In expanse of last week’s profile of the health benefits of mushrooms as a species generally, I would like to take the next couple of weeks to explore particular varieties. Allowing to bring forth the most recognized names (in grocery stores and amongst the health community) in terms of their own particular health benefits and how best to consume them.
In week one of our exploration I’m opening to the lately buzzed about Reishi Mushroom, widely known as “The King of Mushrooms” and rightly so for its potent effects on the body. In short this powerful fungus fights fatigue, allergies, and cancers predominantly. Think anti-inflammation, longevity, improved mental clarity and stronger immune function. Studies have repeatedly shown that this variety of mushroom helps us to protect ourselves against ailments and diseases such as; cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, infections, allergies, and other symptoms often precursors to these full-blown diseases.
In holistic medicine, reishi mushrooms have been considered an adaptogen herb-like substance, meaning that it has the capabilities to help our mind and bodies combat stress in our environments. They help reduce inflammation, depleted energy levels, damaged blood vessels, and various types of hormonal imbalances brought on by stress. They contain several types of important anti-cancer nutrients, including antioxidants. Perhaps the most important component is its polysaccharides, which are a water-soluble type of nutrient found in carbohydrate foods (also found in foods like sweet potato, pumpkin, beets, black rice, and berries) that are known to have anti-tumor abilities. Polysaccharides are often found alongside triterpenes, which are immune-modulating substances that appear to defend DNA and stop cell mutations while also protecting our healthy cells. Triterpenes is key because studies have shown that these compounds seem to inhibit tumor invasion and metastases by limiting the attachment of cancerous cells to our healthy ones.
Reishi mushrooms have been used successfully to help fight cancer of the ovaries, breast, prostate, liver, and lungs-sometimes in combination of other treatments. Patients recovering from cancer or undergoing treatment (radiation or chemotherapy), reishi has been studied to improve the effect of the medicine and allow for some alleviation to the side effects (low-immunity, nausea).
Fights Asthma and Allergies
Triterpenes are key again here, a type of ganoderic acid that is tied to allergy reduction and histamine reactions associated with asthma. It is the reason why reishi mushroom is found to be a a natural asthma remedy. Triterpenes are capable of reducing allergic reactions because of the way they affect the immune system, protect gut lining, strengthen our digestive organs, lower inflammation, inhibit histamine release, improve liver function, and improve oxygen utilization.
Improve Liver Function (Detoxification)
Adaptogen herbs like reishi mushrooms help to strengthen our digestive system, where nutrients are broken down and absorbed. Adaptogens can help to improve liver function and prevent liver diseases, because it allows waste and toxins to be flushed from the body more efficiently. This, over time, improves our immune systems which can bolster us against resulting diseases.
Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Again, Triterpenes are key here too, they hold blood-pressure lowering abilities as well as benefits for blood-clotting and cholesterol control. This is likely due to their ability to combat inflammation within the blood vessels and arteries, while also restoring hormone balance. High cholesterol or blood pressure can oftentimes be caused by hormonal issues, including high amounts of stress or thyroid disorders. Reishi helps to restore optimal hormone balance and levels, as well as strengthen our cardiovascular systems.
So how do we best consume these King Of Mushrooms? Luckily consuming them in a variety of ways is easy. They can be found in tinctures, teas, as herbal medicine, soups and stews, powders, and extracts. The can be found in parts of Asia; Chine, Korea, and Japan primarily.
Again the key components of reishi mushrooms include; beta-glucans, polysaccharides (fight cancer cell development), plant sterols (help with hormones), and triterpenes (hold the power to turn of the bodies reactions to allergies).