Updated: Aug 18
With nicknames like the “Mushroom of Immortality,” “Mushroom of Eternal Life” and “10,000-Year Mushroom,” you know the Reishi mushroom must have some special powers.
Meet the Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushroom, a woody polypore mushroom revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.
The Reishi mushroom derives much of its power from compounds that hold the potential to support vitality, healthy immune system functioning, cardiovascular, kidney and adrenal health, a healthy inflammatory response and a balanced sleep cycle.
An adaptogenic poster child, Reishi assists with the body’s response to stress and has four unique compounds, Ganoderic acids A through D, that may support a healthy histamine response during allergy seasons.
How does it achieve these miraculous effects?
A lot of that boils down to the more than 100 polysaccharides and 100 triterpenoids within the mushroom fruiting body. Without going too deep in the weeds, many of the health benefits medicinal mushrooms’ provide are due to the polysaccharides—complex long-chain sugars—contained within the fungi’s cellular walls.
More specifically, a type of polysaccharide known as beta-glucans are credited with bringing these benefits to the table. And if you really want to go deep, a specific type of beta-glucans, 1,3 / 1,6 beta-glucans, are the one’s we’re really after.
To that end, the Reishi mushroom is a beta-glucan powerhouse, with up to 50% of its fruit body by dry weight composed of them. Turkey Tail is the only other mushroom that comes close to Reishi's beta-glucan content.
These weird number and letter configurations are good for far more than just confusing you! They help support the body's production of immune cells and proteins vital to a healthy functioning immune response and encourage your body’s natural immune system to kick into hyperdrive in a balanced, sustainable way.
As for those triterpenoids, much of the Reishi mushrooms other health benefits are thanks to the plethora of unique triterpenoids it possesses. In fact, it has so many unique triterpenoids that they’re called Ganoderic acids and lucidenic acids, a nod to the taxonomic name of Reishi, Ganoderma lucidum. These acids are what give Reishi mushrooms and extracts their characteristic bitter taste.
At the end of this article, you’ll find links to peer reviewed scientific studies on compounds within Reishi that have shown the ability to be anti-cancer, anti-HIV, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, anti-anxiety and anti-depression, gut microbiome and immune system enhancing, liver protective, blood pressure, lipid and glucose-level modulating, and helps support quality sleep.
Still thirsting for more?
To learn about our current extraction processes, read our article Medicinal Mushroom Extractions: A Primer on Our Process, dive into our methods with our simplified How to Use a Soxhlet Extractor guide, and learn why we use a Soxhlet in our post Soxhlet Extractor: Why We Do What We Do.
Or, to learn more about why we prefer the dual extract methodology for our products, head on over to Medicinal Mushroom Dual Extracts: Why We Make Them and You Take Them.
And to learn more about the mushrooms in our other products, click on the name of the mushrooms below:
As with any dietary supplement, consult with your physician before incorporating Reishi mushrooms into your supplement regimen. Possible adverse effects may occur from ingesting high doses of Reishi mushrooms if you’re taking certain medications including blood thinners, chemotherapy medication and immunosuppressants.
Rogers, Robert Dale. The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2011. Print.