Herb of the Month: Reishi Mushroom
Author: Jillian Foster Date Posted:1 June 2019
The mighty medicinal mushroom reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) has gained some popularity in the west in recent years although it has a long history of use for promoting health in China, Japan and other Asian countries. In Asian culture, reishi was more revered than ginseng and was also incredibly rare; those seeking reishi’s medicinal properties would journey great distances to find it. Today, reishi is cultivated making it more readily available.
Reishi mushroom is high in the phytochemical properties of polysaccharides, peptidoglycans and triterpenes. It’s these compounds that are attributed to reishi’s benefits to health including:
Immune system modulation
Reishi mushroom can provide all-round health support, however it is best known for its effects on the immune system. It is able to activate natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell) in the body to help fight off the bad guys, it also has the ability to balance out or modulate the immune system by reducing activity when the system is overstimulated and strengthen the immune system when it is weakened.
Traditionally known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’ in Chinese medicine, reishi’s broad-spectrum health benefits contribute to its reputation for promoting longevity. The polysaccharide and triterpene compounds in reishi exhibit neuroprotective action and have been shown to improve cognitive function.
Reishi has been found to improve liver function and detoxification. There is extensive evidence to show reishi is protective and restorative of the liver; however this evidence is predominantly in animal studies. Nonetheless, the results so far are quite promising for reishi’s role in liver health.
Reishi mushrooms can be eaten as a food, or are most commonly found as a powder that can be added to food and drinks including smoothies.
- "Ganoderma lucidum," Examine.com, published on 3 May 2014, last updated on 3 October 2018, https://examine.com/supplements/ganoderma-lucidum/
- Natural & Alternative Treatments. 2013. Reishi. EBSCO Publishing. Viewed 4/10/18
- Powell M. 2014. Medicinal Mushrooms A Clinical Guide, 2nd ed. Mycology Press, UK. pp.60-65
- Wachtel-Galor, S. et al. 2011. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Chapter 9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/. Viewed 4/10/18
|Written by Jillian Foster|
Jillian (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath who believes through a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle, we have the power to influence our health and the health of future generations. With a passion for herbal medicine, Jillian loves helping people find the right solution for their health needs and educating people on how they can lead a healthy and happy life.
Jillian enjoys keeping active with her two young children and baking them delicious and healthy treats.