Reishi mushroom benefits are wide ranging, from anti-cancer potential to immunomodulation, but more human tests are required to uncover the truth of this mushroom
Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is an intriguing mushroom that grows in many locations, including here in the Northeast U.S.
There are a variety of reported and purported reishi mushroom benefits when it comes to human and animal health. We discuss these findings below, and also offer an opportunity for you to grow your own reishi at home with our reishi mushroom growing kit.
Reishi mushroom benefits and the immune system
Immunomodulation is a word to know when considering the reishi mushroom. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, immunomodulation is defined as the, “modification of the immune response or the functioning of the immune system by the action of an immunomodulator.”
A study entitled Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition has its 9th chapter dedicated to Ganoderma lucidum and refers to this mushroom as an immunomodulator. Here is an excerpt from this study: “There is considerable evidence to support the immunostimulating activities of G. lucidum via induction of cytokines and enhancement of immunological effector (Wang et al. 1997; Zhu and Lin 2006).” The study continues to say that this evidence comes from trials in mice.
The study also has a section about reishi as an antioxidant. Here’s a look at that information:
Consumption of antioxidant-rich plants may help prevent cancer and other chronic diseases (Collins 2005; Benzie and Wachtel-Galor 2009). Antioxidants protect cellular components from oxidative damage, which is likely to decrease risk of mutations and carcinogenesis and also protect immune cells, allowing them to maintain immune surveillance and response. Various components of G. lucidum, in particular polysaccharides and triterpenoids, show antioxidant activity in vitro (Lee et al. 2001; Mau, Lin, and Chen 2002; Shi et al. 2002; Wachtel-Galor, Choi, and Benzie 2005; Yuen and Gohel 2008; Saltarelli et al. 2009; Wu and Wang 2009). As shown in Figure 9.4, antioxidants from lingzhi were found to be absorbed quickly after ingestion, resulting in an increase in the plasma total antioxidant activity of human subjects (Figure 9.4; Wachtel-Galor, Szeto et al. 2004).
Purported reishi mushroom benefits from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is a world-renowned cancer treatment center that has been around since the 1800s. It has experts in all types of cancer working with patients to help them get better. Interestingly enough, the website for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center discusses an array of purported benefits of the reishi mushroom for cancer patients. Here is a look at this information, which is excerpted from the website:
- To treat fatigue: No scientific evidence supports this use.
- To lower high cholesterol: In one small study, a reishi mushroom product increased HDL-cholesterol level in patients with borderline elevations of cholesterol.
- To treat HIV and AIDs: Laboratory studies suggest that reishi mushroom may stimulate certain cells of the immune system, but evidence is lacking on reishi’s ability to fight infections.
- To lower high blood pressure: Laboratory studies suggest that reishi mushroom may lower blood pressure. Human studies are lacking.
- To stimulate the immune system: Laboratory studies suggest that reishi mushroom may stimulate some cells of the immune system. A small clinical trial showed that reishi can enhance immune response in advanced-stage cancer patients. More studies are needed.
- To reduce inflammation: Laboratory studies suggest that reishi mushroom may have antihistamine effects. This has not been tested in humans.
- For increased strength and stamina: No scientific evidence supports this use.
- To treat lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS): One study suggests that reishi extracts may improve urinary flow in men with slight-to-moderate LUTS. Larger, long-term studies are needed to see if it can improve LUTS in men who have more severe symptoms.
One thing that can be sure from looking at this information from Memorial Sloan Kettering is that more studies need to be conducted on the medicinal efficacy of reishi, particularly involving human studies. That way we can all know more concretely about reishi mushroom benefits.
Reishi mushroom benefits include the ability to grow them at your own home
You can grow your own reishi mushrooms at home with the help of our reishi mushroom growing kit. People do not necessarily think of reishi mushroom when they first think about getting a grow kit. However, it is an option for you!
Interestingly enough, the reishi mushroom grow kit looks quote different than the multitude of other mushroom grow kits we offer. This is the case because the reishi mushroom grow kit begins with the antler phase. The mushroom morphs from the antler shape to the conch shape during growth. A lot of time this happens when the mushroom is in higher CO2 and lower light environment. Our other mushroom kits start as a spawn bag with inoculated substrate.
Are you interested in reaping your own reishi mushroom benefits? You can try your hand at growing your own reishi with one of our grow kits. If you live in the northeast, you can go foraging for reishi during the warmer months. You can typically start seeing reishis growing in late May on hemlocks, preferably around water. They will be ready to harvest around late July.