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Reishi Mushroom Side Effects: What You Need to Know

a person holding dried reishi mushroom

Key Takeaways:

  • Reishi mushrooms offer both health benefits and potential side effects.
  • Commonly used in various forms like powders, extracts, and supplements.
  • May cause digestive issues, liver concerns, and blood-thinning effects.
  • Not recommended for pregnant women and those on certain medications.
  • Positive effects include immune system boost and potential anti-cancer properties.
  • Dosage varies; moderation and individual body response are key factors.

Reishi mushrooms, also known by their scientific name Ganoderma lucidum, have long been a subject of fascination in traditional Eastern medicine. While they are often lauded for their health benefits, it's equally important to consider the potential side effects if you're planning to use it for the long term. This article aims to provide an overview of the common potential risks when taking reishi mushroom, including reishi mushroom extract, and what you need to know before you decide to take reishi as a supplement.

So, What Are Reishi Mushrooms?

Reishi mushrooms are a type of medicinal mushroom that predominantly flourish in hot and humid locations across Asia. The mushroom is used for a variety of health-related purposes and are highly regarded for their therapeutic properties. Available in multiple forms such as powders, extracts, and dietary supplements, reishi mushrooms have found their way into modern wellness routines. But what are its potential drawbacks?

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What Are Common Side Effects of Reishi?

Digestive Issues

If you're considering taking reishi mushroom extract, be aware that digestive issues are a possibility.

Digestive discomfort is a common side effect some people experience when taking reishi mushroom or its extract. Symptoms can range from mild nausea to more severe gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and bloating.

While these symptoms are generally temporary and subside as your body adjusts to the supplement, it's worth noting that everyone's body reacts differently.

Some people might experience these symptoms for a longer period, especially when taking high doses of reishi.

Liver Concerns

Liver issues associated with reishi mushroom consumption are rare but worth mentioning. These concerns are particularly noteworthy for those who already have liver issues or are taking medications that affect liver function.

Cases of liver toxicity have been reported, often involving excessive consumption over an extended period. It's advisable to monitor liver enzyme levels if you're planning on taking reishi mushroom for an extended period.

Blood-Thinning Effects

Reishi mushrooms may have mild blood-thinning properties, which could be a concern for individuals already on anticoagulant medications.

While the blood-thinning effects are generally not strong enough to be a major concern for most people, they could potentially interfere with the effectiveness of blood-thinning medications.

If you're someone who bruises easily or has a bleeding disorder, it's something to keep in mind.

Who Should Be Cautious?

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

There's minimal research on the effects of reishi mushrooms during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It's advisable to consult a healthcare provider before incorporating reishi into your routine if you fall into this category.

Individuals on Medication

People taking anticoagulants or immunosuppressants should exercise caution. Reishi mushrooms could interact with these medications, which may lead to adverse effects.

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What Are Potential Health Benefits of Reishi?

The health benefits of reishi mushrooms are vast and mighty impressive - the list below is some of the most well-recognized uses and most supported by modern research.

Immune System Boost

Reishi mushrooms have been shown to have positive effects on the immune system in some studies. They may enhance the function of white blood cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections and disease.

Anti-Cancer Properties

There's also promising research that suggests reishi may have anti-cancer properties. Some studies have shown that certain doses of reishi mushroom extract may help lead to the death of cancer cells, including breast cancer cells.

Beyond this, reishi mushrooms are also being explored as a complementary therapy in cancer treatment.

Blood Pressure Regulation

Reishi mushrooms have been studied for their potential to lower blood pressure. While more research is needed, initial findings are promising and suggest that reishi could be a natural way to manage blood pressure levels.

Dosage and Recommendations

Dosage varies depending on the form of reishi used. A dried extract is commonly used, with doses ranging from approximately 1.5–9 g per day. Always follow the guidelines provided on the supplement or consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1) How does reishi make you feel?

Reishi is known for its adaptogenic properties, often making people feel more relaxed and less stressed. However, individual experiences can vary, and some may feel minor side effects like digestive discomfort.

2) Is it okay to take reishi every day?

Reishi is generally considered safe for daily use within recommended dosages. However, though rare, long-term use at high doses has been linked to liver toxicity, so moderation is key.

3) What to avoid when taking reishi?

Avoid taking reishi with blood-thinning medications, as it may have mild blood-thinning properties. It's also advisable to avoid alcohol to prevent extra strain on the liver.

Closing Thoughts

So, there you have it—a full rundown on the yin and yang of reishi mushrooms. While they may not be a cure-all, they offer a host of benefits that make them worth considering. Just remember that the best choices come from a place of understanding your own body's needs.

Think of Reishi as that intriguing novel—worth diving into, but best understood when you read the fine print. After all, the most rewarding experiences come from balanced choices. For those interested in taking the next step, be sure to check out our best reishi mushroom guide, which goes into the specifics of reishi mushroom supplements.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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