The Incredible Healing Reishi "Mushroom of Immortality"




Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has been used extensively  in Asia for its extraordinary health-giving benefits.

Known in Japan as the ‘phantom mushroom’ because it can be so very difficult to find. Reishi is so rare that only about 10 mushrooms would be found growing on about 100,000 trees. Reishi is called the “mushroom of immortality” in China because of the Chinese belief that it promotes longevity. It is one of the oldest medicinal mushrooms, being used for more than four thousand years.

Studies done in Japan, the USA, China and the UK over the past thirty years repeatedly show that taking Reishi has resulted in a reduction in disease, every day ailments and an improvement in the body's condition. Reishi has benefits for every organ system in the body.

The studies also support the use of Reishi as a general tonic. It normalizes the body's organs and functions and maintains health. Called an adaptogen, Reishi helps the body adapt to various stresses like sleep deprivation, temperature, toxin exposure, infection, psychological stress and trauma.

Scientists isolated approximately 400 different bioactive compounds in reishi including triterpenoids, nucleotides, polysaccharides, steroids, sterols, phenols, fatty acids, proteins, amino acids, and trace elements. The triterpenoid ganoderic acids are among the most studied component of reishi. Different types of ganoderic acid have been found to exhibit therapeutic properties.

Reishi has been claimed to be anti-allergin, antioxidant, analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiviral, antiparasitic, cardiovascular, antidiabetic, immunomodulating, hepatoprotective, hypotensive and hypertensive, kidney and nerve tonic, and sexual potentiating. Reishi is used to treat a variety of disorders and promote vitality; it works as an antioxidant against free radicals, protects against the effects of radiation and has anti-inflammatory effects. Reishi intensifies the body's free radical scavenging ability and is especially effective against harmful hydroxyl radicals. Reishi is such a strong hydroxyl radical scavenger that its actions continue even after it is absorbed and metabolized.

Triterpenes (fatty acids) in reishi have benefits including cholesterol inhibition, reduction in blood pressure and a steroidal action which increases the feeling of wellbeing and resistance to stress. They are also responsible for balancing the blood sugar, reducing the "allergy response", and protecting liver damage from toxins.
Reishi has a remarkable germanium and plant sterol content. Germanium improves tissue function with its higher oxygen delivery to the cells, lowers high blood pressure, enhances eye health and immune function, and provides morphine-like pain relief.
Reishi's plant sterols are needed for the manufacture of hormones in the body, and are invaluable for inhibiting tumor growth and formation, and lowering cholesterol.


Some of the Ways Reishi Can Heal

These are only some of the ways that reishi can help you:


cancer
Probably the most important use of reishi is for cancer treatment. In China, Korea, and Japan, reishi is actually used to treat cancer. It is prescribed as cancer supplement in the three countries. There is an undergoing debate on whether to classify reishi as a food supplement for health maintenance or actually a therapeutic drug for medical purposes. In laboratory studies, reishi extract has been found to inhibit cancer growth and metastasis.

Polysaccharides in reishi are carbohydrates made up of many sugar molecules and have anti-cancer and anti-oxidant effects, immune system boosting, colon cleansing and cholesterol-lowering abilities. One such polysaccharide is Beta-D-glucan which exhibits high anti-tumor activity, thus inhibiting further growth and possibly shrinking them completely. Reishi's high fiber content cleanses the colon of toxins and produces a mild laxative action to flush out the system.

Research by Dr Raymond Chang of Cornell Medical College reveals that the reishi mushroom can reduce side-effects when undergoing treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Protection against fatigue, hair loss and bone marrow suppression can be achieved as well as the enhancement of survival rates and reduction of the risk of metastasis. Reishi can also be used to improve the quality of life and prevent recurrence of the cancer.

