Mushrooms can be delicious but they can also have all kinds of health benefits when they’re used as supplements, which is the case with both chaga and maitake mushrooms. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the reishi mushroom. We’ll go over reishi coffee health benefits, reishi mushroom side effects, and much more.
What is a Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushrooms are known by a few different names, including lingzhi or ganoderma lingzhi. This polypore fungus features a brown-red cap that is the same shape as a fan. Unlike many other mushrooms, reishi features pores that allow it to release its spores, which are between 80 and 120 μm in size.
These mushrooms typically grow around the stumps and bases of maple trees, though they may also grow under other deciduous trees. However, reishi is relatively rare in the wild because only three out of 10,000 trees will feature these mushrooms. Because of this, these mushrooms are usually cultivated.
Cultivation was spurred on by the popularity of these mushrooms in traditional Chinese medicine, where they have been used for thousands of years. In spite of the body of anecdotal evidence, studies are still ongoing to determine whether or not reishi mushrooms provide any scientifically proven benefits when used as supplements.
Reishi Mushroom Benefits List
Immune System Benefits
One of the most studied reishi benefits is the mushroom’s ability to help reinforce your immune system. More in-depth studies are in progress, but prior studies have demonstrated that reishi mushrooms can change the inflammation pathways in human white blood cells, which are responsible for immune responses to foreign invaders.
Scientists recommended additional study of reishi’s benefits because of the inconsistency of the studies that have taken place. For example, some studies have shown that it can help improve lymphocyte functionality while other studies have shown no difference in immune function in healthy adults.
Fatigue and Depression Relief
Reishi capsules’ benefits don’t only extend to immune function, as they may also be able to help improve the mood of the person taking them. Some studies have shown that reishi mushrooms can help people deal with neurasthenia, which is a condition in which people have to deal with irritability, headaches, dizziness, and aches.
Other studies have been conducted on cancer survivors, and the results showed that quality of life was improved and fatigue was reduced for the test subjects. In the same study, the test subjects also showed lowered rates of depression and anxiety, which bodes well for reishi’s mental effects.
Reishi mushroom is a big deal in communities of cancer survivors because of its purported anti-cancer effects. Test tube studies that have been conducted using this mushroom have shown that it contributes to the death of cancer cells, though it’s still too early to tell whether this is the case when it’s in the human body.
The two forms of cancer that reishi has been tested to treat include prostate cancer, in which one study found promising results that were later debunked by a follow-up study. On the other hand, another study found that reishi may be able to help shrink tumours that are present in the large intestine.
Reishi Mushroom Supplement Types
There are several different types of reishi mushroom supplements that you’ll find available, including powders, extracts, and capsules. Capsules tend to be the easiest to consume and they also let you determine the dosage with greater accuracy, though they may sometimes be more expensive.
Reishi Extract vs. Powder
The most significant difference between reishi extract and reishi powder is when each of them were harvested. Reishi extract is taken from the mushroom’s fruit body, later on in its life cycle. Reishi powder is usually sourced from the spores that the mushroom produces when it is ready to reproduce. Both reishi powder and reishi extract have comparable effects.
Finding Reishi Mushrooms
If you’re searching for reishi mushrooms, you’ll want to look for them around the bases of larger trees like maples. However, as we’ve already mentioned, finding reishi mushrooms in the wild is very difficult because of how rarely they grow. Estimates range between 2 and 3 reishi mushrooms per 10,000 trees.
Reishi Mushroom Liver Toxicity
While reishi mushrooms have many benefits, they have sometimes caused complications in people’s livers. The reason why this occurs is relatively unknown, though there are studies underway to determine whether it had something to do with the mushrooms themselves or if the people who were using them as supplements had underlying conditions.
This study details how a hepatotoxic effect was first observed in 2004 in a patient from Hong Kong. One year later, the paper’s authors witnessed two individuals come down with fatal cases of hepatotoxic episodes after they had taken reishi mushrooms in powdered form.