fatigue, and stress.
Reishi mushroom is considered an effective adaptogen as it manages both physical and mental stressors to restore mind and body balance.
Adaptogenic herbs such as reishi mushroom support the body’s stress response system and overall well-being. This happens as reishi’s bioactive compounds help balance adrenaline and cortisol hormones, supporting the body’s response to anxiety and stress.
3. Antioxidants Effect
We all know free-radicals (as ions, atoms, and molecules) produced by the body as a result of many cellular processes are damaging to our cells and tissues. The damage caused by these highly reactive and unstable free radicals is linked to premature aging as well as a host of diseases.
Reishi mushrooms are said to have antioxidant properties, meaning they are effective in neutralizing these free radicals. Thus, reishi mushrooms may also fight premature aging by combating cell-damage caused by free radicals.
4. Aid Gut Health and Weight Management
Reishi is also associated with gut health and overall weight management. It is believed that consuming reishi mushrooms can prevent ulcers as well as prevent or reverse the symptoms of obesity.
The active ingredients of the mushroom are studied to influence the composition and ratio of gut bacteria. Thus, by encouraging the growth of probiotic bacteria in the body, reishi contributes to the overall improvement of gut health.
By acting as a prebiotic, reishi mushrooms can also actively reduce body weight and prevent fat accumulation. A study conducted on mice found that reishi mushrooms reduced obesity in mice and prevented further weight gain.
5. Controls Blood Sugar
Several studies conducted on animals have concluded that reishi can act as a potential anti-hyperglycemic agent. By regulating blood-glucose levels, reishi can control blood sugar in diabetes patients. The polysaccharide extract called ganopoly present in reishi mushrooms can effectively lower blood sugar levels.
6. Boost Cardiovascular Health
Reishi mushrooms contain vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, which may contribute to better heart health.
Mushrooms such as reishi are a good source of potassium. The presence of potassium may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension as potassium regulates blood pressure.
Also, vitamin C and fiber in reishi help prevent the risk of cardiovascular diseases and lower blood cholesterol levels, respectively. This contributes to the overall benefit of consuming reishi mushrooms for improving cardiovascular health.
Other reishi mushroom health benefits include:
- Antibacterial properties: Fights bacterial infections
- Neuroregenerative properties: Improves focus, memory and concentration
- Anti-allergic: Inhibits the release of histamine
- Energy booster: Offers an instant every boost
- Meditation Aid: Busts stress and promotes feeling of calmness and peace
- Liver Support: Supports liver functioning
How to Take Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushrooms are often popularly taken in the form of powdered or capsuled supplements. There are various reishi mushroom supplements on the market to choose from.
If you are new to mushroom extract, then you should first check your tolerance by taking it in smaller quantities. Start with one spoon or one capsule a day or even alternate days to know how your body responds to the new substance.
If you are taking reishi mushroom to treat any health condition or serious health issue, it is recommended to consult your medical specialist first to get advice on the usage, dosage, and possible side-effects.
Potential Side Effects of Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushrooms are generally considered safe to consume without causing any major side effects. However, in some rare cases, reishi mushroom side effects include: dry mouth, dizziness, itching, nausea, skin rash, or digestive problems.
It is important here to note that if you are taking medication for any prior existing health condition, then you should consult your doctor before consuming reishi mushrooms. Besides, some reishi mushroom supplements are also not recommended for pregnant women or lactating mothers.
Once you finally decide to include reishi mushrooms in your fitness routine, then the next big question that comes to mind is “how much mushroom extract to take?”
According to Webmd.com, the minimum and maximum dosage can go from 1.5 to 9 grams of dried mushrooms per day.
However, the dosage also varies depending upon various factors, such as your age and the reason for taking the supplement.
It is worth noting that the dose is approximately 10 times higher in the case of consuming the mushroom itself in comparison to dried extract.
What Is the Reishi Mushroom Good For?
Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for ages due to their numerous health benefits. They are popularly used to support the immune system, improve sleep, reduce stress, and even fight various diseases.
The long list of Reishi mushrooms’ health benefits doesn’t end here. They are also considered good for gut, heart, and liver health. Besides, some studies even suggest their impact on fighting various infections and cancer cells.
By combating free-radicals in the body, reishi mushrooms even act as an anti-aging herb.
Is Reishi Mushroom Toxic to Liver?
Though reishi mushrooms are often considered safe to consume, but sometimes linked to reishi mushroom liver toxicity. However, there are very few research studies conducted associated with the toxic effect of reishi mushrooms on the liver.
Thus, although there are reishi mushroom cases associated with liver toxicity, the research and evidence are still inconclusive.
It is also noticed that reishi mushroom, when taken in its natural form, does not cause any side effects on the liver, even in the long run. But reishi mushroom in powdered form when taken for a longer period of time may be toxic to the liver.
Can You Take Reishi Mushroom Everyday?
Yes, for most people, taking a reishi mushroom supplement on a daily basis is safe with no side effects. It is worth considering that reishi mushroom is an herb, so the full range of its benefits aren’t immediate and can only be experienced with time. For optimal results, a recommended dose of the supplement should be consumed for a long period of time.
If you have already been taking reishi mushrooms for a long period of time now, then take your body’s cue to decide further. In case, in the long run, you experience effects such as dry mouth, then you can reduce the dosage. Also, you should be able to adjust the timing with experience.
If it works well for boosting your energy levels and reducing stress and anxiety, then the morning or early afternoon is good timing. If you are taking it for a sound sleep, then at night is the best time for you. This is how you can make adjustments to make this medicinal mushroom work best for your health needs.
Who Should Not Take Reishi?
It is often advised that pregnant women or breastfeeding new mothers should avoid taking reishi mushroom supplements. Besides, someone who has a blood disorder such as low blood pressure or is undergoing any surgery should also avoid reishi mushroom extract.
Additionally, if you are already taking any medication for any serious health condition, then it is always advised to consult your doctor before including reishi mushroom supplements in your daily routine.
In a nutshell, reishi mushroom seems to be a great herbal supplement to improve the overall well-being of the body. However, there is a catch. Most of the health benefits associated with this superfood are based on claims with no scientific support.
There is not enough research or studies conducted yet on humans to fully support the health benefits of reishi mushrooms. However, one cannot completely disregard the amazing health impact of reishi experienced by thousands of people out there.
If the array of impressive health benefits of this ancient medicinal mushroom has inspired you, then here we have a list of the top ten best reishi mushroom supplement on the market.
I’m a triathlete and life coach, with a focus on holistic health, fitness & women’s issues.
I also write about my gastronomic adventures and my love for the outdoors.