Reishi Mushroom 101: Ganderma Powder/Extract Health Benefits

January 28, 2019 7 min read 18 Comments

Reishi Mushroom 101: Ganderma Powder/Extract Health Benefits

About Reishi Mushroom (AKA Ganoderma Lucidum)

At Peak and Valley, we adhere to the notion that history does not take place in a vacuum. We want to give you the rundown on reishi mushrooms in order for you to take steps to incorporate it into your daily regimen. The wellness community has new trends every day, which can make it hard to truly integrate the “newest” superfood into your diet or use the latest self-care gadget before another comes out. While it can be challenging to keep up with the constant change, Reishi Mushroom has and still is a powerful force in the world of herbal medicine. 

Why? In the past decade, numerous scientific studies have come out showing the benefits of Reishi Mushroom -- benefits that have been recognized in ancient cultural and healing traditions for decades (think: TCM and Ayurveda). This cherry colored ‘shroom does everything from ease your stress to lessen chronic alignments within the body. After reading this article coming across the word reishi on the internet, coffee shop or yoga class, won’t scream unfamiliarity anymore. 

What is Reishi Mushroom?

Reishi is an adaptogenic mushroom that has been a staple of holistic wellness and herbal medicines for decades -- over 200 to be exact.  As a species of the “woody” mushroom family,the fan-shaped ‘shroom boasts orange to reddish-brown hues and can be found in the forest areas of Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States. It prefers tropical and temperate climates where deciduous hardwood trees are abundant.

 

The attractiveness of reishi didn't develop overnight. The extensive history of reishi mushroom began in China, where it was known to be exclusive to the powerful...



History of Reishi

 

The medicinal use of reishi began during the Han dynasty. Over 4,000 years ago, Traditional Chinese healers discovered the mushroom in the Changbai Mountains and believed it held powerful healing properties. 

 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi mushrooms are classified in a group of herbs known asFu Zheng, which Chinese herbalists believe are the most powerful herbs for all-around strength, health, and longevity. The scientific community did not begin to explore the healing characteristics of the mushroom until the later half of the 1960s; scientific research has since affirmed the numerous health benefits of the reishi mushroom that TCM has known about for decades.The reishi mushroom, or its Chinese name,Lingzhi, which translates to “spiritual potency”, is seen to the Chinese as the “medicine of kings” and “mushroom of immortality” for its renowned properties of lengthening life spans and combating aging affects. 

 

How Reishi Works in the Body

As an adaptogen, reishi mushrooms help the body resist stress in a non-specific way. Now, bear with me here, we are about to dive into some light science. If you haven’t already, I suggest taking a look at ourAdaptogens 101 guide

 

Anywho, these fan-shaped ‘shrooms carry a complex array of bioactive molecules which have a plethora of effects on the body. Interestingly, reishi acts as a moderator for the immune system-- when it’s overstimulated, reishi reduces immune system activity. On the flip side, when the immune system is weakened, reishi strengthens it. 

 

Reishi mushroom’s positive effects on the body are widely ranging-- and amazing. Here are a few other things that the lingzi mushroom has been known to do: 

 

    • Anti-Depressant/ Anti-Anxiety: It’s been shown to reduce depression fora population of breast cancer patients.More research is needed here though to confirm whether or not reishi holds inherent antidepressive effects. 
  • Anti-Fatigue: Several studies noticed improvements in fatigue, though this was secondary to certain disease states such as breast cancer. You should note that there haven’t been any studies showing that reishi helps with fatigue in otherwise healthy individuals. 
  • Anti-Cancer Effects: Reishi has repeatedly been shown to activate natural killer cells (the cells that help the body fight tumors). It’s also been known to reduce the chance of cancer spreading to another part of the body (called metastasis). 
  • How Reishi Mushroom Effects Subjective Well Being

     

    Science has shown that Reishi Mushroom increases feelings of overall (subjective) well being -- but what does that actually mean? Does it mean that your overall feelings of health and wellness go up? Kind of. What this means is that the symptoms that you get in disease states become less apparent. 

     

    Here are three different scientific studies that show how reishi mushroom increases your feelings of well being. Let’s take a look at them: 

     

     

    So, again, what does all of this mean? These three studies outline 3 different groups of people, with 3 different diseases -- and all 3 of these groups experienced an increase in their general feelings of well being. In other words, they experienced a decrease in their respective disease states/symptoms. 

     

    What’s also pretty interesting is that reishi mushroom is a very popular anti-cancer herb in China. So while we have the support of these 3 studies stating that reishi mushroom helps with general well being, we also have anecdotal evidence of thousands of Chinese cancer patients who use reishi mushroom as a way to cope with their disease's symptoms. 