Reishi activates many anti-viral and anti-tumor substances in the body, such as interferon and lymphokines which help fight viral infections and stop the spread. Polysaccharides increase levels of the anti-oxidant Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), which neutralizes free radical toxins, thus preventing tissue malfunction or destruction.

respiratory
Reishi is showing great help for asthma and other respiratory problems. It strengthens the bronchial cells and engagement relieve coughing. A gigantic study in China reported that 60% to 90% of the participants felt better within two weeks after beginning Reishi, even though they had chronic bronchitis. For respiratory problems, it demonstrated a 60 percent recovery rate in allergy-related chronic bronchitis, with improvement in 97.9 percent of cases. Other studies show benefit for 87.5 percent of bronchial asthmatics with a cure rate of 48 percent. For sinus problems, the cure rate is more than 50 percent with about 80 percent effectiveness.

liver health
Reishi is highly recognized for its use in hepatitis and other liver diseases. It's benefits to the liver include preventing cirrhosis, fatty-liver disease, and liver cirrhosis that can occur from alcohol abuse. It also improves oxygen utilization to improve liver function. It is used to prevent many liver diseases and promote healthy liver function.

cardiovascular disease 
The protection reishi offers against heart disease and stroke is truly remarkable because it helps prevent so many different risk factors, due to its high content of heart-saving substances like sterols, ganoderic acids, coumarin, mannitol and polysaccharides. Experts believe that the ganoderic acids in particular lower triglyceride levels, remove excess cholesterol from the blood, lower blood pressure, reduce platelet stickiness and even help correct arrhythmia. In fact, for 54 people with hypertension unresponsive to medication, taking reishi extract three times a day for four weeks was enough to significantly lower blood pressure, according to a study reported by Burton Goldberg in "Heart Disease." Just imagine how the incidence of cardiovascular disease could be reduced if using reishi really caught on in the Western hemisphere.


allergies

Japanese researchers discovered that the lanostan in reishi acts as a natural antihistamine. In turn, it may diminish the consequences of and even prevents allergic reactions. Lanostan is beneficial in enhancing oxygen manufacturing, which can deliver aid from many illnesses, such as asthma.

cholesterol & high blood pressure

As mentioned above also, reishi can fight high blood pressure. Evidence shows that reishi can effectively lower both blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. According to scientists at the Oklahoma's Oral Roberts University, reishi can contain certain compounds that would reduce the flow of nerve impulses through the sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that is generally affected by emotional stress. Some Russian scientists trying to find out exactly how reishi can be utilized to lower blood cholesterol levels have found that this plant effectively stops the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries of laboratory animals, and when similar studies were conducted on human beings, it was found that it was indeed possible to lower blood cholesterol levels with the use of reishi, as compared to trying to lower it with the help of a placebo. In other words, those patients with a high level of cholesterol had not responded to medication earlier, and now they did.

Regular use of this mushroom helps regulate cholesterol levels and platelet activity in the bloodstream. The mushroom's active ingredients, called ganoderic acids, appear to combat high blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They may also discourage blood platelets from clumping together, thus reducing the risk of dangerous clots.

anti-viral and bacterial

The anti-bacterial and anti-viral components of Reishi fungus are well known. To hinder and/or correct such bacterial infections like e.coli infection, an everyday dose of reishi is necessary. Ganoderma mushroom extract can treat the many viral, bacterial and fungal infections. The fungi have highly potent anti-viral attributes. Because of its high anti-viral properties, reishi is great in healing and prohibiting many viral issues.

stress, pain & mood

Reishi can fight stress. In the East, physicians have long proved the fact that those emotional outbursts that are generally caused by the impact of long-term stress on an individual can actually be reduced significantly by reishi. Although it is not yet known exactly how reishi works on reducing stress, it can be stated that it happens due to the effect that the herb has on the central nervous system. In fact, doctors in the Hijitaki Clinic in Tokyo found that reishi was able to reduce physical pain dramatically in two separate groups of patients, one suffering from neuralgia, and the other, from shingles or herpes zoster. Perhaps it is this same quality that stops emotional outburst after long term stress.

arthritis & inflammation

The majority of research on the use of Reishi extract for inflammation or arthritis appears to support its effectiveness.

