In ancient Chinese culture, the reishi mushroom symbolised success, well being, divine power and longevity. Ok, you might be thinking that sounds a little bit over the top for a fungi – but we’re here to tell you that the almighty reishi mushroom lives up to the hype.
Perhaps the most well known medicinal mushroom, reishi refers to a variety of woody fungi that typically grow on dead or decaying hardwood. The fruiting body emerges as a beautiful, kidney-shaped fan and hosts an array of earthy colours with a glossy sheen.
The reishi mushroom has many talents, although truth be told, it’s not celebrated for its bitter taste. But don’t let that deter you, because the benefits of reishi mushroom are impressive.
Let’s take a closer look…
Benefits Of Reishi Mushroom
Just like your favourite yoga class, reishi is touted for being calming yet energising at the same time. It contains a high concentration of organic germanium, polysaccharides, triterpenes and other medicinal compounds – which is the technical way of saying it’s a nutritional powerhouse.
So, let’s get down to fungi town and check out the reishi benefits.
Reishi Mushroom Can Boost The Immune System
Just like the legendary lions mane mushroom, reishi offers a powerful boost of immunity. Put simply, it trains our immune system to work better.
One of the ways it’s believed to do this is by strengthening the white blood cells, which play a critical role in the immune system function. It also works to reduce inflammation which can be linked to a wide range of diseases.
And remember those polysaccharides we mentioned before? This compound is known for its immune boosting activity, which may help to explain reishi's powerful benefits for acute and chronic illnesses.
But don’t just take our word for it. A study on 34 advanced stage cancer patients put this mushy the test. The results found that the reishi mushroom could increase the amount of NK cells (or natural killer cells). And as the name suggests, these NK cells play a major role in rejecting tumours, cancer cells and other virally infected cells.
Reishi Mushroom For Stress & Fatigue
Let’s face the facts: up to 35% of Australians report having high levels of stress in their lives. And it’s no wonder: our society places hectic schedules, overwork, and frantic lifestyles on a shining pedestal, ignoring the impact that stress can have on our daily lives.
Are we grinding and hustling our way to poor health? Perhaps. But thankfully, reishi has a superb solution…
Reishi mushroom is a powerful adaptogen, which means it can support our body’s ability to cope with stress – physically and mentally. Adaptogens are also believed to have positive neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive and central nervous system stimulating activity.
It's believed that the tripertenes in reishi - which are naturally occurring chemical compounds - help to relieve psychological and psychical stressors through their calming effect on the nervous system. This also helps to improve sleep and reduce fatigue.
One study explored this notion, and looked at the effects of reishi in Chinese patients with neurasthenia – which is a medical condition associated with fatigue, irritability and turbulent emotions. Incredibly, the patients who received reishi reported higher levels of well-being and reduced fatigue!
So if you’re looking for a natural energy boost, then reishi is your mushy.
Reishi Mushroom For Heart Health
The remarkable reishi can also promote a healthy heart! What the fungus? How does it do that?
Well, those polysaccharides and triterpenes, of course! These compounds found in reishi mushroom have the potential to lower cholesterol, high blood pressure and the formation of blood clots. What’s more, the reishi mushroom has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which are believed to directly benefit the heart.
One small 12-week study tested the effects of reishi mushroom on heart health in 26 participants. The results found that reishi mushroom may increase our body’s level of good cholesterol (HDL) and lower our body’s bad fats (triglycerides).
While countries in Asia have been using reishi for thousands of years to treat all kinds of heart conditions, such as arrhythmia and high cholesterol, more studies need to be done to draw any definitive conclusions. Stand by, friends.
The Remarkable Reishi Mushroom
The funs not over, fungi fans, because the benefits of reishi extend far wider than what we could cover in this article. Studies show that it could also:
- Support gut health
- Support the liver
- Control blood sugar
- Boost energy and stamina
- Fight diabetes
- Ease allergies & asthma
- Detoxify the body
To this date, there have been very few reported side effects to reishi. But as always, it's a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any supplements.
The Natura Mushroom’s Reishi
Did you know that there are over 2000 species of reishi mushroom? And here at Natura Mushrooms, we’ve created a unique blend of our homegrown Australian reishi (Ganoderma Steyaertanum) which is then mixed with Ganoderma Lucidum from the mountainous regions of Chang Bai, China.
We grow our Australian reishi using organic waste materials, fresh air and water – just as nature intended. We recommend having ½ a teaspoon of reishi daily, and take the time to sit back and savour the earthy flavour.
You can add our reishi powder to virtually anything – think coffee, tea, smoothies and even main meals of your choice. Yep - you really can have your reishi and eat it too.
Want to experience the benefits for yourself? Check out our Reishi Mushroom Powder, Reishi Extract or Reishi and Hemp Extract.
Written by Shane and Ash, the scientists, mushrooms farmers and garden enthusiasts behind Natura Mushrooms.