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Harnessing the Health Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms

Monday, February 27th 2023 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Reishi is a highly popular mushroom that has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The earliest mention in Chinese medical literature refers to reishi as the “Elixir of Life” and the “Mushroom of Immortality.” Its Chinese name, Ling Zhi, means “herb of spiritual potency” or “divine fungus.”

Reishi is an adaptogen. TCM calls reishi the “three treasure” mushroom that harmonizes jing (life force), qi (energy), and shen (spirit). Thus, the mushroom symbolizes success, well-being, divine power, and longevity.

Even better, reishi has true health benefits. Modern scientific research has shown that reishi has a diverse array of bioactive compounds that make it valuable. Scientists has isolated hundreds of polysaccharides and triterpene compounds in reishi mushrooms. Polysaccharides have been shown to both potentiate and modulate the immune system by supporting and balancing it. Triterpenes have demonstrated adaptogenic effects that support blood pressure management, help to regulate mood, and calm allergies and inflammation. Reishi has also been reported to support endocrine function and hormonal balance.

What is reishi mushroom?

Reishi mushroom typically grows on decaying hardwood trees in temperate forest areas of Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States. It can reach eight inches in diameter. They are 90% water and 10% solids. They are rich in minerals including potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. They provide macronutrients like complex carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat. Reishi also provides essential micronutrients. In addition, research scientists have identified about 400 bioactive compounds that include polysaccharides, triterpenoids, nucleotides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, and proteins/peptides.

Most reishi mushrooms are cultivated. Wild reishi is very rare. They are available in various forms, including certified organic powders and convenient capsules. Although some people find the taste slightly bitter, it is used to mix into hot or cold drinks or food.

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