Ganoderma lucidum, an oriental fungus, has a long history of use for promoting health and longevity in China, Japan, and other Asian countries. It is a large, dark mushroom with a glossy exterior and a woody texture. The Latin word lucidus means “shiny” or “brilliant” and refers to the varnished appearance of the surface of the mushroom. In China, G. lucidum is called lingzhi, whereas in Japan the name for the Ganodermataceae family is reishi or mannentake.
Overview of Reishi
Reishi has been one of the most widely known and highly regarded staples in the medicine of many Eastern cultures for almost 2,000 years. Known for its kidney-shaped caps and shiny red-brown hue, reishi’s formal taxonomic name, Ganoderma lucidum, derives from the Greek roots ganos, meaning “brightness, sheen,” derma or “skin,” and lucidum, which means “glowing.” The mushroom typically grows on decaying hardwood trees in the temperate forest areas of Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States. It can reach eight inches in diameter.
Reishi mushrooms are 90% water and 10% solids. They contain macronutrients: protein, complex carbohydrates, and a small amount of fat. Rich in minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese, reishi also provides essential micronutrients. In addition, research scientists have identified about 400 bioactive compounds that include polysaccharides, triterpenoids, nucleotides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, and proteins/peptides.
Wild reishi is incredibly rare; therefore, it was once reserved for emperors and kings. Fortunately, mycologists have successfully cultivated potent and bioavailable forms of this functional mushroom on nutritious substrates like organic oats. Available in various forms, including certified organic powders and convenient capsules, reishi has a slightly bitter taste but may be mixed into hot and cold drinks or creative receips. It can be consumed at any time of the day.
Reishi mushrooms may help with ailments including:
- Boosting the Immune System
- Reducing Tumor Growth in Cancer Patients
- Reducing Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, and/or Irritability
- Reducing Inflammation
- Treating HIV and AIDS
- Lowering Blood Pressure or High Cholesterol
Reishi mushrooms are best-known for their purported effects in boosting the immune system and helping fight off cancer. However, studies do not support the alleged benefits of reishi mushrooms.
- reducing symptoms of an enlarged prostate
- treating memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease.
- reducing noncancerous tumors in the rectum or colon
- treating clogged arteries
- alleviating stress
- reducing fatigue from cancer
- treating poisoning
- improving blood sugar levels in those with diabets
- getting rid of stomach ulcers
- healing cold sores and genital herpes
- reducing human papollomavirus in the mouth
- treating lung cancer
- reducing fatigue
- treating altitude sickness
- treating hepatitis B
- alleviating asthma and bronchitis symptoms
- curing liver disease
- alleviating pain from shingles
- treating kidney disorders
- boosting the immune system
- treating viral infections
- curing HIV
- treating chronic fatigue syndrome
- treating prostate cancer
- helping people sleep
The right dosage of reishi mushroom extract or powder can vary widely depending on which form of the mushroom a person uses. It is important to check the label of the specific product for the recommended dosage.
Before taking a reishi mushroom supplement, a person should talk to a doctor. Supplements can interact with other medications, potentially causing adverse effects, and worsen some health conditions.
A doctor may be able to recommend alternative therapies and treatments that work better for people based on their medical history.