Maitake (dancing) mushroom, a.k.a. the Hen of the Woods mushroom, is a highly valuable functional or…
Clinical studies prove Reishi mushrooms benefits effectiveness in fighting cancer, boosting immunity, neuron health, improving mood and much more.
While the Reishi (ganoderma lucidum) has a very long history in Chinese medicine, you can check out another article where we go into the benefits from past to present to include it’s anti-aging benefits here:
First we will talk about all the health benefits of reishi. Then we will discuss the how to prepare it, consume it, the proper dosage and any potential side effects.
Now we will move straight into the top 16 health benefits of the Reishi mushroom. We will start with my favorite 6 and then move into 10 additional benefits proven through clinical studies that is formatted in more of a list structure.
Top 6 Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
We will discuss 16 total reishi mushroom benefits but first we will look at the top 6 and then move into 10 more to follow:
1) Anti-Cancer Properties
Did you know that new cancer cells pop-up in the body daily but your bodies immune system is constantly on surveillance and will kill them on site by deploying cancer killer cells to take them out before they turn into deadly tumors?
As we age our immune system begins to not be as alert and can end up missing these cells and that’s when they turn into tumors.
In 2012, an evaluation on all the major cancer related clinical studies conducted using the Reishi mushroom was released. While this study showed that more research needs to be conducted on using the Reishi by itself for treatment, when it was used in conjunction with Chemo therapy it showed an increase in the number of immune cells to help fight of the cancerous tumors [13-14].
It has been shown that the success of cancer depends on its ability to be able to hide it’s abnormal surface markers to prevent the immune system from detecting it and killing it off. The Reishi extract fights back by forcing the cancer cells to reveal their surface markers so the immune system can kill it.
Basically, the Reishi helps cancer in a ‘double whammy’ type of effect by helping to boosting the immune systems cancer fighting ability and help to identify the surface markers of cancer cells improving the overall effect of Chemotherapy and preventing relapses.
2) Immune System Boosting
In order to stay healthy and disease-free, your immune system needs to be at its optimum. Your immune system not only wards off potentially harmful pathogens but also performs a regular surveillance for any disease-causing agents that find their way into your body.
Certain factors may affect your immunity, including some that are mostly inevitable such as age or other health conditions. Preliminary studies show that Reishi mushroom extracts have properties that can modulate immune functions to include it’s powerful beta glucans found in the cell wall of the mushroom.
Their cellular and molecular mechanisms show that they can help promote cellular immunity, humoral immunity, and antigen-presenting cells.
While many of these benefits have been experienced by people who are ill, Reishi mushroom can be just as good for healthy people.
Additionally, it is just as important to regulate the immune system to prevent it from overreacting and fighting itself such as with allergies and other autoimmune diseases. The Reishi has proven to be a good immune system regulator and helps to prevent conditions like allergies, asthma, rhinitis (watery, itchy nose) and itchy mosquito bites .
3) Reishi as a Neuron Enhancer
It has been found to simulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which has the following benefits:
1) Prevents Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases: through reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, eliminates destructive proteins such as Abeta and protects brain cells from inflammation damage [16-22].
2) Protects the brain from brain stroke by reducing the size of the area in the brain that gets damaged by the stroke and protects the brain from excess oxidative damage and oxygen starvation brought on by brain stroke .
Here is an article that talks about the top 3 mushrooms to boost your brain.
4) Reishi Fights Depression and Fatigue
Reishi mushroom has been used to calm the mind, body and spirit due to its herbal adaptogen properties. It’s loaded with flavonoids, polysaccharides, and triterpenes which not only provide anti-toxic and anti-inflammatory properties, but also stress-protective effects.
Adaptogens are basically substances that help you respond positively to stressful conditions. They balance your endocrine system (hormones) and provide homeostasis and resistance to the stressful factors.
According to Chinese medicine, the reishi is a medicinal mushroom that provides balance of the critical energies of spiritual and mental health, constitutional vitality, and life force energy.
By providing this systemic equilibrium, it can act as a healing tonic that helps us handle the stress. A study of 48 breast cancer survivors found that consumption of Reishi mushroom extracts for 4 weeks improved their quality of life.
There was a significant improvement in their physical well-being as well as a reduction in fatigue levels. Breast cancer survivors generally tend to suffer from fatigue during their endocrine therapy.
Of course, this mushroom of immortality won’t cure anxiety, fatigue and depression, not entirely on its own. But more and more studies indicate that it could go a long way in helping to ease the symptoms.
One Study even found that consumption of Reishi mushroom extracts for a period of 8 weeks might help reduce the aches, pains, dizziness, and irritability, and also act as a mood booster.
5) Reishi Boosts Liver Function
The liver is responsible for filtering out all the toxins that enter our body on a daily basis. This ‘day-in-age’ it is even more important due to all the toxins that are found in food, air and water that we come in contact with on a daily basis.
