Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum), commonly known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, is a herbal mushroom known to have miraculous health benefits.
It has been used in Japan and China for over 2,000 years and thus making it the oldest mushroom known to have been used as medicine. Since ancient times, the Reishi mushroom was reserved for emperors and royalties. It has been revered as nature’s rarest and most beneficial herb. In the Superior category of Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing, the oldest and most famous medical text on Oriental herbal medicine, red Reishi is ranked as the number one herb, ahead of ginseng, because of its following qualities:
1. It is non-toxic and can be taken daily without producing any side effects.
2. When it is taken regularly, it can restore the body to its natural state, enabling all organs to function normally.
3. Immune modulator – regulates and fine tunes the immune system.
What are the benefits of Reishi?
Red Reishi is primarily composed of complex carbohydrates called water-soluble polysaccharides, triterpeniods, proteins and amino acids. Researchers have identified that water-soluble polysaccharides are the most active element found in Red Reishi that have anti-tumour, immune modulating and blood pressure lowering effects.
Another major active ingredient found in Red Reishi are triterpenes , called ganoderic acids. Preliminary studies indicated that ganoderic acids help alleviate common allergies by inhibiting histamine release, improve oxygen utilization and improve liver functions. Triterpenes are bitter in taste and the level of the triterpene content contained in a product can be determined by the bitterness.
Regular consumption of red Reishi can enhance our body’s immune system and improve blood circulation, thus improving better health conditions. Generally, Reishi is recommended as an adaptogen, immune modulator, and a general tonic. Red Reishi is also used to help treat anxiety, high blood pressure, hepatitis, bronchitis, insomnia, and asthma. A full list of reported benefits can be found here.
Is there any evidence?
A considerable number of studies in Japan , China , USA , and the UK in the past 30 years have shown that the consumption of red Reishi has been linked to the treatment of a vast range of diseases, common ailments, and conditions. From asthma to zoster, the applications of red Reishi seem to be related to a multitude of body organs and systems.
However, most of the scientific research that has been conducted appears to strongly support red Reishi’s role as a normalizing substance – a nutritional supplement that can yield medical benefits through its normalization and regulation of the body’s organs and functions.
The role of Red Reishi in maintaining a healthy lifestyle can best be explained through the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view because none of the known active components taken alone is as more effective than the consumption of Reishi itself. Whereas Western medicine focuses on the “cure” after the disease has already occurred, TCM, established through over 2,000 years of human observation, focuses on disease prevention by sustaining the right balance within the body through proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation. Reishi is an important adaptogenic herb in TCM in helping the body maintain this balance and also restore the balance when one is sick.