Other research has been conducted on Reishi extract that relate specifically to arthritis. In 2006, Kenneth Blum et al. published findings in support of both the effectiveness and safety of using Reishi extract for "joint health," providing "clinical evidence" to back up their claim.
Also that same year, a Chinese study by Xi Bao et al. came to the conclusion that Reishi plus another medicinal herbal remedy commonly used in China seemed to have a "beneficial immunomodulatory effect" on arthritis.
The mechanism through which Reishi achieves this beneficial effect on arthritis was suggested in a study the following year, 2007, by Ho et al., which states that GL-PP [Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide peptide] significantly inhibited the proliferation of RASF [Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts]
Five additional studies are included in the references that report positive findings between Reishi and arthritis. One goes so far as to state that Reishi shows favorable results when compared to prednisone, and is free from the side effects.In extension of this, a separate study also found that not only was Reishi extract free of the side effects of prednisone, it could also help balance the existing side effects of prednisolone* such as cell toxicity and proteinuria. (*Prednisolone is the active compound of prednisone. The liver breaks down prednisone and converts it to prednisolone.)

immune function
Reishi mushroom is one of the best immunity stimulating foods. Research done in Japan, Europe and parts of America shows that one common element of all the studies is that Reishi mushrooms has the ability to effect the immune system in a most amazing and positive way. Intake of reishi mushroom helps to enhance production of T cells. T cells kill the invading bacteria and virus, protecting our bodies from the onslaught of these disease-causing germs. This immunity stimulating power of reishi mushroom could be utilized for fighting several infectious diseases. This medicinal mushroom could also be effective in fighting HIV. To extract the maximum immunity strengthening benefit from reishi mushroom, consume reishi mushroom along with vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables.

endurance
In a recent paper by Dr. H. Fujiwara, it was concluded that stamina for running distance and endurance was significantly increased by the use of ganoderma extracts. The adenosine content of reishi provides energy and improves blood flow.


This substance increases the body's Chi or life energy, and powers the various chemical reactions in the body.

longevity
Reishi mushrooms offer various other health benefits of which one is - slowing the process of aging. This means that if you consume a certain amount of the mushroom (as recommended by a doctor), it can help you stay young. Reishi has long been known to extend life span, increase youthful vigor and vitality. It also promotes good blood circulation by eliminating thrombi in the blood streams. As a result, the person feels renewed vitality. Deterioration of mind and body is arrested. The mushroom contains Superoxide Dismutase enzyme (SOD), which neutralized free radicals. This in turn prevents the body’s cells from being attacked by the free radicals, which causes aging.

nervous system
For the nervous system, reishi has been shown to reduce insomnia, anxiety,

depression and paranoia.


A List of Reishi's Benefits

- Reishi balances the five organs (lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, spleen), toning and sedating.

