Reishi mushrooms have been used as traditional medicine for many centuries in Asian countries for the treatment of infections. Recently, they have been used to treat cancer and pulmonary diseases. They’re known for their immune-boosting potential and cell regeneration as some of the reishi mushroom benefits that will help to improve your quality of life.
What is the reishi mushroom?
This is a woody fungus mushroom that is not only known for its medicinal properties but also its nutritional value. Reishi is a red kidney-shaped cap with finger-like spores on the underside that look like gills. Ganoderma lucidus is its scientific name of the reishi species that are commonly used as medicine and is nowadays grown commercially and sold in different forms like tea, capsules, hot chocolate, tinctures, energy bars, and beauty products.
Although you can eat reishi mushrooms fresh, their bitter taste and woody texture make them not very palatable. These mushrooms are very good at producing an anti-inflammatory effect in your body, stimulate your immune system and liver function, and even reduce tumor growth. They’re also high in antioxidants and help in relieving stress that’s why they’ve been used in Eastern medicine and the wellness world. Reishi is also rich in beta-glucans which will help in improving your glucose and cholesterol levels.
Health benefits of reishi mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms are generally safe for most people to take, but just like everything else they have some side effects so it’s a good idea to first consult your doctor before taking them. This is especially important if you have high or low blood pressure, pregnant, breastfeeding, have any blood disorder, or are scheduled for surgery. These shrooms have the potential to enhance your health in many ways. Here are some of these benefits.
Boost your immune system
These shrooms have historically been used to enhance your immune function through its effect on your white blood cells that help to fight cancer and infections. The beta-glucans, complex sugars, found in the shrooms are believed to stimulate your immune system and act as an immune-stimulant for patients with cancer and HIV.
Most people consume this shroom because of its potential cancer-fighting properties. Many tests have been done on the shroom’s effect on the cancer cells and the results have been remarkable. Researchers believe that the beta-glucan in the shrooms may prevent the growth of new blood vessels which will reduce blood supply to the cancer cells thus reducing their growth.
Also, the essential oils or triterpenes in the shrooms may prevent the growth and metastasis of tumors. Researchers also believe that these shrooms can reduce nausea that is associated with chemotherapy which will help to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy. However, before you take any reishi mushrooms you should consult your doctor.
Help fight fatigue
Reishi mushrooms help to fight both mental and physical exhaustion by improving the aches, pains, and the feeling of irritability. They also have the potential to reduce depression, anxiety, and improve your quality of life.
Could lower your blood pressure
Certain compounds found in reishi shrooms may help to control your blood pressure, but if you’re currently taking blood pressure medication, consult your doctor before you take any reishi shrooms because if you combine with your drugs it could lower your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
May help with diabetes
These shrooms have been found to reduce your blood sugar levels by inhibiting the enzyme that produces glucose. Plus it may reduce kidney stress which can help in preventing or halting kidney complications in diabetic patients.
Reishi shrooms may have antihistamine effects on your body which can help to improve your body’s oxygen supply which is very important especially if you’re suffering from allergic and chronic asthma.
May improve your liver function
Reishi shrooms have spores that have been found to promote liver regeneration in mice which helps the liver’s ability to remove toxins in the body. Having a healthy liver is very important in supporting other body functions including balancing your allergies and blood sugars.
May be good for your brain
The research was done on animals that showed that reishi shrooms may be therapeutic for people with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and it may protect your brain from having seizures.
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that can help in preventing cell damage and some different foods and supplements can help to enhance the antioxidant status in your body. Reishi shrooms have antioxidant properties that can help in reducing your risk of diseases and premature aging.
Contains cholesterol-lowering elements
Both beta-glucans and triterpenes are compounds found in reishi shrooms that may help in reducing your overall cholesterol and LCD levels or bad cholesterol.
Possible side effects
- Reishi shrooms are usually well-tolerated with very few significant side effects, however, these shrooms contain a substance that may act as a blood thinner which may cause nosebleeds, easy bruising, and bloody stools. If you have liver disease or any bleeding disorders, you should avoid taking reishi shrooms.
- When you take reishi for more than 6 months, it could cause an allergic reaction related to the dryness in your nasal passages, mouth, and throat.
- May cause headaches, dizziness, stomach upsets, itchiness, and rashes.
- It could also be risky to take these shrooms if you have hypotension, are taking anti-hypertensive, diabetic drugs, or have immune system disorders or medications. It can cause your blood pressure to drop which can lead to fatigue, nausea, blurry vision, and dizziness.
- If you’re taking anticoagulants like warfarin or you’re scheduled for surgery, you shouldn’t take reishi shrooms because it could increase your risk of bleeding.
- Because there is no enough safety research, avoid giving reishi shrooms to your kids, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers.
Reishi shrooms are unique mushrooms that not only known for their medicinal properties but also their nutritional value. They contain a variety of medicinal compounds that are released and activated in your body to support various body functions like supporting your immune system, balancing your stress levels, and improving your mood.