SLEEP AND REST
Reishi mushrooms contain triterpenes, which are known to induce relaxation and improve sleep quality. A study conducted on rats found that reishi extracts increased total sleep time and non-REM sleep, suggesting it could be a natural sleep aid (1)
Reishi mushrooms have adaptogenic properties, meaning they help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that reishi extracts significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety(2)
Reishi mushrooms have been shown to have immunomodulatory effects, which means they can regulate and support the immune system.(3)
BALANCE GUT FLORA
Reishi mushrooms are a prebiotic, meaning they support the growth and health of beneficial gut bacteria. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that reishi extracts promoted the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, and inhibited the growth of harmful bacteria(4)
Reishi mushrooms have powerful antioxidant properties, which help protect the body from cellular damage caused by free radicals. A study published in Food Chemistry found that reishi extracts had significant antioxidant activity, including the ability to scavenge free radicals and reduce lipid peroxidation(5)
SLOW DOWN AGING
Reishi mushrooms have been traditionally used for their anti-aging properties. A study published in the journal Aging and Disease found that reishi extracts could extend the lifespan of fruit flies, indicating its potential to slow down the aging process(6)
What is Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a type of fungus that grows on decaying logs and trees in various parts of Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea. The fruiting body (the part of the mushroom that we see above ground) is reddish-brown, kidney-shaped, and has a tough, woody texture .
Scientifically termed Ganoderma lucidum, its Chinese name, Lingzhi, signifies a powerful health elixir. Red Reishi, its vibrant variant, is cherished for its antioxidant properties. The Japanese call it Mannentake, while Yeongji is its Korean moniker. It has also earned the names Spirit Plant, the Mushroom of Immortality and Divine Mushroom.
History of Reishi Mushroom Use
Reishi has a rich history dating back over 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine, where it was highly revered for its numerous health benefits. Ancient texts describe the reishi mushroom as a "divine" and "auspicious" herb, and it was often reserved for royalty and the elite class (9). Today, reishi is gaining popularity worldwide as a natural and complementary approach to health and wellness.
Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushrooms contain a variety of bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and peptides, that contribute to its health-promoting properties (9). Some of the key benefits of reishi mushroom are:
Immune System Support: Research has shown that reishi mushroom can help support the immune system by increasing the activity of certain white blood cells (8). This may help the body more effectively fight off infections and maintain overall health.
Antioxidant Properties: Reishi mushrooms are rich in compounds with antioxidant activity, which can help protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals (7). This may contribute to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
Stress Relief and Sleep Improvement: Reishi mushrooms have been traditionally used to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Some research has shown that reishi may have adaptogenic properties, helping the body better cope with stress (9).
Heart Health: Some studies have suggested that reishi mushroom may help improve blood circulation and reduce cholesterol levels, supporting overall heart health.
Liver Health: Reishi mushroom may help protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and promote overall liver health (7).
Recommended Doses of Reishi Mushroom
The recommended dose of reishi mushroom can vary depending on the form in which it is consumed. Here are some general guidelines for reishi mushroom dosage:
- Dried reishi mushroom: 3-5 grams per day
- Reishi mushroom extract (powder or liquid): Follow the manufacturer's recommended dosage, which may range from 1-3 grams per day
It's important to note that the optimal dose of reishi may vary for each individual, and it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Reishi is rich in bio-active compounds
- Polysaccharides: These are complex carbohydrates that have various health-promoting effects
- Triterpenoids: A group of bioactive molecules that contribute to the mushroom's anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and other therapeutic properties
- Ergosterol: A compound with demonstrated anti-cancer activity, particularly against triple-negative breast cancer cells
- Steroids: These compounds are also present in reishi mushrooms and contribute to their medicinal properties
- Phenols: These are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in Ganoderma lucidum
- Nucleotides: These are essential building blocks of DNA and RNA and are present in reishi mushrooms
- Proteins, Amino Acids, and Organic Acids: These bioactive compounds contribute to the overall health benefits of reishi mushrooms
How Can You Consume Reishi?
