Reishi Health Benefits and Amazing Immune Support
If you haven’t heard of taking medicinal mushrooms for your health yet, here is your start. Medicinal mushrooms, which are also classified as tonic herbs in Chinese Medicine, are one of the best ways to support health. In particular, the reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is one of the finest and most powerful mushrooms to take. There is a wide range of reishi health benefits, especially in regards to its amazing immune support. And since I am always on the lookout for ways to boost my health, I have been supplementing with reishi mushroom for a little over five years. Now before you get completely turned off, realize that you don’t actually EAT reishi like you would a button or shiitake mushroom. You take reishi in the form of a powder or supplement, so the taste factor does not apply. So now that we got that out of the way, ready to learn about reishi health benefits?
What are the Active Components of Reishi?
The reishi mushroom has 400 bioactive components. Yes, that’s a lot! Of those 400, the active components that give reishi all its power include polysaccharides, dietary fibers, oligosaccharides, triterpenoids, peptides and proteins, alcohols and phenols, mineral elements (such as zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, and iron), vitamins, and amino acids.
Now I know that sounds like a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo, but trust me, these components do A LOT to benefit the health of the body. For example, zinc boosts healing time and sperm quality and count, iodine is essential for thyroid function, selenium protects against cancer, and iron boosts red blood cell count and therefore energy. As for the more exotic components such as polysaccharides, polysaccharides can help overcome fatigue, support healthy blood pressure and blood sugar, encourage a positive mood, soothe irritation, support immune function, promote cardiovascular health and even increase libido. I know, now you are starting to see why I love taking it!
Reishi as a Tonic Herb for Longevity and Spiritual Practice
Reishi is unrivaled as one of the most powerful tonic herbs used for longevity. In Chinese, the name for reishi is lingzhi. Lingzhi represents the “herb of spiritual potency,” and is revered in China and Eastern societies for its ability to ensure a long, healthy life. Symbolizing success, well-being, divine power, and the attainment of radiant health, reishi rivals ginseng in its health benefits. Reishi has the ability to build physical resistance to disease through immune support, thus promoting longevity.
Ron Teeguarden of Dragon Herbs explains “Deep in antiquity, reishi was routinely used by mountain hermits, monks, Taoist adepts and spiritual seekers throughout Asia. Reishi was believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, strengthen memory, sharpen concentration, improve focus, build will power and, as a result, help build wisdom. They have used reishi to improve meditative practices and to protect the body, mind and spirit. This helped them to attain both a long and healthy life, and spiritual “immortality” (an enlightened state). That is why reishi was called the “Mushroom of Spiritual Potency” by these seekers. The people of Asia have never lost their faith in reishi. They believe more than ever in reishi’s power to improve the quality of life by improving the inner life of a human being.”
Reishi as an Adaptogen
An adaptogen is a nutrient that has the amazing ability to help normalize or “adapt” the body’s physiologic functions to a higher rate of functioning, regardless of the person’s current health status (i.e. whether you are an athlete or chronically ill). Adaptogens are able to take you from where you are, so to speak, and then help move you to the next level. Taking them over time can create higher and higher states of well being.
Reishi is one such nutrient. Reishi lowers stress and balances the body. And this is something that we all need. Reishi helps the body overcome stress due to daily life, work, relationships and physical strain. In turn, reishi can lower feelings of anxiety and increase feelings of calm, and can promote normal sleep, immune responses and hormone levels. For most of us, this is essential for a healthy body (and to maintain sanity!).
Reishi has shown to have bi-directional activity in the body. This means it regulates the immune response when it needs stimulating, and suppresses over-reactions when necessary. Continuous consumption creates a balanced body, one where external and internal stress no longer have the same negative effects on the body. This is one of the reasons I love taking reishi. It helps me to achieve that patience, peace and strength I seek, despite the challenges of daily life.
Reishi Health Benefits and Immune Support
Beyond having the ability to balance the body and promote longevity, reishi has many more health benefits that should be noted. Through clinical evidence and scientific reports, we have come to learn a lot about how reishi can improve health and can be used as a therapeutic medical tool.
To start, reishi supports normal healthy immune functions. It is an immune “modulator” — that is, it helps to modulate and fine-tune the immune system. Reishi does not “stimulate” the immune system. It regulates it. And that is what makes reishi so precious. The chemical constituents known as reishi polysaccharides play an important role in supporting the body’s overall immune functions. And it is the triterpenoids, ganoderic acids that promote proper oxygen utilization, support liver functions, and act as antioxidant free-radical scavengers.
Diseases that Reishi is clinically used for:
- chronic hepatitis
- gastric ulcers
- liver disease
- autoimmune disorders
Reishi Scientific Studies
Through immune support and other modalities, reishi has reasonable evidence for being a clinical tool for diabetes, asthma, cancer, liver protection and inflammatory conditions. Through my research, I have found the following scientific findings and studies on reishi mushroom. As you can see, there are some promising findings that can help us utilize alternative therapies for addressing health conditions and challenges. These are just some of the many studies done on reishi. Feel free to use the references below to do further research on reishi health benefits.
*note: some of these studies are in vitro experiments and animal and human in vivo studies
- Reishi polysaccharides and triterpenes exhibit chemopreventive and/or tumoricidal effects
- Positive results in asthma and other inflammatory diseases
- Lowers glucose levels, improves blood lipid composition/cholesterol regulation in Type II diabetes
- Reduced inflammatory markers in Chrons Disease
- Anti-diabetic: G. lucidum, polysaccharides, proteoglycans, proteins and triterpenoids have been shown to have hypoglycemic effects
- Contains anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic actions
- Potential therapeutic use for the prevention and treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells (colorectal cancer)
- Inhibits breast-to-lung cancer metastases
I want Reishi! How to take It
Now that you are as convinced as I was that you need reishi in your life, let’s talk about how to take it. Reishi can be taken as a capsule, liquid tincture, tonic or as a powder. Depending on what your goal is, this will help to decide which form to take. If you are looking to use Reishi more as a therapeutic tool for its health benefits and immune support, I would try the Duanwood Reishi Capsule Supplement by Dragon Herbs. If you have a hard time taking capsules, then try the liquid tincture, Wild Reishi Super Potency by Dragon Herbs. Now the wild reishi is a pretty impressive formula, one that would be worth the investment especially if you were using it for medicinal purposes.
If you are in my boat, and want to take reishi as an all around supportive and preventative agent, then you’ve gotta try Four Sigma Hot Cacao with Reishi. Okay, so maybe it’s cheating a little bit to drink your reishi mushroom powder in your hot chocolate, but I am telling you, taking your reishi supplement powder was never so delicious! It’s like a little treat everyday that you never ever feel guilty about. The Four Sigma Hot Cacao also comes in little travel packs. These have been my secret savior when traveling this summer. Since they are so easy to bring with you, I tear one open every morning, add hot water and voila! Ready for the day. You can even add them to coffee to really boost your head buzz.
Highlight: Cacao (unrefined form of chocolate) is also really rich in magnesium (good for bones, muscles, brain and sleep) and chromium (blood sugar balance), making it an all out win.
Let me know what you think? Have you tried this mushroom hot chocolate yet? Do you take reishi for its health benefits?