The following article is a guest post by Lara Olanick.
For over 2000 years, reishi, given the moniker “divine mushroom”, was used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a menagerie of ailments, from aiding memory retention to increasing heart function. Due to its former scarcity, it was initially reserved for use by monks and high ranking royalty. In recent years, it is more easily cultivated and has been gaining popularity in the west. Here are five reasons why:
Reishi may have cancer-fighting properties.
Research has shown reishi may be an effective aid in treating prostate cancer, thanks to its effects on cancer cell growth, cycle, and death. What’s more, studies have found reishi may have beneficial effects on patients suffering from colon or lung cancer, and can potentially be used as a therapeutic tonic to lessen the emotional negative side effects of individuals who are undergoing treatment from breast cancer.
Reishi combats anxiety and stress
Biological responses to anxiety and stress aren’t always bad. It’s often a healthy and reasonable reaction to a whole host of situations, and in short bursts can actually be good for you. But when these feelings become chronic or extreme they can wreak havoc on our bodies. High levels of stress have been linked to migraines, diabetes, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. One of reishi’s most notable effects is its ability to mitigate feelings of negativity and worry. An adaptogen, it improves the function of the adrenal gland, lessening levels of cortisol in the body. As an added benefit, this means reishi is a useful tonic to help those suffering from insomnia.
Reishi supports the immune system
With it’s beta-glucans, polysaccharides and antioxidant properties reishi is an ideal booster for the body’s immune system. As a result, studies have shown it is able to support the health of people with HIV. In addition, reishi has been shown to aid those with cold sores, herpes, mono, hepatitis b, and individuals suffering from various flus. For those of us looking to keep their allergies under wraps, animal studies have shown reishi stops the release of histamines and even reduces symptoms such as itching.
Reishi may improve heart health
In multiple studies, it’s been shown reishi can decrease blood sugar, thus lowering the risk of developing heart disease. Another study has found that consuming reishi can increase the amount of HDL-cholesterol, known as the “good cholesterol”, as it removes bad cholesterol from the body and keeps blood vessels clean.
Reishi promotes overall longevity
Also known in traditional Chinese medicine as “the mushroom of immortality”, recent studies are beginning to support that claim. In one animal study, research found reishi increased subjects’ lifespans by 9% to 20%. One way this works is by increasing the expression of genes associated with longevity. Additionally, as an antioxidant, it helps prevent the general degradation of DNA, which is an inevitable consequence of aging. As a bonus, reishi can be used topically to reduce the appearance of aging, as it’s anti-inflammatory properties can smooth wrinkles and reduce skin redness.