Fresh Reish: Although not typically consumed fresh due to its bitter taste and tough texture, the white growing margins of the cap can be eaten while still developing. This method allows you to experience reishi in its most natural form, but its potency may be lower than other methods. You will need to grow your own for this method.
Reishi Tea: Reishi tea is made by simmering the dried mushroom in water. This method of consumption is easy and accessible, providing a soothing experience. However, the extraction process may not be as efficient as other methods, resulting in a lower potency.
Reishi Powder: Reishi powder is created by grinding dried reishi mushrooms into a fine powder, which can be added to smoothies, coffee, or food. This method offers versatility and convenience, but the bioavailability of the compounds may vary depending on the quality of the powder.
Reishi Tincture: Reishi tinctures are liquid extracts made by soaking the mushroom in alcohol. This method helps preserve the bioactive compounds and increase their absorption. However, the taste may be too strong for some, and the alcohol base may not be suitable for everyone.
Reishi Capsules: Reishi capsules contain ground reishi powder in a convenient, easy-to-swallow form. This method is a popular choice for those seeking a consistent, standardized dosage. The effectiveness may depend on the quality of the powder used, as well as the extraction method.
Ultrasound Extracts: Ultrasound extracts utilize innovative technology to break down the mushroom's cell walls, releasing the bioactive compounds efficiently. This method leads to a higher concentration of beneficial compounds and improved bioavailability. Ultrasound extracts may provide the most potent and effective reishi experience.
|Fresh Reishi||Natural experience||Low potency, limited availability|
|Reishi Tea||Easy, soothing||Lower efficiency, variable potency|
|Reishi Powder||Versatile, convenient||Variable bioavailability, quality matters|
|Reishi Tincture||Increased absorption, long shelf life||Strong taste, alcohol base|
|Reishi Capsules||Easy to consume, standardized dosage||Quality matters, extraction method varies|
|Ultrasound Extracts||High potency, improved bioavailability||More expensive, less widely available|
A Delicacy Fit for Emperors
When it comes to the edibility of reishi mushrooms, it's essential to know that they are not as readily consumable as other mushroom varieties. The only way to eat reishi mushrooms fresh is to consume the white growing margins of the cap while they are still in their developing stage. This tender part of the mushroom offers a unique culinary experience, which may explain why it was highly sought after by emperors in ancient China.
The lore of emperors indulging in reishi mushrooms is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. These potent fungi were believed to possess incredible healing properties, thanks to their rich array of bioactive compounds, such as polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and steroids. As a result, reishi mushrooms were considered an imperial delicacy, reserved for those with the highest stature in society.
1. Cui, X. Y., Cui, S. Y., Zhang, J., Wang, Z. J., Yu, B., Sheng, Z. F., ... & Jiang, Y. (2012). Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 139(3), 796-800.
2. Li, F., Wang, Y., Park, Y.-K., & Kim, B.-S. (2021). Antidepressant-like effect of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) on mice exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 276, 114194.
6. Cheng, C.-H., Leung, A. Y.-H., & Chen, C. F. (2011). The Effects of Two Different Ganoderma Species (Lingzhi) on Gene Expression in Human Monocytic THP-1 Cells. Nutrition and Cancer,
7. Li, P., Deng, Y. P., Wei, X. X., & Xu, J. H. (2006). Triterpenoids from Ganoderma lucidum and their potential hepatoprotective activities. Journal of Natural Products, 69(11), 1595-1599.
8. Lin, Z. B., Zhang, H. N., & Zhang, Q. (2005). Antitumor and immunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 26(11), 1287-1295.
9. Sanodiya, B. S., Thakur, G. S., Baghel, R. K., Prasad, G. B., & Bisen, P. S. (2009). Ganoderma lucidum: a potent pharmacological macrofungus. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 10(8), 717-742.
10. Wachtel-Galor, S., Szeto, Y. T., Tomlinson, B., & Benzie, I. F. (2004). Ganoderma lucidum ('Lingzhi'); acute and short-term biomarker response to supplementation. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 55(1), 75-83.