What if the fungus among us can help us live longer, healthier lives? This just might be the case, especially when we take a deeper look at the reishi mushroom.
For a mushroom to have the nickname the “Mushroom of Immortality,” it really has to have some magic behind it, or at least a long history of faithful users. And it appears as if the reishi mushroom has that and more.
Reishi Mushrooms 101: Timeless Health Benefits
This mushroom has been a favored fungus in eastern medicine for more than 2000 years and was once considered so special it was reserved exclusively for royalty. Of course, today anyone can reap the benefits of the reishi mushroom.
Reishi is also known as lingzhi. The Japanese name reishi is most common in the United States, but you may still find it under the Chinese name lingzhi. Its scientific name is Ganoderma lucidum. Be assured, this is the same mushroom.
There are numerous reasons why reishi mushrooms have been used to boost health in wellbeing for centuries. These powerful health benefits include:
The reishi mushroom regulates the immune response in your body. This means it doesn’t just kick in and fight infections, and it doesn’t only suppress your immune system when it’s overreacting—it does both.
This immunomodulating effect comes from reishi’s natural chemical make-up, consisting of lectins, terpenoids, proteins, and polysaccharides.
But that’s not all they do for your immune system. Reishi has been found to speed wound healing and make antibiotics more effective. They’re also natural antioxidants with an abundant supply of complex sugars known as beta-glucans.
The beta-glucans boost your immune system and may help stop and contain the growth of cancer.
This area has been studied quite extensively, and the results look very promising for the reishi and for people taking it.
Among the reishi mushroom’s cancer-fighting qualities is ganoderic acid, which can cause cancer cells to die while reducing the toxicity to healthy cells. This particular acid has also been linked to arresting tumor growth and preventing cancerous cells from migrating in the body.
Deeper in the mushroom, the terpenoids have promising chemopreventive qualities, as discussed in an article in the World Journal of Hepatology. Terpenoids are phytochemicals and found in many plants.
The claim of immortality might be a bit of an exaggeration, but what about promoting longevity? It appears this classification might be right on the money. Research details how aging occurs, and the reishi may play a part in extending life by battling the natural decline in bodily physiological function.
Some of the ways that reishi may have a hand in slowing this decline are by reducing oxidative stress and adding antioxidants. The reishi may protect the cellular DNA from damage resulting from oxidants that build up and cause the effects of aging.
In addition, the antioxidant power of the reishi can reduce dermal and cellular oxidation, reducing the physical signs of aging in the skin and the internal signs of cellular age.
The terpenoid again comes into play, but this time the specific compound found in the reishi, the triterpenes, is the focus. It is known to improve circulation and help throughout the body, from your skin to your mental focus.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center points to the heart benefits of pairing the mushroom’s sterols with its naturally occurring triterpenes. This appears to lower blood pressure and slow blood clotting, both activities work to support a healthy heart.
In addition to sterols and triterpenes helping with blood pressure, it has been suggested that reishi also have anti-allergy effects. Since this mushroom inhibits histamine reaction, it can give relief to those who suffer from seasonal allergies, though you may need to look elsewhere for natural remedies for food allergies.
The Bottom Line
The great news about the reishi mushroom supplement is that it’s considered safe for most people to use. As with all supplements, it’s a good idea to discuss this first with your healthcare provider to make sure there aren’t any reasons for you to avoid this product.
It is key to note that the reishi mushroom is not recommended for cooking or eating, but as an extract or supplement.
From an improved immune system to cancer-fighting abilities and even a longer lifespan, the reishi has a lot to offer and very few drawbacks. It could be your personal fountain of youth or perhaps your Mushroom of Immortality.