Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are beneficial types of fungi used throughout the world.
These fascinating fungi are powerful and potent due to their special collection of organic compounds and components, including alkaloids, triterpenes, sterols, and several essential polysaccharides.
Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
Let’s take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of reishi mushrooms.
Traditionally, reishi mushrooms have been used to boost the immune system—they’re even used in some cultures as immunostimulants for people suffering from cancer and HIV. The beta glucans or complex sugars present in the mushroom are known to stimulate the immune system to prevent infection.
Antioxidants are a key component of the immune system and interestingly, reishi mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, one of the most effective immune system boosters. By increasing the number of beta-glucans in the body, people can protect themselves against a wide range of potential diseases and lower the signs of aging. Some studies show that high glucan content is connected with prolonged life and vitality.
Reishi mushrooms are adaptogens, which are plants that support the body in fighting off stress. For people suffering from physical and mental exhaustion, the consumption of adaptogens like reishi mushrooms can improve aches, pains, and feelings of irritability.
In addition to prolonged life, studies on traditional medicine also suggest that reishi is effective for boosting energy. As we grow older, the body’s energy levels tend to reduce, but incorporating this fascinating mushroom into your diet would be helpful.
Possesses Anti-inflammatory Properties
One of the most important side effects of reishi mushroom extracts is their anti-inflammatory effects. This is partly the reason why it can help with cognitive disorders and increase the amount of blood flow to the brain. For people suffering from arthritis or gout, reishi mushrooms extracts can be very helpful as well. Reishi mushrooms are also believed to help to relieve headaches and heal injuries.
Several studies conducted on the effects of reishi mushrooms on cancer cells found that tumors tend to shrink in cancer patients that take reishi mushrooms. The mushrooms may prevent new blood vessel growth as cancer cells need a consistent supply of blood to grow.
The triterpenes (also known as essential oils) present in the mushrooms may also stall the development and metastasis of tumors. Other studies indicate that the mushrooms could alleviate nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments and improve the efficacy of radiation therapy.
In addition, people who are currently undergoing cancer treatment should endeavor to consult with their doctor before adding reishi mushrooms to their routine, as they may interact with their treatment.
Most people consume reishi mushrooms due to their anti-cancer properties. Reishi mushrooms contain triterpenoids which are a type of fungus has the ability to reduce the metastasis of cancerous cells and slow the progression of tumor growth. The active ingredients of reishi mushroom extract can seek out and neutralize cancerous cells within the body.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Compounds in reishi mushrooms may help keep high blood pressure away, according to studies conducted. But again, if you’re currently taking blood pressure medication, consult with your doctor before taking reishi mushrooms—the combination could lower your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
Hypertension is one of the most common health problems today. In fact, cardiovascular diseases remain the major killer in our society. Reishi mushrooms have been proven to improve the efficiency of blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure; they also reduce the amount of oxygen consumed by the heart, which means that there is more oxygenation for the rest of the body and organ systems.
Furthermore, certain elements of reishi mushroom extract can reduce the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your system, further protecting you from strokes and heart attacks.
Enhances Brain Health
Reishi mushrooms may also be therapeutic for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and may also be able to protect the brain from seizures. However, more research still needs to be done to ascertain this. Neurological diseases are the most painful and unsolvable mysteries and for cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease, there is no proven cure.
However, research has shown that the extracts of reishi mushrooms can stimulate cognitive activity and display certain neuroprotective effects, particularly in the stimulation of nerve growth factor, which is a key part of a healthy cognitive function.
Some studies have shown that reishi mushrooms may have antihistamine effects and can improve the body’s oxygen supply, which is essential for those suffering from chronic and allergic asthma.
Protects Against Respiratory Problems
For those suffering from asthma, bronchitis or other chronic respiratory conditions, reishi mushroom extract can have a powerful effect on reducing irritation and getting rid of the allergic reactions from the body. By preventing the release of histamine from mast cells in the body, reishi mushrooms prevent allergic reactions such as skin irritation to potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Both triterpenes and beta glucans present in the mushrooms may reduce total cholesterol and LDL—commonly referred to as bad cholesterol.
One of the most interesting things reishi has shown potential for in the health world is fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder of the nerves causing people to feel pain even if there is no cause. But evidently, reishi may help alleviate fibromyalgia pain.
Studies show that it could also help improve symptoms enough to help with mobility and especially with the ability to exercise.
Helpful for Diabetics
Reishi mushrooms help to decrease blood sugar and inhibit an enzyme that produces glucose. Additionally, it reduces kidney stress and lowers blood sugar levels, and may prevent kidney complications in people who are diabetics.
Boosts Gastrointestinal Health
Reishi mushrooms could do significant good for one of the most important systems of the body–the digestive system. Studies indicate that reishi mushroom may function like a prebiotic for the gut (similar to fiber). This means that it helps feed and sustain beneficial gut bacteria.
In addition to its antioxidant benefits, this could help further soothe any chronic inflammation in the digestive system. It can also help enhance nutrient absorption, and thus improve overall health.
And that’s not even all: reishi can help affect the gastrointestinal system in such a way that it can boost a person’s ability to lose weight.
Improves Liver Function
Reishi mushrooms are believed to promote the generation of liver cell, improving the organ’s ability to get rid of toxins from the body. A healthy liver can also be essential to supporting other organs of the body, including regulating blood sugar and allergies.
Rich in Antioxidants
Although it is referred to as “the mushroom of immortality,” reishi mushrooms cannot make anyone live forever. However, the mushrooms possess antioxidant properties that can lower the risk of disease and premature aging.
Side Effects of Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms may be very nutritional and healthy but it has a flip side. When used for an extended period of time, reishi mushrooms have been linked with certain side effects. Some of these side effects include headaches, dry mouth, dizziness, and nosebleeds.
While these side effects may be mild, it is still advisable to speak with a medical professional or herb experts before incorporating reishi mushrooms into your diet.