In this article you will learn how to protect your health with the mushroom of immortality. We will be talking about the power of the Reishi Mushroom and how you can use it to support your immune system and bulletproof your health.
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
Table of Contents
- 1 Herbal Name and Characteristics
- 2 About this Herb
- 3 What is Reishi?
- 4 Benefits and properties of Reishi
- 5 When and how to take it
- 6 Safety and side effects
- 7 Cycling
Herbal Name and Characteristics
- Name: Reishi Mushroom
- Pin Yin: Ling Zhi,
- Latin: Ganoderma lucidum,
- Taste: Bitter,
- Color: red (Red Reishi powder), black (Black variety), purple (Purple variety and the rarest),
- Constitution: Neutral to slightly warm (Yang),
- Builds: Jing, Qi and Shen.
About this Herb
I started using Reishi in 2014. Master Herbalists like Ron Teeguarden refer to this mushroom as ‘medicine of kings’ and ‘mushroom of immortality’ for a good reason.
I was amazed at how deep I could sleep after a week of using it and my response to stress improved in an amazing fashion. I did not feel worn out after a long and stressful day and I still had the energy to perform more tasks and still got to sleep at night.
I used the herb in both powder and tincture form and found both to work equally well.
Below, you will find more details about this herb. Its benefits, side effects and precautions you need to take before using it.
What is Reishi?
In China it has the reputation of the ultimate herb as it can help restore the mind, body and spirit, achieving total equilibrium among Jing, Qi and Shen.
The Reishi mushroom grows on trees in Japan, China and Korea. In China, it was used by the royal family as it was considered the elixir of immortality.
The ingredient responsible for its wondrous function is mostly the huge amounts of polysaccharides it contains and especially beta glucan which is responsible for regulating the immune system functions.
While the mushroom and its spores have been used for their health benefits for over 3000 years, it was only recently that their use has emerged in the Western world. It should be mentioned that there are different species of Reishi mushrooms but they are not all of the same quality:
- Black Reishi (Ganoderma sinensis),
- Purple Reishi and
- Red Reishi (such as Duan Wood).
The most common is the Red Reishi, while the Purple Reishi is the most rare (and most expensive).
Some of the species are cultivated indoors and don’t even come close to the wild varieties of those mentioned above. The Red Reishi is considered best for regulating the immune system and the Purple variety is the ultimate Shen regulator.
Color is a strong indicator of quality, especially in the cases of Red and Purple Reishi. If their color is brown instead of red or purple, this means they are of lower quality.
Benefits and properties of Reishi
Summarizing the many benefits of Reishi mushrooms:
- It supports and protects all 4 bodies: the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In Chinese medicine these are defined as the 3 treasures: Jing (our essence), Qi (our life force) and Shen (our spirit) which are all benefited greatly by the use of Reishi.
- More specifically it can build and support your spiritual energy, intelligence and wisdom. Also known in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) as Shen, it is your connection to your higher Self. This is a level beyond your physical body and it exists for all humans whether you choose to believe in it or not. (Note: this has nothing to do with your religious beliefs)
- It can support, balance and build the immune system as an immune regulator. This means that if your immune system is under-working it will bring it up. (i.e. protecting the body from viruses and bacteria, externally and internally) If it is over-functioning (i.e. it works too much that it attacks the body itself), it will bring it down. In both cases, the goal is to establish a healthy balance.
- It can protect against cancers and is anti-tumor. According to studies it can protect against breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. This is also attributed to the production of interleukin-1 (by murine peritoneal macrophages in vitro) and interleukin-2 (by murine splenocytes in vitro), which are the body’s own protectors against cancer.
- It can protect against anxiety and stress. It can help support your body’s response to stress by optimizing the use of oxygen in it. It will also help you at times when your brain just won’t shut off and you will experience calmness and focus without feeling drowsy or sedated.
- It can protect and support liver function and liver regeneration. Reishi can remove free radicals (since it is a strong antioxidant), purify the blood and therefore help the liver work better by removing toxins more effectively from the body and the liver.
- It can improve sleep duration and quality. Taking reishi before bed will help you go to sleep faster (especially if it takes you 15-30 minutes to sleep like me) and will also allow for deeper and better sleep which will have you waking up more rested in the morning. There are studies performed on mice which indicated significant improvements on their sleep quality after taking Reishi.
- Is a strong antioxidant and can protect against radiation exposure. According to one study, the high content of tritepenes in Reishi can assist in protecting the body’s cells from radiation-induced damage. In Japan, it was used to protect patients that underwent chemotherapy from radiation exposure.
- It can support the nervous system and protect against allergies, asthma and build stronger lungs. Reishi.com mentions “Another active ingredient is triterpenes, a class of them found in Reishi is known as ganoderic acids. Studies have indicated that ganoderic acids help alleviate common allergies by inhibiting histamine release, improve oxygen utilization and improve liver functions.”
- It can control blood sugar levels and also help lower cholesterol. Studies on animals showed Reishi’s power to control blood sugar levels and even lower them within one week of use.
- Another study conducted on people with diabetic kidney disease showed a lot of promise in reducing markers of kidney stress as well as triglycerides and blood sugar levels which could be very useful for people struggling with weight loss and type II diabetes.
