9 Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms

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9 Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms

A few years ago, reishi mushrooms had a moment where they seemed to be everywhere. Celebrities were declaring their love for these mushroom supplements on Instagram, businesses were selling reishi-infused coffee and protein shakes, and every food blog and health magazine rushed to run stories about the superfood.

The fad around reishi mushrooms has died down, but that hasn’t changed the numerous health benefits that come from consuming reishi. In fact, people have been enjoying reishi mushroom benefits for thousands of years, long before anyone ever thought to stir them into a smoothie.

Our love of reishi has never faded, and what better way to reinstate reishi as the wellness go-to than by exploring the many potential benefits of reishi mushrooms.

Quick Facts About Reishi Mushrooms

The botanical name for reishi mushrooms is ganoderma lucidum. They’re also known as ling zhi, ling chi, lin zi, and the “mushroom of immortality.” For what it’s worth, reishi mushrooms have many health benefits but, unfortunately, immortality isn’t actually one of them.

Reishi grows from the ground and on trees across parts of Asia that include China, Japan, and Korea. They have a fan-like appearance and a distinct brown cap that resembles polished wood. In fact, one of the reishi mushroom’s botanical names is derived from the Greek words for “shining skin.”

After that description, you might think you could pick a reishi mushroom in the wild. Unfortunately, because of high demand, the mushrooms are mostly cultivated on farms these days.

A Short History of Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms can be found amongst a long list of adaptogens and benefits they can provide. This adaptogen has been cultivated in China for over 4,000 years and because of their health-supporting properties, this once traditional Chinese medicine was so expensive in China that only the nobility could afford them. Eventually, farmers began to cultivate reishi more widely, but there were still legends about “sacred groves” where the “mushrooms of immortality” grew.

Nowadays, you can easily order this type of adaptogen, along with others online.

How Often Can You Take Reishi Mushrooms?

Reishi mushrooms are typically taken once a day, mixed into a food or beverage. (The taste of reishi mushrooms isn’t the most appetizing, so you definitely want to mask it.) Many people think the best way to consume reishi mushroom powder is either in a capsule form or mixed into their morning coffee. You’ll have to decide which method is right for you.

As far as individual dosing guidelines, that can vary greatly from person to person, and it depends on what kind of results you’re hoping to achieve. Some general daily guidelines are as follows:

  • 1.5 to 9 grams of dried, whole mushroom
  • 1 to 1.5 grams of reishi mushroom powder
  • 1 milliliter of reishi mushroom tincture

And some other suggestions for more specific conditions include:

  • 1 to 1.5 grams daily for supported immunity
  • 1,500-milligram doses three times per day for headaches
  • 4,500-milligram doses three times per day to support healthy joints and blood pressure

As with starting any new medicine, you should consult your physician before taking reishi mushrooms and be clear about your health goals.

Do Reishi Mushrooms Have Any Side Effects?

The side effects of reishi mushrooms are generally mild and are usually only encountered in case of extreme overuse. Be sure to consult your physician if you experience:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Rash, itchiness, or other allergic symptoms

Now that we’ve covered those important details, you might be wondering what are reishi mushrooms good for? Join us as we scavenge through the top reishi mushroom benefits.

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#1 May Increase White Blood Cell Count

White blood cells are well known as our bodies’ first line of defense against disease. They fight viruses and bacteria and generally protect us from getting sick. That being said, we want a lot of white blood cells in our bodies, and we want them in fighting shape.

Studies have shown that reishi mushrooms may increase the number of white blood cells that our bodies produce and improve their efficiency. Because white blood cells are our body’s natural way to fight illness, this benefit can be especially essential to those suffering from poor health.

#2 May Reduce Fatigue

Many people enjoy mixing reishi powder into their morning coffee or even making reishi mushroom tea. Why? It can give you a little extra energy in the morning.

In one study, participants who took a 1,800-milligram dose of reishi powder in capsule form three times daily reported lower levels of fatigue after eight weeks on the mushroom supplement.

#3 Can Support Overall Well-Being

In the same study referenced above, participants also mentioned that they generally felt less depressed and had a higher overall feeling of well-being. That makes sense—reishi mushrooms can potentially help your immune system and reduce fatigue, which can improve your overall wellness and vitality.

If we believe in a full-body approach to health, then reishi mushroom may be a health-supporting dietary supplement for anyone looking to improve their overall well-being and immune function.

