Reishi mushroom – Benefits, Side Effects

Reishi mushroom has long been a part of the conventional Chinese medicine. It is one of the items available in the dietary supplements market in the United States and can be found in the form of Reishi mushroom powder or in some other form. It is often marketed as Ganoderma lucidum by certain brands. Health conscious users generally tend to add Reishi mushroom powder to their coffee/beverages before consuming it.

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Not much is known about the health benefits of Reishi mushrooms, but it can be safely said that one can intake it and its many forms, with different doses, to correct underlying conditions. It is however advisable to visit a doctor before starting its consumption.

History of Reishi mushroom

The Ganoderma/Reishi mushroom is a type of mushroom that grows abundantly on rotting wood and tree stumps. The Chinese medicine men of the olden days have used Reishi mushroom to treat several ailments such as asthma, cough, fatigue, etc.

Reishi mushroom in its many forms can be widely found throughout the United States. It can be purchased as a health supplement at any health store. Most producers of Reishi mushroom supplements claim that the various forms have similar benefits as that of Reishi mushroom in the natural form and can be used to treat illnesses such as cold, viral conditions, swelling, diabetes, cancer and even HIV infection.

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Health benefits of Reishi mushroom

  • Reishi mushroom powder has abundant quantities of water-soluble polysaccharides and ling zhi-8 protein, which increase the capacity of the immune system to fight diseases. Patients who have immune system abnormalities must consult their health care provider before taking Reishi mushroom supplements.
  • Another component, triterpenes, present in Reishi mushrooms help to lower/maintain the blood pressure
  • Research indicates that migraine headaches can be treated with Reishi mushroom intake.
  • Reishi mushroom has antioxidant qualities which facilitates the removal of hydroxyl free radicals and promotes optimum use of oxygen by the body. This results in better general health and well being.
  • As per certain studies, its consumption can result in the control of cholesterol levels, as it facilitates the decrease in LDL levels and improves the HDL levels. As a result, the risk to cardiac diseases is decreased manifold.
  • Reishi mushroom contains anti-tumor capacities and hence can be consumed to curb, delay and treat different types of cancers
  • It has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and expectorant qualities and thus helps to reduce the effects of seasonal allergies. It has ganoderic acids that suppress histamine release and also improve liver functionally.
  • Some of studies conducted to find the effects of Reishi mushroom, indicate that it has the capacity to reduce the actions of antigens and the hepatitis B virus

Side effects of Reishi mushroom

  • Since Reishi mushroom does not have toxic properties, its consumption rarely results in side effects. However, individuals who are taking immunosuppressive medications or those who have had organ transplant surgery, should avoid Reishi mushroom intake.
  • The initial use or prolonged use of Reishi mushrooms may result in certain side effects such as rashes, digestive issues, sore bones and dizziness.

Reishi mushroom-Nutritional information

  • Raw Reishi mushrooms are not available in the United States and hence their nutritional information is unavailable.
  • The different supplements of Reishi mushroom may vary in nutritional content.
  • The main ingredients of Reishi mushroom powder are hetero-beta-glucans, polysaccharides beta-glucan and triterpenes
  • Other active ingredients are ganoderic acids and ling zhi-8 protein.
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