3 Amazing Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom
6 minute read
Known by mycologists and mushroom enthusiasts as “queen of the mushroom kingdom” and “the mushroom of immortality”; Reishi’s reputation precedes itself. Read on to learn more about this amazing medicinal mushroom and how it can help you to relax, unwind and destress.
Meet the Mushroom: Reishi
Reishi is a fungus belonging to the genus Ganoderma and is sometimes known as ganoderma lucidum or Lingzhi. It has a distinctive red-varnished, kidney shaped cap and a fan-like appearance – one of the most striking mushrooms to look at.
Originating in Asia, Reishi has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and was once reserved for royalty and emperors only. To this day, Buddhists and Taoists continue to use Reishi extracts as a magical elixir of vitality and longevity.
Reishi is extremely rare in its natural form in the wild but luckily for us, it is now cultivated and extracted for its numerous health benefits. Reishi is best taken as an extract as it has tough, woody flesh and tastes incredibly bitter.
What are the Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi is perhaps the most well-researched and widely studied mushroom. It provides a whole spectrum of physical and mental benefits for well-being. Let's explore further.
1. Reishi Mushroom for Sleep and Relaxation
Reishi mushroom extract has been shown to encourage the body to relax and enter a natural, healthy cycle of sleep. It contains many compounds which are both sedative and hypnotic, helping us to fall asleep easier and improve both quality and quantity of sleep.
Reishi mushrooms contain a high concentration and large variety of naturally sedative compounds called 'triterpenes', which work with the nervous system to induce calm, relaxation and drowsiness.
They have also been shown to interact with something called the GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid) pathway. Known as “the brakes of the brain”, GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which lowers neural activity and so promotes sleep. Studies have found that the impact Reishi has on the GABA pathway is another reason why it can help us to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.
Together with the complimentary impact Reishi has on improving mood and reducing stress, Reishi is the ultimate winding-down extract and is ideal for taking before bed.
2. Reishi Mushroom for Stress & Mood
It helps to modulate the body’s response to stress via the adrenal glands, balancing levels of cortisol and adrenaline which are raised when we're stressed. Sometimes stress is unavoidable, but adaptogens like Reishi can help us to overcome it quicker.
Some of the most powerful compounds found in Reishi are Triterpenes. These support the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest system.” This works in the opposite way to the “fight or flight” system and helps to slow down the heart rate, relax muscles and increase gland activity. This can be a powerful in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety.
As well as helping to manage stress, studies have also shown that Reishi can help to support overall mood by reducing feelings of depression and fighting fatigue which is associated with low mood.
3. Reishi Mushroom for Immune Health
Reishi mushrooms are a rich source of beta-glucans, natural polysaccharides which are known to activate and stimulate the immune system.
Mushroom beta-glucans have proven to be an effective adjuvant therapy, helping to maximise the body’s response to things such as vaccines which also target immune function. Beta Glucans also help to manage blood sugar levels as well as maintain healthy gut bacteria and regulate cholesterol balance.
Reishi mushrooms are even naturally antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. The compounds they contain stimulate production of immune cells such as Natural Killer (NK) cells and other white blood cells, whose activity fights off infection and disease. They are also a good source of antioxidants which helps fight free radicals and prevent damage from oxidative stress.
Overall, it’s clear to see why Reishi mushrooms are renowned for their immune-strengthening properties. Even for healthy individuals, Reishi consumption can help the immune system to function optimally and promote overall health and wellness, preventing illness from developing in the first place.
Rheal Superfoods Coco Dream Blend with Reishi Mushroom Extract 🍄
Coco Dream (the chill blend) is a blend of raw cacao, Reishi Mushroom, ashwagandha, Ceylon cinnamon and rcoconut sugar.
It is the perfect superfood hot-chocolate alternative, containing Reishi mushroom extract as well as the powerful adaptogen ashwagandha and raw Peruvian cacao - to help you relax, unwind and destress naturally with a delicious cocoa drink.
Easily added to smoothies, oats or enjoyed as a warming hot cocoa with your favourite plant-based milk, Coco Dream is a convenient and enjoyable way to get your daily serving of health-boosting Reishi.
Sedative Activity of Triterpenes - https://thesleepdoctor.com/2019/12/03/terpenes-they-are-not-just-in-marijuana-and-they-can-help-with-sleep/
Impact of Reishi on the GABA Pathway - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17383716/
Mood Regulation and Reishi Mushroom - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22203880/
Beta-Glucans Found in Reishi Mushroom are an Effective Adjuvant Therapy - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sji.12833?fbclid=IwAR00YpnjYgGVrRlCsveuIYj0ozrxITuVX24jvrb622UBqXKAm1GxFmlXupA
Reishi Mushrooms and Immunity - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16428086/