What is Reishi Mushroom Powder?
If something is working, you might as well continue to use it, as the saying goes. Reishi mushroom powder has been used by Asian cultures as a natural medicine for at least 2,000 years. The Reishi mushroom, also known as the Lingzhi mushroom in China, is one of the only species of mushrooms that is consumed more for its medicinal and pharmaceutical properties than for its nutritional value. Due to its rather bitter taste, the traditional cultures of the Far East found that it was better used for its medicinal properties than as a part of the regular diet.
Scientifically speaking, the Reishi mushroom belongs to the Ganoderma genum of mushrooms, with over 80 different individual species. The most often consumed is the Ganoderma Lucidum species. Unlike the traditional mushroom that you imagine growing from the forest floor, Reishi mushrooms actually grow like wooden conks on the sides of tree trunks, both living and dead.
The traditional wisdom of the Chinese, Japanese, and other East Asian cultures has recently been confirmed by modern science as literally hundreds of scientific studies have discovered some of the many benefits that the Reishi mushroom brings. Due to these health benefits, dozens of companies have begun to make and market Reishi mushroom powder which is simply the dried and ground up form of the Reishi mushroom.
Known also as the “king of the mushrooms” or the “God of Fungi”, the Reishi has long been revered as a natural way to achieve a longer, healthier life. While Reishi mushroom powder might not be an eternal fountain of youth, there are certainly a number of important health benefits that we will look at below.
14 Benefits of Reishi Mushroom Powder
As we mentioned above, Reishi mushroom powder does have a rather bitter taste which is one of the main reasons that it isn’t generally consumed as a food source. The Asian cultures for thousands of years have consumed Reishi mushroom powder as a hot drink. Traditionally, the mushrooms were thinly sliced and placed in boiling water. The resulting dark and bitter liquid was then drank to cure several bodily ills. If you grow reishi mushrooms at your home, you can also use the mycelium (white, underground strands or “roots”) for their medicinal purposes.
1. Anti-Cancer and Anti-Tumor Medicine
Perhaps some of the most exciting research being done regarding the medicinal properties of Reishi mushroom powder is related to potential anti-cancer effects of the Reishi mushroom. As an anti-inflammatory food, Reishi mushroom powder is believed to help restrict the growth of cancerous tumors. Furthermore, this potent natural medicine also has large amounts of polysaccharides which are a type of water soluble sugar that are known to fight against cancers and also prevent tumor growth. If you are at risk for tumor-based cancer due to genetics or lifestyle conditions, taking reishi mushroom powder regularly is a great way to avoid cancer. While some people might think that the supposed cancer-fighting ability of Reishi mushroom powder is a hoax, recent studies have shown that this ingredient has been used to successfully treat diverse types of cancers including lung cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer.
2. Increase Longevity
Who wouldn’t want to drink a morning tea that increased your overall longevity? The polysaccharides which are responsible for the anti-cancer medicinal properties in Reishi mushroom powder are also effective for improving longevity. One study shows that these polysaccharides also activate the immune system and prevent abnormal blood vessel malformation. These two properties have the ability to increase your life span while also helping you to avoid cancer.
3. Liver Regeneration
Thousands of people each year die from liver related diseases, and modern day medicine often has no remedy for serious liver conditions. Reishi mushroom powder, however, has been shown to help regenerate livers suffering from certain serious conditions. A recent report found that Reishi mushroom powder can actually reverse chemical damage to the livers of lab mice. The high amount of triterpenes aid in the release of free radicals in the liver which allow for this regeneration to occur.
4. Helps with Alzheimer’s
Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s Disease and others cause huge amounts of damages to millions of elderly people and their families around the world. While no cure has yet been found with Alzheimer’s, recent studies are finding that Reishi mushroom powder might have useful therapeutic effects. Healthy nerve growth factor is essential for neuro-cognitive functions, and it has been seen that Reishi mushroom powder can promote this process in the brain.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
The triterpenes that are important for liver regeneration, are also essential to help people lower and maintain their blood pressure at a healthy level. While scientists are still trying to find out why Reishi mushroom powder can help to regulate blood pressure, some studies believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of this medicine are responsible for this health effect. Not only do they limit inflammation in arteries and veins, but the triterpenes can also help to moderate overall hormonal balance.
6. Improved Circulation
Another effect of the anti-inflammatory properties of Reishi mushroom powder is improved circulation of the blood. This can help people avoid potentially dangerous blood clots. Furthermore, reishi mushroom powder can be essential in preventing high cholesterol levels that are also caused by clotting and bad blood circulation.