#4 May Reduce Aches and Physical Discomfort

In the same study for fatigue referenced above, participants also reported lower levels of discomfort from general aches. They may also be useful in alleviating discomfort from:

  • Rashes
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Blisters

Because of the antioxidant properties in reishi mushrooms, our favorite fungus may also act as an anti-inflammatory. Thus, reishi mushroom supplements can potentially reduce the swelling around joints and make movement more fluid and comfortable. Reishi mushrooms can be an especially valuable addition to the diets of those suffering from joint discomfort.

#5 They’re an Antioxidant

Antioxidants are foods that slow damage done to our cells by free radicals. Essentially, consuming reishi regularly may help to slow down the aging process to keep your skin looking and feeling young. Many fruits and vegetables are also rich sources of antioxidants, such as:

  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Blueberries
  • Apricots

Reishi mushroom supplements or powder certainly aren’t as delicious as those fruits, but they do share some of the same antioxidant properties.

#6 May Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Many health-conscious people believe that ingesting reishi mushrooms after a meal may help the body better regulate blood sugar. While the science is still out on this, there have been some promising preliminary results.

If you experience unhealthy blood sugar levels and you’re looking for ways to achieve lower levels, there are also a number of mushrooms besides reishi that you can add to your health regime. They include:

  • Shiitake
  • Portobello
  • Oyster

#7 They’re a Source of Good Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol and moves through our bloodstream to remove bad cholesterol. Over the long term, high levels of HDL can support our heart health.

Studies have shown that consuming reishi mushrooms may improve the levels of these good cholesterols in our bloodstream. Furthermore, the same study showed that reishi mushrooms may decrease triglycerides, otherwise known as the most common fat cells in our bodies.

#8 Can Provide Support During Allergy Season

Because the effects of seasonal allergies are felt most profoundly in the eyes, nose, and throat, it may surprise you that the liver actually plays a big role too. All of our blood is processed through the liver and, if our blood contains something that overtaxes the liver, it will set off an allergic response that manifests in sneezes and watery eyes.

So, what does that have to do with reishi mushrooms? Studies have shown that reishi mushrooms may improve your liver function. If your liver function works more efficiently, then it may trigger fewer allergic reactions. Everything is connected!

#9 May Support Brain Health

There is still so much that we don’t understand about the human brain. However, some studies on reishi mushrooms have shown that the fungus has promising effects on cognitive function in those experiencing poor memory.

Overall, reishi mushrooms may provide the health benefit of improved brain health through increased alertness and focus.

The Mushroom Kingdom of Starwest Botanicals

These little mushrooms seem like a no-brainer—utilizing a reishi mushroom supplement in your daily routine can provide a host of benefits that may support your overall health, working to keep you alert, focused, and strong.

At Starwest Botanicals, we were into reishi mushrooms before they were cool—and we’ll still swear by them for years to come. After 4,000 years of use, you could say this medicinal mushroom may have literally withstood the test of time.

If you haven’t tried reishi mushrooms yet, now is a great time to start.

Our organic red reishi mushrooms are imported directly from China and come whole and in powder form. We’ve been around since 1975—not nearly as long as the reishi—but long enough to know how to unearth the power of botanicals and fungi for conscious consumers far and wide.

Sources:

Spoon University. reishi: What to Know About This New Food Trend.

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/reishi-what-to-know-about-this-new-food-trend

WebMD. reishi Mushrooms Uses and Risks. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/reishi-mushroom-uses-and-risks

Live Strong. How Much reishi Mushroom Powder Do I Take Per Day? https://www.livestrong.com/article/518097-how-much-reishi-mushroom-powder-do-i-take-per-day/

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. reishi Mushroom. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/reishi-mushroom

Nutrition and Cancer. The effects of two different ganoderma species (Lingzhi) on gene expression in human monocytic THP-1 cells. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20574926/

Journal of Medicinal Food. A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study of a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract in neurasthenia. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15857210/

Healthline. 6 Benefits of reishi Mushroom (Plus Side Effects and Dosage). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/reishi-mushroom-benefits

Aging and Disease. Emerging Roles of Ganoderma Lucidum in Anti-Aging. http://www.aginganddisease.org/EN/10.14336/AD.2017.0410

Archives of Pharmacal Research. Hypoglycemic effects of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides in type 2 diabetic mice. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23139131/

Healthline. Are Mushrooms Good for People with Diabetes? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mushrooms-good-for-diabetes

The British Journal of Nutrition. Study of potential cardioprotective effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi): results of a controlled human intervention trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21801467/

Marion Institute. Anti-Allergy Benefits of reishi and Maitake Mushrooms.https://www.marioninstitute.org/anti-allergy-benefits-of-reishi-and-maitake-mushrooms/

Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology. Neuroprotective effect of preadministration with Ganoderma lucidum spore on rat hippocampus. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0940299310002332