Reishi – (Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma sinense, Ling Zhi, Chizhi, Zizhi) is dried and supplemented as an extract in a liquid, capsule or powder. It is the number one selling, and, arguably the most-researched medicinal mushroom in the world.
As early as 206 BC, uses as a tonic to prolong life, prevent aging and boost qi. It came to be called the “Mushroom of Immortality”. Its extracts contain bioactive triterpenoids, polysaccharides, lipids, and proteins.
Physicians today use reishi to help strengthen the immune system in those undergoing cancer therapy, especially the support of levels and function of lymphocyte and natural killer cells (1; 2; 3). Its active compounds have far-reaching effects and have demonstrated safety as a whole-body health tonic.
Reishi’s bioactive compounds are long-regarded to offer cell-protective and anti-aging properties (4; 5; 6). Beta-glucans (the best-studied polysaccharides) derived from reishi extracts are potent immunomodulators and can serve as prebiotics for gut flora.
Immune modulation includes a unique reduction in inflammation and oxidative stress, but also a boost in markers of immune function. Immune modulation is enhanced further when combined with other mushroom extracts containing synergistic bioactive compounds.
Reishi triterpenoids and polysaccharides support normal cell development, metabolism, and health by a number of proposed mechanisms. Immune-modulatory effects include a boost in anti-inflammatory cells and marked suppression of inflammatory cells (7; 8; 9;10;11;12;13).
Reishi supplements may help maintain blood sugar and insulin sensitivity when blood sugar levels are already within the normal range (14; 15). Other uses of reishi extracts may include support for lipid, liver, kidney, prostate, cardiovascular, energy, endurance, stress, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and metabolic health (15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25).
While an entire textbook could be written on the research-supported health mechanisms of reishi, most research can be simplified in reinforcing the same areas listed above.
It’s easy to read a comprehensive list of potential benefits and underestimate the effects of an herb. I personally do not take reishi for granted as I personally enjoy benefits of reishi when it comes to exercise endurance (results can vary by individual) – and it is part of my daily routine by itself, or as part of medicinal mushroom blends (along with other favorites like Lion’s Mane & Cordyceps).
Reishi is non-toxic at increasing dose (26). Supplemental capsules may contain extracts of 100-1000mg per dose. While doses will vary size and form, traditional Chinese medicine doses range as high as 12g/day of the dried mushroom.