Eventually the oxidation and inflammation take its toll on the liver bringing about different types of liver diseases, reduced function, buildup of toxic injury, cancer, and fibrosis.
The Reishi has shown to help protect the liver by removing toxins from the body, stop inflammation in liver cells, limits oxidative stress and protects the liver from certain harmful bacteria.
Did you know that liver fibrosis is the final state of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and it affects 20% to 30% of the population?
That is also one of the main causes of obesity that people don’t even know they have. Well, Reishi has been proven to actually reverse liver fibrosis which is amazing because previously it was thought to be irreversible [23-27].
6) Reishi Fights Diabetes
The Reishi fights diabetes by [28-33]:
1) Lowering blood sugar and glycation
2) Preventing the production of new fact cells
3) Helps to limit excessive amount of fat stored in obese people
4) Prevents the damage caused by advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which is responsible for bad inflammation and aging.
5) Speeds up the healing of wounds in people with diabetes.
10 Additional Reishi Mushroom Benefits List
Below is a list of additional clinical studies that have been done on this highly researched mushroom to prove more reishi mushroom health benefits . This list does not list every study ever conduced by encompasses the vast majority of the major ones.
It can be used as a cosmetic and put topically onto the skin to help to lighten skin, protect against ultraviolet radiation and remove “age spots”.
2) Anti-Bacterial Support
Mice that were fed Reishi extract for 2 days and then injected with E. coli had a 60% to 85% survival rate.
3) Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Treatment
Inhibits Human Papillomavirus (HPV) activity, improves sperm count and reduces inflammation (Lai et al. 2010).
4) Prostate Cancer Prevention
Possible prostate cancer treatment by inhibiting modulating MAPK and Akt signaling (Stanley et al. 2005).
5) Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
Helps with urinary tract infections in 88% of males in a double-blind clinical study (Noguchi et al. 2008).
6) Hepatitis B Treatment
92.4% of 355 patients with Hepatitis B showed positive results (Yan et al. 1987).
7) Ulcer Treatment
Polysaccharides help with prevention and treatment of indomethacin-induced gastric ulcers and peptic ulcers (Gao, Y. et al. 2004c).
8) Chronic Bronchitis Treatment
60% to 90% of patients with chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma that were given reishi syrup tablets showed great improvement (Chang, H.-M. and P. P.-H. But 1986).
9) Herpes Treatment
The acidic protein-bound polysaccharides in Reishi help to inhibit herpes virus type 1 and 2 (Kim, Y.S. et al. 2000).
10) Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure Treatment
Patients given 240 milligrams of reishi extract 6x a day had reduced cholesterol and lowered hypertension (Kanmatsuse et al. 1985).
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Reishi Mushroom Recipe & Dosage
Below are a list of recommended dosages and a recipe to creating a basic Reishi tea :
1) Reishi Tincture
5 to 10 milliliters of reishi tincture three times a day.
2) Reishi Tablets
1 one-gram tablet, 2 to 3 times per day with meals.
3) Reishi Capsules
300 milligram reishi capsules of 50:1 extract 1 to 3 times per day
4) Reishi Tea
Cut up 3 to 5 grams of Reishi mushroom into chunks (or get some pre-dried chunks) and boil for 2 hours in boiling water followed by a half hour of steeping. Drink 1 to 2 cups per day
5) Reishi Powder
It can come in powder form and then you infuse reishi powder with hot water and drink 1 to 2 cups per day.
* If you decide you want to take more than the recommended dosage you may experience diarrhea, but it can be remedied with up to 12 grams of vitamin C per day taken at the same time at taking the Resihi.
Reishi Mushroom Side Effects
It’s generally safe to consume Reishi Mushroom and there are hardly any solid, hard and fast reports of its side effects. However, certain groups of individuals may face risks by consuming Reishi mushroom extracts.
In high doses some people have experienced the following side effects:
- Frequent urination
- Abnormal sweating
- Loose stools (Counteracted with large doses of Vitamin C)
Breastfeeding and pregnant women may want to talk to their doctor before using Reishi just to be safe. The general rule of thumb is to talk to your doctor about all the supplements you are currently taking.
Now you have gained knowledge about the most powerful health benefits that are backed with proven studies, the proper dosage that you should take, how to prepare it and potential side effect you could encounter.
You can consume reishi mushroom to get these benefits in the following ways:
1) Buying a grow kit to grow your own.
2) Buying dried reishi online to make your own tinctures or teas.
4) Hunting it in the wild by looking for it growing on dead or dying hardwoods like hemlock, maple, oak, birch and beech trees. However, different species of the ganoderma genus made be found grow on other types of hardwoods.
Which ever option you choose to consume to get your reishi mushroom health benefits is your personal preference but I would love to hear in your comments below which one one you prefer.
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