Reishi mushrooms (ganoderma lucidum), also known as ling zhi, are mushrooms that have been used in China dating as far back as 4000 years for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Reishi mushrooms are native to China and grow wild on decaying matter such as dead trees. But as these mushrooms have become more popular and studied, they're now cultivated in North America as well as Asia. There are six different colors in all, but the Red Reishi is believed to have the best medicinal value.
Reish Mushroom Benefits
There is a long list of all the benefits of Red Reishi mushrooms. Some have been researched and are proven or are in the process of being proven. One study at the Oral Roberts University School of Medicine shows that Reishi mushrooms can reduce blood pressure. It's also believed that the Red Reishi can help with cancer, chronic hepatitis B, insomnia, fatigue, asthma, coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type two diabetes. The mushrooms are also said to give you more energy and clarity of mind. They're also believed to be anti-bacterial, an antioxidant and help with HIV symptoms. Red Reishi contains these major ingredients: Water-soluble polysaccharides (lowers blood pressure, maintains immune system, fights tumors), ganoderic acid (helps fight against common allergies), beta and hetero-beta-glucans (anti-tumor, stimulates the immune system), and Ling Zhi-8 protein (anti-allergenic, modulates the immune system).
How to Use it
There are several different ways you can use Reishi mushrooms. Right now, the most common form are dietary supplements taken in pill form such as tablets or capsules. Raw Reishi is very hard and not eaten. It’s usually boiled and then put into tea or soup. Reishi mushrooms also come dried, in powder form, or as a tincture (alcoholic extract). It’s recommended that you drink lots of water and take vitamin C along with the mushrooms to help the Reishi work better. You should also keep in mind who and where you're buying your mushrooms from. They need to be well packaged, with manufacturer's name and address, ingredients, and extract ratio well labeled. The extract ratio is how much of the supplement versus how much alcohol there is in the mixture.
Possible Side Effects
Due to lack of research, there's mixed opinions as to whether you will experience side effects from the use of Reishi mushrooms as a supplement. Some say that you won't experience any bad effects, while others claim you may experience dry mouth, dizziness, nose bleed, or skin sensitivity. If you have an allergy to ganoderma lucidum, or to its family, Reishi isn't at all recommended. Whatever the case, it’s important that you talk to your doctor before trying these herbal mushrooms, because they may interfere with other medications you may be using.
Although there are many promising uses for this special mushroom, there's no definite scientific knowledge of it being good for weight loss. It seems as though it’s the one thing that the Red Reishi doesn't help with. Perhaps the benefits of the mushroom, such as increased energy and helping your immune system, will give you the extra motivation to exercise daily and eat healthy.