Library of Nature: Reishi

Reishi is a type of mushroom known as Ganoderma Lingzhi, Ganoderma Lucidum, or simply Lingzhi in the scientific community. Belonging to the family Ganodermataceae, the mushroom is fan or somewhat kidney shaped and has red to orange color. It has a shiny, polished finish on the top. The distinctive color, shape, and lacquered finish make Reishi mushroom easily recognizable.

The mushroom is naturally found in Asia, growing as a saprotroph or parasite on trees. However, it is very rare in the wild; it only grows on two to three tree out of 10,000. Due to its scarcity in nature, the mushroom is now cultivated in many areas.

While Reishi mushroom is technically edible, it isn’t consumed as food because of its tough and woody texture. The primary use of Reishi mushroom is in the herbal world, where it has been revered for its powerful health beneficial properties for more than 2,000 years.

Let’s dive a little deeper to figure out why Reishi is valued by herbal experts and what it has to offer:

Chemical Composition of Reishi

Scientists have identified the following chemical compounds in these red-colored mushrooms:

  • Triterpenes
  • Polysaccharides
  • Peptidoglycans
  • Alkaloids
  • Mannitol
  • Coumarin
  • Sterols – ganoderiol, ganoderol, ganedermadiol, ganodermanontriol, ganderenic acid, and lucidadiol.

A Brief History of Reishi’s Use

Known as the “mushroom of immortality”, Reishi has been a staple in various Asian traditional medicinal systems since ancient times.

In China, the mushrooms have been considered the symbol of divine power, success, wellbeing, and longevity. It’s also regarded as the “herb of spiritual potency”.[2]The 16th century Chinese physician, herbalist, and pharmacologist Li Shizhen highlighted Reishi’s tonifying, energy boosting, heart strengthening, antiaging, and memory boosting properties in his book Ben Cao Gang Mu. The book is considered first pharmacopeia of China.

What makes this rare mushroom even more valuable is that all of its parts have unique health beneficial properties.

Health Benefits of Reishi

Reishi is widely used in the modern day world, primary in form of dietary supplements. Following are some of the science-backed benefits of Reishi mushroom:

·       It Helps Boost the Immune System

Both in-vivo and in-vitro studies have found that the polysaccharides present in Lingzhi can have immune-modulating effects.[3]These chemicals chowed extensive effects on the immune system, including but not limited to promoting cellular immunity and the functioning of antigen-presenting cells.[4] Research has also shown that Reishi may also alter the inflammatory pathways in white blood cells.[5] The immune-modulating effects of the mushroom were found to be more prominent in sick people.

·       It Can Help Fight Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depression

Although these properties of Reishi are not as highly emphasized as its immune boosting properties, several research studies have found the mushroom to be effective in reducing fatigue, anxiety, and depression. A research study conducted on people with neurasthenia found that the participants experienced significant reduction in fatigue and an improvement in overall wellbeing after taking Reishi supplements for eight weeks.[1]

For those who do not know, neurasthenia is a poorly defined medical condition characterized by fatigue, irritability, headache, and emotional disturbance.

In another study, participants also experienced reduced anxiety and depression after taking Reishi powder for four weeks.[6]

The Sum Up

Reishi was also mentioned in the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China, published in the year 2000, as beneficial for sleeplessness, shortness of breath, dizziness, cough and some other respiratory conditions, relaxing the mind, and replenishing energy (Qi).[7] This shows how much the mushroom is revered in TCM. TCM may not be backed by scientific research, but it recently gained acceptance from the WHO. This, when coupled with thousands of years long history of TCM, is enough to make it an established field of traditional medicine.

A large number of people worldwide refer to Traditional Chinese Medicine to seek alternative remedies for their health issues. If you’re one of them, make use of Reishi mushroom to boost your immune system and get relief from fatigue, anxiety, and depression. You may also experience some other benefits as well. Make sure to get your hands on organic Reishi tincture to get the most out of this beneficial fungus. 

 

References: 

[1]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15857210/

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/

[3]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16230843/

[4]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16230843/

[5]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20574926/

[6]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22203880/

[7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/

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