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, take a look at another article below that shows other major health benefits this mushroom offers that could save your life and help you to live longer as well…
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16 Additional Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits
This article not only includes 16 clinically proven health benefits but it also includes:
1) Reishi Mushroom Recipe and Dosage
2) Potential Side Effects of Reishi Mushroom
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, reishi powders, reishi 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.
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.
References: Wasson, R. G. (1968). Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: New York.  McMeekin D. The perception of Ganoderma lucidum in Chinese and Western culture. Mycologist. 2005;18:165–9.  Wasser S. P, Coates P, Blackman M, Cragg G, Levine M, Moss J, White J. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. New York: Marcel Dekker; 2005. Reishi or Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) pp. 680–90  Wu Z, Zhang Y, Tan N, Zhao C, Yang J, Zhu J-S. ReishiMax extends the life span of mice: A preliminary report. The FASEB Journal. 2011 April;25(601.2).  Available at: http://web.jhu.edu/animalcare/procedures/mouse.html#biology. Accessed March 8, 2020.  Wachtel-Galor S, Choi SW, Benzie IF. Effect of Ganoderma lucidum on human DNA is dose dependent and mediated by hydrogen peroxide. Redox Rep. 2005;10(3):145-9.  Yegenoglu H, Aslim B, Oke F. Comparison of antioxidant capacities of Ganoderma lucidum (Curtis) P. Karst and Funalia trogii (Berk.) Bondartsev & Singer by using different in vitro methods. J Med Food. 2011 May;14(5):512-6.  Abdullah N, Ismail SM, Aminudin N, Shuib AS, Lau BF. Evaluation of selected culinary-medicinal mushrooms for antioxidant and ACE inhibitory activities. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:464238.  Wachtel-Galor S, Szeto YT, Tomlinson B, Benzie IF. Ganoderma lucidum (‘Lingzhi’); acute and short-term biomarker response to supplementation. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2004 Feb;55(1):75-83.  Ajith TA, Sudheesh NP, Roshny D, Abishek G, Janardhanan KK. Effect of Ganoderma lucidum on the activities of mitochondrial dehydrogenases and complex I and II of electron transport chain in the brain of aged rats. Exp Gerontol. 2009 Mar;44(3):219-23.  Cherian E, Sudheesh NP, Janardhanan KK, Patani G. Free-radical scavenging and mitochondrial antioxidant activities of Reishi-Ganoderma lucidum (Curt: Fr) P. Karst and Arogyapacha-Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn extracts. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2009;20(4):289-307.  Sudheesh NP, Ajith TA, Janardhanan KK. Ganoderma lucidum (Fr.) P. Karst enhances activities of heart mitochondrial enzymes and respiratory chain complexes in the aged rat. Biogerontology. 2009 Oct;10(5):627-36.  Available at: https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2013/2/how-reishi-combats-aging. Accessed March 8, 2020.
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