Red Reishi- “The Mushroom Of Immortality.”
Red Reishi Mushrooms Boost The Body’s Immune System. Referred to as the “King of Mushrooms,” the “red shrooms” contain potent anti-inflammatory properties ties to enhanced immune function, mental clarity, and life extension.
By: Marlene Affeld
Found growing on logs and decaying tree stumps (primarily plum and oak trees) across the coastal regions of China, Korea, Japan, and North America, Red Reishi (Ganoderm lucidum), known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, is a common forest fungus oft described as “woody,” tough,” and “bitter. In spite of its unpleasant taste and texture, for centuries, the Red Reishi mushroom, also commonly known as Lin Zi or the “Mushroom of Immortality” has been prized for its amazing curative nutraceutical properties.
Long considered “Number One” amongst the higher herbs, the amazing curative properties of reishi mushrooms were documented in Shen Nung Pen Ts’ao Ching (Divine Husbandman’s Materia Medica) transcribed medical records as early as 56 B.C.
Over the years, the “funky” fungus has also been known by many different names, include “Good Omen Plant,” Ten-Thousand Year Mushroom. “Auspicious Herb,” “ The Divine Fungus,” “Spirit Plant,” and “Happy Herb.” Reishi mushrooms are found in six different colors. It’s only the red variety Akashiba (red reishi), that is utilized in alternative medicine.
The other five colors of reishi mushroom are named Shiroshiba (white reishi), Aoshiba (blue reishi), Kuroshiba (black reishi), Murasakishiba (purple reishi) and Kishiba (yellow reishi). The red reishi mushrooms presents a brilliant, shiny appearance when wet: a dry, dull shade of brick red when dry.
Red Reishi Mushrooms Promise Health and Longevity
For more than 2,000 years in holistic medicine practices, Chinese Materia Medica recommended red reishi mushrooms as a treatment for many of the issues associated with aging, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and liver problems. The Chinese name, Ling Zhi, symbolizes “a combination of spiritual potency and essence of immortality.” In traditional Chinese medicine, reishi is linked to good health, divine power, success, and longevity.
Once rare and expensive, reishi mushrooms were reserved for royalty and the very affluent. Today advances in wild harvesting, organic cultivation, and modern extraction techniques make these medicinal mushrooms readily available and affordable to the general public. Increased availability fosters a powerful explosion of medical research into the unusual components and properties of the “immortality mushroom.” For the consumer, enhanced cultivation methods offer a pure and consistent product from lot to lot versus wild-harvested red reishi mushrooms. In the lab, it is feasible to grow organic red reishi mushrooms in sterile laboratory conditions, where they are free from contamination from dust, pollens, mold, and insect droppings.
The King Of Mushrooms
Often referred to as the “King of Mushrooms,” the “red shrooms” contain potent anti-inflammatory properties ties to enhanced immune function, mental clarity, and life extension. Exhaustive medical research studies have consistently indicated that red reishi mushrooms have powerful antioxidant abilities that strengthen the body’s defense against a diverse array of illness and ailments.
Red Reishi Mushrooms Boost The Body’s Immune System
When it comes to bolstering the immune system, the red reishi mushroom is reported to help protect the body from influenza, bronchitis, asthma, HIV/AIDs, swine flu, and a host of viral infections. Medical research indicates the powerful little mushroom also helps protect the body from cardiovascular problems, combats altitude sickness, increases oxygen utilization, relieves chronic fatigue syndrome, assists in the treatment of anaphylactic shock, wards off insomnia, relieves the pain of a herpes breakout, reduces stress, relieves lower urinary tract symptoms, helps prevent neurodegenerative disorders, and helps prevent and heal cancer.
Red Reishi mushrooms act as an immune system modulator by helping to restore the body’s normal hormonal balance, regulating the activity of the immune system and contribute to bringing the body back to homeostasis, regulating cellular functions and systems, including the central nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular, and immune system.
Similar to a multi-vitamin, red reishi mushrooms are considered a “multi-herb” in that they have a diverse array of medicinal benefits. Red Reishi mushroom tea or supplements have also proven effective in the treatment of inflammation, hepatitis A, anxiety, depression, and diabetes. The red reishi mushroom has also proven effective in treating chronic hepatitis B.
Red Reishi Mushrooms Heal Stomach Ulcers
In the treatment of digestive disorders, red reishi mushrooms have an eighty percent efficiency rating when it comes to relieving symptoms and curing stomach ulcers.
Red Reishi Mushrooms Combat Migraine Headaches
Extensive medical research studies confirm red reishi mushroom to be highly effective in completely curing even the worst migraine headaches. Researchers believe that a shortage of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia) is the primary cause of a migraine attack. Dependent on the individual, when a specific threshold of oxygen deprivation occurs, a migraine attack is imminent. To treat migraine headaches and prevent their reoccurrence, natural health care providers typically recommend a dosage of three 200 mg capsules, three times daily before meals.
Red Reishi Mushrooms Are Non-Toxic
Research indicates red reishi mushrooms are capable of dramatically impacting our health. However, when compared to medications, “red schrooms” are non-toxic with little or no side effects. Individuals taking reishi supplements report they feel a boost in mental capabilities, energy, and mood while experiencing a reduction in stress, pain, allergies, and infections.