7. Improved Concentration
If you suffer from grogginess and a lack of mental clarity, Reishi mushroom powder can be a great way to regain your ability to stay concentrated and focused. An accumulation of heavy metals and other toxins in the body can ultimately lead to a feeling of lethargy and mental laziness. Reishi mushroom powder, however, offers a natural detox that can help your body avoid any long term damage from the accumulation of these toxins.
At the same time, your increased energy levels during the day can contribute to better sleep patterns and rhythms at night. Taking Reishi mushroom powder on a regular basis, then, will keep you sharper and alert during the day so that you can better rest at night.
8. Helps Prevent Diabetes
A recent scientific study looked at the ability of Reishi mushroom powder to both prevent and treat diabetes. By taking Reishi mushroom powder regularly, you can improve dyslipidemia, a common condition that often leads to diabetes. At the same time, if you suffer from type II diabetes, Reishi mushroom powder can help to reduce the severity and other long term complications from this disease. By raising hemoglobin levels while not affecting your blood sugar levels, this natural medicine is ideal as a supplement for people suffering from diabetes.
9. Natural Remedy for Asthma
As mentioned above, Reishi mushroom powder is a great way to boost your immune system. This is important for a number of reasons, but especially as a way to help people reduce their allergic reactions such as asthma. The medicinal properties in the Reishi mushroom act on the body’s immune system and prevent the release of histamines from mast cells in the body. This essentially limits the severity of allergic reactions like asthma. However, this can also be important for other allergic reactions such as skin irritations and even anaphylaxis.
10. Natural Remedy for Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory qualities of Reishi mushroom powder have been mentioned several times already. However, these effects are also important to help people suffering from arthritis and who don’t want to rely on powerful chemical medicines that often come with several potentially dangerous side effects. Apart from helping to reduce the inflammation that causes pain with arthritis, you can also use Reishi mushroom powder to relieve pain from headaches and other injuries.
11. Antibacterial and Antifungal
Those miraculous triterpenes that are so abundant in Reishi mushroom powder also act as a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent, thus helping your body to resist several types of infections. The bitter taste that characterizes Reishi mushroom powder tea is a common characteristic to several types of plants. This bitter taste is a way that the plant protects itself in the natural world from certain diseases, and this same medicinal property translates to the human body as well. High amounts of triterpenes can thus help to fight off bad bacteria and fungi while promoting the healthy growth of beneficial fungi and bacteria.
12. Helps People Deal with Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety, along with other psychological disorders, are growing at an alarming rate throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Reishi mushroom powder might be able to help people avoid these serious and potentially dangerous mental conditions. A recent study showed that women suffering from breast cancer reported much reduced anxiety and depression related to their health condition. It is believed that these benefits are also available to the wider public.
13. Helps Wounds Heal Quicker
Reishi mushroom powder doesn’t only have to be taken as a hot tea for internal health issues. The anti-inflammatory properties can also be used externally for a variety of issues. One recent study found that Reishi mushroom powder and extract could help wounds heal more quickly. While you could use Reishi mushroom powder directly on a wound, taking it internally will also fortify your immune system to help your body naturally heal both external and internal wounds.
14. A Natural Anti-Malarial Medicine
Every year thousands of people die from malaria. Quinines and other chemical medicines used to treat malaria are expensive and often out of the reach of poor communities around the world. Reishi mushroom powder is also considered as having potent anti-malarial properties. Since malaria affects the liver, the Reishi mushroom also can be fundamental as a way to help regenerate the liver is malaria causes any severe damage to the liver.
Negative Side Effects of Reishi Mushroom Powder
With all of these marvelous health benefits, why isn’t everyone taking Reishi mushroom powder? Outside of China, Japan, and Korea, these medicinal effects of Reishi mushroom powder have only recently been discovered. However, as with any new medicinal property, it is important to understand some of the potential side effects.
Since Reishi mushroom powder acts strongly upon the immune system, some doctors might recommend against using Reishi mushroom powder on people who suffer from auto-immune diseases. This could cause the immune system to overreact and thus worsen the condition. If you suffer from any sort of auto-immune disorder, it’s important to talk with your doctor before deciding to take Reishi mushroom powder
In some cases, people who are unused to the bitter flavor of Reishi mushroom powder might suffer from an upset stomach after taking this medicine. These effects, however, are usually only temporarily and will only affect people who have seriously compromised immune systems.
