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What Does Reishi Mushroom Extract Do?

Mushrooms: you either love them or hate them (Note: - we love them).

Though these little fungi are one of the most divisive foods on the planet, their appeal goes far beyond what taste and texture they can bring to the table.

what does reishi extract do

Aside from their unique flavour and texture, many mushrooms offer some remarkable health benefits. Reishi is one such mushroom.

The Reishi mushroom has been used to treat various ailments for almost 2000 years, but what exactly is it, and does it work?

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Click here for SuperFeast Reishi Click here for Life Cykel Reishi Click here for Teelixir Reishi

What Is Reishi Extract?

Reishi extract is made from whole Reishi mushrooms and is usually produced as a concentrated dried powder (such as Teelixir Reishi or SuperFeast Reishi), a liquid form (such as Life Cykel Reishi) or as capsules (such as Host Defense).

Reishi mushrooms, also known as lingzhi and Ganoderma lucidum, are a popular fungus used in Eastern medicine and are considered relatively rare, generally found at the base of deciduous trees.

Reishi mushrooms grow throughout Asia, Southeastern United States, Southern Europe, and the South Pacific.

They are hardy and can survive in the wild in a variety of climates, however, some species prefer to grow almost exclusively in cooler temperatures.

They also prefer to grow on hardwood trees such as beech, maple, oak, and elm.

You’ll usually see these mushrooms in forested areas between May and November time, especially in warmer regions.

Reishi extracts can be produced from different parts of the Reishi mushroom, including the spurs, mycelia, and fruit body.

Historically, Reishi mushrooms have been used to decrease fatigue, improve heart health, fight infection, support the immune system, fight cancer, and maintain blood sugar levels. However, the science to support these claims is still limited.

When purchasing any reishi extracts, be sure to check that the producers are regularly 3rd party testing for mycotoxins and heavy metals. There are unfortunately some bad brands producing some bad products - these are our recommendations for buying reishi extracts in Australia (& the rest of the world to be honest!)

Reishi Extract: What’s In It?

Reishi mushrooms have been used as a treatment in Eastern medicine for around 2,000 years when Chinese healers started using them during the Han dynasty.

In Chinese, the Reishi mushroom is called “lingzhi” which means “magic fungus” or “the mushroom of immortality.”

These famed mushrooms have been popular for centuries, and in Japan and China, medical mushrooms have even been approved as cancer treatments in modern times.

With this in mind, is the hype scientifically proven, and is there really any benefit to taking Reishi extract?

Let’s find out.

First, we need to understand what components and molecules make up the Reishi mushroom.

The Reishi mushroom contains several molecules, the most important appearing to be triterpenoids and polysaccharides. These are thought to be most responsible for the Reishi mushroom's health benefits.

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Click here for SuperFeast Reishi Click here for Life Cykel Reishi Click here for Teelixir Reishi

Triterpenoids

Triterpenoids are a group of natural compounds found in plants, and they represent the largest group of phytochemicals in nature.

Although triterpenoids are biosynthesized in plants, they have a low toxicity profile, and emerging evidence of their pharmacological benefits has led to an increased interest in their benefits on human health.

Some recent studies have suggested that triterpenoids may be effective when used in chemoprevention and the treatment of breast cancer.

Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides are a class of biomolecules that help store energy, send communication signals between cells, and provide structural support.

Polysaccharides are essentially carbohydrates, one of the most important energy sources in the human diet, and they can be found naturally in most foods and plants.

Polysaccharides play an essential function in our bodies, and research suggests they may exhibit some remarkable properties, including:

  • Antithrombotic
  • Antitumor
  • Anticoagulant
  • Antiviral activities
  • Anti-mutagenic
  • Anti-inflammatory

The Benefits Of Reishi Extract

the benefits of reishi extract

Reishi mushrooms and reishi extracts have been one of the cornerstones of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, and now modern science even suggests that these compounds may also have some powerful health benefits.

So, what exact ailments can Reishi extract treat, and what is the supporting evidence?

Reishi May Support The Immune System

Reishi has been used as an immune stimulant for centuries and now there is some clinical evidence to suggest that Reishi extract may help boost the human immune system.

Although the research is limited, preliminary test-tube studies have found that Reishi mushrooms can influence the genes in our white blood cells, one of the most critical parts of our immune systems.

Additional research in cancer patients found that some forms of the Reishi mushroom may increase the activity of natural killer cells, which help to fight cancer in the human body.

Although most of this research has been performed in test tubes or on patients with cancer, Reishi’s ability to increase the number of natural killer cells in our bodies may suggest that this immune-boosting power may benefit healthy patients as well.

However, as with all medicinal mushrooms, more research is currently needed to confirm this.

Reishi Has Potential Anti-Cancer Properties

As we’ve already seen, Reishi extract may have some powerful immune-boosting benefits that may improve the health and well-being of cancer patients.

There is also further evidence to suggest that Reishi’s anti-cancer properties extend beyond simply reinforcing the immune system.

