5 Proven Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
What are Reishi mushrooms?
Reishi mushrooms are huge, shiny-appearing Asian mushrooms. Also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzh, the Reishi mushroom is a type of fungus that grows outside. They have a long history in traditional Eastern medicine of extending the lifespan and improving health.
The first documented use of the Reishi mushroom dates back over 2,000 years. Ancient literature frequently referred to it as the "Mushroom of Immortality."
Reishi mushrooms have long been considered adaptogenic herbs in holistic medicine. So, they give your body the tools it needs to deal with the bad effects of stress, like inflammation, low energy, damaged blood vessels, and hormonal imbalances.
Several studies have shown that Reishi mushrooms have strong antioxidant properties that make it easier for the body to fight cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart diseases, allergies, and infections.
What makes Reishi mushrooms so healthy?
There are several molecules in the mushroom, such as triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans, that researchers believe may contribute to its health benefits (1).
Have we piqued your curiosity? Read on to discover the value of medicinal mushrooms, why you should consider adding Reishi mushrooms to your daily health regimen, and what their benefits can be.
History and value of medicinal mushrooms
Mushrooms, like the Reishi in 8th Wonder Sparkling Superfood Tea, have been utilized as medicine for thousands of years. Since ancient times, they have been used to boost the immune system, kill bacteria, and even treat inflammation, tiredness, and long-term metabolic problems.
But until recently, most people who used mushrooms for medicinal purposes were ancient healers. Fortunately, more and more people in the West are using these useful fungi to improve their health.
What are some of the most popular medicinal mushrooms?
There are more than 200 species of mushrooms known to possess medicinal or therapeutic properties, each with its own unique benefits.
Below are a few of the most popular mushrooms, along with their specific medicinal properties:
- Reishi Mushroom: improved heart and liver function, hormonal balance, and blood sugar, as well as the ability to defend against allergies, asthma, and infection.
- Chaga Mushroom: increases stamina, decreases inflammation, activates the immune system, and possesses antiviral qualities.
- Turkey Tail Mushroom: nourishes beneficial gut bacteria, prevents infections, and fights cancer cells.
- Shiitake Mushroom: strengthens immunity, combats cancer cells, promotes skin health, and provides a substantial amount of essential B vitamins for energy maintenance.
- Lion's Mane Mushroom: safeguards cognitive function, reduces inflammation, maintains digestive health, and fights the generation of free radicals.
Health Benefits of Reishi mushrooms
Below are five scientifically proven benefits of Reishi mushrooms.
1. May fight cancer
Similar to other anti-inflammatory foods, Reishi mushrooms contain important nutrients such as antioxidants, beta-glucans, and amino acids. The polysaccharides in the Reishi mushroom are believed to be one of its most beneficial components.
Carbohydrates contain polysaccharides, which can dissolve in water and may fight cancerous tumors (2).
Polysaccharides have the ability to modulate the immune system. So, they help Reishi mushrooms protect the DNA and stop cell mutations while protecting the healthy cells in the body (3).
Also, many studies suggest that the polysaccharide content of some medicinal mushrooms gives them anti-cancer properties. For example, various studies show that polysaccharides have antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. They may also help defend against diabetes and osteoporosis (4).
Additionally, research shows that the triterpenes in Reishi mushrooms might be able to protect against cancer. This is one reason foods high in antioxidants are thought to be healthy.
Triterpene chemicals seem to stop tumors from getting bigger and cancer from spreading by making it harder for cancer cells to stick to endothelial cells. Plus, beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide fiber, can also help prevent cancer from occurring because they stop cancer cells from growing and dividing and make the immune system work better (5, 6).
Essentially, the Reishi mushroom is one of the most potent cancer-fighting foods available.
2. Strengthens the immune system
One of the most important things that the Reishi mushroom does is boost the immune system (7).
Studies done in test tubes suggest that Reishi can change the genes in white blood cells, which are important parts of the immune system. The details on why and how this occurs, however, are unknown at this time. In addition, certain types of Reishi have the capability of changing inflammatory pathways in white blood cells (8).
There is evidence that some molecules found in mushrooms can increase the activity of a type of white blood cell called a natural killer cell among cancer patients (9).
