When most people think of mushrooms, they probably think of the kind that grows in their backyard. While those might not be edible, many other kinds of mushrooms offer a variety of health benefits. One such type is the reishi mushroom. Let's take a closer look at this fantastic fungus and see what it can do for us.
History of Reishi MushroomThe reishi mushroom was first discovered by Chinese healers in the Changbai Mountains more than 2,000 years ago. It has been used as a talisman of luck, healing, and wellness in Asian culture for millennia because healers thought it had strong anti-aging effects and wrote in ancient texts about the mushroom being an elixir of immortality. Traditionally, it was primarily used by emperors and royalty, but it has become popular with all segments of society in recent years.
Today reishi grows wild east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States, ranging from Canada to Mexico. It is also found throughout Asia, especially Japan, where it has been consumed for centuries as a remedy for almost every type of dis-ease.
What is Reishi Mushroom?
The reishi mushroom is a large, woody-stemmed, bitter-tasting fungus that grows on old trees. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce pain in the joints. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to have antioxidant properties, so they may help prevent damage from free radicals and are even believed to slow down the aging process.
Reishi mushroom supplements are sold in most health food stores. Typically they come in capsules or teas, though some companies also sell them in powder or tincture form.
While reishi mushroom is most commonly used as a dietary supplement, some people also take it in the hope of living longer. These medicinal mushrooms have also been known to positively affect the immune system and improve wellbeing.
Uses of Reishi Mushroom
For centuries, ancient Chinese culture has used the reishi mushroom in the hopes of treating various conditions, including ulcers, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, and liver problems, but no official medical study has proven this to be accurate. In modern times it is most commonly used as an immune-boosting supplement.
In clinical studies from Japan, the extract from Reishi mushrooms shown to have powerful antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. In a study performed in 2000 on Japanese patients with chronic bronchitis, reishi mushroom extract was found to may reduce symptoms by more than 50%.
Reishi mushrooms also contains two unique phytonutrients called triterpenes. These chemical compounds are thought to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. One of these triterpenes, called ganoderic acid, has properties that deserves an article on its own.
The reishi mushroom has long been thought to have spiritual properties as well. For thousands of years, some Asian cultures have used it for divination purposes, calling on its clusters of tightly packed spores to foretell one's future. Shamans in many countries also believe that consuming reishi fungus constantly brings you closer to the divine.
Benefits of Reishi Mushroom
Some of Reishi mushroom benefits may be:
1) Support An Optimal Immune System - In traditional Chinese medicine, the reishi mushroom is considered the supreme mushroom. This fungus promotes a high immune function and helps soothe inflammation. It contains numerous beneficial compounds, including ganoderic acid and polysaccharides, that might stimulate your immune system to fight disease.
2) Provide Anti-Viral Properties - Reishi mushroom could have antiviral properties, which may inhibit viruses that cause colds and flu. A study on mice infected with a specific virus showed that ganoderic acid isolated from Reishi mushrooms reduced the number of outbreaks significantly.
3) Targets Occasional Aches - Reishi mushroom might have analgesic properties. This may be due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
4)Promote Optimal Respiratory System - One of the main properties of reishi mushroom is that it may be used to help respiratory conditions. Ganoderic acid contained in reishi mushrooms may suppress the production of chemicals that cause inflammation and swelling within your airways.
5) May Lower High Cholesterol - A study on rats showed that taking reishi mushrooms significantly reduced their LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels while increasing their HDL or "good" cholesterol levels.
6)Maintain Balanced High Blood Pressure - Diastolic pressure (the bottom number in your blood pressure reading) of 6 or more points is considered high, while less than 120/80 mm Hg is normal. A study on rats showed that the reishi mushroom may have blood pressure-lowering properties.
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Reishi should be taken under your doctor's supervision if you have a medical condition requiring monitoring or taking medication.
This supplement is not intended for pregnant or lactating mothers. Always consult a professional healthcare provider prior to use, if taking any medications or if any adverse symptoms are experienced.
This article was not written by a healthcare professional and is intended to be for entertainment purposes only.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to treat, diagnose and or cure any disease
“Reishi: The ‘Mushroom of Immortality.’” The Republic of Tea, 18 Sept. 2020, https://the.republicoftea.com/tea-culture/reishi-the-mushroom-of-immortality/.
Tinsley, Grant. “6 Benefits of Reishi Mushroom (plus Side Effects and Dosage).” Healthline, Healthline Media, 31 Mar. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/reishi-mushroom-benefits.