Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is a medicinal mushroom in use for centuries to heal diseases like diabetes, cancer, inflammation, ulcer as well as bacterial and skin infections. The potential of the fungus is still questionable in India.
It is one of the most important medicinal mushrooms in the world. It exhibits numerous medicinal properties. They have earned it monikers such as “mushroom of immortality”, “celestial herb” and “auspicious herb”. Globally it is “red reishi mushroom”.
This mushroom goes back to 5,000 years ago in China. It also finds mention in the historical and medical records of countries like Japan, Korea, Malaysia and India.
With time, many researchers recognised this fungus and tried to identify its constituents and properties. The research is still in progress.
Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
Ganoderma contains more than 400 chemical constituents, including triterpenes, polysaccharides, nucleotides, alkaloids, steroids, amino acids, fatty acids and phenols. These show medicinal properties such as immunomodulatory, anti-hepatitis, anti-tumour, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-HIV, antimalarial, hypoglycaemic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The following are reishi mushroom benefits.
Immune System Booster
The ability of the reishi mushroom to enhance your immune system is one of its most important effects. While certain details are still unknown, test-tube studies have indicated that reishi can influence the genes in white blood cells, which are important components of your immune system.
Furthermore, these studies have discovered that some reishi forms may alter inflammatory pathways in white blood cells. Some of the chemicals boost the activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells. Natural killer cells help the body fight against infections and cancer.
Another research found that reishi can boost the amount of other white blood cells (lymphocytes) in colorectal cancer patients. Some data suggests that it can also benefit healthy people.
In one research, the fungus enhanced lymphocyte function, which aids in the fight against infections and cancer, in athletes subjected to stressful situations.
Other studies in healthy individuals, however, found no change in immune function or inflammation after 4 weeks of consuming reishi extract.
It has cancer-fighting qualities. Large number of people consume this fugus. In instance, one research of nearly 4,000 breast cancer survivors discovered that around 59% consumed reishi mushroom.
Furthermore, numerous test-tube studies have indicated that it can cause cancer cells to die. Some studies have looked at whether reishi might help with prostate cancer because of its effects on the hormone testosterone.
According to one study, one year of reishi treatment reduced the number and size of tumours in the large intestine. It stimulates the activity of the body’s white blood cells, which helps in the fight against cancer and improves the quality of life in cancer patients.
Reishi Mushroom in Lung cancer
Studies suggest that the use of products made from reishi as adjuvant therapy may help strengthen the immune system in patients with lung cancer.
Studies in patients with lung cancer include the following:
36 patients with lung cancer had an over-the-counter product from reishi called Ganopoly.
The patients had chemotherapy or radiation therapy, along with other complementary therapies. Some patients had marked changes in the immune responses being studied, such as lymphocyte count and natural killer cell activity, and some patients had no change in immune response.
In China, a study was done with 12 lung cancer patients. Their blood was tested to see if taking a product made from reishi could help improve immune response. The study found that the polysaccharides in reishi mushrooms may help cancer-fighting immune cells, called lymphocytes, stay active.
How to take reishi mushroom
While reishi mushrooms are edible, you wouldn’t want to eat them the way that you consume most other edible mushrooms. In its raw state, it also has quite a bitter and unpleasant taste.
So to consume reishi, it’s traditionally made into a hot water extract (a soup or tea.) Fresh or dried pieces of reishi are made into a powder and added to boiling water.
The mushroom simmers for about two hours. This process repeats to make the liquid even more concentrated.
This creates a dark and bitter tasting drink. Red reishi mushrooms also tend to be more bitter than the black variety.
In modern times, reishi mushrooms are now made into an extract. You can take them in a liquid, powder, or capsule form that greatly or completely eliminates the unpleasant bitter flavour associated with the mushroom. You can simply buy Medizen-reishi-mushrooms and make them a part of your daily diet.
What are the possible side effects of reishi?
Taking reishi mushroom extract for up to a year might be safe, but taking the powdered form of reishi for more than a month could damage the liver.
- Other side effects of reishi mushrooms include dry mouth, rashes, upset stomach, diarrhoea, headache, nosebleed, and dizziness.
- The safety of reishi mushroom in pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding has not been thoroughly studied.
- High doses of reishi could increase bleeding risk in people with certain bleeding disorders, including thrombocytopenia (low level of platelets in blood).
- Taking high doses of reishi before or during surgery could increase the risk of bleeding.
- Because reishi might reduce blood pressure, it might worsen low blood pressure in people whose blood pressure is already low.