Coffee & Reishi water kefir
Meet Coffee & Reishi Water Kefir! First addition to London Fermentary’s new collection “Powered by Plants”. Reishi mushrooms are adaptogens and we shall tell you more on this subject in our next blog. In the meantime please read about Reishi mushrooms and its natural powers.
The reishi mushroom (also known as Ganoderma lucidum, Ling zhi, Ling chih and The Mushroom of Immortality) is a fungus that grows in various hot and humid locations in Asia. A strong adaptogen (a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress), for many years this fungus has been a staple in Eastern medicine.
These fascinating fungi are potent because of their unique collection of organic compounds and components, which include triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols, and various essential polysaccharides.
Although mushrooms are eaten in order to enjoy the health benefits, the most popular means of using reishi mushrooms includes crushing dried mushrooms and steeping them in water. These mushrooms are extremely bitter in taste, which makes them unpleasant to consume directly or in a highly concentrated liquid form. For this reason and because traditional herbal remedies have been replaced by efficient herbal supplements, you can mainly find reishi mushroom supplements in a pill or capsule form. However, there are plenty of places in the world where this type of mushroom is still processed and administered directly.
Health benefits of reishi mushroom are pretty much endless and include anti-aging properties, anti-cancer potential, body detoxification, improved cognitive activity, anti-inflammatory properties, healthy respiration, immune system aid, lowered blood pressure and boosted levels of energy.
We`ve gathered for you 6 scientifically studied benefits of the reishi mushroom. The first three are backed by stronger evidence, while support for the others is less conclusive.
1. Immune System boost
Boost of immune system is one of the most important effects of the reishi mushroom (1).
Studies have shown that reishi can affect the genes in white blood cells, which are critical parts of your immune system. More than that, these studies have established that some forms of reishi may alter inflammation pathways in white blood cells (2).
Research in cancer patients has shown that some of the molecules found in the mushroom can increase the activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells that fight infections and cancer in the body(3,4).
Another study found that reishi can increase the number of other white blood cells (lymphocytes) in those patients with colorectal cancer (5).
Although most immune system benefits of reishi mushroom have been seen in those who are ill, some evidence has shown that it can help healthy people, too. In one study, the fungus improved lymphocyte function, which helps fight infections and cancer, in athletes exposed to stressful conditions (6).
However, other research in healthy adults showed no improvement in immune function or inflammation after 4 weeks of taking reishi extract (7).
2. Anti-Cancer Properties
Many people consume this fungus due to its potential cancer-fighting properties (8, 9)
In fact, one study of over 4,000 breast cancer survivors found that around 59% consumed reishi mushroom (10). Additionally, several test-tube studies have shown that it can lead to the death of cancer cells (11, 12, 13).
Some research has investigated if reishi could be beneficial for prostate cancer due to its effects on the hormone testosterone (14, 15). Reishi mushroom has also been studied for its role in preventing or fighting colorectal cancer(16, 17).
Some research showed that one year of treatment with reishi decreased the number and size of tumors in the large intestine(18).
What’s more, a detailed report of multiple studies indicated that the mushroom can beneficially affect cancer patients(19).
These benefits included increasing the activity of the body’s white blood cells, which help fight cancer, and improving quality of life in cancer patients. However, researchers state that reishi should be administered in combination with traditional treatment rather than replacing it(20).
Although reishi mushroom appears to hold some promise for cancer prevention or treatment, more information is needed before it becomes part of standard therapy. However, it may be appropriate to use in addition to normal care in some cases.
3. Could Fight Fatigue and Depression
Reishi’s effects on the immune system are often most emphasized, but it has other potential advantages as well. These include reduced fatigue and depression, as well as improved quality of life.
One study examined its effects in people with neurasthenia, a poorly defined condition associated with aches, pains, dizziness, headaches and irritability(21).
The researchers found that fatigue was reduced and well-being was improved after 8 weeks of taking the supplements.
Another study found that fatigue was reduced and quality of life was improved after 4 weeks of taking reishi powder in a group of 48 breast cancer survivors(22).
What’s more, the people in the study also experienced less anxiety and depression.
While reishi mushroom may hold promise for people with certain diseases or illnesses, it is not clear if it would benefit those who are otherwise healthy.
4. Heart Health
One 12-week study showed that reishi mushroom may increase “good” HDL cholesterol and decrease triglycerides(23).
5. Blood Sugar Control
Several studies have indicated that molecules found in the reishi mushroom can decrease blood sugar in animals(24, 25). Some preliminary research in humans reported similar findings(26).
6. Antioxidant Status
Antioxidants are molecules that can help prevent damage to your cells. Because of this important function, there is substantial interest in foods and supplements that can enhance antioxidant status in the body.
Many producers claim that reishi mushroom is effective for this purpose, however there is not enough evidence at the moment to support this claim.
Side effects from reishi may include dizziness, dry mouth and throat, abdominal upset and nose bleeds. These rare effects may develop with continuous use over three to six months. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult a physician before taking reishi.