How Supplementing with Reishi Mushrooms Can Have You Looking and Feeling Younger

by Dr. Andrea Hejtmanek, Dr. TCM

June 7, 2016

Beauty and health go hand-in-hand. The reishi mushroom shows evidence of promoting youthfulness and vitality, which makes one look and feel more attractive. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi or ling zhi ("spirit plant" or "tree of life mushroom") is a well-known and highly revered medicinal polypore—a kind of wood fungus—that is purported to decrease many effects of aging. It is said to do this by entering, or aiding, 3 of the 5 major organ systems, the Heart, the Lung, and the Liver.

Reishi is thought to help the Heart system, which functions similarly to the heart in western medicine in that it circulates the blood. When the blood is moving well the complexion will be glowing and the facial color more even. If, however, the Heart functions improperly, the skin will not receive vital nutrients and it may become dry or develop broken blood vessels, possibly causing rosacea. Further, reishi is thought to help regulate sleep and to calm the spirit, so it is used for those people who have trouble sleeping from an over-active mind. Some beauty concerns arising when the body is not rejuvenated due to lack of sleep are: puffy or dark under-eye circles, uneven blotchy skin, and the formation of wrinkles. It is thought that the Heart system is in charge of manifesting a beautiful "bloom" in a person’s complexion, and because reishi enters this system directly, it can help remedy problems related to imbalances in this organ.

Reishi is also thought to help regulate the Lung organ system, whose function is to control respiration, which aids in blood flow, digestion, and the dispersing of bodily fluids. The Lung system, when functioning properly, thus helps in hydration. For the face, this means reducing the depth of wrinkles and keeping the skin soft and pliable. The Lung system also plays a role in regulating the immune system, so, by helping the Lung system, reishi can also help in preventing colds, moderating allergies, and reducing any systemic inflammation, as is the case with common skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.

Lastly, Reishi is thought to help in aiding the Liver system, which circulates the free flow of energy in the body, and also regulates the emotions, especially anger. If the Liver is functioning improperly, this will manifest in the skin as age spots, dry skin and hair, dark under-eye circles and photosensitivity. It is adversely affected by environmental toxins, poor quality foods, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain prescription and over the counter drugs. Reishi can therefore bolster the detoxifying capacity of the Liver, making it operate more efficiently and effectively.

Because of its wide effectiveness with several different organ systems and its purported salutary effects on vitality, youthfulness, and beauty, reishi or ling zhi has been one of the most widely prescribed herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Dr. Andrea Hejtmanek is a Registered Acupuncturist and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in private practice since 2010. She also teaches at the Calgary College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. In addition, Andrea sits on the board of the Alberta Association of Traditional Chinese Medical Doctors and is the co-chair of membership services for the College and Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta. For more information please visit her website at, or her Facebook page "Nourishing Life Health Care."

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