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Written by Emily Spring
Otherwise known as “the king of mushrooms,” thousands of years ago the reishi mushroom was once reserved for the noble elite of Eastern Asian cultures. While the reishi mushroom is far more accessible today, its immune-boosting power and medicinal benefits remain unparalleled.
If you’re looking to learn more about reishi mushroom benefits and different ways reishi mushrooms can help your body’s systems, this article will walk you through 10 awe-inspiring reishi perks, with an in-depth look at how reishi mushrooms work.
The reishi mushroom, otherwise known as Ganoderma lucidum, presents as a fan-shaped fruiting body usually colored in oranges and browns. While they have become a rarer find in the wild, reishi mushrooms are grown and incorporated into all types of modalities, including:
Reishi mushrooms are also a fantastic source of dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins—in addition to their health-boosting benefits.
The most well-known effect reishi mushrooms have on the body is their ability to provide the immune system with a significant boost. Reishi mushrooms contain compounds like triterpenoids, polysaccharides and peptidoglycans, which are thought to help contribute to the mushrooms’ immunity-boosting power.
When consumed, in the form of reishi mushroom extract, for example, these medicinal mushrooms provide triterpenes and sterols to the body. According to some studies, these triterpenes can help lower blood pressure and alleviate allergies, while the sterols contribute to a type of hormone production that empowers immune cells.
When these two elements work together, they may help the body spot malignant or premalignant cancer cells. One study found that the G. lucidum mushroom, or reishi, was the most effective out of 58 other mushroom species in killing cancer cells.
Another one of the ganoderma benefits is the mushroom’s ability to improve the performance of white blood cells within the body. In fact, some studies have observed reishi’s ability to modify the genetics of white blood cells to improve their function, which can help the body manage inflammation.
Reishi mushrooms also contain molecules known as beta-glucans, which are considered to be stimulants for the immune system, helping to improve the body’s ability to fight infections and disease. For a reishi mushroom supplement that empowers your immune system, try incorporating specific immunity supplements into your daily routine.
As mentioned before, the properties of reishi mushrooms can help the immune system target malignant cells. These malignant or premalignant cells can ultimately form cancerous tumors that spread throughout the body.
A study on breast cancer survivors observed that out of 4,000 survivors, nearly 59% of those individuals had consumed reishi mushrooms. And more test-tube studies are finding that the ganoderma extracts have cancer-cell-killing properties.
The secret to these cancer-treatment abilities can be found in the beta-glucans—since cancer cells need more blood supply to continue to grow, beta-glucans prevent blood vessel growth, essentially cutting the cancer cells from their supply.
And if the reishi mushroom didn’t have enough powerful immuno-properties, another study found that essential oils harvested from reishi mushrooms might also help to prevent tumors from metastasizing and spreading throughout the body.
Reishi mushrooms are considered to be adaptogens, which are organisms that help return your body to homeostasis. To that end, reishi mushrooms may help manage the body’s stress levels. In a double-blind placebo study, the polysaccharide extract from Ganoderma lucidum was shown to improve the well-being of subjects and reduce their overall fatigue.
Additionally, the researchers in this study found that ganoderma benefits also included the ability to ease:
Studies have also shown that the reishi mushroom may bolster one’s mental wellbeing. Because the mushroom is an adaptogen, it works homeopathically across the body to promote a general feeling of wellness. Many also use reishi mushrooms for sleep and reishi for anxiety.
According to a recent study, this feeling of wellness reportedly helped women with breast cancer improve their quality of life, reducing their feelings of anxiousness and depression.
In fact, reishi has been known to have mood-boosting effects for thousands of years. Reishi helps improve your mood and full-body health by:
If you haven’t already noticed the versatility of the reishi mushroom, then you might be interested in its ability to promote stronger heart health.
In fact, the properties of ganoderma have been shown to correlate with HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is otherwise understood as the “good” cholesterol, which is known to lower your risk for heart disease.
Additionally, reishi mushrooms might have some potential as a hypotensive substance used to lower blood pressure. When you have higher blood pressure, your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. By lowering this pressure, your heart will be less strained as it continues its job.
