Ganoderma lucidum, aka: reishi mushroom, is available in a number of different varieties—red, yellow, purple, and black. They all have different properties and each has a slightly different emphasis in a different area. However, what seems to be the most complete, well-balanced, and well-rounded variety of reishi is the red reishi mushroom.
Red Reishi Mushroom
Known in China as “the mushroom of immortality,” reishi has been used for thousands of years in East Asia as a life changing herbal medicine. The sheer beauty and presence of reishi has been written about and shown in sacred artwork for a very long time.
In more recent times, reishi has become a very well-studied mushroom, and scientific analysis has really started to validate and verify what a lot of the ancient wisdom surrounding reishi was telling us all along—it really is one of the most powerful adaptogenic, natural tonic medicines that exists.
Reishi Is an Adaptogen
Adaptogenic herbs are substances that, once ingested, work on creating a state of balance and harmony within the body. They enhance our healing and repair mechanisms and our ability to handle stress. Within the body they create a host-mediated response, meaning they create certain reactions that are beneficial for your individual situation so they never work the same from one person to the next. They may stimulate a certain aspect of one person’s metabolism whereas they’ll actually lower that in somebody else. It depends on what we need as individuals. Adaptogens truly are very intelligent medicines.
Consuming adaptogenic substances is one of the most beneficial health strategies all of us could implement and benefit from. Reishi mushroom is really one of the top adaptogenic herbs of all time.
Reishi Modulates the Immune System
One of reishi’s most famous healing attributes is its ability to modulate the immune system. It will enhance or stimulate immune function in those who are deficient or lower immune function in those who already have a hyperactive immune system or autoimmune condition such as allergies or asthma. As I said with the adaptogenic nature of reishi, it’s always trying to bring us into a state of dynamic equilibrium. This is primarily because reishi contains over 100 different polysaccharides, which are the active constituents that enhance immune function. They work by plugging into immune cells; more specifically, they connect to macrophages in the blood stream and macrophages “digest” these polysaccharides and redistribute them throughout the immune system so every other immune cells gets the benefits from them.
Reishi also contain 119 different triterpene compounds. All of these constituents have shown to upregulate the intelligence and the function of all immune cells (macrophages, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells). Reishi’s triterpenes complex has one compound in particular, Ganoderic acid, which has shown awesome results in treating auto immune conditions and allergies.
The entire human body seems to benefit from reishi mushrooms in one way or another. Reishi Part 2 covers additional benefits of reishi, including healing the liver, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-tumor.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods