5 Amazing Health Benefits Of The Wonderful Reishi Mushroom
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A What Mushroom?
Everyone and his dog has heard of button mushrooms, Portabello mushrooms and Oyster mushrooms etc etc and most people know that these mushrooms are great to cook with and taste great too and from what we are told make a good addition to our diet.
But have you heard of a Reishi mushrooom? Or even know there were such things as medicinal mushrooms?
Well I am here to let you know that medicinal mushrooms and specifically Reishi mushrooms have been knocking around on the other side of the world (Asia) for quite some time and were well known among those keen on keeping people healthy.
They have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years and according to some maybe 4000 years. And as described in this text below from the (1596) Bencao Gangmu (“Compendium of Materia Medica”) the Reishi mushroom was certainly thought to have remarkable health benefits.
“It positively affects the life-energy, or Qi of the heart, repairing the chest area and benefiting those with a knotted and tight chest. Taken over a long period of time, agility of the body will not cease, and the years are lengthened to those of the Immortal Fairies.”
They were even so revered as a medical panacea that they were highly sort after by the very well off and those living in palaces.
Why The Name Calling?
In Chinese Reishi mushrooms are called Lingzhi which when translated into English means…….. Ling= “spirit, spiritual; soul; miraculous; sacred; divine; mysterious; efficacious; effective” and zhi, which we dont have a word in English for but means roughly a plant of longevity; fungus; seed; branch; mushroom; excrescence.
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Since both Chinese ling and zhi have multiple meanings, lingzhi has diverse English translations. Renditions include “[zhi] possessed of soul power”,”Herb of Spiritual Potency” or “Mushroom of Immortality”, “Numinous Mushroom”, “divine mushroom”, “divine fungus”, “Magic Fungus”, and “Marvelous Fungus”.
Below are five amazing health benefits of the wonderful Reishi mushroom that will hopefully grab your attention and get you interested in boosting your health naturally and maybe spark an interest in these very special things we call mushrooms!
1. Life Span-extending Effects
In 2009, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry published a study conducted in Taiwan that displayed the life span-extending properties of the polysaccharides found in the reishi mushroom. These unique molecules promote longevity by boosting immune system function and preventing abnormal blood vessel formations that could lead to life-threatening cancerous growths.
2. Anti-cancer Properties
The reishi mushroom has not only been shown to prevent the development of cancers, but research has indicated that the reishi mushroom may also eliminate existing cancer cells in the body. In 2010, Pharmacological Reports published a study that highlighted the role of ganoderic acid, a triterpinoid found in the reishi mushroom, in the inhibition of the development and metastasis of tumors.
In 2011, another study expanded on these findings, suggesting that bioactive compounds within the reishi mushroom may actually seek out and eradicate existing cancerous cells within the body.
3. Liver Regeneration
As recently as 2013, a study in Food and Chemical Toxicology used the reishi mushroom to reverse chemical-driven liver damage in mice. The same triterpenes that displayed anti-cancer properties in other studies appear to aid the release of free radicals and promote liver cell regeneration.
4. Neuroprotective properties
In 2012, Neuropharmacology released a study that determined that the reishi mushroom can have highly therapeutic effects on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease. In this study, it was shown that reishi extract supports the production of nerve growth factor, a protein that is vital for healthy neurological function.
5.Balances The Immune System
Reishi mushrooms have a well-known ability to beneficially modulate the immune system. The mushrooms’ ability to boost immunity is the source of their advanced cancer- and infection-fighting properties. But it is equally important to keep your immune system from overreacting and turning on itself, as is the case with autoimmune diseases such as allergies. Reishi mushrooms have demonstrated the ability to modulate the delicate balance necessary for a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that Reishi mushrooms can reduce the overactive immune response that occurs in conditions such as allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.
The polysaccharides and triterpenes found in Reishi mushrooms act at multiple targets in the cascade of events leading to inflammation and excessive immune response.
Reishi extracts inhibit the release of histamine from specialized immune cells called “mast cells.” They have the ability to reduce the activity in nerves that transmit the itch sensation to the brain after a mosquito bite or similar itchy stimulus.
In animal models, Reishi extracts were able to sharply reduce the symptoms associated with allergies, such as rhinitis (watery, itchy nose) and mosquito bites. Studies also show that Reishi extracts can reduce “airway hyper-responsiveness,” the “twitchy” smooth muscle responses in the lung bronchi that trigger an asthma attack.
Reishi extracts also show promise for the management of the underlying immune imbalance that leads to autoimmune diseases.
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