5 Health Benefits of
Over the past decade, there has been a steady pace of new natural product introductions focused on boosting a person’s immune system and increasing cognition, and one product ingredient that is gaining a lot of attention are the various types of fungi/mushrooms being added into health and wellness products.
Now, we are not talking about the kind of mushrooms referred to as “magic mushrooms” of 1960’s and 70’s “Hippie” lore. Magic mushrooms contain a substance called psilocybin that is hallucinogenic when consumed, meaning, it can make people who consume these mushrooms hallucinate.
In this blog, I am talking about functional mushrooms that hold enormous promise as alternative or adjunct therapies with the potential to address mild to serious conditions and symptoms. One of these mushrooms is called Reishi, and in case you are wondering whether consuming Reishi or other types of mushrooms is healthy for you and a potential medicine, there are hundreds maybe thousands of medical studies you can find on the National Institute of Health’s Library of Medicine website on Reishi alone, and here is just one study.
Reishi mushrooms grow on the sides of dying or dead trees in hot and humid climates in Asia, but they can also grow in colder climates in the Pacific Northwest, like Oregon, and in North America. Depending on where they are grown and the climate, the appearance can be different, but the medicinal benefits are typically the same.
Generally speaking, they have a unique reddish appearance that changes to orange and yellow as you move towards the edges, but they don’t have a stem or gills like other mushrooms. They look like a clam shell or seashell turned sideways. It would be extremely difficult to eat a reishi mushroom, so it is typically consumed as tea or in a powder or extracted form, like a tincture.
The numerous medical studies and research done on reishi have uncovered a versatile mushroom whose compounds may help to support the healthy functioning of several bodily processes. While there are several more benefits to including reishi mushrooms in your daily routine, below are 4 reasons to consider adding it to your health regiment line up.
Boosting the Immune System:
Compounds like beta glucans in reishi mushrooms have been shown to boost the immune system by altering inflammation pathways in white blood cells (critical to immune system function) while increasing a special type of white blood cell called a T-lymphocyte, also known as natural killer cells, and may even be indicated in certain types of cancers as an antiproliferative.
Potential to Control Blood Sugar:
Research done on reishi mushrooms has shown that they possess certain compounds which may decrease blood sugar levels in animals and humans. In one study done on diabetes, beta glucans were shown to have a positive impact on decreasing blood sugar levels. Other research done on reishi mushrooms showed that the polysaccharides in the mushroom can lower blood sugar by blocking an enzyme called glucosidase, which impedes the body’s ability to break down and digest carbohydrates, which can result in a reduction of blood sugar levels.
May Help to Address Symptoms of Depression and Fatigue:
Reishi contains a class of proteins that act as precursors of amino acid neurotransmitters and endorphins that produce a calming effect, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. And because reishi mushrooms are powerful antioxidants, they can defend the body against free radical damage and boost the immune system which may boost energy levels in people with a history of fatigue or lethargy. Reishi mushrooms have also been shown to increase oxygen flow, which can have a positive impact on reducing fatigue.
Potential Cancer Fighting Agents:
In Vitro, (in a test tube or petri dish), substances found in reishi mushrooms have shown that they can initiate the onset of death to a cancer cell. The polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and peptidoglycans are just a few compounds that have been shown to boost the production of “killer” white blood cells in the body, which may be beneficial for fighting the growth and spread of cancer cells.