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Medicinal Mushroom Series: Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

One of the more well known mushrooms on the list, next up we have the Reishi mushroom. This fantastic fungi is also well known by its Chinese name, the Lingzhi mushroom, and boasts quite a few, well researched benefits that we will soon dive right in to.

While we are now able to cultivate Reishi mushrooms, in the wild they are quite rare. They can be found growing at the base or stump of deciduous trees, but only make an appearance on every 2 or 3 out of 10,000 such trees. Not an easy find! The Reishi mushroom is not particularly tasty either, it has a more bitter taste and when found in the culinary world, it is often incorporated into coffee and tea. This mushroom is much more well known for the impact it has on various aspects of health and has quite a bit of research to back up it's claims. So without further ado, here are the top 6 benefits of Ganoderma lucidum!

1) Antioxidant

The first point on this list is the antioxidant capacity of the Reishi mushroom. It has the ability to stabilize free radicals, the pesky little reactive compounds that cause damage throughout the body. This is a valuable function of any superfood or supplement, but is not the most impressive benefit on this list by far!

2) Improves Insulin Resistance

Another mushroom with blood sugar improving superpowers! Insulin resistance is on the rise in North America, contributing to worsening Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes. Both of these conditions can have a large impact not only on the quality of life of the affected individual, but on the entire health care system because of how high the prevalence is. Nothing like some mushroom to improve overall health!

3) Anti-Cancer

The Reishi mushroom has been studied quite extensively for this reason right here. It seems to be quite effective at activating Natural Killer (NK) cells in the body, which help kill tumours and decrease the chance of metastasis in the human body. This mushroom can actually help prevent the spread of cancer in your body! It may not be effective in all forms of cancer, however I know I will be keeping a close eye on this area of research to see how far it's reach goes!

4) Immunomodulator

Like many other mushrooms on this list, Reishi has the ability to strengthen a weak immune system and more closely regulate an overactive immune system. This can play a role in every day things like the common cold, to much more complicated conditions such as diabetes and cancer. 

5) Increases Good Cholesterol

It is not very easy to find a medication or supplement that can increase our good cholesterol (HDL), which is why when we come across something that does, we should pay close attention. Studies support the fact that supplementing with Reishi can increase HDL cholesterol by up to 24%. Quite a considerable amount!

6) Improves Overall Wellbeing

This ancient mushroom has even been able to improve the subjective wellbeing of participants in various studies. It has a particularly impactful benefit to those who are feeling down due to another disease. Supplementing with Ganoderma lucidum can actually raise spirits and have you feeling better mentally, in addition to the previously mentioned physical benefits it boasts!

Dr. Rob Raponi ND, CISSN, B.Kine(Hons)

Podcast: Well Talks

Facebook: @Dr.Raponi


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