Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits: 11 Reasons to Love Lingzhi

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Mankind has been using botanical substances such as mushrooms for health and healing for centuries – without knowing exactly how they worked. One medicinal mushroom that has long been used with great success is Ganoderma lucidum, better known as reishi mushroom or lingzhi.

3 Key Reishi Mushroom Benefits

In an attempt to understand how reishi mushrooms do their work, modern-day scientists have been investigating the exact mechanisms by which reishi mushroom extracts can help us humans. And their discoveries about reishi mushroom health benefits are fascinating! Here are three broad areas where lingzhi (reishi) really seems to shine:

  1. Reishi helps to bring the body back into a state of homeostasis. Homeostasis is the method by which our bodies self-regulate various bodily functions to maintain stability [1]. This helps us to adjust to changing conditions. Reishi mushrooms have an impressive array of antioxidants, polysaccharides, and beta-glucans that endow them with the ability to strengthen the body’s defenses against all sorts of health challenges.
  2. Reishi mushrooms are excellent immuno-modulators [2-5] which means they support the immune system. They act either by influencing the functions of cells from the immune system (e.g., macrophages, dendritic cells, lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells) or by affecting the secretion of antibodies which control infections and help to maintain homeostasis.
  3. Reishi mushrooms are considered by herbalists to be adaptogens. Adaptogens are natural substances (usually plants) which help the body adapt to stressors such as inflammation, mental stress, depleted energy, damage to tissues, and even hormonal imbalances.

Reishi Mushroom Benefits List: 11 Ways Lingzhi is Used in Traditional Healing

ganoderma-lucidum-ling-zhi-reishi-mushroom

Beyond the three broad categories of Ganoderma lucidum benefits listed above, here are 11 specific uses for which reishi mushroom is best known:

  1. Improving energy and diminishing fatigue [6]
  2. Reducing inflammation [7,8]
  3. Promoting normal cell growth [9]
  4. Improving immune function [10-13]
  5. Battling infections and viruses (including HIV) [14,15]
  6. Promoting a healthy liver [16-21]
  7. Improving digestive health [22]
  8. Keeping blood sugar levels under control [23-27]
  9. Improving cardiovascular health [28-31]
  10. Assisting with respiratory disorders like asthma [32,33]
  11. Protecting nerves and brain [34-40]

The Health-Supporting Compounds Found in Reishi Mushrooms

So, just what’s in reishi mushrooms that enable them to provide such a wide array of health benefits? According to science, the main biologically active components of reishi mushrooms include:

  • Polysaccharides – carbohydrates consisting of a number of beneficial sugar molecules bonded together. There are over 200 polysaccharides isolated from reishi [41]. Of these, the beta-glucans are likely the most well-studied.
  • Triterpenes – phytochemical compounds composed of three terpene units with a vast array of biological actions. Over 130 triterpenes have been identified in reishi [42] but the primary ones with most of the studies are known as ganoderic acids.
  • Proteins – consisting of amino acids, the building blocks of all cells.
  • Peptides – necessary for regulating the activities of other biological molecules.
  • Adenosine – present in all cells, the building block for cellular energy.
  • Nucleosides – the basis of nucleic acids, the heredity-controlling components of all living cells.

All of the above components of reishi combine to create an exceedingly beneficial mushroom for our health. Here’s more of what researchers have found about this powerful fungi.

Reishi for Liver Protection

A number of animal studies [43-47] have found reishi mushrooms to have protective effects on the liver. The triterpenes in reishi act to increase levels of antioxidants and inhibit inflammatory processes in the liver.

Can this same protective effect benefit humans? It appears so. A small clinical trial reported in 2017 [48] found that reishi extracts also had liver-protective effects in humans. The participants in the trial receiving the reishi extracts exhibited enhanced levels of antioxidant enzymes. More importantly, ultrasound examinations found that mild fatty liver conditions were reversed to normal.

Reishi for Immuno-modulation

A rapidly growing field of interest in health is that of immuno-modulation. This is a long word which essentially means things that can modulate the activity of the immune system.

Happy multi-generation family walking in the countryside

If the immune system is over-reacting (as it does in autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis), immuno-modulators can act to quiet it down. If the immune system is under-reacting (as it does in cancer and AIDS), immuno-modulators are able to boost immune function.

