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This one mushroom offers immune support, reduces stress and anxiety, is anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and much more. Read more about Reishi mushroom to learn why it is traditionally called “The God of Fungi.”
What is Reishi?
Ganoderma lucidum/“Lingzhi” (soul/spirit) mushroom, commonly known as “Reishi mushroom”, is a potent fungus which has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. It is especially good at modifying the immune system by increasing it when weakened, or lowering it when it is too active (R).
It has 400 different bioactive compounds and these have been reported in scientific studies to have a number of effects including modification of the immune system, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, sleep-promoting, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidative, anti-aging and anti-ulcer to name a few (R).
My Experience With Reishi
Reishi is a Th1 stimulant and I’m Th1 dominant, so I don’t take it. Reishi is great for people with cancer, chronic infections, and immunodeficiency but not for those with autoimmune issues.
- Is anti-inflammatory
- Helps reduce tumors
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps you sleep
- Reduces anxiety
- Might over-activate the immune system
Health Benefits of Reishi
1) Reishi Reduces Inflammation and Acts as an Antioxidant
Studies have shown reishi to reduce inflammation in rheumatism, asthma, inflammation of the membrane that lines the eye and eyelids without notable side effects (R).
14 days of reishi increased anti-inflammatory/antioxidant markers and protected the blood from oxidative damage. Researchers say this justifies the traditional use of Reishi by African and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent (R).
- Reishi decrease malondialdehyde and increased superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione S-transferase (R).
- Reishi inhibited Nitric Oxide production from LPS (R).
2) Reishi Improves Anxiety and Depression
Breast cancer patients reported reduced anxiety and depression, as well as increased quality of life when they received reishi along with their cancer treatment. The group not receiving reishi did not report these effects (R).
3) Reishi Enhances the Immune System
Most people know about reishi for balancing immunity. G. lucidum can activate or deactivate certain parts of the immune system which is why it has a modulating role instead of a specific one area of action (R).
It contains high amounts of organic compounds that are proven to strengthen our immune cells and improve general immune system health (R).
It inhibits fungus growth up to 58% in 5 different fungal pathogens (R).
Reishi combined with antibiotics increased the antimicrobial activity much more than synthetic antibiotics alone (R).
The extract significantly enhanced wound healing activity (R).
Reishi extract has potent anti-malaria activity while at the same time protecting against liver damage (R).
4) Reishi Relieves Allergies
Studies have shown reishi extract to reduce and inhibit all four kinds of allergic responses (R).
Reishi has been used for various conditions, including chronic bronchitis because it reduces histamine. Studies reveal compounds found in reishi effectively inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells and stabilized mast cells at the same time (R, R, R).
An extract of its protein has been shown to potently lower blood pressure with effects lasting up to 8 hours in hypertensive rats (R).
It also reduced damage to the cells that line blood vessels (R).
It has significant benefits for multiple types of cancer including prostate and breast cancer. It does this via various mechanisms: inflammation reduction, and inhibition of cell and tumor growth. G. lucidum may be useful for both prevention and possible treatment (R, R, R).
Reishi suppressed cell adhesion and cell migration of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells, which means it can be potent at reducing tumor growth (R).
Also, it is an alternative way to aid the treatment of leukemia (R).
Reishi has been found to significantly decrease fatigue, anxiety, and depression and improve the subjective well-being of breast cancer survivors and patients (R).
Preclinical studies have shown that reishi has potent anti-tumor activity and strengthens the immune system in advanced-stage cancer (R).
However, further studies need to be done before coming to any conclusions about its ability to help people with cancer.
Chinese and Japanese herbalists traditionally recommend it for insomnia due to its sleep-promoting ability (R).
8) Liver and Kidneys
14 patients with proteinuria, a sign of kidney disease, used reishi. All 14 patients got rid of the proteinuria after using reishi and restored their immune system to proper balance (R).
Reishi protected against the damage done by moderate daily alcohol consumption on the liver in rats (R).
In malaria-infected animals, Reishi protected against liver damage while also potently suppressing the malaria infection (R).
9) Neuroprotective Properties
Reishi also improved the brain function of the alcohol-consuming rats, both increasing the energy supply to the brain as well as decreasing inhibitory neurotransmitters (R).
10) Gut Health
Reishi has anti-ulcer effects (R).
- The experimental group showed statistically significant improvements in the domains of physical well-being and fatigue subscale after intervention with TNF-a, IL-6 (R).
- After 4 h administration of Reishi, the systolic pressure significantly decreased to 34.3 mmHg (19.5% change) and the effect was maintained up to 8 h of administration, with the decrease reaching as low as 26.8 mmHg (15% reduction-compare to baseline a decrease of 26.8 mmHg is less than a decrease of 34.3 mmHg so it should give a smaller % reduction) (R).
- Additionally, our results show that Reishi inhibited convulsions in rats from Kainic Acid-induced seizures, reduced the degeneration pattern, decreased astrocytic reactivity, and reduced the expression of IL-1β and TNF-α induced by KA (R).
1-2 caps per day of this extract, taken at night or afternoon depending on your response to it:
Reishi most commonly helps you relax, thus promoting sleep, but for some, it can also increase energy and wakefulness. Try it out to see how it affects you.
One study showed no evidence for liver, kidney or DNA toxicity with reishi intake (R).
Although very rare, it may make some autoimmune conditions worse by activating/increasing the already overactive immune system.
Notes of caution: Some studies show it reduces NF-kB (inflammation) and some show an increase, so individual responses to it may vary. It might be most useful for balance/reduction of Th2 dominance and as an immune booster for Th1 dominance (R, R).