How to Use Reishi Mushroom Powder
If the vast array of health benefits associated with Reishi mushroom powder makes you think that this might be a good option for you, it is important to understand the different ways in which you can actually use this product. Below we look at some of the ways in which you can use Reishi mushroom powder to boost your immune system and improve your overall health.
When to Consume Reishi Mushroom Powder
As with many super foods, it is probably best to take this powder early in the morning on an empty stomach. This will maximize the health benefits offered by Reishi mushroom powder and will also help you escape from early morning grogginess and maximize your cognitive functions from the very beginning of your day.
What to Take with Reishi Mushroom Powder
Taking Reishi mushroom powder by itself can be a rather unpleasant experience, due to the bitterness and the dryness of the powder. The ancient Chinese and other Asian cultures have been taking Reishi mushroom powder with water (or as a tea) for thousands of years because the water allows the nutrients and medicinal properties to be more available to the body. Recent research has also found that taking Reishi mushroom powder with foods high in Vitamin C is a good way to take advantage of the high amounts of antioxidants in the Reishi mushroom.
Make Sure You Find the Correct Species
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are over 80 different species of mushrooms in the Ganoderma class. While several of these do have medicinal properties, the Ganoderma lucidum is the real Reishi mushroom. Make sure to search from products that come with this exact species.
Check the Country of Origin
While there are reputable growers of Reishi mushrooms in Europe and North America, the most “authentic” and highest quality Reishi mushroom powder will come from mushrooms grown and harvested in Japan or China. Japanese Reishi mushrooms are considered the highest quality so it might be in your best interest to find Reishi mushrooms from this country.
Top 3 Ways to Use Reishi Mushroom Powder in Your Diet
Learning to incorporate a new food into your kitchen is never easy, especially when that food has a strong bitter flavor as is the case with the Reishi mushroom. Below we look at the top 3 ways to use Reishi mushroom powder in your kitchen.
Reishi Mushroom Powder Tea
This is by far the most common way to prepare and consume Reishi mushroom powder. Simply add one teaspoon of Reishi mushroom powder for each cup of water. Boil the water first, then add the powder and let simmer for several minutes. To mask the strong, bitter flavor of this tea, you can add ginger and lemon which will add a pleasant taste to the tea.
This meal can be prepared either with fresh Reishi mushroom or with Reishi mushroom powder. If you use fresh Reishi mushrooms, you will need to soak them in water overnight before using. If you are using Reishi mushroom powder, simply add 1 tablespoon of Reishi mushroom powder to the soup of choice. You don’t want the bitter flavor to overshadow the other flavors in the soup, so one tablespoon is usually the recommended maximum amount to add to any soup.
If you are really looking for a way to be creative with your Reishi mushroom powder, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of Reishi mushroom powder to a stir fry. Make sure to use lots of olive oil, onion and garlic to help cover up the bitter aspect of the Reishi, and add it sparingly at the end of the sautéing process.
Where to Find Reishi Mushroom Powder
If you enjoy the challenge of growing your own food and medicines, you might look into finding Reishi mushroom spore or spawn. There are several companies online that offer Reishi dowel spawn which are essentially pieces of wood that have been colonized with Reishi mushroom mycelium. These dowel spawn are then nailed into a log thus inoculating the log. With the proper care and maintenance, in 6 to 10 months you should have your own Reishi mushrooms growing out of logs stacked in the woods behind your house.
If you do grow your own Reishi mushrooms or find fresh Reishi mushrooms growing in your local forest, to dry them out you simply need to place them in the sun. Alternatively, you can invest in an electric food dehydrator or build your own solar dehydrator as well. Once the Reishi mushrooms are completely dried out, you simply need to grind them into a powder form with a food processor or coffee grinder to have your own reserve of Reishi mushroom powder.
Another place to find quality Reishi mushroom powder products is at Asian grocery stores. Since Reishi mushrooms are an essential part of traditional and herbal Asian medicinal practices, you should be able to find these products there. Lastly, you can also search the internet for several companies that offer quality Reishi mushroom powder products.
Top 5 Best Reishi Mushroom Powder Products
If you are looking for the best Reishi mushroom powder products online, be sure to check out these products at Amazon to get the most out of the powerful medicinal and nutritional benefits of the Reishi mushroom.
- Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder
- Four Sigma Foods Organic Mushroom Elixir
- Bulk Supplements Pure Reishi Mushroom Extract Powder
- NN Store Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder
- Real Mushrooms Reishi Mushroom Extract Powder