A number of studies [49-52] have shown that reishi mushroom extracts have beneficial effects on the immune system by modulating its activity. In both animal studies and human trials, reishi is well-tolerated by all beings, from mice to children to the elderly, and helps to provide beneficial support to the immune system.

Reishi for Cancer Patients

We have several decades of research showing that reishi mushroom extracts promote normal cell growth and have anti-cancer activity against many different types of cancer including leukemia [53,54], breast [55-59], colorectal [60-62], ovarian [63], melanoma [64,65], lung [66], cervical [67], liver [68], prostate [69,70], glioma [71], and sarcoma [72].

Studies have shown that reishi extracts act in several different ways to aid cancer patients. They…

  • enhance the activity of the immune system [73-75].
  • have direct action against tumors including inhibiting the growth, stickiness, and spread of cancer cells [76-78].
  • regulate genes associated with the ability of tumors to grow and spread [79,80].
  • enhance the cancer-killing activity of chemotherapy drugs [81].
  • help to sensitize drug-resistant cancer cells to chemotherapy, helping it to work better against cancer cells [82,83].
  • ease chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting [84].
  • improve fatigue in cancer patients receiving endocrine therapy [85].
  • have direct action against tumors including inhibiting the growth, stickiness, and spread of cancer cells [76-78].
  • regulate genes associated with the ability of tumors to grow and spread [79,80].
  • enhance the cancer-killing activity of chemotherapy drugs [81].
  • help to sensitize drug-resistant cancer cells to chemotherapy, helping it to work better against cancer cells [82,83].
  • ease chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting [84].
  • improve fatigue in cancer patients receiving endocrine therapy [85].

Please note that if you have cancer, or suspect that you do, you should NOT rely upon reishi mushrooms alone to treat it. Consult a qualified medical professional for treatment options.

Reishi for Cardiovascular Health

female doctor listening to female patient's heart

Reishi mushrooms appear to act in several different ways to improve cardiovascular health.

An animal study reported in 2018 [86] found that reishi lowered blood levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol (the kind considered by doctors to be the “bad” cholesterol), and increased levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind). Reishi’s impressive array of antioxidants also have a cardioprotective effect [87].

A 2018 clinical trial [88] included 37 high-risk and 34 stable angina patients who were given reishi polysaccharides (750 mg per day in three divided doses) for 90 days. The researchers found that reishi provided significant levels of antioxidants and helped to protect against atherosclerotic plaques in these patients.

A preliminary 2017 cell study [89] investigated reishi mushroom extracts for their potential therapeutic value for injured heart cells known as cardiomyoblasts. They found that the antioxidants and phytochemicals from reishi provided support for these cells, working at the genetic level to minimize oxidative stress and acting as cardioprotectants.

Reishi for Protecting Nerves

Studies have shown that reishi mushrooms also have a protective effect on the brain and nervous system. They may, in fact, be able to play an important role in helping to diminish neurodegenerative diseases like senile dementia.

Cerebral ischemic disease is one of the leading causes of senile dementia and death worldwide. During cerebral ischemia (which is an inadequate supply of blood to the brain), nutrients to the brain are critically reduced which causes damage to brain neurons with associated oxidative stress, inflammation, and eventually neuronal cell death, particularly in the hippocampus of the brain.

A 2014 animal study [90] found that giving reishi extracts for three and seven days prior to the ischemic event reduced the loss of nerve cells in the hippocampus and increased antioxidant levels, thus providing a neuroprotective effect.

Many other studies – mostly with animals [91-96] – have demonstrated that reishi extracts have a protective benefit for the brain and nervous system and may help to protect from senile dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neuro-degenerative processes. Hopefully, human clinical trials will be carried out soon.

Reishi for Controlling Blood Sugar

Hand Testing for Low Blood Sugar

Having high blood sugar levels is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, a condition on the rise in many parts of the world. A number of studies have discovered that reishi extracts appear to have a beneficial effect in lowering high blood glucose levels, at least in animals and test tubes.

While human clinical trial results have been mixed, it is obvious that key extracts from reishi mushrooms modulate the activity of genes involved in insulin signaling pathways. The preliminary studies are certainly promising [97-101].

