Happy New Year 2021! Let’s do our best to put the difficult year of 2020 behind us and look forward to ways we can overcome stress and anxiety. Whilst Reishi Mushroom (or Lingzhi) may be foreign to some, it is a popular ingredient used by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners. There are several health benefits related to it and many studies have been conducted too. Besides sharing the advantages, I shall share some simple and delicious recipes too. If it can’t be found in Asian supermarkets, reishi supplements are a good alternative. Curious? Then read on for Reishi Mushroom: Top 4 Health Benefits & 3 Ways to Serve It Up!
1. Reishi as an Immune System Booster
One of its main benefits is that it can help boost your immune system. It contains polysaccharides that play a role in the maturation and function of antigen-presenting cells (APC). The latter is crucial for the initiation of adaptive immunity responses, which is also known as the acquired immune system. These polysaccharides also display antioxidant activity which helps protect cells (eg. immune cells) from oxidative damage, thus reducing risk of mutations.
2. Anti-Cancer Properties
Studies of cancer and reishi can be traced back to the early 1980’s. Many have consumed the mushroom for its potential anti-cancer properties and studies have also shown a reduction of tumour size after being treated with reishi. However, it is to be noted that the direct causal relationship of its antitumor effects in humans have not been thoroughly investigated yet.
3. Reduces Fatigue & Depression
Reishi contains a class of proteins that act as precursors of neurotransmitters and endorphins which help reduce anxiety. Through this, it is also well-known for its ability to treat insomnia as it has been shown to calm people down and help them relax. Recent studies have shown that reishi can improve mood and reduce depression, though the statistics are not, as yet extensive. More research is needed to authenticate this potential.
4. Hepatoprotection / Liver Support
It can help protect against liver injury. Studies shown that this could be due to its antioxidative properties. Again, more research is needed to more fully validate this effect and to understand the mechanisms behind it.
3 Ways to Serve Up Reishi Mushroom
If you get a chance to buy reishi mushroom in its original form (not capsules or powder), here are some simple recipes to try out. Though it may taste a bit bitter, there is a fragrant aftertaste.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, the ideal way to eat it is by decoction for it to be most effective. Slice the mushrooms and boil them over low heat for about 30-40 minutes. Stir the mixture and consume it in smaller portions.
Another great way to serve it up is in soup form. Not the typical thick soup you may be thinking of, but a clear soup boiled with various medicinal herbs of your choice. Typically, it is boiled with chicken, dates, goji berries, lotus seed, ginger and more.
However, if you’re feeling lazy, you can prepare it like you would tea. Slice up the mushroom, placing the desired amount into a pot and pour on boiling water. Let it brew for a few minutes and drink it as a tea.
Overall, there are many benefits of consuming reishi mushrooms, the wisdom of which has been passed down from ancient Asia well over 2000 years ago. Whilst more scientific research is required to fully evaluate its potencies, it is mostly safe for everyone, (exceptions include those with low blood pressure or clotting disorders so they should err on the side of caution and seek advice). It is advisable to consume reishi in moderate amounts as too much -of anything- may not necessarily yield optimum results.
If you’re interested in the power of plants as medicine, check out our interview with plant-power and nutrition expert Juliette Bryant who has said of Reishi Mushrooms: “This adaptogen supports the body’s ability to deal with stress, it is an immune modulator and is high in beta-glucans which have been shown to fight cancer cells.” Tried reishi? Let us know what effects you experienced in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. In the meantime, invigorate your tastebuds with some vegan treats and revisit your reasons to help you stay on the right health track in 2021, and Keep YOUR Fit ON!