The Wonderful Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
The Reishi mushroom, botanically known as Ganoderma lucidum, has long been heralded as the elixir of life, and for good reason! The benefits of Reishi, and other mushrooms, are incredible.
Over the centuries, people have used mushrooms medicinally and in the kitchen. The oldest written reference to people using mushrooms medicinally is from an Ayurvedic source from 5000 BC. That’s a long time and we’ve learned so much since, too!
Reishi Mushroom’s Medicinal History
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers Reishi to be in the highest class of tonics to promote longevity. At one point, they were so highly prized (and so very rare) that only the emperor was allowed to consume them. Now Reishi and other medicinal mushrooms are regularly cultivated. They are often affordable in grocery stores and apothecaries all over the world. If you know where and how to look you can even go foraging for it and collect it straight from the source!
Christopher Hobbs, a talented ‘mushroom expert,’ outlined the pharmacological effects of whole Reishi extracts. This is something we still use today when creating blends–and I’ve shared the list of effects below too.
“In my experience, it [Reishi] is especially suitable as a calming herb for people with anxiety, sleeplessness, or nervousness accompanied by adrenal weakness or general neurasthenia or deficiency syndromes. In this regard, it is to be much preferred to traditional western sedative herbs such as valerian, which could be too warm and actually stimulating for some individuals.” -Christopher Hobbs
The Benefits of Reishi on the Body
The studies done on Reishi’s immunomodulating effects and its benefits against a variety of cancers, autoimmune diseases, and viral infections is absolutely amazing. This is one of the reasons I use it so often with different illnesses in my private practice.
So, what effect does Reishi have on the body?
- Adaptogen: An agent that increases resistance to stress
- Analgesic: Relieves pain
- Anti-allergen: Countering the effects of allergens
- Anti-inflammatory: Diminishes inflammation or its effects
- Antibacterial: Destroys or stops the growth of bacterial infections
- Antioxidant: Prevents free radicals or oxidative damage to the body
- Antiviral: Opposing the action of a virus
- Antitumor: Opposing the actions of tumor growth
- Cardiotonic: Heart tonic or restorative
- Expectorant: Encourages the loosening or removal of phlegm from the respiratory tract
- Hypotensive: Used to reduce blood pressure
- Hepatoprotective: Protects the liver from toxins
- Immunomodulating: Assist the body’s immune response
Over the years I have used Reishi for a variety of conditions, including:
- Asthmas and allergies
- Blood pressure and cardiac support
- Ulcers and digestive support
- Insomnia and neurasthenia
- Full body inflammation (Fibromyalgia, joint pain)
- Various cancers
- Chronic immune deficiencies
- To increase vitality and strengthen internal organs
How to Safely Take Reishi
It’s always important to acknowledge that not every herb is good for everyone. Reishi is not recommended for people who are pregnant, lactating, taking anticoagulants, or have systemic Candida.
Reishi is a wonderful mushroom, but it’s important not to go crazy with it! Try to start improving your health with your diet and lifestyle first (nutrient density, fiber, water, and exercise). Then, you can always supplement with herbalism.
Since we all have different stories and different needs, it’s also good to check with your practitioner before starting a new herb. Feel free to reach out to me for a consultation here.
Getting the Most Out of Your Mushrooms
Preparing the mushroom is important for getting the most benefits of Reishi. Fortunately, there are many different ways you can prepare them! They can be cooked into food (yum!), made into a tea or decoction, taken as a syrup, ingested in capsules, or even made into tinctures.
I’ve made it easy to get your dose of Reishi with these items in my Apothecary.
Reishi Tincture: A standard tincture made so you can get all the great benefits of this mushroom. It’s particularly good for the immune system and liver health! Get it here.
Mushroom Complex: For a stronger immune system boost, check out this blend of four mushrooms–Reishi included! Get it here.
*For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. (Because why would we want to do that?)