5 Reishi Mushroom Benefits That Make it the Fungal Fountain of Youth

Medicinal mushrooms: delicious, nutritious and possibly life giving?

Reishi mushrooms (also called the pinyin, linh chi, or lingzi mushroom depending on the region they’re harvested in) are a family of very closely related mushrooms used in traditional Asian medicine for almost 2,000 years. In fact, one of the numerous translations for the Chinese name of these chestnut coloured fungi, lingzi, is “divine plant of longevity.”

So what’s so great about these medium-sized mushrooms? They’re chock-full of health-giving components that have not only been harvested for alternative medicine, but mainstream as well.

Before we dive in, here are some basic facts on reishi mushrooms:

  • They are too bitter to eat in cooking. Don’t try and add them to your spaghetti, you will not get good reviews. You will make your mouth sad. Typical methods of ingestion include powdered in capsules or tea made from the whole mushroom.
  • Though relatively safe, like all medicines, you should not jump out and start taking reishi mushroom powder or the full mushroom without consulting your physician. They have documented interactions with a number of prescription medications, such as anti-hypertension or anti-coagulant drugs.

Now that you know what you don’t want to do with reishi mushroom, let’s delve into what you do want to do with ’em: consume them for these 5 unique reishi benefits!

5 Reishi Mushroom Benefits That Benefits Your Whole Body

1. Reishi Mushrooms are Antiallergenic

A huge portion of the benefits of reishi mushroom is attributable to a compound called ganoderic acid. In animal trials, this compound has been documented to suppress the histamine reaction that allergens have, among other benefits.

That means ganoderic acid alleviates the symptoms of seasonal airborne allergies. Ganoderic acid also helps improve oxygen usage in your body. So if you have itchy, watery eyes or break out into hives as soon as the seasons change then this might be a great way to help you enjoy the outdoors a little more.

2. Reishi Mushrooms are Packed with Antioxidants

One of the best reishi mushroom health benefits is that these funghi tout an amazing amount of antioxidants. For those not in the know, antioxidants prevent the oxidization of cells, the cellular creation of free radicals that can lead to cell damage—aka the natural aging process—but also cancer. Part of this antioxidant effect is from the ganorderma lucidum peptide (GLP) a wee protein that packs a mighty antioxidant punch.

The anti-cancer effects of reishi mushrooms are inconclusive, but research is very promising. Current studies suggest that it may have the potential to shrink non-cancerous tumours, but there is no shrinkage of cancerous tumours.

One of the greatest ways that reishi can assist those with cancer is with it’s immune boosting properties and how they boost and support those undergoing chemotherapy.

3. Reishi Benefits Your Heart

These powerful little fungi also have compounds to help your heart. Triterpenes, a kind of ganoderic acid, is the compound that gives the mushrooms their bitter taste but also what helps your heart by lowering your blood pressure.

If that wasn’t impressive enough for you, the naturally occurring polysaccharides help improve overall heart function by being a powerful antioxidant.

4. Reishi Mushrooms Support Liver Health

There is a lot going on in reishi mushrooms that contribute to excellent liver health. First off, these medicinal mushrooms have fantastic anti-viral properties which means that when it comes to viruses that attack the liver they can really clean house.

A number of studies examining the effect of reishi tincture and powdered reishi on those suffering from AIDS and Hepatitis B show that those who take it regularly have a decreased amount of the virus present in their bloodstream.

Reishi mushrooms have even reversed the effects of advanced stage non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (common in people suffering from obesity) in animal studies.

Chew on that: not only did it reverse the effects of fatty liver disease, but advanced fatty liver disease.

5. Reishi Benefits and Boosts Brain Function

Perhaps the most exciting research being done is on reishi mushrooms as a combatant against Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Compounds in reishi mushrooms are shown to stimulate production of nerve growth, resulting in the growth of healthy neurons.

A study published in 2012 revealed that in animals that were given Ganoderma lucidum spore (GLS, extract of reishi mushrooms) previous to any neurological damage reversed the injury of oxidative stress (remember, that means the chain reaction that leads to cell damage, cancer, and cell death) on the brain.

So taking GLS could prevent the damage to your neurological system caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This effect is attributed to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the mushroom.

Remember the triterpenes that are so good for your heart? They’re also said to help prevent the brain damage resulting from stroke (hypoxia/referfusion.)

Reishi has the one-two punch of being both a preventative medicine and curative. With so much good stuff going on with the “divine plant” it’s definitely time to see if reishi mushrooms are right for you.

About the Author Jessica

After growing up a perpetually pudgy kid, Jessica discovered real food - and her waistline shortly afterward. When she's not crafting concoctions in the kitchen, she spends her free time writing about food, making her own deodorant, watching sci-fi, doing headstands, and looking for gluten free food that doesn't suck.

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1 comment
Lara says February 6, 2017

Dear Jessica,

thank you very much for your article! Reishi rocks! I drink a cup of Reishi everyday and sleep better then ever. The subtle bitter taste is delicious.I buy my mushroom stuff from http://www.bellaphi.de They sell onyl extracts. My questions is regarding the powders. Are powders really more or less useless? Looking forward to hear from you!
love,
Lara

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