It was not until the second half of the 20th century that scientists began probing the medicinal properties of reishi mushrooms, one of the world’s oldest symbols of well-being and longevity. Though the mainstream medical community in the United States has only recently become interested in reishi, it has perhaps the longest record of medicinal use of any mushroom in history. Now, thanks to extensive scientific testing, we have confirmation that these mushrooms have exceptionally potent properties due to high concentrations of plant compounds that, among other things, prevent the formation of memory-stealing plaques in the brain.
An Ancient Mushroom with Many Names
Nicknamed the “mushrooms of immortality,” there are many varieties of reishi, but they’re all quite rare to find growing naturally in the wild—their preferred habitat being the trunks of plum trees.
Reishi mushrooms have a glossy exterior and bitter, rather woody taste. The second half of the mushroom’s Latin name, Ganoderma lucidum, comes from the word “lucidus,” which means “shiny” or “brilliant” and describes the varnished appearance of the mushroom’s surface. The mushroom shows up in medical texts for the first time during the reign of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang of the Chin Dynasty.
Two characters form the Chinese word for these mushrooms—the first, “ling,” translates roughly to “spirit, soul, miraculous, sacred, divine, and/or efficacious,” and the second, “zhi” is used to denote what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) terms the “plants of longevity.” Both characters connote a host of meanings, so it only makes sense that the word has accrued a multitude of English translations over the years, including…
- Magic fungus
- Possessed of soul power
- Divine mushroom
- Herb of spiritual potency
And, of course, “mushroom of immortality.”
“Hundreds of Medicinally Interactive Compounds”
On the basis of its extensive and celebrated history, reishi was one of the first species of mushrooms to have its DNA fully sequenced: it has 16,113 genes and more than 400 active enzymes, prompting one expert to remark that reishi are like “miniature pharmaceutical factories that can produce hundreds of medicinally-interactive compounds.”
Two of the major active enzymes found in reishi are polysaccharides and triterpenes, although the concentration and percentage of each can vary dramatically from mushroom to mushroom.
The polysaccharides sourced from reishi exhibit a range of beneficial effects, such as…
- Quelling inflammation
- Balancing blood sugar
- Preventing and halting the development of tumors
- Stimulating the immune system
More than 100 different triterpenes have been isolated from reishi mushroom samples to date. Of those, more than 50 are unique to reishi. These compounds give reishi its bitter taste and, researchers believe, its antioxidant effects.
How Reishi Can Benefit You
According to a Taiwanese study published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry in 2009, the polysaccharides reishi contains have life span-extending properties. It appears that they promote longevity by enhancing the function of your immune system as well as by forestalling the growth of abnormal blood vessel formations that can turn cancerous.
Au unrelated study published in Neuropharmacology in 2012 examined reishi’s impact on the health of your brain. The researchers found that the mushroom has impressive neuroprotective effects that make it a promising method for preventing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease. They found reishi can…
- Alleviate oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction
- Prevent brain cell death
- Restore cognitive function
They also found that reishi encourages the production of nerve growth factor (NGF). These molecules are essential for healthy brain function and known to discourage the formation of beta amyloid plaques, one of the central physical changes linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Don’t Buy a Reishi Supplement Without Reading This
Reishi is quite literally packed with potent plant compounds proven to, among other things…
- Prevent the formation of memory-loss inducing plaques in your brain
- Stimulate the production of nerve growth factor
- Keep irritants away from your brain cells
- Rev up your immune system
It’s important to note that the concentration and percentage of active compounds found in reishi mushrooms can vary quite dramatically. When 11 randomly selected commercial products were tested to determine how much of the two major active ingredients—triterpenes and polysaccharides—they contained, the range for triterpenes stretched from undetectable to 7.8 percent and for polysaccharides from 1.1 to 5.8 percent.
Several factors can contribute to these significant variations, including differences between species or strains of reishi and varying production methods. If you’re interested in taking reishi, it’s vital that you select a high quality product made from properly sourced and processed reishi.
The best supplements will also be thoroughly tested to avoid chemical contamination and packaged to prevent light- and oxygen-related degradation. Try the finest available reishi supplement today, backed by a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee, by clicking here.