What is Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi, Ganoderma lucidum, is a medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. In Chinese it is called "Lingzhi" and also referred to as “the mushroom of immortality,” due to its numerous health benefits.
Reishi has a distinctive appearance with a glossy, reddish-brown cap and a woody texture. They typically grow on decaying logs or tree stumps, in humid forests of Asia. It is also commercially cultivated to supply a growing demand for this superfood mushroom.
How Reishi Mushroom powder can improve overall well-being
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi was often used as part of herbal formulations. It was used to strengthen the immune system, support liver health, treat respiratory issues and calm the mind, in addition to many other benefits we can’t fit into one article. In the West, reishi is often used as a standalone supplement, or combined with other functional mushrooms.
Here are some of the ways reishi mushrooms can improve your overall well-being:
Immune system support- Reishi mushroom powder contains bioactive compounds, such as polysaccharides and triterpenes, which enhance the immune system. It can help regulate immune function, promote the production of immune cells, and support overall immune health.
Antioxidant properties- Reishi mushroom powder is rich in antioxidants, which combats oxidative stress and reduces damage caused by free radicals in the body. Excess oxidative damage leads to increased and accelerated signs of aging, hence why reishi is known as the mushroom of immortality.
Anti-inflammatory effects- Chronic inflammation is linked to countless health conditions. Compounds in reishi reduce inflammation in the body and are especially helpful in those with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and even eczema.
Liver support- Reishi mushroom has hepatoprotective properties, meaning it supports liver health and protects it from damage. It also promotes liver detoxification processes.
Cardiovascular health- Some studies suggest that reishi mushroom has positive effects on cardiovascular health like lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, and supporting healthy blood circulation.
The role of Reishi Mushroom powder in fighting off infections
Part of the reason this mushroom is so great at promoting longevity is that it has the power to help fight off infections. It does so in multiple ways, the first being immune system modulation. As mentioned before, reishi contains various bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, triterpenes, and beta-glucans, which help modulate and strengthen the immune system. These compounds can stimulate the production of immune cells, such as natural killer cells and macrophages, which play crucial roles in defending against infections. Reishi also helps regulate the immune response, preventing it from becoming excessive or uncontrolled. This balance can be essential in preventing the development of severe infections or reducing the risk of complications. Lastly, reishi is proven to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which will inhibit growth of pathogens to shorten or prevent infections.
The role of Reishi Mushroom powder in cancer prevention and treatment
If you didn’t need another reason to love reishi, it is showing great promise in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Compounds in this mushroom have been shown to inhibit growth of cancer cells through apoptosis (programmed cell death) in vitro. Studies show that reishi is most effective in combination with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and can even reduce the negative side effects of the chemotherapy.
Reishi Mushroom powder and immune system
If we had to choose just one health benefit of reishi to tout, it would probably be its effects on the immune system. Healthy immune function plays a major role in all bodily functions and overall wellness. It prevents you from getting sick, and keeps you feeling in top shape.
What is amazing about reishi and other functional mushrooms is that they are adaptogenic. This means that they help restore balance to your body. In terms of immune function, it means having the right amount of immune response when necessary. You don’t want to simply “boost your immune system,” as an overactive immune system causes problems. However, you do want to make sure your body is equipped to fight off disease and that’s what adaptogens help with.
How to incorporate Reishi Mushroom powder in your diet
Reishi is not a mushroom you would cook or sauté like you would edible mushrooms. It has a strong bitter taste, an indicator of its medicinal compounds. It needs to be taken as an extract, such as a powder that you mix into food or drink, in capsule form, tincture form, or as herbal tea. It does have a bitter flavor so taking it as a tea on its own is not usually a popular option. Our favorite would be incorporating reishi powder into your morning coffee or smoothie. This way the taste is disguised, but you are still getting all the benefits of reishi.
The most important thing to look for when purchasing a reishi supplement, or any mushroom supplement, is high quality product that has been third party tested and is 100% fruiting body. This means that you are getting the reproductive structure of the fungi and not mycelium, its root structure. Most “mushroom” companies only sell mycelium on grain or oats because it is the cheaper option.
Mālama Mushrooms makes it easy to incorporate high quality reishi into your daily routine. Try taking a few droppers of our Hawaii-grown, dual-extract Reishi tincture or a teaspoon of organic Reishi Extract Powder or cacao mix, always made with 100% fruiting-body.
Potential side effects and precautions when consuming Reishi Mushroom powder
Reishi may interact with certain medications, including antidiabetic drugs, antihypertensives, and immunosuppressants. If you're taking any prescription medications, it's best to speak with your healthcare provider before adding Reishi mushroom powder to your routine. Reishi also has natural anticoagulant properties, which means it can slow down blood clotting. If you're taking medications that thin the blood (such as anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs) or have a bleeding disorder, consult with your healthcare provider.
Conclusion and final thoughts
It’s easy to see why they call reishi the mushroom of immortality. From fighting off infections, to killing cancer cells, reishi really is a miracle mushroom for your immune system. Mālama mushrooms makes it easy for you to get these health benefits into your daily life. Shop our Reishi Line and use the code MALAMABLOG to get 15% off your order!