The Mushroom of Immortality (AKA Reishi mushroom) has been used for medicinal purposes in China for over 2,000 years. While it was believed in ancient China to have anti-aging properties, today’s clinical studies have seemed to confirm this belief even further.
The Chinese name of this mushroom is Ling Chih or Lingzhi and the scientific name is Ganoderma lucidum. The word Ling Chih written in the same Chinese characters but pronounced in Japan becomes Reishi. Most people in America will call it by its Japanese name.
Back during the Yuan Dynasty there were only about six species of Ganoderma know but ‘now-a-days’ there are over 250 Ganoderma species known worldwide . In this article we will look at the clinical studies that have been done on Ganoderma lucidum and see if this really is the mushroom of immortality.
The Mushroom of Immortality History
The Reishi actually originated in India and was introduced to China around the 7th to the 3rd century B.C. The mushroom at this point already carried with it the reputation of being a miraculous mushroom and a herb of spiritual potency.
Before the Ch’in Dynasty in China (B.C. 221 – 227) no references were made of this mushroom being used in Chinese culture even though it had been introduced by India hundreds of years prior.
The great historian Ssu-ma Ch’ien began bursting with talk of this mushroom. There were talks of this majestic mushroom, but no one knew where to find it. They requested the Emperor to go into the mountains alone to find it because it was believed that even the Gods could not easily stumble upon it  and the Emperor might be able to sneak up on it.
While they never did find the red Reishi in the mountains it wasn’t until the Han Dynasty (B.C. 206 – A.D. 220) that the mushroom of immortality was found growing in the Imperial Palace in B.C. 109.
It was also believed that the sacred fungus grew in the home of the immortals on the ‘Three aisles of the blest’ off the coast of China . A voyage was embarked with 100’s of servants to seek out the P’eng-lai (thought to be one of the three godly islands of the sea) but they never returned. This island was supposed to have the mushroom of immortality .
The mushroom of immortality was thought to be a mushroom of miraculous properties:
1) To make the dead to rise
2) Bringer of good health and fortune
3) Bringing longevity and life with the immortals
It seems to me that the mushroom got the name of mushroom of immortality because of so much hype and build up of it and not being able to find it for hundreds of years until it finally appeared in the imperial palace.
Additionally, through history the reishi has been shown to have a powerful spiritual potency that has been used heavily in the meditative experience in Daoism. It is expressed that by eating the germinal spore you will become enlightened and enhanced with a spiritual energy.
Now that we understand the history behind the name, lets take a look at what the clinical studies done on this mushroom show us.
Reishi Mushroom Anti-Aging Benefits
There have been hundreds of studies done on different cases to prove the benefits of the resihi mushroom and there simply won’t be enough room in this article to list them all in detail. Therefore, we will focus on the main benefits and how they relate to being the mushroom of immortality.
When looking at one clinical study done where mice were given resihi extract it increased their lifespan by more than 20% . Considering the lifespan of mice is only 1 to 3 years that is equivalent to a 7 to 16-year increase in humans .
Research has shown that there are three specific compounds found in the Reishi mushroom responsible for its powerful anti-aging benefits :
1) Polysaccharides: Anticancer benefits, stabilize blood vessel formation, immune system boosting.
2) Triterpenes: Liver protection, blood pressure lowering, Cholesterol lowering, preventing heart attack and stroke by stopping platelet clumping, prevents allergic reactions and anticancer benefits.
3) Ganoderma Lucidum Peptide: Extremely potent antioxidant whose benefits are still being studied.
Let’s see how the Reishi specifically helps the body to fight off aging…
You see aging is really a combination two main things that happen in the body to include:
1) Hormone levels slowly declining as we age.
2) Cells constantly being damage and repaired over the years. Cells can only be repaired correctly a certain number of times before they start to be made incorrectly and cancer forms.
That means in order to stop the aging process we need to keep our hormone levels high and prevent cellular damage as well as increase how many times our cells can be repaired correctly.
The Reishi mushroom has been proven to be a powerful hormone regulator it has been proven in many studies to prevent the oxidative damage to the cells, protect the cellular DNA as well as protecting the mitochondria which is what provides your body energy on a cellular level [10-12].
Furthermore, the Reishi has shown to be one of the most powerful mushrooms in regards to its antioxidant characteristics and actually boosts your bodies antioxidant capacity overall [7-9].
In addition to having these specific benefits proven to lengthen you lifespan directly, let’s take a look at some major health benefits this mushroom offers that could save your life and help you to live longer as well…
Top 6 Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits
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.
According to some studies, scientists now suggest that bioactive compounds contained within Reishi mushroom extracts show signs that they can seek out and destroy cancerous cells in the body.
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.
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 Booster
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, Reishi mushrooms provide that 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.
Potential Side Effects of Reishi Mushroom
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 Resihi just to be safe. The general rule of thumb is to talk to your doctor about all the supplements you are currently taking.
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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 three times a day.
2) Reishi Tablets
1 one-gram tablet, 2 to 3 times per day with meals.
3) Reishi Capsules
300 milligram 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 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
Infuse 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 Supplements
When looking for Reishi mushroom supplements I recommend taking supplements that use the actual fruiting body and are in extract form instead of mycelium or just ground up mushroom powder.
Here is the Reishi supplement I recommend. It is 100% Gandoerma lucidum, they use full fruiting bodies and they measure the Beta-D-Glucan and Triterpenoid levels.
There’s hardly any doubt about the immune-boosting and nutritional potential of Reishi. The mushroom of immortality has firmly joined the multi-billion supplements market and has been manufactured into pills, powders, teas, tablets and other products.
However, some reports have raised questions about the quality and quantity that is marketed as Reishi mushroom and its extracts. This, of course, is based on the genetic diversity of Reishi. There are concerns that some of the products might contain other species of Reishi may not have the exact same medicinal quality or quantity.
Therefore, you’ll want to be doubly sure before you purchase any Reishi mushroom extracts. Look out for those that specifically contain Ganoderma lucidum species. Ganoderma is a large and diverse genus of fungi.
According to a report, some manufacturers have marketed their supplements using the blanket name of Reishi, while in actual sense they don’t contain the G. lucidium species.
Reishi products and supplements now comprise an industry that is worth more than $2 billion. So, you’ll want to conduct a little more due diligence to ensure you get the full benefits from the mushroom of immortality.
Top 10 Additional Reishi Clinical Studies
Below is a list of additional clinical studies that have been done on this highly researched mushroom . 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) Coli Prevention
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 treatment for prostate cancer 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).
With such a long, rich history and science backing, Reishi mushroom has validated itself as something of an elixir. Judging from all the benefits and wonderful properties, the name ‘mushroom of immortality’ is absolutely spot on. While mushrooms generally tend to sit on top of the lists of beneficial superfoods, Reishi mushrooms are the crème de la crème of mushrooms.
This rare, ancient, and odd-shaped fungi is a gift from mother nature. They grow in the wild, on dead or dying hardwood trees (they really love the Oak tree) in the more humid areas of Asia, Australia, Europe, and South and North America. The good news is that they can also be cultivated, which makes it easier for us to access their many wonderful qualities.
I am not a doctor and nothing in this article should be considered medical advice. It is in your best interest to speak to your doctor about anything related to treat, cure or prevent any disease or any mechanisms intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases.
Here is a good quality and simple grow kit that allows you to grow your own Reishi Lucidum in the next couple of weeks. Click here to check it out.
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