Greenhaus Mushroom Guide: Reishi

What is Reishi?

Reishi, which is also known as lingzhi, or its scientific name Ganoderma lucidum, is a wood growing fungus that has documented medical uses dating back over 2000 years. Often nicknamed ‘the mushroom of immortality’ the fungi has a long history of use for promoting health and longevity in China, Japan and a host of other Asian countries.

The mushroom was mentioned in a number of notable early Chinese scripts, where its therapeutic properties were first documented. The Ben Cao Gang Mu by Li Shin-Zhen, which was released in 1590 AD and is considered to be the first pharmacopoeia in China, discusses Lingzhu. Whilst an even earlier publication, a Supplement to Classic of Materia Medica actually discusses the mushroom’s benefits as early as 502 AD.

The mushroom itself can be found growing wild and is easily identifiable. There are over 80 varieties of the fungi, which grow on dying or decaying logs throughout the world and have no known poisonous look-alikes, meaning they are a great mushroom for first time foragers.  The difficulty with reishi actually comes from the preparation of the mushrooms, as the older specimens can harvest dangerous moulds when they are bruised or damaged. Even young reishi growth will be too tough and woody to eat naturally and so preparations are usually made into a finely ground powder to be added to capsules or any daily supplement regime.

What can Reishi be used for?

Whilst the rejuvenating properties of reishi have been honoured for thousands of years, scientific research is just now discovering the true immune boosting potential of the mushroom.

  • Potential to help in cancer treatment

The main current interest around reishi comes from its potential to boost specific types of white blood cells. White blood cell levels are critical to immune system responses and these are heavily reduced when undergoing traditional cancer treatments, such as chemo and radiotherapy. This reduction in protective white blood cells is the cause for an increased risk in serious illnesses and infections during and in the months after cancer treatment.

Although limited, some human trials have taken place in an attempt to test the efficiency of reishi extracts on white blood cell levels. A 2003 study in advanced staged cancer patients showed an increase in certain white blood cells, whilst a 2005 study showed that whilst some patients did not see a change, other patients saw an increase in a type of cell known as NK (natural killer) cells.

It is to be noted that more research into the potential immune boosting and anti-cancer potential of reishi is needed, however it is clear that some patients certainly feel a positive difference when taking Reishi supplements in combination with their traditional cancer treatments.

What other uses do people have for Reishi mushrooms?

Whilst the main focus of recent interest in reishi comes from their potential cancer fighting abilities, there are a host of further benefits that have been reported from adding the mushroom to your diet. 

  • May fight depression and fatigue

A number of small scale human trials have shown evidence that reishi extracts can help patients suffering with conditions causing fatigue and depression. A 2005 study on 132 Chinese patients suffering from neurasthenia, a condition which causes fatigue, irritability and headaches concluded that Ganopoly (Reishi) was significantly superior to placebo groups, with respect to the clinical improvement of symptoms in neurasthenia. 

  • Antioxidant Levels

There is currently a lot of interest surrounding any nutrients that contain high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage to your cells and many claim that reishi is effective in increasing this function in our bodies. 

With all of these potential benefits it is therefore not hard to see why the reishi mushroom has such a long history of use. At Greenhaus we recommend independent research into mushrooms, but we hope our guides can in some way give you an overview of the potential benefits certain mushrooms can offer. Always start slow and regularly monitor how you feel after taking your supplements.

Reishi at Greenhaus

If you are interested in adding reishi to your daily routine, then we have you covered at Greenhaus. Whether you prefer tinctures, capsules or even gummies, at Greenhaus there is always a way to add the supplements you want into your diet;

If you are only looking to add Reishi supplements to your daily routine, whilst keeping away from other medicinal mushrooms, then the Isle of White Mushrooms Tincture is the product for you. You will receive a glass bottle with 50ml of tincture containing 5000mg of organic Reishi mushroom extract. Use the dropper to add 2ml of tincture to your morning hot or cold drink to easily incorporate the tincture into your diet. 

A traditional route of administration in the form of capsules.. In the Kiki Health Organic Reishi/Maitake blend bottle you will receive 60 vegan friendly mushroom capsules, containing a comprehensive blend of organic reishi and maitake. Take two to four capsules daily for immune support.

Easily one of our favourite products in stock, the Plant People WonderDay gummies offer the benefits of ten different adaptogenic mushrooms (including, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Reishi, Chaga, and Turkey Tail), packed into a tasty gummy. For optimal effects eat two gummies at the start of your day. Who knew taking supplements could be so much fun?