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Pure Fungi Blog Science-backed Benefits of Reishi Mushroom on Tree

Science-backed benefits of Reishi

A staple in eastern medicine, Reishi is known as the ‘the Queen of mushrooms’ or ‘the mushroom of immortality’ because of its many health benefits. Science is finally catching up though, with many evidence-based and clinical studies supporting Reishi’s medicinal properties. 

Also known as Ganoderma lucidum or G. lucidum in the scientific community, Reishi (or Lingzhi) is used to increase energy, boost the immune system, fight allergies, increase strength and stamina, lower cholesterol, and improve the body’s stress response.

Reishi mushrooms are typically ear- or kidney-shaped with a distinctive rust colour (red, orange, and brown), and though they’re mostly grown commercially these days, you would find them growing in the wild on plum trees, hardwood trees like oak and maple, and logs. Reishi comes in a variety of formats, from tea to tinctures, extract powders, capsules, and even food products. Most people prefer to take it as an extract or tea because of the mushroom’s woody texture and bitter taste though. 

Powdered forms or extracts are most commonly used in traditional or alternative medicine, and have been used for thousands of years in Asian countries to promote longevity and wellbeing. The rest of the world is slowly catching up to eastern medicine though, and science is recognising its potent medicinal benefits.

Pure Fungi Blog Science-backed Benefits of Reishi Extract

The benefits of Reishi mushrooms according to science

Reishi mushrooms are adaptogens, which means that they help the body adapt to and cope with various types of stress. As an adaptogen, Reishi supports adrenal gland function and has a positive effect on mental health – relieving stress and anxiety, and alleviating fatigue. 

In this double-blind and placebo-controlled study, 132 patients with neurasthenia (characterised by physical and mental exhaustion) were treated with a polysaccharide extract found in Reishi and showed significant clinical improvement in their sense of wellbeing and reduced fatigue.

Many of Reishi’s multiple health benefits are attributed to the triterpenoid compounds found in the fungi. These bioactive polysaccharides have been shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-tumour effects. In a 2010 study, Ganoderic acid T (a triterpene compound) was shown to inhibit the development of cancer cells and the metastasis of tumours. Isn’t that incredible?

Researchers also believe that beta-glucans in Reishi mushrooms are a powerful anti-oxidant, reducing oxidative stress and assisting with various cardiovascular diseases. Both triterpenes and beta-glucans are cholesterol-lowering compounds and have also proven helpful in lowering blood pressure.

In a clinical study of 37 high risk and 34 stable angina patients, those who were treated with 750 mg per day for three months had significantly decreased oxidative radicals and improved progression of atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of arteries caused by a buildup of plaque).

Pure Fungi Blog Science-backed Benefits of Reishi Mushroom Tree

The powerful healing properties of Reishi

A strong immune system is the foundation of health and wellbeing, and one of the most praised benefits of Reishi is its immune system support. Reishi mushrooms strengthen and balance immune function which may help to prevent and fight infection and disease. The immune system is the body's self-defence system against infection, and Reishi has been shown to help the body by lowering inflammation levels. 

Inflammation is the body's normal response to injuries or infections, but chronic inflammation is a major health issue – worldwide, 3 out of 5 people die from chronic inflammatory diseases like stroke, heart disorders, cancer, and diabetes. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract and treatment with Reishi’s triterpene compound significantly suppressed the inflammatory cytokines in children with Crohn’s, as this study of its anti-inflammatory effects found.

Reishi is also a natural anti-histamine, with its unique compounds working together to treat allergic responses like asthma. Allergies are reactions triggered as an immune defence mechanism, releasing histamines and causing a chronically elevated inflammatory response. This study found that Reishi supplementation could offer a safe and effective alternative for the reduction of histamine-mediated immune responses. It has a stabilising effect on the immune system, inhibiting the release of histamines.

In addition to supporting your immune system, Reishi extract has been shown to have hepatoprotective properties, which means that it protects your liver. The same triterpenes that exhibit anti-cancer properties also promote liver cell regeneration in mice, according to all the latest research. A healthy liver eliminates the toxins in your body and cleanse your blood, so it’s critical to your overall health.

The fungi of immortality?

That may be a bit of an exaggeration. But there’s something to be said for feeling full of life, no matter your age… We could spend all day talking about the amazing studies that are currently being conducted to prove Reishi’s potential to help fight disease and illness, but as with a lot of things in life, seeing is believing. Try one teaspoon of Reishi extract in your tea or coffee twice a day and see how you feel. 

Pure Fungi Blog Science-backed Benefits of Reishi Mushroom Tea

Written by Angela Totté, co-founder of Pure Fungi. Angela is a Holistic Nutrition Well-being Practitioner. Upon growing up in Japan, she developed a keen interest in all aspects of health, leading to her passion for wanting to help people through a holistic approach to well-being and nutrition. Angela has worked in the Nutritional Health and Wellness market over the past ten years in different roles, from managing an independent health retailer in central London, working in the health supplement distribution sector, to being a brand ambassador for an international Japanese nutritional health company. 



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