Reishi mushrooms – medicinal mushrooms with myriad benefits - by The Superfood Blog
Posted on December 03 2014
Reishi mushrooms have been strengthening immunity, managing stress and lowering cholesterol levels in the East for more than 2000 years. More recently, American TV personality and socialite, Kim Kardashian, revealed them as her secret to beautiful, youthful-looking skin. Happily, you too can now enjoy all of the benefits of this salutary superfood in a convenient powder form!
Reishi mushroom extract powder
Both the Chinese and Japanese have harnessed reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma Lucidum) as a traditional herbal medicine for centuries. In China, the reishi mushroom is known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’ in deference to its powerful, life prolonging properties, and images of the fungus dominate ancient works of art. In Japan, the reishi mushroom is often referred to as ‘the auspicious plant’, and used to prepare a rejuvenating reishi tea.
As reishi mushrooms are rather unpalatable – they possess a somewhat bitter flavour – they’re not widely used in cooking. Instead the flesh of the reddish-brown mushroom, which boasts a kidney-shaped cap, undergoes a special process known as ‘hot water extraction’, before being dried into a concentrated superfood powder that can be stirred directly into a variety of drinks and dishes. As a result of this careful preparation, reishi mushroom extract powder retains a wealth of beneficial ingredients, most notably polysaccharides and triterpenes, and has been associated with a number of important health benefits.
The benefits of reishi mushroom extract powder
Reishi mushroom extract powder is considered an especially cleansing superfood that helps to strengthen the immune system, improve general health and wellbeing, and vigorously promote longevity. And, thanks to its ability to increase oxygen absorption and boost energy, it’s proving a particularly popular supplement with top athletes and mountaineers.
Below are three reishi mushroom health benefits that you can enjoy simply by adding a small amount of reishi mushroom extract powder to your daily smoothie or juice.
1) Reishi mushroom extract powder for strengthened immunity
Reishi mushroom extract powder is extremely rich in beta-glucans – a naturally occurring type of polysaccharide, which is known to strengthen the immune system by activating its killer T-cell function (killer T-cells seek out and destroy those cells that have become infected with viruses or disease). In this way, beta-glucans are thought to inhibit the growth of tumours and are often used in combination with other medicines for the treatment of cancer (especially prostate cancer), as well as diabetes and HIV/ AIDS. Indeed, the Japanese government now recognises reishi mushrooms as an official cancer treatment.
Reishi mushroom extract powder may also help to detoxify and protect the liver – researchers at the National Chung Hsing University of Taiwan claim that reishi mushrooms help to prevent the spread of hepatoma (the most common type of liver cancer) and both in vitro and in vivo animal trials indicate a potential to alleviate the symptoms of hepatitis B.
In addition, reishi mushroom extract powder contains triterpenes in the form of ganoderic acid, which actively relieves the symptoms of many allergic conditions (by preventing the release of histamines and reducing inflammation), such as eczema, psoriasis and asthma. In fact, these anti-inflammatory properties make reishi mushroom extract powder equally efficient in treating other inflammatory conditions, including neuralgia and arthritis.
2) Reishi mushroom extract powder for improved heart health
The effect of reishi mushrooms on the cardiovascular system is well documented – again it is the ganoderic acid in reishi mushroom extract powder that is believed capable of reducing triglyceride levels, removing excess cholesterol from the blood, lowering blood pressure, reducing platelet stickiness and even helping to correct ‘arrhythmia’ (heart rhythm problems), and thus significantly diminishing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In one study, reported by Burton Goldberg who has more than 30 years experience in the field of alternative medicine, some 54 patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) witnessed demonstrably lower blood pressure after taking reishi mushroom extract three times a day for just four weeks.
3) Reishi mushroom extract powder for effective stress relief
Lastly, reishi mushrooms are regarded by many as an adaptogen – adaptogens are a unique group of herbs that can significantly improve the health of the adrenal system and thus help to manage the body’s hormonal response to stress and fatigue. Reishi mushroom extract powder can therefore provide welcome natural relief from insomnia, anxiety and stress, and may also help to improve memory and concentration to boot.
Incorporating reishi mushroom extract powder into your daily diet
Reishi mushroom extract powder can be mixed into your choice of drinks and dishes. Try stirring a small amount into your favourite smoothies, shakes and protein drinks, or use as an additional ingredient in rawfood recipes of your choice. Alternatively place half to one teaspoon of reishi mushroom extract powder into a cup and top with hot water for a restorative cup of tea.
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