Reishi has been one of the most celebrated functional mushrooms in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Its earliest reference is in Chinese medical literature where it is reverently called the “Elixir of Life” and the “Mushroom of Immortality.” Its Chinese name, Ling Zhi, means “divine fungus” or “herb of spiritual potency,” a reference to the adaptogenic nature of this highly coveted tonic. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi is known as a “three treasure” herb that harmonizes jing (life force), qi (energy), and shen (spirit). Thus, the mushroom also symbolizes success, well-being, divine power, and longevity.
Modern scientific research has identified a diverse array of bioactive compounds responsible for the reishi mushroom benefits so valued in Eastern medicine. Researchers have isolated hundreds of polysaccharides and triterpene compounds from reishi. Polysaccharides have been shown to both potentiate and modulate the immune system—acting to support and balance. Triterpenes have demonstrated adaptogenic effects that support blood pressure management, help to regulate mood, and calm allergies. Reishi has also been reported to support endocrine function and hormonal balance.
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 recipes. It can be consumed at any time of the day.
Reishi Mushroom Benefits for Health and Wellness
Reishi’s benefits are diverse and wide-ranging due to its many bioactive compounds. These include beta-glucans polysaccharides and triterpenes. Here are some of the most valuable reishi mushroom benefits:
Support for the Immune System
Keeping your immune system in good working order is a proactive and preventative strategy. Reishi supports the immune system through:
- Polysaccharide compounds found in reishi mushrooms benefit the immune system in multiple ways. By activating immune cells such as macrophages and helper-T cells, reishi influences cellular immunity. As a stimulus to increase immunoglobulin levels, reishi also impacts humoral immunity. In this way, reishi promotes the body’s defense against pathogens like bacteria and viruses by supporting a heightened immune response.
- An overactive immune system can cause allergic reactions. Reishi helps to down-regulate the immune system when appropriate to avoid these overreactions.‡
Has Adaptogenic Effects
Reishi is revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as the premier adaptogen in the Chinese Pharmacopeia. Adaptogens are natural substances that help your body to overcome and adapt to physical, chemical, and biological stress factors. Through actions that include mediation, down-regulation, and up-regulation, reishi’s bioactive compounds work together to support the body’s responses to stress.
Reishi is highly regarded for its support of the endocrine system, especially the adrenal cortex, helping to balance levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.‡ Studies have suggested that taking reishi regularly can help you:
- Reduce anxiousness‡
- Find more stable, long-lasting focus‡
- Restore balance and tranquility to promote restful sleep‡
This benefit is especially helpful in dealing with the effects of a fast-paced, high-stress day.
Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Antioxidant polysaccharides like those found in reishi can neutralize free radicals: atoms, molecules, and ions produced normally as a result of many cellular processes. Their unpaired electrons make them highly reactive and capable of causing tissue damage. Research studies with animals and cell cultures suggest the powerful antioxidants in reishi may help the body keep damaging free radicals in balance. Since oxidative stress ages the cells and tissues of the body, reishi may help to combat the age-accelerating and cell-damaging effects of free radicals.‡
Has Cardioprotective Properties
Reishi is often regarded for several cardioprotective properties. Researchers have reported that active compounds in reishi, especially triterpenes, can support blood pressure and cholesterol management. Reishi supports blood flow and oxygen consumption in the cardiac muscle. It may also inhibit platelet aggregation and complement activation that cause dangerous blood clots.‡
Finding a Quality Reishi Supplement
It’s important to remember that reishi supplements differ significantly. Finding a quality product cultivated and processed according to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) is a good start. Om Mushrooms is proud to offer certified organic reishi mushroom powder in single-species products and curated blends, as well as in convenient capsules, and drink mixes.
Grown by mycology experts at our certified cGMP, state-of-the-art indoor farm in California, we capture the nutritional value of every stage of the mushroom’s life cycle in our whole food reishi powder. After cultivating our mushrooms in specialized clean rooms with filtered air and water, they are dehydrated at a moderate temperature to preserve their nutritional and bioactive compounds. Once dried and milled, our powders are third-party tested to ensure purity and safety from contamination.
Om’s products are convenient, nutritious, and the perfect way for busy people to incorporate the powerful benefits of superfood mushrooms like reishi into their daily health and wellness routine. They are kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, and work well with vegan, paleo, and ketogenic diets.
Reishi Works in Combination With Other Mushrooms and Herbs
When taken with other functional mushrooms and herbs, reishi’s superfood capacity really shines. In Om Mushroom’s Brain Fuel capsules, lion’s mane and rhodiola work in synergy to enhance the reishi mushroom benefits. Lion’s mane, a functional mushroom species rich in bioactive compounds including ericinones and hericenones, supports cognitive and neurological health.‡
When used regularly, lion’s mane may help to keep you focused, allow you to achieve greater cognitive clarity, and feel less distracted.‡ Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that helps with stress management and fatigue, promoting mental acuity and performance. Om’s Brain Fuel+ drink mix offers another opportunity to experience this cognitive supporting blend. It can be easily added to water when you’re busy and on the go.
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Harnessing Reishi Mushroom Benefits in Your Life
Though once reserved for the elite, reishi is now one of the most well-known and widely used functional mushrooms. Its immune-supportive, adaptogenic, and antioxidant properties help the body to maintain homeostatic balance and recover from oxidative stress.‡ It is easy to harness reishi mushroom benefits in your life with your choice of convenient, high-quality products from Om.
Om Mushroom offers multiple products that offer reishi mushroom benefits in convenient, accessible formats. Our products contain the proper reishi daily dosage to enhance your body’s natural immune functions. If you’re looking to take advantage of the benefits of functional mushroom products, shop now or subscribe to save!
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.