- Reishi has broad re-balancing effects, both strengthening, toning, and modulating key metabolic systems including: the insulin/glucose response system; the blood lipid system; the immune response system; and the stress response system.
- Glycans of the fruit bodies significantly reduced plasma sugar levels in hyperglycemic mice.
- Reishi also normalizes, or modulates blood lipids and thus it has cardiotonic activity.
 - Reishi is also used to re-balance the stress response and is effective in treating hypertension, insomnia, and anxiety.
 - Sterols in Reishi act as hormone pre-cursors.
 - RNA from Reishi disrupts viral diseases by inducing interferon production.
- Reishi inhibits diseases by helping immune cells (Natural killer cells and killer T-cells) destroy viruses. 
- Reishi inhibits bacteria: Staphylococci, Streptococci and Bacillus pneumoniae.
- Polysaccharides increase RNA and DNA synthesis in the bone marrow where immune cells such as lymphocytes are made.
- Reishi increases the strength and the lifespan of white blood cells such as neutrophils.
- Reishi augments immunoglobulin G (IgG).
- Reishi augments and/or modulates NK and killer T-cell activity.
- Reishi polysaccharides modulate T-cell activity: they expand the memory of T-cells and activate suppressor T-cells.
- Reishi inhibits histamine release from white blood cells.
- Reishi ganodermic acids, oleic acid, sulphur, and LZ-8 protein (from the mycelium and young fruitbodies) help to alleviate allergies.
- Resihi inhibits and/or modulates type I, II, III, and IV allergic sensitivity reactions – it is a broad spectrum anti-allergic agent.
- Type 1 hypersenstivity reactions (IgE-related) are those to pollens,  proteins, and insect venoms (protein allergens). Patients produce an abnormally high rate of IgE antibodies as well as releasing abnormally large amounts of histamine;  Reishi helps to modulate this process by increasing the activity of suppressor T-cells (to suppress IgE antibody production) and by inhibiting histamine release.
- Type II hypersensitivity is called ‘cytotoxic hypersensitivity’ and involves antibodies and cytotoxic immune cells (NK and killer T-cells) that seek out and attack viral, foreign, and tumor cells; Reishi augments and/or modulates NK and killer T-cell activity.
- Type III reactions are in response to an excess of antigens bound to antibodies – antigen/antibody complexes; these are common to autoimmune and chronic viral diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in which IgM-bound antigens are deposited in soft tissues (joints) where they cause inflammation and platelet aggregation; these complexes are normally destroyed by macrophages but when the load is excessive NK cells and killer T-cells are called in to help. Type III sensitivities also include farmers’ lung, library lung, and mushroom workers’ lung (from fungal spores), as well as glomerulonephritis and vascular inflammation.
- Type IV reactions are delayed reactions characterized by contact dermatitis such as poison ivy; these involve the activation of cytotoxic T cells (NK and natural killer cells) by antigens; these are associated with autoimmune conditions such as ulcerative colitis, diabetes mellitus, and myasthenia gravis.
- Evidence suggests that Reishi helps to alleviate food sensitivities by balancing both IgA and IgG antibodies.
- Reishi inhibits Candida albicans.
- Reishi provided relief to 60-90% of chronic bronchitis sufferers and older patients experienced greater relief.
- Reishi is officially listed as a substance for treating cancer by the Japanese Government; long-term treatment of cancer with Reishi has success. 
- Vitamin C appears to increase the absorbability of Reishi polysaccharides, improving treatment of cancer and other types of diseases.
- Reishi ‘wakes up’ the immune system early to fight cancer, helping to prevent it.
- Reishi polysaccharides stimulate macrophages to produced more tumor-necrosis factor and a number of interleukins.
- 50% of the cancerous tumors in mice completely regressed 10 days after injection of Reishi; even in small doses, a polysaccharide from Reishi inhibited 100% of tumors in mice.
- Reishi reduces blood fat levels, including triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol); triterpene derivatives of ganoderic acid are responsible for inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis.
- Reishi improved 81.77% of heart disease patients in 9 Chinese hospitals.
Reishi helps to lower blood pressure – significant reduction in blood pressure was noted in humans after taking Reishi tablets for 10 days; triterpenes (Ganoderic acids) seem to be responsible for this effect; effect is attributable to ACE inhibition, an activity common to some pharmaceutical drugs [ACE = angiotensin converting enzyme].
- Adenosine inhibits platelet aggregation.
- Reishi is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent; it is a potent scavenger of free radicals. It is suggested that Reishi’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may be derived by potentiating the activity of the body’s own anti-oxidant enzymes, especially super oxide dismutase.
- Reishi protects against cobalt X-ray radiation – it has a ‘radioprotective’ effect similar to that of L-cysteine, a naturally occuring amino acid that is an especially active scavenger of free radicals.
- Reishi improves the function of red blood cells in transferring oxygen; Reishi acts as an altitude adaptogen, alleviating symptoms of altitude sickness.
- Reishi, prepared as an alcohol extraction, aids against liver necrosis and hepatitis; Reishi helps to regenerate the liver; it decreases damage to liver cells caused by viral antigen-antibody complexes.
- Reishi contributes to pain relief and to muscle relaxation.
- Reishi has a calming, sedating effect on the nervous system; it helps to relieve insomnia, anxiety and restlessness.

Personal Remarks
Reishi is not the prettiest looking thing, but it is a remarkable mushroom with tons of research backing it's health claims. It is very safe to take and recommeded to take for the long term for all it's helpful benefits. Some even find relief from menopause with reishi. The list of benefits is virtuallly endless. Personally, I really love the tea by Health King called
Reishi Liver Guard which contains reishi mushroom as well as other healing Chinese herbs. I drink 1-2 cups a day. Even though it contains green tea, it always makes me feel very calm and relaxed. It's nice to combine the healing properites of green tea with reishi. You might want to try it. Another fabulous product that I've come accross is New Chapter Reishi supplement. A quality company and a good price if you want to enjoy the benefits of this mushroom. Here is a site that lists some of the research literature on reishi mushroom. Some of the files are pdf. To health!

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  2. I love reishi its amazing I would also recommend cordyceps and astragalus for boosting the immune system. :)

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