The first time you see a Reishi Mushroom you’re likely to think you’re looking at a prop from Lord of the Rings or Labyrinth. These enormous and frilly fungi can grow bigger than your head and range from light brown to orange to a deep red colour. If you saw it growing in the wild you might assume it was a giant poisonous mushroom but it’s a non-toxic food that can be eaten or taken daily as a supplement with virtually no side effects.
Reishi is considered a medicinal food (some might call it a superfood) that has been used for thousands of years in China. Ling Zhi or ‘King of Mushrooms’ as it is also called grows deep in the mountains and in forests. It has been used to fight inflammation and disease, regulate the immune system, detox the liver, and also as a source of enlightenment. There’s no doubt that this ‘King of Mushrooms’ is packed with incredible nutrients fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, iron, and much more. But does this mushroom really live up to all those health claims? What do modern-day scientists and doctors say?
One study on mice found that the Reishi mushroom prevented liver damage, likely due to its rich antioxidant content. While studies on humans have shown that the compounds in the Reishi mushroom neutralized cancer cells in the liver. This is due to the abundance of antioxidants in these mushrooms that fight damaging free radicals in your body aiding the liver by removing harmful toxins from the body.
The scavengers in these ganoderma mushrooms help you stay healthy on a daily basis by removing free radicals from your body that can arise from smoking, inflammation, radiation, pesticides, bacteria, or injury.
Reishi has effective anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to fight forms of cancer such as breast cancer. Use of Reishi is linked to relieving chronic inflammation and reducing the size of tumors in conjunction with traditional treatment. Research has also revealed the Reishi mushrooms have consistently disrupted the cells involved with cancer invasion in our bodies. Which makes it not only a pre-emptive defense against cancer but a strong support when your body is fighting cancer cells as well.
The polysaccharide and beta-D-glucan in the Reishi mushroom not only fights cancerous cells but boosts our immune system making us better equipped to fight off virus’ and illness as small as the common cold.
One common cause of allergy symptoms can be due to a congested liver that is overwhelmed with toxins. Reishi mushrooms reduce and possibly eliminate these allergy symptoms by detoxifying the liver and inhibiting histamine release, which improves oxygen utilization and provides allergy relief.
The Reishi mushroom contains bioactive nucleosides, like adenosine, uridine and guanosine that improve the ability of red blood cells to absorb oxygen, which strengthens the heart against heart disease and illness.
Taking a Reishi mushroom supplement has also shown to lower blood pressure with one study showing that it reduced blood pressure for up to 8 hours
Sadly there is no way to prove that Reishi mushrooms can help you find enlightenment however traditional Chinese medicine has revered it as the most sacred food, believing it was vital to overall health and the secret to immortality. Modern spiritual leaders also recommend taking Reishi to improve concentration and intensity for meditation.
The Reishi mushroom is commonly bought dried or as a powder and although you can eat it fresh, it’s hard to find! There are three common species: Ganoderma Tsugae, G. Sessile, and G. Curtsii. All species have a savory, bitter taste. Nevertheless, you’ll find recipes for reishi lattes, chocolate truffles, and even reishi coconut smoothies on the web.
Found this fascinating? You’ll want to find out what you should be eating for a healthy thyroid!