A natural killer cell is an immune system component that fights infections and cancer in the body (10).
Even though most of the immune system benefits of Reishi mushrooms have been seen in sick people, there is evidence that they can also help healthy people.
Consider the results of this study: The fungus improved the function of lymphocytes in stressed athletes, which helped them fight off infections and cancer (11). However, more research needs to be done to verify these results.
3. Supports a healthy cardiovascular system
Cardiovascular disease is a blanket term for several conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, such as heart attack and stroke. They are the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “One person dies every 34 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.” (11a)
Two significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and there is scientific evidence that Reishi mushrooms can help both.
For example, research suggests that triterpenes in the Reishi mushroom can help lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, and lower cholesterol. Most likely, this is because they can reduce inflammation in blood vessels and arteries, as well as restore hormonal harmony (12).
Sometimes hormone issues like thyroid disease or excessive stress can result in high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The Reishi mushroom supports the cardiovascular system by restoring optimal hormonal levels.
Plus, Reishi mushrooms have been found to increase "good" HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides in a study conducted over a period of twelve weeks involving 26 people (13).
It not only lowers blood pressure, but Reishi mushroom extract has been shown to improve overall circulation, reduce inflammation linked to heart disease, and prevent clogged arteries by keeping cholesterol in check. This is yet another impressive health benefit of Reishi (14).
It’s important to note, however, that other studies have found no heart-health benefits for Reishi mushrooms, so more research needs to be conducted to verify the above results.
Given all these cardiovascular benefits, would you have ever imagined that sipping a can of refreshing, invigorating 8th Wonder Macha Tea with Reishi can help reduce your risk for this all-too-common disease?
4. Blood glucose control
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by elevated blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. It is caused by the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin or by the cells' inability to use insulin properly.
Diabetes is a common disease affecting an estimated 37.3 million (11.3%) people in the United States.
Consistently elevated blood sugar levels are harmful to health, so it’s imperative that these levels be managed correctly. Incredibly, some scientific evidence suggests that Reishi mushrooms may have anti-diabetic properties that can help keep blood sugar levels normal and prevent bad effects.
In one study conducted in Taiwan, Reishi mushrooms were shown to decrease blood sugar and insulin levels in mice. They also helped change the levels of enzymes that help control how much sugar is in the blood and improved how the body uses insulin to move sugar from the bloodstream to the tissues (15).
Similar results have been reported in humans (16). However, studies are mixed, with some showing that Reishi lowers blood sugar levels and others showing no results. So, more research needs to be done on humans to find out if Reishi can consistently lower blood glucose levels.
5. Asthma and allergy prevention
Among the active ingredients in Reishi mushrooms are triterpenes. They are a type of ganoderic acid that has been found to reduce allergy symptoms and asthmatic reactions to histamines.
Because of this, the Reishi mushroom is often used as a natural way to treat asthma (17).
Triterpenes can reduce allergic reactions because they affect the immune system, help the digestive system, protect the lining of the gut, reduce inflammation, stop the body from making histamine, increase oxygen use, and improve liver functions (18).
So sit back, sip on a can of 8th Wonder Sparking Organic Matcha Superfood Tea with Reishi, and let it help soothe your allergies away!
Recommended dosage amounts
Reishi mushrooms can vary substantially in dose depending on which type is consumed (19).
A person who consumes the mushroom itself will receive the highest dose. In these cases, the dosage may range from 25 to 100 grams, depending on the mushroom's size (20, 21).
Typically, a dried mushroom extract is used instead. In these cases, the dose is approximately 10 times lower than when the mushroom is consumed directly (22).
For example, 50 grams of Reishi may be equivalent to approximately 5 grams of mushroom extract. Generally, mushroom extracts are taken in doses ranging from 1.5 to 9 grams daily (23).
In addition, some dietary supplements utilize only specific extract components. In such instances, the suggested doses may be significantly lower than those listed above.
Because the recommended dosage might vary significantly depending on the form of the mushroom utilized, it is crucial to know which form you are consuming.
Potential side effects/health risks
Reishi mushrooms are widely used; however, some people have expressed concerns about their safety.
