Reishi mushroom benefits are believed to cover a wide range of ailments. Their immune-boosting properties could help an individual fight off any sickness from the common cold to cancer and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The fungus is also said to decrease inflammation, which could help to lessen the effects of a headache or even various types of cardiovascular disease while also improving brain function.
One of the most common reishi mushroom benefits is its immunostimulant properties. This may be due to the high concentration of polysaccharides the mushrooms are said to contain. Polysaccharides often act as an anticoagulant in the blood, which may lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Polysaccharides are perhaps best known for their ability to stimulate a body’s production of T-cells and other types of white blood cells. These cells typically act as a body’s defense system against foreign viruses. A higher white blood cell count could translate into a stronger defense against colds, coughs, or the flu, all ailments that affect people fairly often. As AIDS patients lose T-cells, their ability to fight off any airborne virus weakens, which is often fatal—therefore, reishi mushrooms can be useful for treating this population.
The immunostimulants, antioxidants, and anti-tumor elements in this fungus are said to be the cause of still more reishi mushroom benefits such as fighting off tumors and cancers. Antioxidants tend to attack free radicals that enter the body. The fewer free radicals there are, the less chance one typically has of developing cancer.
Reishi mushrooms could help reduce the chance and risk of tumors in two ways. First, the mushroom usually includes a substance called glucan, which can bind the new white blood cells to tumor cells, attacking them. Secondly, reishi mushrooms often contain canthaxanthin. Research has suggested this substance actually retards the growth of tumors.
Even after cancer has already developed, these reishi mushroom benefits may continue to help improve one’s chances at fighting off the disease by decreasing cancerous cells and producing more white blood cells. Most doctors recommend cancer patients begin radiation therapy, and reishi mushrooms may also help a body protect itself against any harmful effects of radiation. While reishi mushrooms are not a proven method of treatment, several doctors in Japan already prescribe this product to their cancer patients.
Reishi mushrooms are thought to reduce overall inflammation throughout the body. Along with elements that strengthen the heart, such as ganoderic acids, this reduction in inflammation may decrease the chance of a number of cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, reishi mushroom benefits may extend to any number of diseases that are assumed to be a result of inflammation, such as Alzheimer’s.
No governmental drug agency has yet to approve the mushrooms as a remedy. Those already on blood thinners should not take reishi due to the mushroom’s similar effect on the blood. Women who are pregnant or are currently nursing should consult a physician before ingesting the fungus.