Did you know that Reishi is known as “elixir of life” in Chinese medicine? One of its many names! Indeed, reishi can benefit your body and mind in many ways. In fact, it is one of the oldest mushrooms to be used as medicine.1

Here is a beginner’s guide to reishi as a medicinal mushrooms…

Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

Because it’s woody and bitter, reishi is strictly medicinal. In other words, it’s not enjoyably edible! So most often, you’ll often find reishi in a dried, ground form. Or one finds it as tablets, liquid extracts, or capsules.

  • Reducing inflammation: First, reishi can boost the body’s response to inflammation and sickness. That includes overall immunity and allergic response. It also includes rheumatoid arthritis and joint stiffness. Other similar mushrooms, like maitake, also boast these qualities.2
  • Fighting cancer: Even more surprising, reishi has been known to help fight cancer.3 It may reduce or limit growth of malignant tumors. And it also supports the body while fighting off cancer. For example, a recent study found that reishi improved quality of life for patients of chemotherapy.4
  • Limiting infections: In addition, reishi has antiviral and antifungal qualities. Typical of medicinal mushrooms, these qualities help to fight off infection and disease.

In general, practitioners see reishi as a support against many health problems. It can defend against seizures, diabetes, heart disease, and gut problems. Research continues to explore this medicinal mushroom’s many benefits.

Active Ingredients in Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi finds its medicinal qualities in many compounds. However, a lot of mystery remains… How and why mushrooms work as they do? In reishi, one of the most active compounds is ganoderic acid. This looks similar to a regular steroid. This may also help the body fight cancer.5

Also, like other mushrooms, reishi contains prebiotics, like polysaccharides. These compounds act like food for good bacteria. They help to strengthen the immune system.

Native Habitat of Reishi Mushroom

Man holding reishi mushroom. By Chen Hungsho (1599-1652)

Reishi grow on trees in a wide variety of climates. That includes from tropical to sub-tropical to temperate. But it mostly prefers to grow in warmer climates. It grows on hardwood trees, like oak and maple.

Just don’t get too excited… Finding reishi in the wild is extremely rare!

Commercially, people grow it both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, some people try growing it in their home gardens.

Traditional Uses of Reishi Mushroom

In China, reishi is known as as lingzhi – or “spirit plant.” Early Chinese histories call it the “mushroom of immortality.” It’s all in the name! When included in Chinese art, this medicinal mushroom symbolizes health and longevity.

Chinese herbal medicine used reishi for some 2,000 years. It supports a healthy heart, sharp mind, and general wellness. It protects “the body, mind, and spirit.” Traditionally, people used reishi to improve their meditation practice. For this purpose, it provides the body with centering, balance, and calm.

Today, reishi benefits many people as a medicinal mushroom.

Do you want to learn more about these and other medicinal mushrooms? Get the scoop about medicinal mushrooms and their ability to boost energy and immunity. Then, dive into the details of other mushrooms like chaga, cordyceps, shiitake, turkey tail, maitake, and lion’s mane.

(1) https://examine.com/supplements/ganoderma-lucidum/
(2) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237786143_The_Sacred_Mushroom_Reishi-A_Review
(3) http://sci.cancerresearchuk.org/labs/med_mush/med_mush.html
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22696372
(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24790681
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