Jul 13, 2023

Top Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

Image of Fresh Reishi Mushroom

Scientific/Latin name: Ganoderma lucidum

Also known as: Queen of Mushrooms, Reishi Antler Mushroom, "Mushroom of Immortality", Ten-Thousand-Year mushroom and Chinese ling zhi

Native to: Can be found growing on tree stumps, specifically on hardwoods like oak or hemlock in regions, such as Asia, the south Pacific, Europe and parts of North America.

Parts used: Fruiting body and mycelia 

Top benefits: Adaptogenic, Immune Support, Antioxidant Rich and Mind Calming

Reishi growing on a log

Reishi, Queen of the Mushroom Kingdom

Meet Reishi, a medicinal mushroom that has been used for thousands of years to support healthy immune function and overall well-being. It’s still used today in Eastern medicine and in Asian cultures as an important dietary supplement, and is also trusted in Western herbalism for its ability to help soothe and calm the mind, support immunity, and improve quality of life by supporting the body’s stress response.

The History of Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom is one of the most highly respected botanicals in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It was held in such high regard that it’s been immortalized throughout Chinese culture, weaved into various forms of art and even the robes of emperors. Considered the “mushroom of the immortals,” and true to its Chinese name Ling Zhi, which represents spirit and longevity, it has been used for millennia to preserve health, support mental calmness, and promote longevity.

Reishi was listed as the most respected out of the 120 superior tonics cited in the most famous of all Chinese medical texts, the Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing. These botanicals were considered “superior” as they were considered to have the most spiritual potency, prolong life, prevent aging and boost Qi (vital energy or life force), and to be of medicinal value without toxicity  -- the latter being one of the three specific qualities that a botanical must exhibit to be labeled a true adaptogen. In this text, Red Reishi was reported to tonify the heart, nourish the center, sharpen the wit and improve memory.

What Does It Mean To “Tonify?”

It may sound like skincare, but tonification is actually a way to support your body through the use of natural, holistic medicine. In TCM, the process of tonification can be done through several methods.

These include:

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Diet 
  • Tonifying herbs

Tonifying the body is a way to calibrate the body’s essential energies that sustain human life (jing — our essence, and qi — our vital energy). TCM believes that all disease stems from an imbalance in the body, and by restoring balance, the body thrives. Tonic herbs and mushrooms have strengthening properties, helping to restore equilibrium by alleviating weaknesses in the body.

How Is Reishi Mushroom Harvested?

Ganoderma lucidum is a member of the Ganoderma genus of polypores (a group of fungi that form fruiting bodies with pores or tubes on the underside), which grows on the stumps of oaks and other hardwood trees, and includes over 250 species. 

These fruiting bodies are used to make Reishi extract, while the mycelium is left behind.

JOYÀ’s Reishi mushrooms are sourced from the mountain regions of China, where growers have been cultivating mushrooms for generations, and are the highest quality certified organic sources available. These mushrooms are sustainably produced on farms (not grown in labs). 

Our mushrooms are tested for toxins, pesticides, and impurities before they leave China and are further tested by third-party laboratories in North America during manufacturing of our products. That means you get exactly what our package says: pure Reishi mushroom extract that contains all of the potent active compounds that can help balance your Qi and support your wellness.

Health Benefits of Reishi

Why take Reishi? For its natural, health-boosting benefits. Mushroom powder has been used for centuries, but it’s also become a popular ingredient in pop culture. There’s a reason this superfood mushroom is showing up on your favorite social media feeds and in your best friend’s smoothies: its benefits are powerful.

Adaptogenic Powerhouse

When a person is under stress, the adrenal glands produce and release more stress hormones, allowing the body to maintain balance. However, in cases of chronic stress, over-stimulation of the adrenals can lead to adrenal fatigue, compromising the functioning every organ and system in the body.

You might be under chronic stress if you:

  • Feel continually tired or fatigued, even if you sleep at night
  • Feel emotionally unbalanced and unable to cope with difficult situations
  • Avoid social situations you once enjoyed
  • Feel unfocused or foggy-headed

Experiencing these symptoms for long periods of time can even lead to other health conditions, like high blood pressure, digestive complications, increased illness, and a decline in mental wellness.

Reishi is considered an adaptogen particularly beneficial for supporting adrenal function, thereby helping to increase energy and resistance to stress. It’s also considered an adaptogen with anti-inflammatory effects that can be used to provide relief from pain from arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (an auto-immune disease).

Reishi’s use in western Herbal Medicine is a very holistic example of its “adaptive” ability to balance the body regardless of whether it is hyperactive (overactive) or hypoactive (weakened and under-active). It’s used, on the one hand, as a general tonic to strengthen the body in cases of mental and physical fatigue related to stress, and on the other hand, to promote calm in cases of insomnia due to restlessness and an overactive mind, which are often the result of stress.

