When you're considering a medicinal mushroom treatment, it's important to understand the difference between the various types of mushrooms. Because they can have drastically different effects on different systems of the body, knowing how the different types of mushrooms can affect you is vital to your wellbeing.
In this article, we'll discover what the reishi mushroom is, how this powerful mushroom works, how it impacts disease, what are the risks of using it and how to optimize the benefits you receive from this healing mushroom.
What are Reishi Mushrooms?
Ganoderma lucidum reishi mushroom is a woody, purplish-brown fungus featuring a fan-shaped cap and shiny appearance, has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine. It's specifically known for modulating the immune system, providing significant antioxidants, supporting the liver and providing energy support under stress.
It's been used traditionally to strengthen the body, blood and Qi, as well as to treat deficiencies that show up as insomnia, fatigue, listlessness, forgetfulness and poor appetite.
For these reasons, it's used for cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis, asthma and chronic fatigue, as well as for more common complaints from the cardiovascular, immune and prostrate system as well as having antiviral effects.
What are the Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms?
Let's take a moment to go over the various conditions which are treated with the reishi mushroom. Much of this is based on studies of traditional Chinese medicinal practices combined with modern science, which have detected a range of specific compounds beneficial to human health, including beta glucans which have the effect of modulating and boosting the immune system.
Cancer-Fighting Properties of Reishi Mushrooms
Early results from human studies have shown that the polysaccharide content of reishi mushrooms have strong anti-cancer properties, including improving immune response and quality of life for lung cancer patients. This is due to the high levels of antioxidants, amino acids, polysaccharides and beta glucans, which help the body fight against the cancer directly while lowering the side effects of chemotherapy in human studies.
The immunological effects can impact the HPV virus which can cause cancer. This is part of what makes it such a great option for cancer patients, as it increases the production of both killer cells which attack cancers and lymphocyte production and response, which attack colorectal cancer cells.
In fact, a survey of more than 4,000 breast cancer survivors revealed that nearly 60% had used the mushroom as part of their therapy. The high levels of antioxidants found in these mushrooms also help fight cancer in the early stages.
Cardiovascular Effects of Reishi Mushrooms
Though there has been a study showing that reishi mushrooms can cause a rise in HDL, or good cholesterol and a related decrease in triglycerides, other studies have not shown a related decrease in heart disease. Reishi has also been shown to improve circulation, making it beneficial in a wide range of circulatory disorders.
However, one area where the reishi mushroom shines is in reducing more serious cases of high blood pressure due to the levels of triterpenes found in the fungi. Though it won't have as serious of an effect on those with only mildly high blood pressure, it can have a strong effect on more serious cases. This is one of the reasons why you'll want to get medical advice before you start using reishi mushrooms if you already take medication to lower your blood pressure.
Immunological Effects of Reishi Mushrooms
Compounds in the reishi mushroom can impact inflammation response in white blood cells as well as encourage the growth of specific types of white blood cells. However, the anti-inflammatory response is what makes it work well for asthma and a range of inflammatory conditions, as well as allergies.
As was mentioned above, reishi mushrooms improve the quantity and function of lymphocyte white cells, which also fight infections, and its triterpenes directly reduce allergies and histamine production.
Detox-Supporting Effects of the Reishi Mushroom
As an adaptogen, the compounds in reishi mushrooms provide great support for the liver, which is one of your body's major detoxing organs, converting some compounds into others while also filtering out substances that can cause you serious harm if they build up in your system.
If this vital organ begins to fail or doesn't work properly, your whole body can face serious problems. Reishi's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are hepatoprotective, supporting liver function and protecting against liver disease.
Stress-Relief, Hormone-Regulating and Energy Effects of Reishi Mushrooms
The last area where reishi mushrooms can benefit your health is if you're stressed or suffer from energy-sapping disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome. When you're stressed, whether physically, mentally or emotionally, your adrenal system goes into overdrive and over a period of time, can become very fatigued.
Because the adrenals are part of your hormone-production system, adrenal fatigue can also cause hormone imbalances, as well as depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, insomnia and chronic fatigue.
It also fights many stress-related auto-immune disorders, partially by modulating immune response as well as by improving liver and kidney function to remove toxins from the body more effectively. Users have reported calming effects and better sleep when reishi is taken right before bedtime.
Share this Image On Your Site
Are There Any Risks to Using Reishi Mushrooms?
As with any therapy, it's best to get medical advice before starting your treatment, so make sure that you take the time to speak with your doctor or medical team before you start using reishi mushrooms. This is one of the best ways to avoid running into adverse effects, which can include dizziness, dry mouth, upset stomach, bone pain, nosebleeds, skin irritation, diarrhea and constipation.
However, these side effects tend to be fairly mild, and there have been no studies to show issues with reishi mushrooms causing problems with DNA toxicity, kidney problems or liver problems.
More serious side effects can include a risk of bleeding, including causing bloody stools, at high doses, which is why it should be avoided for patients with thrombocytopenia as well as for two weeks prior to surgery.
It can also lower blood pressure, which can be bad if you have a tendency towards low blood pressure to begin with.
No human studies have been conducted to determine if reishi mushrooms cause problems with pregnancy or lactation, so you'll want to avoid this treatment in these situations.
Drug interactions include medications for high blood pressure, as the combination can cause blood pressure to fall too far, as well as anticoagulants, as the reishi mushroom also has this effect and can cause bleeding problems if the mushroom and medication are used at the same time. If you use either of these medications, you should always seek medical advice before starting to use reishi mushrooms.
How to Get the Best Benefit From Reishi Mushrooms
Traditional medical practitioners prescribe 0.5 to 1.0 grams of reishi extract daily as a maintenance medication, 2.0 to 5.0 grams daily for chronic illnesses and a maximum of 15.0 grams daily for serious illnesses. Under traditional Chinese medicinal practices, 6.0 to 12.0 grams of the extract are recommended daily.
By having a solid grasp of the benefits of reishi mushrooms, which disorders they can be used to treat and the forms in which they work best, you can take your health to the next level, enjoying a better life than mainstream medicine may be able to deliver.
Check with your healthcare provider for medical advice to ensure you're not likely to suffer any adverse reactions and put a plan into place to maximize your health.
Axe, D. (2021, February 07). Reishi mushroom benefits, uses, dosage and side effects. Retrieved February 10, 2021, from https://draxe.com/nutrition/reishi-mushroom/
Mark326. (2018, April 24). The best chinese herbs for adrenal fatigue. Retrieved February 10, 2021, from http://amazingreishi.com/adrenal-fatigue-chinese-medicine/
Reishi mushroom uses, benefits & side effects - drugs.com herbal database. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2021, from https://www.drugs.com/npc/reishi-mushroom.html
Reishi mushroom: Uses, side effects, interactions, dosage, and warning. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-905/reishi-mushroom