Reishi: a whole different kind of ‘magic’ mushroom

The reishi or lingzhi mushroom can do very, very special things. No, I’m not talking about seeing singing elves or thinking about your place in the universe, but about a boost for your overall health and well-being. That also sounds pretty good, right? Or sometimes even better, perhaps. A dose of reishi has an effect on everything: it boosts your immune system, but also creates a relaxed feeling. Read more about the positive effects of this powerful fungus.

Prevention is better than cure

This mushroom wasn’t born yesterday. In fact, reishi is used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The fungus plays a major role in traditional Chinese medicine. An important principle of this medicine is that the focus is primarily on disease prevention. Unlike Western medicine, where medicines are primarily intended to get you better once you’re already sick. There’s a certain logic to that: prevention is better than cure.

Relaxed as a reishi

Are you already healthy and think there’s no chance of you getting sick? Well, in any case, you can also use reishi to have a nice chill. The mushroom extract provides a mellow effect by relaxing your muscles and regulating your hormonal system. Many users on the internet are indeed reporting a nice relaxed feeling, without any negative side effects. Reishi can help to sleep better (especially improving your quality of deep sleep), feeling less tired, and dealing with anxiety and stress. According to Chinese medicine, reishi has a positive effect on your Chi, or your life energy, and helps people with tension in their chest. Several Chinese and Japanese studies support these soothing claims.

All-purpose medicine

Deer horn shaped reishi mushrooms

Good nutrition, movement and meditation help you to stay healthy, according to the Chinese. In this tradition, reishi is an important non-specific "adaptogenic" ingredient that helps the body maintain and restore its balance. Because of this broad interpretation, doctors in Asia often prescribe reishi as "general medicine" because the mushroom affects the body as a whole. As you can understand, this holistic approach does not fit well in our strict Western approach to medicine. Yet, also from a scientific point of view, isn’t it true that a disease seldom has only one cause? In this light, a multi-talent like reishi seems to be a logical medicine.

Live longer

In the past, people called reishi 'the mushroom of immortality'. The fungi would increase the chance of a long and healthy life and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. That’s a nice story, but is there any truth to it? Luckily, the increase in cultivation and popularity of reishi has led to a huge increase in scientific research into the active substances in this fungus. It turns out, studies show that you can actually live longer by using reishi. This is because the fungus components are an important weapon against all sorts of diseases and ailments that are common in your old days. Substances like polysaccharide optimize your immune system and have a positive effect on your heart and blood vessels. The author Lhi Shizhen has this to say in his sixteenth-century book about medicinal mushrooms: "Taken over a long period of time, agility of the body will not cease, and the years are lengthened to those of the Immortal Fairies." To me, that sounds like quite a while.

Fight tumours

We are not done yet: preliminary research indicates that our fabulous fungus not only strengthens the immune system but even has properties that work against tumors. Cancer patients therefore increasingly use reishi as an alternative medicine. Researchers have discovered that water-soluble polysaccharides are the most active antitumoural components in the mushroom. These substances help to reduce the spread of cancer and prevent the growth of tumors. Pay attention, however, there is insufficient evidence that reishi is effective in itself, so its use against cancer is only recommended in combination with another treatment.

Try the reishi extract yourself

The last thing about reishi isn’t said yet: scientists are still discovering new ingredients and features in the mushroom. What is certain is that it's a pretty potent fungus. Curious? Do not dive into the forest right away, but order this handy, high-quality extract from The Mushroomist on our website.

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Author: Sara de Waal