Reishi mushroom benefits


Photo of reishi

Photo of reishi

What is reishi mushroom?

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a fungus of the Ganodermataceae family . It can be found in most continents growing on tree trunks, such as maple trees, plum trees and oaks, in tropical or temperate wetlands.

Its scientific name “Ganoderma” comes from the Greek “ganos = brightness” and “derms = skin”. The species name “lucidum” comes from Latin and means bright.

Its nomenclature refers to the appearance of the top of the mushroom cap as it is characterized by having a shiny reddish color.

Reishi mushroom cap is about 20 cm in diameter, kidney-shaped, with a smooth texture when young. However, as it grows it acquires a leathery texture like cork. The bottom of the hat has a clear or whitish brown.

The common name “reishi” is Japanese; in Chinese it is known as “Lingzhi” which means “spiritual mushroom” and in Korean “yeongji”.

It is a very difficult fungus to find in natural state, so most of the present-day specimens come from artificial cultivation on oak, beech and plum trees that have been inoculated with mushroom mycelium.

Traditional properties of reishi

It is a very important fungus as a medicinal mushroom in Oriental medicine, since it is known as a healing resource in China for over 4000 years.

Reishi, along with maitake and shiitake mushrooms, have been traditionally used by Oriental medicine. Reishi is the main remedy in what the Japanese called “Hinnoh Honsohkyo” or “Treaty of Traditional Chinese Medicine”. (Moo Ban Chao Gang)

According to this treaty, there are 350 remedies classified into three types of drugs: Superior medicines, middle medicines and lower medicines. Superior medicines are known as those capable of guaranteeing eternal youth and long life. Reishi is regarded as the main remedy within the upper medicines (In Chinese herbal remedies known as zheng fu)

Traditionally uses of this fungus have been very large. It has been used to combat diseases of the liver, for heart problems, for problems of arthritis, hypertension, asthma or cancer.

Reishi, an adaptogenic medicinal mushroom

Today, products able to increase vitality or general welfare are known as adaptogens. Adaptogens have the ability to help the body adapt to stressful environmental and personal conditions. To achieve its function, adaptogens strengthen the body systems such as the endocrine, nervous system or the immune system. Among the most recognized adaptogens, we have ginseng (Panax ginseng) or licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra).

Many medicinal mushrooms serve the function of adaptogens. Reishi, shitake and maitake are the most important ones.



Photo of Ganoderma lucidum, seen from above
Photo of reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), seen from above

Among the many medicinal properties of this mushroom, we can mention the following:

Reishi mushroom for cancer Treatment

One of the main applications of this mushroom is its ability to assist in the treatment of cancer. Japanese cancer patients use a combination of maitake, shiitake and reishi to increase our defenses. In this way, they can reduce the doses of chemicals in the treatment with chemotherapy while they protect our cells from damage caused by this treatment.

It has been observed that the negative symptoms of chemotherapy such as vomiting, nausea or physical exhaustion decrease after taking these preparations.

This property is mainly due to the action exerted by the lentinan polysaccharide Beta-D-glucan on the immune system. This complex carbonate has the ability to raise the level of interferon, a protein that inhibits the growth of viruses and tumors, while encourages action of macrophages, T cells and NK cells. Thus, the defense system is mostly able to distinguish those foreign elements, virus-infected cells or tumor cells and destroy them before they cause tumors or possible diseases.

Recent experiments carried out seem to place great hope in the management of prostate cancer.

(The usual way to treat any type of cancer is by ingestion of supplements. Check with your doctor or oncologist about the possibility of taking a combination of supplements with maitake, shiitake and reishi)

Similarly reishi mushroom is useful not only for people who are sick with cancer but also helps protect healthy people preventing the development of cancerous tumors.

Reishi mushrooms for the treatment of respiratory diseases

By means of increasing our defenses, reishi protects us against the spread of respiratory diseases like flu or colds. (Take reishii supplements according to the patient’s leaflet)

Reishi mushrooms for the treatment of circulatory diseases

Reishi has antiplatelet properties so it helps prevents clots formation, responsible for many cardiovascular diseases in which a bad blood circulation is involved as the occurrence of thrombosis, hypertension or heart attacks. (Take reishii supplements according to the patient’s leaflet)

Reishi mushrooms for cholesterol treatment

It is believed that taking preparations made with this mushroom can help people reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

The anticholesterolimic properties of this mushroom are granted him by its content in lentinacine and chitin.

Studies conducted in animals have shown that cholesterol levels remained low even eating very fatty foods. (Take reishii supplements according to the patient’s leaflet)

Reishi mushrooms for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome

The tonic properties of this fungus, along with its ability to stabilize sugar levels in the blood, becomes an aid in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. (Take supplements of reishi according to the patient’s leaflet)

Reishi mushrooms for diabetes treatment

Reishi’s ability to maintain constant levels of blood sugar or decrease them when they are high is of interest to people suffering from diabetes. (Take supplements of reishi according to the the patient’s leaflet)

Side effects of reishi mushrooms

In general, reishi is safe when used in appropriate doses although prolonged and continued use beyond three months may produce some side effects such as gastritis, itching and skin rashes, dry mouth, blood in the nose or in depositions. When shown any adverse effects stop taking immediately.

The use of fresh reishi can cause diarrhea or upset stomach, which it does not usually occur when taken in supplement form (capsules, tablets or pills)

During the first few days, it may affect sugar levels that are compensated after a few weeks of administration.

It is important to consider the origin of reishi supplements. Given the increasing demand, in many places supplements or fungi that resemble the real reishi can be sold, though, actually, they belong to other species. they may be not hazardous or toxic fungi, but they do not have the effectiveness of authenti creishi. Therefore, when buying this mushroom, we must seek trustworthy establishments.

Contraindications of reishi mushrooms

Pregnant or nursing women should not take these preparations except when authorized by the doctor.

People who are taking anticoagulants should not take these preparations because its use may thin blood too much.

It should not be taken by people with lupus erythematosus

Food properties of reishi

Although the nutritional analysis of this fungus have confirmed that it contains very appropriate principles for health, especially for its rich in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin B, calcium and silicon, is not commonly used as a food fungus because its texture is too hard and, especially, because it is too bitter. Instead, the use of other fungi is recommended as maitake and shiitake or many edible mushrooms that we have today.

punto rojo More information on other medicinal mushrooms.

This article was endorsed by Vicente Martínez Centelles - Founder of the web and director. Teacher of natural sciences, expert in plants, natural remedies and botanical photography.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

12 May, 2021

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