- It can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. According to another study it was shown that it can help lower cholesterol levels and aid in cardiovascular health.
When and how to take it
Alcohol based Tincture: With tinctures you can extract many of the nutrients found in Reishi. Hold the dose under the tongue for 1 to 3 minutes until it gets absorbed. Then you can swallow it.
The tincture can also be taken in a glass of water. Wait a couple of minutes for the alcohol to evaporate and then drink the tincture.
Tablets: Reishi can be taken in tablet form but I would advise you to be really careful when selecting tablets. Their quality and potency can be of questionable quality whereas when you buy the powder, you can actually see if you have the right color.
Powder: Buying Reishi in powder form will prove to be more beneficial than anything. You can add it to your shakes or sprinkle it over your breakfast.
Another way to take it is to hold the powder in your mouth for 5 minutes, make a tincture or create your own tablets.
What you can also do is alternate through 2 sources, 1st would be a tincture and the second, powder or tablet form.
Tea: Perhaps the best way to take medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi is making a concoction a.k.a tea. You can boil some water, take it off the fire, add some Reishi powder and let it sit over time. Then you can drink it as usual.
Important Note: Taking a source of Vitamin C seems to enhance its effectiveness so make it a habit to consume some fresh lemon or lime juice after taking Reishi. You could also take 500mg of Acerola Vitamin C.
The best times to take it would be:
- in the morning on an empty stomach (not indicated if you have low blood pressure)
- after a stressful day or whenever you need to relax
- before bed.
Safety and side effects
While Reishi does not seem to have any toxicity levels, it does have some side effects after prolonged use (more than 3 months) and has been deemed as Probably Unsafe by WebMd.com.
Reported side effects of prolonged usage include:
- dry mouth,
- stomach discomfort and
However some of these symptoms appear to match detoxification symptoms as the toxins make their way out of your system during Reishi consumption. Digestive upset, dizziness or skin rashes are common symptoms that should go away after a few days of taking Reishi as they are part of the detoxification process of your body.
Last but not least, Reishi can lower blood pressure so avoid taking it if you already have low blood pressure.
You should not take Reishi if you:
- Are taking antidepressants or other types of medication (including but not limited to antihypertensive drugs, blood pressure medication, immunosuppressive drugs or anticoagulant medication). Taking reishi with any of the above can interfere with the dosage and have unexpected effects.
- Have any psychological or mental conditions such as depression, schizophrenia (and other) without consulting your therapist and doctor.
- Have any hormonal problem or medical condition including but not limited to cancer, diabetes or undergoing chemo treatment: Check with your doctor before using Reishi if you have any of the above conditions as he is the only person who can determine if using it is a good idea or not.
- Have low blood pressure as there is a high risk of hypoglycemia from using Reishi.
- Are scheduled for an operation, organ transplant or you just underwent one. Certain ingredients in Reishi may interfere with the sedation used during surgery, rejection of the organ or interfere with healing and cause internal bleeding.
- Have allergies to this specific herb or any of its ingredients.
The best thing you can do before taking any herb supplement is to test it. If you want to be safe while using herbs I strongly urge you to read my other article on how to test an herb for allergies and intolerances.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances
Avoid using this herb/adaptogen if you have any medical condition or take any kind of medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Special Precautions & Warnings
Since there are not enough studies to determine the full safety of this herb, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid its use.
Use for a maximum of up to 3 months and then take 4 weeks off. Repeat cycle after that.
While there are no side effects or toxicity associated with long term consumption, I would not use any herb for long periods of time without a break in order to keep them being effective and protect the body from accumulation of other toxins unrelated to the herb itself.
Over the past 20 years I have experimented with literally hundreds of herbs, supplements (and other natural products) and was finally able to discover the right doses for amazing results.
If you wish to learn more about the dosages that I use with my clients for different purposes (better health, hormonal balance, stress management, testosterone boost and more) or how I combine this herb/supp with others, leave a comment below or reach out to me for a consultation through the “Hire me” link.
Closing notes & thoughts
Most people are unaware of the power of mushrooms. Reishi is one of the most valuable mushrooms which has multiple properties as an adaptogen or immune system modulator. It is often used and recommended by yogis as it can help you relax and strengthen the spirit. I recommend it to anyone who wants to protect their physical, mental and spiritual health.
Are you using mushrooms and if so, have you used Reishi? What was your experience with it? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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by Nick Sigma SHF
CWC, EH, E-YRT200
- Book: Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, Ron Teeguarden.
- Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in cancer treatment.
- Ganoderma lucidum total triterpenes prevent radiation-induced DNA damage and apoptosis in splenic lymphocytes in vitro.
- Anti-tumor effects of Ganoderma lucidum (reishi) in inflammatory breast cancer in in vivo and in vitro models
- Therapeutic Applications of Reishi
- Extract of Ganoderma lucidum potentiates pentobarbital-induced sleep via a GABAergic mechanism.
- G. lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment
- Ganoderma lucidum total triterpenes prevent radiation-induced DNA damage and apoptosis in splenic lymphocytes in vitro.
- Novel hypoglycemic effects of Ganoderma lucidum water-extract in obese/diabetic (+db/+db) mice.
- Effect of polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum on streptozotocin-induced diabetic nephropathy in mice.