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Frequently Asked Questions About Reishi Mushroom
What is Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom is a kidney-shaped, reddish mushroom that’s used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is called by many names:
- 10,000 years mushroom,
- mushroom of Immortality,
- antlered reishi,
- and ganoderma spores,
. . . according to Examine.com.
The Chinese name lingzhi represents the essence of immortality and spiritual potency, according to a study. It represents success, longevity, and well-being, and has been used historically to promote those things.
The scientific name is Ganoderma lucidum, and lucidus means shiny or brilliant, according to a this book on herbal medicine. The fungus is long and dark with a glossy exterior and woody texture. It grows in hot and humid regions in Asia.
The mushroom is known for a variety of potential health benefits, but there needs to be more robust research to confirm them.
A couple of studies have shown reishi mushroom can help increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL-C) in those with high cholesterol, according to Examine.com. Increasing levels of good cholesterol helps mitigate levels of bad cholesterol (LDL-C) according to WebMD. Reishi mushroom may also help reduce anxiety and cancer-related fatigue, according to a this 2012 study, and has been shown to boost immunity, according to Examine.com.
Overall, reishi has potential immune boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits, and may also help support a balanced mood and reduced fatigue, according to Examine.com. This unique mushroom is available as a supplement in different forms.
What Are the Uses & Benefits of Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom has a number of uses, with some that are better researched than others. These include:
- Immunity: Good reishi mushroom supplements may boost immunity by increasing the production of white blood cells, according to Examine.com. Two studies concluded that the water-soluble polysaccharides at a dosage of 2,500-5,000mg can increase white blood cells. The fungus also has antioxidant properties, which means it helps protect cells from oxidative damage. More research is needed to confirm these potential reishi benefits, however.
- Mental health: Some research suggests reishi mushroom has anti-anxiety benefits, but it is not clear if the benefits may be experienced by everyone. In a study of women recovering from breast cancer, taking reishi powder for four weeks reduced anxiety and depression. There have not been studies done on reishi mushroom’s effect on otherwise healthy people, so additional clinical trials are needed.
- Cardiovascular health: Reishi mushroom supplements may help boost good cholesterol and manage blood sugar, helping to support cardiovascular health. There are a couple of studies that support reishi mushroom’s ability to boost good cholesterol, according to Examine.com, and several animal studies indicate the mushroom may decrease blood sugar, according to Healthline. More research is needed, however.
- Fatigue: Good reishi mushroom supplements have been found to reduce levels of fatigue in recovering cancer patients, however, the use for fatigue alone has not been explored, according to Examine.com.
How Do I Take Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom dosages depend on the form of reishi mushroom supplement. Standard reishi mushroom dosage is 6 g for ethanolic extract or 5.2 g water-soluble extract, taken three times daily, according to Examine.com. In general, follow the manufacturer dosage instructions, or a doctor’s guidance.
Are There Any Side Effects of Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom can cause side effects such as dryness of the mouth, itchiness, upset stomach, nose bleeds, and bloody stools. Powdered reishi is usually 10 times as potent as the mushroom itself and may be unsafe if taken in periods longer than one month.
How Do I Pick a Good Reishi Mushroom Product?
Due to the lack of comprehensive research on reishi mushroom, it is difficult to say with certainty what aspects of the fungus you should look for in a supplement. The active compounds are a good start, though. Polysaccharides, triterpenes, and peptidoglycans are some of the main bioactive compounds in reishi mushrooms.
There is a debate about whether polysaccharide content is an accurate measurement of supplement quality because the most well-studied polysaccharides in reishi are the beta-glucans. Supplements generally state the number of overall polysaccharides, but not the quantity of beta-glucans.
Overall, when looking for the best reishi supplement, it’s usually better to get a reishi extract over the dried powder – the powder can be too potent and should not be taken for long periods of time in high doses.