According to some studies, people who took Reishi mushrooms for four months were nearly twice as likely to develop a side effect as those who took a placebo (24).
Side effects reported include dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, and skin rash.
However, these side effects were rather mild and included a tiny increase in the chance of stomach or digestive discomfort. There were no negative consequences recorded for liver health.
According to additional studies, healthy adults using Reishi mushroom extract for four weeks showed no harmful effects on their livers or kidneys (25).
Contrary to these results, two case studies revealed substantial liver issues (26, 27).
Before they switched to powder, both people in the case studies had eaten Reishi mushrooms without any problems. However, they both reported negative side effects after switching to the powdered form.
This makes it difficult to determine definitively whether the mushroom itself caused the reported liver damage or whether the powdered extract was flawed.
It is also crucial to remember that much of the research on Reishi mushrooms has yet to include safety information, so limited information is available (28).
Still, there are a few groups of people who probably shouldn't take Reishi.
People who are pregnant or nursing, have a blood condition, will soon have surgery, or have low blood pressure are among these people (29).
How to consume Reishi mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms are not the best snack because of their tough texture and bitter taste, but there are many ways to eat them to make sure you get the most out of this healthy fungus. Below are a few popular ways to consume this mushroom.
- 8th Wonder Matcha Tea (This healthy beverage contains several superfoods, including Reishi!)
Frequently asked questions
Is Reishi mushroom safe?
Studies suggest that the use of Reishi mushroom extract for up to one year is considered safe, while the use of powdered whole Reishi mushrooms for up to 16 weeks is also safe.
Some of the side effects reported include dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, an upset stomach, and a skin rash.
Pregnant and nursing women. There isn't enough credible information to tell if Reishi mushroom is safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding. Therefore, it’s best to abstain from use until more information is known.
Bleeding disorders. There is a possibility that taking high doses of Reishi mushrooms may increase the risk of bleeding in people who have certain bleeding disorders.
Surgery. In some people, taking large doses of Reishi mushroom before or during surgery may increase the risk of bleeding. For this reason, it is recommended that you stop using Reishi mushrooms two weeks before your surgery.
Are there any interactions with medications?
Though Reishi mushrooms are generally considered safe, there are a few instances where they can interact with medications.
Diabetes drugs. Reishi mushrooms may reduce glucose levels in the blood. So, taking Reishi along with diabetes medicine could cause blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low. You should, therefore, closely monitor your glucose levels while consuming these mushrooms.
Blood pressure medication. The Reishi mushroom may reduce blood pressure. Therefore, blood pressure may drop too low if Reishi mushroom is used alongside blood pressure-lowering medicines. If you are on antihypertensive medication, pay special attention to your blood pressure while consuming Reishi.
Blood clotting inhibitors (anticoagulants). Reishi mushrooms may inhibit blood coagulation. So, combining Reishi with drugs that thin the blood may increase the chance of getting bruises and bleeding.
Is it safe to take every day?
Yes, Reishi mushrooms are safe and healthy to consume in food or supplement form every day. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a bleeding disorder, or take regular medication, you may want to consult with your healthcare provider before adding Reishi to your health regimen.
Should I take Reishi in the morning or evening?
You can take Reishi any time of day or night, but because of its relaxing properties, most people take it in the evening, about an hour before bed.
Reishi is a potent medicinal mushroom with a broad range of possible health advantages.
Although Reishi mushrooms can be eaten, they are typically sold as supplements in the form of capsules, powders, extracts, tinctures, and teas, like 8th Wonder Organic Macha Tea with Reishi.
Even though Reishi mushrooms are usually considered safe, they can have some negative effects and may interact with some drugs. To minimize health risks, pay attention to the dosing instructions on your Reishi supplement.
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Our Sparkling Matcha Tea is made with 100% Japanese matcha, cherry blossoms, and Reishi to boost your immune system and deliver a host of health benefits.
Formulated with several superfoods, including cherry blossom and Reishi, this tea can revitalize you and give you the energy to tackle the day. Open a can whenever and wherever you like to enjoy the sweet, earthy flavor that also provides essential nutrients.
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