Choosing Your Reishi Supplement for Quality and Effectiveness

by Dr. Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM

May 15, 2018

Choosing the right mushroom supplement can be confusing. How do mushroom supplements work? Is there really a difference between the various mushrooms? What can a mushroom supplement help treat? Are there any dangerous side effects? How do I take a mushroom supplement? If you’ve even wondered how to choose a reishi mushroom supplement, we’ve put together this handy guide to help point you in the right direction.

Reishi mushroom (also known as Ganoderma lucidum or ling zhi) has been an important herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It has been used for everything from preventing cancer and lowering blood pressure to warding of diabetes and improving concentration. With so much going for this miracle mushroom, it’s worth investing a little time to find the most effective reishi supplement.

A mushroom with a mighty punch

LiverLooking for some supercharged nutrition to boost up to your list of healthy lifestyle choices? Then you might want to add a Japanese red reishi mushroom supplement to your daily routine. Why, you ask? Because reishi packs a mighty punch as it offers a host of healing properties that are almost too good to be true.

Along with a longstanding historical and documented use by Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese kampo herbal medicine practitioners, there are numerous modern research studies to back up the preventative care benefits of these fascinating fungi.

Reishi mushrooms are one of the most beneficial types of food on the planet. They are bursting with heaps of curative compounds, like triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols, and various key polysaccharides. This highly praised herb has been used to treat and prevent cancer, detoxify the body, stimulate cognitive activity, and reduce inflammation. Reishi also provides amazing prevention from cardiovascular disease because of its ability to improve the efficiency of blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure. What’s more, reishi is also used to help calm the mind, something most of us can use in this busy go-go-go world. It’s no wonder that reishi is hailed as the “mushroom of immortality.”

How to Use Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi cap growing on soilBecause the cap of the reishi mushroom has a hard-outer shell once dried, and because of the chitin that protects the cell walls, in order to release the beneficial compounds, you can’t simply chow down on a raw reishi mushroom.

Traditionally, the reishi mushroom benefits are yielded using hot water extraction. In other words, break up the mushroom into small pieces and boil in hot water for long enough. Two to three hours of steeping can seem daunting if you plan to do this daily. To add to that, reishi is extremely bitter. It should be bitter, as many of those medicinal compounds mentioned above are bitter by nature.

Turned off the idea of taking reishi now? No worries, there’s a much simpler solution. Choose a high quality Japanese red reishi supplement in capsule form. Make sure it’s the fruiting body (the above ground structure that you normally identify as a mushroom—stem and cap) that’s used, not just the mycelium (the root-like structure). Though the mycelium is rich in polysaccharides that can benefit immune function, the fruiting body contains some healing compounds not found in the mycelium. Many of these compounds are adaptogenic, helping your body to manage stress, calm the mind, improve cardiovascular function, and support the liver. Make sure, as well, that it has been properly cultivated and harvested.

Oh, and if the thought of having to take a ton of tablets and capsules is not sitting too well with you, Mikei’s Japanese red reishi makes sure that you have a sufficient daily dose with just one a day. You can up your dose for specific reasons, but for preventative medicine use, one a day is enough.

Doing the healthy thing isn’t always easy. But, when it comes to a once daily routine of Japanese red reishi, it couldn’t be much simpler.

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Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others.


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