Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

Reishi mushrooms: Benefits, side effects, and dosage

What are the Benefits of Reishi Mushroom?

  • Can boost immunity
  • May help prevent and treat cancer
  • Can combat depression and fatigue
  • Supports heart health
  • May help control blood sugar
  • Enhances liver function

The reishi mushroom is one of the popular fungi used in eastern medicine. There are a variety of health benefits that are linked to this mushroom. If you want to know more about its potential benefits to your health, please read on.

One of the main benefits of the reishi mushroom is its capability to enhance the immune system. (1)

Based on test-tube studies, reishi can impact the genes found in the white blood cells. They also revealed that there are reishi types that could change the white blood cells’ inflammation pathways. (1)

Moreover, research involving cancer patients showed that there are molecules in reishi that can enhance the activity of the natural killer cells, which are a kind of white blood cells. These cells aid in fighting against cancer and other infections in the body. (1, 2)

This fungus is also claimed to have potential cancer-fighting properties. For this reason, many people are taking reishi supplements already. (1, 2)

There are several test-tube studies suggesting that reishi can cause the death of cancer cells. (1, 2, 3)

Moreover, a study conducted in more than 4,000 breast cancer survivors discovered that 59% of them actually took reishi supplementation. (1)

Research also supports the claim that reishi mushroom may help slow down or even fight the progression of colorectal cancer. It was observed that a year of treatment using reishi was able to reduce the size and number of tumours found in the large intestine. (1, 2)

There are other studies that indicated how this fungus may positively affect cancer patients. (1)

Another benefit attributed to reishi mushroom is the improved quality of life due to the decrease in depression and fatigue.

A study observed the effects of this mushroom on 132 individuals with neurasthenia. This condition is characterised by dizziness, aches, irritability, headaches, and pains. It resulted in reduced fatigue, leading to improved well-being after eight weeks of consuming reishi. (1)

One more study involved a group consisting of 48 breast cancer survivors. It found that four weeks of reishi supplementation resulted in reduced fatigue and improved life quality. These people were also able to experience less depression and anxiety. (1)

Reishi mushroom may also support heart health. A 12-week long study involving 26 respondents revealed that this fungus could decrease triglycerides and increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels. (1)

In addition, reishi may help regulate blood sugar as well. Some studies showed that reishi has molecules that can reduce animals’ blood sugar. (1, 2)

Reishi also functions as adaptogens which aid in preventing liver disease and improving liver condition. This allows the body to get rid of the bacteria and toxins and improves immunity from possible diseases.

One study which was published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms revealed that reishi has hepatoprotective properties which may cure an acute liver injury. This is because of its antioxidant capacities that help combat harmful immune responses that result in a slowed liver function. (1)

These are all promising benefits from the reishi mushroom. However, the research about their safety and effectiveness on humans is still lacking. More studies are needed to confirm its efficacy.

What is Reishi Mushroom?

Reishi mushroom is a kind of fungus that is found outdoor. It is native to some Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, and China. It is known by its scientific name Ganoderma lucidum.

This mushroom usually grows above the ground. It is characterised by a “fruiting body” and mycelium, or “connective strands”. Reishi is edible, but it has a bitter taste and a tough texture, so no one likes eating it as it is.

The reishi mushroom is usually consumed as a supplement. You can find it in an extract, powder, tea, tincture, or herbal medicine form.

How Does Reishi Mushroom Work?

The secret behind reishi’s healing potential is its active ingredients. They include plant sterols, which are precursors to the body’s hormones, beta-glucans, the polysaccharides that can prevent cancer development, and triterpenes, which can inhibit allergic reactions.

In addition, reishi works as an immune modulator. This aids in restoring the hormonal balance, regulating the immune system activity, and bringing back that body to homeostasis. It can also help combat against cancerous cells and tumours.

According to research, this fungus acts as a normalising substance. It helps regulate cellular systems, such as immune, endocrine, central nervous, cardiovascular, and digestive systems.

How Do I Take Reishi Mushroom?

In traditional Chinese medicine, the reishi supplement is prepared by following some steps. First, the mushrooms are dried. Next, they are cut into small slices and are boiled in hot water. Last, they are steeped to create a soup or a healing tea. Now, reishi product manufacturers use a different technique. The mushrooms are boiled at high-pressure multiple times. The active ingredients are then extracted to make a tincture.

When it comes to supplementation dosing, there are different factors to be considered. Some of them are the age and the user’s health condition. Anyone who wishes to take a reishi mushroom supplement is advised to consult a healthcare provider first.

Can I Take Reishi with Vitamins or Medicines?

The following medications should not be combined with reishi mushroom products because of interactions.

Antihypertensive drugs, or medicines for high blood pressure, are known to interact with reishi. Since the mushroom may decrease blood pressure, taking it as a supplement together with this form of medication might result in too low blood pressure. Some of the antihypertensive drugs prescribed are Amlodipine (Norvasc), captopril (Capoten), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), and others.

Reishi can interact with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs. Taking reishi with such medications may slow down blood clotting and increase bleeding and bruising. The examples of these drugs are warfarin (Coumadin), ibuprofen (Advil), clopidogrel (Plavix), heparin, and aspirin.

If you are taking any medication, please consult your doctor first before considering reishi supplementation.

Is Reishi Mushroom Safe?

Reishi mushroom can be safely consumed when taken appropriately. It is safe for adults when orally taken and in proper doses for a maximum of one year. In rare cases, powdered forms of reishi may be contaminated or stronger, which could result in a greater toxicity risk. Therefore, make sure you purchase reishi products from a reliable company.

Some side effects of reishi have been reported and they include skin rashes, mouth dryness, bloody stool, nosebleeds and an upset stomach. However, these are commonly experienced by users with impaired immune systems.

Unless taking it under medical supervision, pregnant and breastfeeding moms must avoid taking reishi. There has been no research yet on the possible effects of this fungus on these populations.