Reishi is one of the best-known functional mushrooms and has a broad range of potential uses. It has featured in oriental medicine for over 2000 years and is now making its mark on the western world.
These beautiful fungi were once reserved for nobility due to their rarity in the wild. However, they are now widely cultivated and available to people from all walks of life. This is wonderful news for anyone hoping to benefit from all they have to offer. Their popularity means that reishi mushrooms are now more accessible and affordable than ever before.
Here is everything you need to know, from the best reishi mushroom dosage to reishi mushroom side effects and more. Read on for our complete guide.
What Is Reishi Mushroom?
There are several different types of reishi, all of which belong to a family of fungi known as Ganoderma.
The most popular variety is Ganoderma lucidum. The word lucidum drives from the Latin for “shiny” and refers to the mushroom’s lacquered appearance. They have a distinctive shape and color and usually grow on rotting wood.
Reishi has a long history of use in East Asian medicine. It first appeared in a Chinese text known as The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica, published between 25 and 220 CE. It is listed as a “superior herb,” meaning that it was considered non-toxic and safe for regular use.
The book describes numerous reishi mushroom uses, although it was most commonly taken as a general tonic. It was thought to promote longevity and gained a reputation as the “mushroom of immortality.”
Reishi is still listed in the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China, and its use is widespread throughout China and Japan. It is also rapidly becoming popular in the West as more people become aware of its potential to support wellbeing.
Let’s look closer at the benefits of reishi and why it is becoming so well-known.
What Is Reishi Mushroom Good For?
Studies have shown that reishi mushrooms contain over 400 different active compounds. This gives them a broad range of effects on the body and potential benefits for health.
Like most fungi, they are a good source of beta-glucans. These complex molecules have a range of benefits but are best known for boosting the immune system. This is one of the primary reasons people use reishi and has been the focus of much scientific research.
Reishi also contains triterpenes, which affect the body in various ways. Many experts believe that they could help to induce a sense of calm and support healthy sleep cycles. This is another of the most common uses for reishi mushrooms.
They also have a great nutritional profile, including all nine essential amino acids and numerous vitamins and minerals. Therefore, these fungi could provide a novel way to supplement a balanced diet and support general wellbeing.
Reishi Mushroom Side Effects
The side effects of reishi mushrooms are usually mild and include gastrointestinal upsets, dizziness, and rashes.
Most people can take reishi without experiencing severe issues. However, the mushrooms could interact with some medications, including anticoagulants, antidiabetic drugs, and blood pressure medicines. They could also cause problems if people take them alongside other herbal remedies with similar effects.
Other reishi mushroom side effects include increasing the risk of bleeding in susceptible individuals. Therefore, people with bleeding disorders should consult a physician before use. It is also advisable to stop taking reishi two weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of complications.
If in any doubt, consult a physician or other healthcare professional for guidance before use.
How to Use Reishi Mushroom
There is no single best use of reishi mushroom as different individuals have very different requirements. Fortunately, supplements come in a wide variety of forms to suit every lifestyle.
Reishi tea is one of the most traditional ways to consume the fungus. It is made by simmering fresh or dried mushrooms in hot water. Although simple, this method is time-consuming, and not everyone enjoys the mushroom’s bitter taste. Therefore, this technique is one of the less practical ways to take reishi, and many people prefer powders or capsules.
There are plenty of uses for reishi mushroom powders. They can be added to smoothies, lattes, soups, sauces, or pretty much any other dish.
Meanwhile, capsules offer the most convenient consumption method as they can just be swallowed with water. This is ideal for people with hectic schedules or who need to take reishi on the go.
There is no standard reishi mushroom dosage. The amount required will depend upon the person taking it and their reason for doing so. Consumers should follow the instructions on their supplement’s packaging or consult a professional for advice.
Summary on Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits
There are many uses for reishi mushrooms, and humans have been aware of their benefits since ancient times. These fungi have been a staple of East Asian medicine for centuries and are now becoming known worldwide.
Some of the best-known reishi mushroom benefits are supporting immunity, inducing a sense of calm, and promoting healthy sleep cycles. Therefore, they could make a valuable addition to any healthy diet. Furthermore, supplements are available in a range of forms to suit every lifestyle need.
Most people can take reishi without experiencing serious side effects. However, as with any supplement, it is worth consulting a healthcare professional before using it for the first time.
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Audrey has worked as a registered dietitian for 6 years. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 2014 she began an internship with the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, and was hired as an Outpatient Dietitian following graduation. She started her career counseling a variety of patients with different health concerns and disease states. After a few years into practice, she found her passion was working in cancer care, and has spent the last 4 years specializing in oncology nutrition.
In her practice, Audrey has spent a significant amount of time reviewing literature on herbal and dietary supplements in the cancer care setting. Through her work at Vidacap, she hopes to continue to expand her knowledge and understanding of the benefits of supplements in conjunction with promoting a healthy, balanced diet and management of overall health and well being.