In traditional homeopathic medicine, red reishi mushrooms are harvested, sliced, dried, and then steeped in boiling water for a healing tea. Today, pharmaceutical manufacturers utilize a complicated process where reishi mushrooms are boiled several times under intense pressure, allowing the active ingredients to be extracted.
While it's fine to eat reishi mushrooms raw or cooked, they are rather bitter and unpalatable. The powdered form can be mixed into smoothies, soups, and stews or ingested in capsule form. Sliced or diced dried red reishi mushrooms brewed as a tea, are quite tasty with the addition of lemon and honey.
Red Reishi Mushrooms And Cancer
Clinical studies are currently underway to determine the antioxidants found in red reishi mushrooms that kill cancer cells. While preliminary data is encouraging, it is not conclusive. What science tells us it knows for sure, consuming red reishi mushrooms as a tea or supplement will not interfere with Western medicine cancer treatments. If you are under a doctor’s care for the treatment of cancer, discuss adding red reishi mushrooms to your nutritional support plan.
Recent clinical research studies at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center reported: “Applications of Ganoderma should be considered for (1) chemoprophylaxis of cancer in individuals at high risk for developing cancer (2) adjuvant use in the prevention of metastasis or recurrence of cancer (3) palliation of cancer-related cachexia and pain and (4) adjunctive use with concurrent chemotherapy to reduce side-effects, maintain leukocyte counts and allow a more optimal dosing of chemo or radio-therapeutics.”
Slone Kettering Memorial Cancer Center advises, “Reishi mushrooms contain complex sugars known as beta-glucans that may stop the growth and prevent the spread of cancer cells. When animals were fed beta-glucans, some cells of their immune system became more active. Limited data from clinical studies suggest reishi can strengthen the immune response in humans. In addition, reishi mushrooms contain sterols that can act as precursors to hormones in the body, along with substances called triterpenes that may have blood pressure-lowering and antiallergy/antihistamine effects. Reishi mushrooms have also been shown to slow the process of blood clotting. Reishi mushroom can cause toxicity in some immune cells. More studies are needed to confirm that it is safe and effective for cancer treatment.”
Dried, powdered, or in capsules, reishi mushrooms are available from naturopathic healers, health food stores, and online nutritional supplement providers.
Holistic health practitioners typically recommend 1,500 mg/day as a supplemental adult dosage. Be sure to check with your physician or healthcare provider before adding reishi or any other herbal supplement to your wellness regimen. Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and prescription and over-the-counter medications you are presently taking to suggest a reishi mushroom dosage and form that is right for you.
Red Reishi Mushrooms And Vitamin C
Research studies of red reishi mushrooms found reishi are made up of extremely large organic Beta-Glucan molecules, the size of which is difficult for the body to absorb through the intestines. Studies reveal reishi mushroom supplements, when co-administered with Vitamin C, break down into smaller molecules more readily absorbed through the stomach and intestines. Research points to this being true for other mushroom Beta-Glucans as well.
In his book ” "Reishi Mushroom: Herb of Spiritual Potency and Medical Wonder," published in 2002, Dr. Terry Willard, extensively explores the medical benefits of reishi mushrooms, sighting the extensive study and documentation conducted by Dr. Fukumi Morishige, M.D., Dr. Med. Sci., Ph.D., one of the leading experts in researching the incredible medical benefits of reishi mushrooms. Dr. Willard’s book is highly recommended reading for anyone considering adding reishi mushrooms to their health and anti-aging arsenal.
Safety And Efficacy
In naturopathic medicine, reishi mushrooms are looked upon as an adaptogen herb-like substance that helps the body deal with the negative impact of stress, such as low energy levels, increased inflammation, and hormone imbalances.
Many natural healers recommend reishi mushroom supplements to help manage high blood pressure. Although there is substantial anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness, it has not been adequately proven by scientific study. However, scientists do know that reishi mushrooms can cause thinning of the blood, and should be avoided by individuals on blood thinners, anticoagulants or an antiplatelet. Dr. Cathy Sabota, Horticulture Specialist at Metro News Access Education in an article entitled “A Reishi Mushroom A Day May Keep The Doctor Away, notes, “The medicinally effective component of mushrooms may vary depending upon what is to be treated.
Individuals taking reishi mushrooms supplements for the first time may experience minor symptoms as the active ingredients work in cleansing the body systems. Symptoms may include thirstiness, sleepiness, frequent urination, excessive sweating, bloating, or a rash. Symptoms are typically of short duration and relatively mild.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before adding reishi or any other nutritional supplement to your health and wellness regimen.
Reishi Mushrooms – WebMD
Reishi – Michigan Medicine – University Of Michigan
Reishi Mushrooms – Memorial Slone Kettering Cancer Center
Reishi Mushrooms – The Original Snake Oil – Dr. Terry Willard
Lucidum (Reishi mushroom) For Cancer Treatment – U. S. National Library of Medicine
A Reishi Mushroom A Day May Keep The Doctor Away – Metro News Access Education