     

    How to Incorporate Reishi Into Your Life

     

    Fresh, reishi mushroom is very chewy and -- ahem-- a bit challenging to eat. But, the powdered version of this adaptogenic mushroom is rather versatile in the ways in which it can be incorporated into your daily wellness routine. The powdered form of reishi makes it easy to add to tonics, like coffee, smoothies, or hot chocolate. If you enjoy being in the kitchen, don’t be afraid to sprinkle it into your pancakes, broths, or banana bread. 

     

    The integration of reishi in the morning can be the catalyst for a day liberated from: stress, fatigue, and fluctuating emotions. Try the recipe below the next time you’re feeling stuck in the doldrums: 

     

    Choco-nana Oatmeal Smoothie

     

    If you have yet to try oatmeal in your smoothie, this recipe is a tasty place to start. Adding oatmeal to any smoothie can really make it hardy, which will keep you full for longer while providing you with a plentiful source of protein and slow-burning energy.   

     

    Ingredients:

    • Rolled or instant oats (cooked)
    • Peanut Butter
    • Bananas 
    • Happy Mushroom blend
    • Nuts (optional)
    • Plant milk or water
    • Maple syrup 
    • A pinch of apple pie spice


















    Further Reading

    Cizmarikova, M. (2017). The Efficacy and Toxicity of Using the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), and Its Products in Chemotherapy (Review). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 19(10), 861-877. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.2017024537

     

    Socala, K., Nieoczym, D., Grzywnowicz, K., Stefaniuk, D., & Wlaz, P. (2015). Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 17(3), 209-218. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i3.10

     

    Jin, X., Beguerie, J. R., Sze, D. M., & Chan, G. C. (2009). Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd007731

     

    Cizmarikova, M. (2017). The Efficacy and Toxicity of Using the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), and Its Products in Chemotherapy (Review). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 19(10), 861-877. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.2017024537

     

    Lull, C., Wichers, H. J., & Savelkoul, H. F. (2005). Antiinflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites. Mediators of Inflammation, 2005(2), 63-80. doi:10.1155/mi.2005.63 

     

    Vazirian, M., Faramarzi, M. A., Ebrahimi, S. E., Esfahani, H. R., Samadi, N., Hosseini, S. A., . . . Amanzadeh, Y. (2014). Antimicrobial Effect of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) and Its Main Compounds. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 16(1), 77-84. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v16.i1.70

     

    Kirar, V., Nehra, S., Mishra, J., Rakhee, Saraswat, D., & Misra, K. (2017). Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), as a Cardioprotectant in an Oxygen-Deficient Environment. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 19(11), 1009-1021. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.2017024584

     

    Akihisa, T., Nakamura, Y., Tagata, M., Tokuda, H., Yasukawa, K., Uchiyama, E., . . . Kimura, Y. (2007). Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Tumor-Promoting Effects of Triterpene Acids and Sterols from the FungusGanoderma lucidum. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 4(2), 224-231. doi:10.1002/cbdv.200790027



    Bao, X., Liu, C., Fang, J., & Li, X. (2001). Structural and immunological studies of a major polysaccharide from spores of Ganoderma lucidum (Fr.) Karst. Carbohydrate Research, 332(1), 67-74. doi:10.1016/s0008-6215(01)00075-1

     

    Cizmarikova, M. (2017). The Efficacy and Toxicity of Using the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), and Its Products in Chemotherapy (Review).International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 19(10), 861-877. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.2017024537

     

    Lull, C., Wichers, H. J., & Savelkoul, H. F. (2005). Antiinflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites.Mediators of Inflammation, 2005(2), 63-80. doi:10.1155/mi.2005.63

     

    Vazirian, M., Faramarzi, M. A., Ebrahimi, S. E., Esfahani, H. R., Samadi, N., Hosseini, S. A., . . . Amanzadeh, Y. (2014). Antimicrobial Effect of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) and Its Main Compounds.International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 16(1), 77-84. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v16.i1.70

     

    Kirar, V., Nehra, S., Mishra, J., Rakhee, Saraswat, D., & Misra, K. (2017). Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), as a Cardioprotectant in an Oxygen-Deficient Environment.International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 19(11), 1009-1021. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.2017024584

     

    Akihisa, T., Nakamura, Y., Tagata, M., Tokuda, H., Yasukawa, K., Uchiyama, E., . . . Kimura, Y. (2007). Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Tumor-Promoting Effects of Triterpene Acids and Sterols from the FungusGanoderma lucidum.Chemistry & Biodiversity, 4(2), 224-231. doi:10.1002/cbdv.200790027


    Bao, X., Liu, C., Fang, J., & Li, X. (2001). Structural and immunological studies of a major polysaccharide from spores of Ganoderma lucidum (Fr.) Karst. Carbohydrate Research, 332(1), 67-74. doi:10.1016/s0008-6215(01)00075-1


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