As mentioned above, the Reishi mushroom has been studied to assess its role in preventing and treating colorectal cancer, indicating it may have important immuno-modulating effects.

Another study also discovered that after just one year of Reishi treatment, patients with intestinal tumours saw a decrease in their size and prevalence. Although it was a small study, it was a study on humans.

Although the evidence is promising, much more research is needed in this area, however, many patients already use it (under the guidance of a physician) in an attempt to improve their condition.

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Click here for SuperFeast Reishi Click here for Life Cykel Reishi Click here for Teelixir Reishi

Reishi May Improve Heart Health

The current data is a little mixed, however, there are some indications that Reishi extract could also be used to support heart health by affecting cholesterol.

For example, in a 12-week study of 26 participants, Reishi extract was shown to improve the amount of HDL cholesterol and decrease the presence of triglycerides.

HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) is often considered “good” cholesterol, and it can help flush out other negative cholesterols from our bloodstreams.

However, it’s important to note that follow-up research found that consuming Reishi for 16 weeks did not improve the participant's cholesterol.

Both studies conclude that more research in this area is required before anything definitive can be said.

Reishi May Help Control Blood Sugar

There is also evidence to suggest that Reishi may help control our blood sugar levels.

Animal studies discovered that some of the molecules in Reishi mushroom and extract may reduce blood sugar, and additional research on humans supported this.

Again, these studies were small-scale, and more intensive research is needed to explore the benefits of Reishi on human blood sugar.

Reishi Could Help Treat Depression And Fatigue

In a study of 48 breast cancer survivors, fatigue and general wellbeing were improved after just four weeks of taking Reishi powder.

Participants also reported experiencing less anxiety and depression.

Another small and limited study that provides promising early results.

Further Potential Benefits Of Reishi Extract

Reishi extract has also been used extensively by TCM practitioners to treat many different ailments and conditions.

It’s celebrated and used widely in Eastern Medicine to help with such things as:

How Do You Take Reishi Extract?

how do you take reishi extract

Reishi extract comes in several forms, including a powder, a liquid, a capsule, and even tea or coffee!

For this reason, reishi extract is one of the most versatile herbal treatments on the market today.

There are very few hard and fast rules on how to take your Reishi extract. The form of extract you choose is down to your personal preference.

However, here are a few points to consider before choosing:

  • The powder and liquid extracts are great for mixing into food and drink
  • Reishi tea and coffee will already come dosed, so you won’t have to select a dosage yourself (unless advised otherwise)
  • Capsules are the most popular way to take Reishi, but they should be taken with food

What Does Reishi Extract Taste Like?

Thinking of mixing your daily dose of Reishi into your food and drink? Reishi has been described as having an earthy and bitter flavour profile.

So, if you want to add it to a smoothie, be aware that it may give your fruity concoction a more bitter punch than you’re used to.

If you want to add Reishi extract to your food, we’d recommend choosing a meaty or spicy dish.

These flavours mix well with Reishi’s bitterness, and if you’re not keen on the taste, it’ll be easier to disguise.

In lighter meals such as salads or vegetable-heavy dishes, you can expect the taste of Reishi to be more prominent, depending on the flavourings of your dish.

If you really don’t like the flavour of Reishi at all - capsules are probably your best bet.

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Click here for SuperFeast Reishi Click here for Life Cykel Reishi Click here for Teelixir Reishi

What Dose Of Reishi Should You Take?

Research on the effects of Reishi is limited, and for this reason, there’s no official dosage guideline you should be following.

The dosage varies widely depending on what type of extract you’re using, and why you are taking it. If you’re taking reishi for general health and maintenance then doses on the smaller side will work fine, but if you’re looking to treat something specific you may require a larger dose.

Most producers will give you a recommended dose, however, if you’re new to using Reishi extracts, we’d recommend starting out with a small dose (e.g. half of what the manufacturer recommends) to see how your body reacts and then increasing it over time as you adapt to it.

Does Reishi Have Side Effects?

Reishi is considered safe and well-tolerated in most people, however, it can cause unwanted side effects in some users, particularly those sensitive to mushrooms.

If you have a mushroom allergy, you should definitely not take Reishi.

The following minor side effects have been documented:

  • Itching
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Rashes

These side effects are rare and appear mostly in users with mushroom allergies.

The Bottom Line

Reishi extracts are a great addition to your healthy living routine - providing a range of concentrated beneficial compounds that help in everything from boosting your immune system to help fight off colds and flu, to showing serious promise as a supplemental treatment for more serious ailments such as heat disease and certain cancers.

Although TCM has used reishi extracts for many millennia, clinical research into the effectiveness and long-term effects of dosing reishi extracts are currently limited.

If you’d like to try reishi for yourself, make sure you buy from trusted and reputable suppliers (we’ve listed our favourite sources in this article) and always consult a medical professional for advice before starting any medicinal supplements.

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