Studies show that reishi mushroom benefits conditions such as depression and fatigue; data also indicates that it can help bolster your immune system. It’s available in various forms, from reishi mushroom powder to liquid extracts.
What can the reishi mushroom do for your health? And does reishi mushroom deserve a spot on your supplement list? Let’s find out.
In this article, we will:
- Share some basic facts regarding the reishi mushroom
- Share insights regarding this mushroom’s active compounds
- List key ways in which reishi mushroom benefits your well-being
What are reishi mushrooms?
The reishi mushroom is a fungus, herb and adaptogen. Adaptogens are plants that have unique nutritional qualities.
There are several species of this mushroom. The one thing they have in common is that they all belong to the Ganoderma family. Ganoderma lucidum is the type of reishi mushroom most commonly used in herbalism, but the lineup also includes varieties such as Ganoderma sinensis and Ganoderma tsugae.
In China, this mushroom is called lingzhi. For centuries, it’s been used in China, Japan and other Asian countries, touted for its ability to boost health, immune function and longevity. In these cultures, reishi is also said to boost spiritual potency.
Each reishi mushroom is large and dark, with a woody texture. Its surface is notably glossy — so much so, it has the appearance of being varnished.
All variants of the reishi mushroom are polypores. A polypore is a type of woody mushroom that has a hard exterior and tends to grow on trees.
Fruiting body and fruit body are interchangeable terms used to describe a mushroom’s physical structure. When you consider that the mushroom is the “fruit” of the fungus that created it, these terms make sense.
With the reishi mushroom, one fungus may produce one or more fruiting bodies. However, the number of fruiting bodies produced by a single fungus typically doesn’t exceed three.
The fruiting bodies of reishi mushrooms often vary in size and appearance. Some are cloud-shaped or flat-headed. And they can be as small as two inches or as large as 12 inches or more.
Active compounds found in reishi mushrooms
Two of the most potent bioactive components found in reishi are triterpenoids (also known as triterpenes) and polysaccharides. Thanks to the presence of these compounds, reishi mushroom benefits wellness in compelling ways.
Let’s start with the first active compound: the triterpenoid. Studies show that triterpenoids can help combat inflammation and viruses. They also work hard to prevent diabetes, and they fight the growth of cancer cells.
The next active compound found in reishi mushrooms is the polysaccharide. Polysaccharides have anti-tumor effects. Also, a polysaccharide can protect against free radicals and mitigate the effects of oxidative stress.
Reishi mushroom benefits
So, what are the ways in which reishi mushroom benefits your health? Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which a reishi supplement promotes healing.
Reishi benefit #1: Supports the immune system
Your immune function is your body’s first line of defense against harmful viruses and pathogens. Research shows that reishi benefits the immune system.
Your white blood cells play a critical role in your body’s immune response. Reishi mushroom benefits the genes in white blood cells. This mushroom also alters inflammation pathways in these cells. In particular, studies show that reishi fosters the growth of a specific type of white blood cell known as a natural killer cell. This immune cell gets this name thanks to its ability to combat cancer and infections in the body.
Reishi mushroom is used to treat cancer and infections, thanks to its effect on the immune system.
Reishi benefit #2: Kills cancer cells
Cancer is a leading cause of death in this country. The research indicates that reishi mushroom benefits cancer treatment in potent ways.
In a 2001 study, reishi mushroom was shown to stop the growth of several types of human cancer cells.
Reishi has been studied for its effect on colorectal cancer. In research conducted in 2010, the number and size of tumors in the large intestine decreased after one year of treatment with reishi.
Reishi benefit #3: Lifts depression
Depression can make your life experience a lot less enjoyable. Research shows that reishi mushroom benefits depression.
In a 2013 study involving mice, a water-soluble reishi mushroom extract was shown to have an anti-depressant effect.
Reishi benefit #4: Eases fatigue
Fatigue can have a negative impact on our productivity. It’s a common problem for busy professionals with a lot on their plates. The data shows that reishi benefits fatigue.
One study looked at the effect that reishi powder made from spores had on the well-being of breast cancer survivors. Those who took reishi powder reported less fatigue. Also, they reported less depression and better overall quality of life.
Reishi benefit #5: Improves liver function
For a healthy body, you need a healthy liver. The liver plays a vital role in detoxification, and it helps circulate blood and nutrients throughout the body.
Reishi mushroom benefits liver health and liver function. According to a 2013 study, reishi exerts protective effects on acute liver injury. It’s able to provide this thanks to its antioxidant properties, as well as its ability to battle harmful immune responses that can diminish liver function over time.