Of course, it’s worth noting that if you already take medication for blood pressure, you should talk to your doctor before consuming ganoderma supplements to avoid lowering your blood pressure to an undesired amount.
While not many human trials have proved this effect, several animal trials have shown that reishi mushrooms helped to regulate the blood sugar in mice. Another study found that Ganoderma lucidum slightly improved human subjects’ blood sugar levels when compared to the placebo group.
Ever have trouble with dust or seasonal hay fever? Some research has found that reishi mushrooms may have allergy-relieving effects and inflammation-reducing benefits throughout the body.
Inflammation is our body’s way to heal. Typically, inflammation is a sign that our body is doing its diligence to maintain healthy systems. However, inflammation without moderation can often lead to damaged tissue and a weakened immune system.
When tested against some of these inflammatory responses, reishi mushrooms were shown to relieve some of the inflammatory responses within the body, which may also provide a health benefit to those with autoimmune diseases.
Reishi mushrooms contain antioxidants and lipid-lowering properties, which may help your body fight off certain conditions like heart disease and certain cancers.
Antioxidants are important in preventing cell damage. When your body ages or contracts an illness, the normal processes within your cells sometimes create what is known as free radicals. These free radicals are unstable, which in turn can damage the cells and tissues in your body.
Antioxidants help the body to break down these free radicals and prevent further cell damage. As such, supplements designed with antioxidant benefits, like those from reishi mushrooms, might be your best bet when maintaining your body’s health.
Your brain may also benefit from reishi mushrooms. Early trials on animals have alluded to certain compounds found in the ganoderma fungus that may help improve brain vitality. Essentially, these compounds may support the brain’s neurons—the channels which send information throughout the body and manage our movement and thought processes.
A study in 2013 also found that elements within the reishi mushroom extract were shown to have neuroprotective properties, assisting the brain to stave off seizures.
Your liver might also thank you for taking ganoderma supplements. The liver is the organ designated to filter toxins out of the body. When you take certain medicines or drink alcohol, the liver, in conjunction with other organs like the kidneys, is hard at work to filter out toxins and maintain your body’s overall health.
In studies with mice, Reishi spores were shown to promote the regeneration of liver cells. The liver is a notoriously regenerative organ, but increasing its regenerative properties can help you obtain a truly healthy liver function. And with a healthy liver comes a more robust response to:
There have been several studies done to determine if reishi mushroom extract comes with any side effects. If you notice an allergic reaction to these mushrooms, you should contact your doctor immediately. However, many studies have shown that reishi extract does not negatively impact the stomach, kidney, or liver over time, making it a safe and holistic option to pursue.
Before incorporating reishi benefits into your diet, it’s also important to note that standard dosage often varies depending on the product created from the mushroom. For the best results, you’ll want a standardized resishi supplement that’s proven to provide you with the right amount of reishi mushrooms (and beneficial effect) each time.
In addition to these functional mushrooms having immune boosting properties, reishi mushrooms provide numerous beneficial effects that may help support your overall health. If you’re looking for powerful mushroom supplements that support your immunity day and night, Plant People has you covered.
Try Advanced Immune Power, packed with powerful reishi mushrooms, turkey tail mushrooms and astragalus and Vitamin C. Or, for more immune response support, try our Immunity Bundle to equip yourself with our three best immune-empowering super products.
With the help of scientists, we work to create supplements and formulas backed by centuries of holistic healing practices. Our investment in regenerative, bio-diverse farming means that every product is supplied with chemical-free, pure plant extracts.
Discover a natural solution with Plant People.
Written by Emily Spring
Emily Spring is the Director of Marketing at Plant People. A longtime proponent of balanced living, she has enjoyed over 8 years driving growth in the lifestyle, health and wellness sectors with deep experience in functional solutions for optimizing anyone's everyday life.
Reviewed by Gabe Kennedy
Co-Founder of Plant People, Gabe Kennedy is an acclaimed chef and entrepreneur. Growing up in a house of healers and herbalists, he is passionate about the power of food as a tool for health, and actualized this passion and belief system into his company, Plant People. Named to Forbes 30 under 30 Gabe has shaped menus and cooked his way around the world with his mission to promote a more communal, green and healthy world.
Gabe is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. You can learn more about his work at his website.