Immune supporting

Your body’s immune response controls how your body responds to substances that it sees as harmful or foreign. When it is balanced, you can experience your highest level of wellness. However, an imbalanced immune response can cause you to experience sickness more frequently. If it is weakened or suppressed, it will not provide a strong enough defense when there is a threat, and if it is hyperactive, improperly over-responding to perceived threats, this can lead to an autoimmune condition.

Reishi has a long history of use in China to prevent and treat various diseases. Ancient Chinese medical scholars believed that Reishi could strengthen the body’s resistance and support Qi (vital energy), and it’s used in TCM to eliminate phlegm and treat coughs and bronchitis. Because of its widespread use to strengthen the body in both TCM and western herbal medicine, modern Chinese doctors and herbal medicine practitioners often use Reishi to enhance the body’s immune response in patients undergoing conventional chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment for various forms of cancer. Reishi is also integrated into HIV treatment protocols in order to enhance immune resistance and prevent infections.

A widely researched botanical, much of the reported findings from the last three decades of research on Reishi have been around its immune-enhancing properties, based predominantly on cell culture and animal models.

This research has found polysaccharides and triterpenoids to be the main active constituents of Reishi with anti-tumor properties, activating certain cells that form part of the immune system. It has been found to be one of the broadest-acting immunomodulating botanicals, with actions including anti-allergenic, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, liver-protective antioxidant and antiviral activities.

There are also some reports of human trials in the field, but a cohesive scientific evaluation of Reishi’s use as a traditional therapy has not yet been clearly established.

Slices of dried Reishi mushroom

Antioxidant Rich

Reishi has been found to be a source of antioxidants, compounds which play a vital, health-protecting role in human life. Antioxidants have been shown to help protect against various metabolic diseases, heart disease, brain disorders and age-related syndromes, as they help the body combat cellular damage caused by free radicals (reactive chemicals containing oxygen).

It works like this: external aggressors like UV light, cigarette smoke, and pollution cause your body to produce more free radicals than those produced by normal metabolic processes. This disrupts the balance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. 

Free radicals attack healthy cells, causing damage that can be replicated in new cells when they proliferate. Antioxidants offer up one of their electrons to a free radical to neutralize it, and thereby reduce its ability to cause damage. Ingredients like Reishi that offer antioxidant properties can help protect your cells against oxidative stress.

Reishi has been reported to increase the antioxidant effects of glutathione, an important antioxidant produced by the body. It has also been found to have hepatoprotective actions (the ability to mitigate liver damage and support liver function) as a result of its ability to act as a scavenger of free radicals.

Mind Calming

One of Reishi’s main actions according to TCM is to calm shen (the spirit or mind). So revered was it for its purported ability to promote a centred calmness, Reishi was also used by Chinese Taoist monks to improve meditative practices. Similarly, in western herbal therapies, Reishi is used to promote calm in cases of insomnia due to restlessness and an overactive mind.

Many people prefer using a natural, herbal supplement to help calm the nervous system when stressed and center the mind, as well as to avoid unwanted side effects that can come with the use of some modern medicinal solutions. 

It’s worth noting here that if you are pregnant or nursing, you may want to consult with a doctor before taking Reishi. Research into Reishi’s safety during pregnancy is still ongoing, and it may be best to avoid this herb until research can confirm its safety.

Ramp Up Your Reishi

It’s easy to add Reishi mushroom to your health stack, but be warned: Reishi has an extremely bitter taste.  Instead of attempting to add Reishi powder directly to your coffee or tea, let JOYÀ give you a delicious solution. We include Reishi mushroom in two of our nutrient-packed, indulgent chocolate bars. 

JOYÀ products that feature Reishi Mushroom

Raise Your Hand for Reishi-Infused Chocolate

Two of our favorite chocolate bars contain Reishi mushroom: Balance Functional Chocolate and Zen Functional Chocolate. These bars only taste like pure indulgence. Both contain Reishi and other functional herbs to help restore a healthy level of mental calm and collectiveness when your days are particularly demanding. 

Balance Functional Chocolate

Zen Functional Chocolate

Run to Reishi

Life can be stressful and leave your body feeling unbalanced. Luckily, Reishi can help restore your equilibrium, giving you what you need to power through your schedule and feel energized. 

The health research presented in this article is for informational use only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and should not be construed as a recommendation of specific products. The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information does not provide dosage or format recommendations or possible drug interactions, and accordingly, should be used with the advice of a qualified health care practitioner.

Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi) - Herbal Medicine - NCBI Bookshelf 
The effects of chronic stress on health: new insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain–body communication | PMC 
A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide | Chinese Medicine 
Reishi Mushroom|Medicine Complementary.com 
Ling Zhi (Lingzhi mushroom) in Chinese Medicine|Me and Qi.com 
The effect of Ganoderma lucidum extract on immunological function and identify its anti-tumor immunostimulatory activity based on the biological network | Scientific Reports 
Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi) - Herbal Medicine - NCBI Bookshelf 
Ling Zhi (Lingzhi mushroom) in Chinese Medicine