As we age, our bodies and mental health need more attention than ever. Nootropic mushrooms have long been used in traditional medicine in eastern regions like Asia, but their numerous reported benefits have gained popularity with a broader global audience.
One such mushroom is the Reishi mushroom. In this blog post, we’ll look at the fascinating Reishi and how to use it.
What is Reishi?
Nicknamed the “mushroom of immortality,” the Reishi mushroom has several distinct species, but the two most common ones are Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma sichuanense (Lingzhi). The earliest use was in China of the lucidum species that grows primarily in Asia, while sichuanense grows mainly in Europe and North America.
Reishi has been used in traditional medicine for over 2,000 years, with some evidence that shows it was first used in China about 6,800 years ago.
This mushroom grows at the base or stumps of hardwood trees like maple, found in the forests of Asia, North America, and Europe. They can be reddish-brown or darker with a kidney-shaped cap that gives them a fan-like appearance. The cap is glossy, giving the mushroom “lucidum,” its name, which means “shiny” or “brilliant.”
Reishi mushrooms are not commonly found in the wild; they grow only on two or three of 10,000 trees. However, they are easily cultivated on hardwood logs, sawdust, or wood chips. The most commonly cultivated species is the Ganoderma sichuanense, but several other species are commonly found in Chinese herb shops.
Reishi, just like many other nootropic mushrooms, has numerous reported benefits. Here are some key ones.
Immune Function Support
Research done in 2014 found that five types of mushrooms, including Reishi, have shown potential in boosting the immune system.
A study done on mice found that Reishi had anti-inflammatory properties that could help with joint pain, heart palpitations, and autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or SLE in mice.
SLE is a relapsing disease that may damage multiple organs like the heart, kidneys, and central nervous system.
The study showed that Reishi mushroom extract had potential therapeutic benefits in treating the disease in mice because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effect on mice.
Recent research published in 2023 found that Reishi mushrooms may have anti-viral properties that could potentially be used to promote metabolic health.
They also contain triterpenoids, a major group of bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These triterpenoids have been found to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.
Research has found that Reishi has high levels of antioxidants.
As mentioned, the two most important compounds found in Reishi are triterpenoids and polysaccharides, powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are unstable molecules we acquire through our environment that need to be balanced by antioxidants.
Too many free radicals can result in oxidative stress, which places the body under great strain and may lead to further health concerns.
Diabetes / Insulin Resistance
The compounds found in Reishi have been shown to reduce insulin sensitivity and could help with diabetes. A study on mice with induced diabetes from 2019 found lowered blood sugar levels when Reishi was administered.
In addition, glycogen content was also reduced. The amount of glycogen in the organs and muscles reflects insulin activity.
A small pilot study found that Reishi may have reduced fatigue in breast cancer patients. The study was done on 48 patients going through endocrine therapy. The participants were split into an experimental group and a control group.
The results were that the experimental group given Reishi all reported increased energy levels. In addition, they also reported increased appetite, and better quality of life. There was no change reported in the baseline group.
Reishi as a Supplement
Not only used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reishi is fast gaining popularity as a road to overall well-being.* Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking at adding Reishi to your regimen.
The dosage will depend on the potency of the Reishi product and your age, metabolism, body weight, and overall health. The typical dosage of Reishi is 1400 to 5400 mg, but always check with the manufacturer’s guidelines, and if you’re in doubt, check with your healthcare provider.
Reishi supplements are safe for most people to consume. However, some people are allergic to mushrooms and should avoid them. In addition, Reishi can interact with existing medications, so check with your healthcare provider if you have preexisting health conditions.
Always buy high-quality Reishi products from reputable manufacturers, as low-quality products may contain contaminants or inadequate beneficial compounds.
Most people don’t report any side effects when using Reishi, but some can experience mild symptoms like digestive discomforts or skin rashes. If you’re showing a reaction, stop taking Reishi and check with your healthcare provider.
Reishi: Final Thoughts
Reishi and other nootropic mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, especially in Asian cultures. However, they are quickly gaining popularity worldwide, and the demand for supplements is skyrocketing.
While more human trials are needed to substantiate Reishi’s reported health benefits, the results show the mushroom is undeniably beneficial.
If you want Reishi dietary supplements, check out our Nootropic Mushroom products at Blessed Wellness.* Reishi is a staple ingredient in our HerBalance formula for women and our BrainBoost nootropic supplement. Our products are made under the strictest standards in GMP and ISO-certified facilities to ensure the best quality!
*It is important to note that the benefits of these products have not been conclusively proven. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and the NHS has not made any guarantees about the efficacy of such products.