How Reishi Mushrooms Measure Up in the Mushroom Family

Reishi mushrooms, also known as Lingzhi mushrooms, have played an important role in the traditional Chinese medicine for an estimated 4,000 years. Their name literally means “supernatural mushrooms,” which is a reference to the numerous health benefits. Studies conducted in such countries as China, Japan, the USA and the UK have confirmed the extraordinary properties of these mushrooms.

Description of Reishi Mushrooms

Lingzhi mushrooms have a soft texture and a flat cap that resembles the shape of a kidney. The color of the pores found underneath the cap ranges between white and brown, depending on the age of the mushrooms. The stalk is red, while the cap is colored in various shades of red. The variety that grows in North America features a large cap and a small stalk, or even no stalk at all. The second variety grows in tropical areas and has a long and narrow stalk, but a cap of smaller dimensions.

Lingzhi Mushrooms and Their Health Benefits

Herbalists noticed the adaptogenic effects of Reishi mushrooms, as well as the efficiency of these mushrooms in the treatment of the following health conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Detoxification
  • Hypertension
  • Low energy levels
  • Mental alertness problems
  • Mood and appetite disorders
  • Viral infections

It has been noted that Reishi mushrooms can also be successfully used in the treatment of various types of cancer.

Anti-Carcinogenic Properties of Lingzhi Mushrooms

According to Israeli researchers from the University of Haifa, Reishi mushrooms could be used for treating prostate cancer. Considering that this type of cancer is among the most common, with over half a million men diagnosed each year, the conclusion of the research conducted in 2007 may be revolutionary. Certain molecules found in these mushrooms are able to stop the development of cancer. Prior to these studies it was already known that Reishi mushrooms can fight other types of cancer by altering the immune system, but these particular molecules and their mechanism were not identified at that time.

Reishi Mushrooms and Detoxification

The liver is the organ that benefits the most from the intake of these mushrooms. In people suffering from hepatitis B, elevated liver enzymes drop considerably if an extract from Reishi mushrooms is used. However, the detoxifying effect does not end here. Certain chemical compounds found in these mushrooms are also able to fight the effects on the liver of the following types of substances:

  • Additives
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Petrochemicals
  • Xenoestrogens

Most of these substances are found in the environment and they get transferred to the foods people eat every day. If the liver handles the effect of such substances on its own, it cannot adequately take care of the metabolic processes. One of the consequences is weight gain, but there are many others that are very important, too. Fortunately, Lingzhi mushrooms prevent the aforementioned substances from affecting the body.

Managing Stress Levels with Lingzhi Mushrooms

These mushrooms also include in their composition a class of polypeptides that are involved in the action of neurotransmitters and endorphins. The processes through which the effects of these chemicals are regulated are called:

  • Downregulation
  • Mediation
  • Upregulation

Since Reishi mushrooms have an adaptogenic effect, they always act as required. In the end, the levels of neurotransmitters and endorphins will be back to normal and the stress levels will be reduced considerably.

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