Reishi for Asthma

Asthma, a chronic inflammatory airways disease, affects some 300 million people across the world. Ganoderic acids derived from reishi have been found, both in cell studies and human patients, to inhibit the inflammatory pathways seen in asthma. [102,103].

If You Choose to Consume Reishi

Reishi mushroom extracts appear to be well tolerated, with few (if any) side effects and many potential health benefits. Always purchase your reishi mushrooms and supplements from a trusted, organic grower due to the fact that some manufacturers use less than scrupulous growing and harvesting techniques, which can damage the important therapeutic phytochemicals derived from the mushrooms.

Reishi is one of the 7 types of beneficial mushrooms included in the Organixx 7M+ formula.


7M+ from Organixx contains 7 of nature’s most powerful mushrooms for anti-aging, longevity, and immune support. Using centuries-old knowledge of the power of nutritional mushrooms and our breakthrough new formulation process we’ve unleashed the power of mushrooms in a way never before done.

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Article Summary

  • One medicinal mushroom that has long been used with great success is Ganoderma lucidum, better known as reishi mushroom or lingzhi.

  • There are three broad areas where reishi really seems to shine:

    • Reishi helps to bring the body back into a state of homeostasis.
    • Reishi mushrooms are excellent immuno-modulators which means they support the immune system.
    • Reishi mushrooms are considered by herbalists to be adaptogens which means they help the body adapt to stressors. 
  • Here are 11 studied health benefits of reishi:

    1. Improving energy and diminishing fatigue 
    2. Reducing inflammation 
    3. Promoting normal cell growth
    4. Improving immune function
    5. Battling infections and viruses (including HIV) 
    6. Promoting a healthy liver 
    7. Improving digestive health 
    8. Keeping blood sugar levels under control 
    9. Improving cardiovascular health 
    10. Assisting with respiratory disorders like asthma 
    11. Protecting nerves and brain 
  • Reishi mushroom is one of 7 types of beneficial mushrooms included in Organixx’s 7M+ formula

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Hello, I’ve read so much positive literature on reishi mushrooms and have therefore wanted terribly to start taking it as a regular supplement. However, I have Multiple Sclerosis and I’ve read that it’s not advised to take these with having this disease.
    I’m sure you’re not supposed to give health advice but I would just like to know if you’ve heard this as well. I’m so close to just DOING IT, but I’m also still a bit concerned if I should take the chance. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.
    Regards, Lauren Clark

    • Hi Lauren, thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear about your Multiple Sclerosis, we understand how challenging it can be to live with that condition.

      You are right, Organixx cannot diagnose, treat or give you advice regarding your health. Unfortunately, we do not have the expertise nor the materials to determine if reishi mushrooms affect MS. With this, we highly recommend to relay this concern to a trusted medical specialist to help you determine if taking reishi mushrooms is safe for you to consume.

      However, we will be publishing your comment in order for other readers to view and comment on. We hope this helped and we wish you the best in your health journey!

    • Hello. I am sorry to hear about your MS. I was at Juicy Oasis (Superjuice Me docu with Jason Vale) last year and there was a lady who had really bad MS – loss of vision, paralysed down one side and she cured through months of juicing and eating an organic plant based diet. Her story was amazing, as were many at the retreat. My daughter healed from severe depression and she was healed in three weeks and is now a thriving young lady getting all As at university. Check out the documentary. By the way I am not being paid for this or in any way trying to sell a product, its just my personal experience and i feel extremely privileged to have my lovely happy healthy daughter back, alive and thriving thanks to Jason Vale and his amazing knowledge at Juicy. Its an incredible place and worth checking out in Portugal – and not too expensive either – we flew from New Zealand to Portugal and it was worth every cent. But anyway, all the best. I hope you too can be cured. Leanne

  2. As a healthy nut at 79+ and on no medication, mushrooms and others supplements, do play a role in healthy
    Lifestyle.
    Like looking after your gut system daily. Only eat what you prepare and cook. Like super smoothies.
    The wonder of life that has been given us , that 99.9% of people who do NOT USE . Is their faith in a personal relationship with Yeshua with The Holy Spirit. The power within to heal . God gave us that in Pslam 18:35
    And Yeshua forfilled That in His time on The Cross.
    If only you give your body a chance to cure any condition, like even in fasting . Your body will create new stem cells.

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