Updated: Aug 23
One of my favourite things about Reishi mushroom is it’s ability to strengthen the immune system when it’s weakened like in the case of things like acute or chronic bacterial and viral infections, but also calm the immune system when it’s hyper-reactive, like with hay fever, asthma and eczema.
It’s also effective in autoimmune conditions, which is basically when the body starts attacking it’s own tissues, like in Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis for example.
Dried Reishi is a really easy and convenient way to include this powerhouse of a mushroom regularly in your diet, but if you happen to see some gorgeous locally grown Reishi mushrooms at your weekend market, definitely get your hands on some!
There are literally hundreds of studies available studying the benefits of Reishi. The research done in recent years is at least in part due to the negative side effects of conventional anti-biotic and anti-viral medications and their increasing ineffectiveness due to anti-biotic overuse and resistant strains. It’s meant that a lot of research has started going into natural alternatives like Reishi, but like all herbal medicines, it has actually been used for thousands of years in cultures around the world for a whole range of conditions as well as prevention.
Here are just a few of the benefits they’ve found so far:
+ Reishi can inhibit viruses and bacteria from multiplying without negatively affecting normal, healthy cells. The benefits of using Reishi as a preventative measure have been even more remarkable. It also seems to interfere in the early stages of viral absorption when taken before being exposed to a virus, as well as preventing viruses from multiplying.
+ Reishi was tested against 4 different types of anti-biotics on 15 bacteria in one study and it performed very well. This included Staphylococcus aureus which is the bacteria implicated as being overgrown on the skin in people suffering from eczema and also found in the upper respiratory tract, and Salmonella typhi which is spread through contaminated food and water.
The results showed that Reishi was more effective than anti-biotics on several of the strains tested and showed inhibitory effects on other strains as well.
+ Reishi is highly anti-inflammatory and has been shown to be beneficial in everything from inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, to joint pain. Not only does it reduce inflammation but also works holistically on treating skin conditions like eczema because it also addresses immune dysregulation and stress which can also be a part of the cause.
+ Reishi has potent anti-oxidant properties. Absorbed quickly after consumption, they're found in the blood soon after, working their magic! Protecting immune cells from oxidative damage, protecting us from aging, providing protection from cancer and other chronic diseases. Antioxidants protect cellular components from oxidative damage, which is likely to decrease risk of mutations and carcinogenesis and also protect immune cells, allowing them to maintain immune surveillance and response.
+ In one study, in only 14 days Reishi improved gastric ulcers by 56% as well as restoring mucous and prostaglandin levels. Prostaglandins are hormone like substances that regulate things like healthy immune function and inflammation.
+ Many studies have shown how effectively Reishi can restore liver function in cases of both mild and severe liver damage as shown by improvements in all liver markers on blood tests, and also protect the liver against damage.
+ Recently, the antioxidant properties of mushrooms have been successfully used to treat cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes mellitus, and cancer. In only 4 weeks, Reishi is able to considerably lower blood glucose levels and increase insulin levels in Type 2 Diabetes.
+ Not only has Reishi been used to successfully treat certain cancers and work in conjunction to improve the benefits of chemotherapy, but also to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments. The polysaccharides in Reishi have been found to be highly suppressive to tumor cell proliferation while also enhancing the host’s immune response.
These benefits were recorded without negative side effects or outcomes and this still isn’t even close to being an exhaustive list of the amazing benefits you get from Reishi!
Reishi mushroom has a high water content, up to 90% water in some cases. This means that when the mushrooms are dehydrated into a powdered extract like in our Whole Body Tonic, just 1 gram of powder can be as strong as 10g of fresh mushroom so you can really benefit from a very small daily dose.
This is just one of the amazing mushrooms in our Whole Body Tonic. I recommend starting with a daily ½ teaspoon dose and working up to 1-2 teaspoons per day over a few weeks, depending on your needs.
I’ve blended the Whole Body Tonic Medicinal Mushrooms to have a delicious, mild flavour that can be used in both sweet and savoury, hot and cold, foods and drinks, without being overpowering. Some of my favourite ways to use it are stirred into my morning coffee, a tablespoon mixed into soups, curries, pasta sauces etc, stirred into homemade chocolate or whipped into cream, stirred into the kids yoghurt with a little bit of maple syrup and fruit, mixed into their hot chocolate, the options are literally endless. It’s really easy to make sure the whole family gets their daily dose without everything tasting like mushrooms!
Reishi is otherwise known traditionally as the ‘mushroom of immortality’ and it’s miraculous health benefits can be contributed to the more than 400 bioactive compounds that it contains.
Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs where I’ll talk more about all the other mushrooms in the Whole Body Tonic and some of their amazing benefits. Chaga, Maitake, Cordyceps and Shiitake. The more I research these mushrooms, the more they're becoming some of my absolutely favourite herbs and even better, just about anyone can incorporate them into their diet every day!
NB. If you're unsure about whether a particular herb or food is right for you and your condition or circumstances, please talk to your practitioner for personalised advice.