Reishi Mushrooms: Functional mushrooms are a relatively new global trend among people who are interested in natural supplements. But what are they, and what are the possible benefits of Reishi mushrooms? Let’s begin with some history.
In ancient China and Japan, Reishi mushrooms, also known as Lingzhi, were considered extremely valuable. Their first recorded use dates back more than 2000 years. At the time, it was known as “the mushroom of immortality,” but we can only suppose this was a case of poetic licence since none of the Chinese royalty who used it are still alive! Nevertheless, this rare mushroom was considered to promote longevity and was thought to be so remarkable that it was reserved for the highest-ranked nobles.
A rather less ambitious term for Reishi was “mushroom of kings,” and back in the days when the mushrooms were gathered in the wild, they were rare enough to be strictly reserved for use by these lucky few.
The value of Reishi mushrooms was definitely not based on their taste. Reishi mushrooms have a woody texture and the boiled-down extract traditionally used had a rather unpleasant, bitter flavour. So, although we know that these reddish-brown mushrooms didn’t confer immortality, they were certainly widely accepted to have health benefits. This belief is still prevalent in the Far East - an idea that has been embraced by the western world today.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT REISHI MUSHROOM BENEFITS TODAY
As with so many natural products, Reishi mushrooms contain a wide range of compounds. These include proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants, triterpenes, and minerals. In the 1980s, the Japanese coined the term “functional foods” and Reishi mushrooms are among the foods given this title. We can directly translate this as being a type of food that acts as a good source of health-promoting nutrients.
The high nutritional value of Reishi mushrooms is among one of many interesting benefits of Reishi. It has certainly been confirmed in various laboratory analyses, with researchers commenting on their high protein content and the valuable amino acids and powerful antioxidants they contain. We also know that the research community has devoted attention to Reishi mushrooms in an attempt to uncover possible medicinal benefits that could be relevant to Western medicine.
There are tantalising hints that Reishi mushrooms may contain useful compounds for medicinal use. But, despite a few promising early results, there are no comprehensive studies conclusive enough for us to support its use in conventional Western medicine yet. What we do know for sure is that Reishi mushrooms are highly nutritious and as such, they could offer your body some of the tools it needs to take good care of itself.
With results yet to be scientifically proven, a number of the Reishi benefits claimed by some sources may be somewhat exaggerated. However, many regular users believe that these antioxidant-rich Reishi mushrooms can help boost the body’s resilience and immunity and, in turn, that they may help people feel more relaxed, upbeat and energetic. That’s also consistent with good nutrition, and with modern diets lacking in many of the essentials we need, high quality, targeted supplementation could be in order.
When we consider that Eastern medicine had a focus on wellness, improving quality of life, and the prevention of health problems, the nutritional benefits of Reishi mushrooms may well have been the primary reason for their original reputation in ancient Sino-Japanese medicine.
WHAT ARE REISHI MUSHROOMS GOOD FOR? USES IN THE WEST TODAY
Many people in the west are becoming interested in Reishi mushrooms as a wellness nutritional supplement. Fortunately, these mushrooms are not as rare as they once were thanks to commercial production.
For those of us who are already in good health and who are in need of a boost, or who are looking to improve the body’s natural response to managing stress, Reishi mushrooms may well be a helpful natural product to use as part of a healthy lifestyle. With stress, anxiety and fatigue very much a part of our daily lives, being able to relax, calm and recharge is increasingly important to us all.
As with all supplements, it’s worth remembering that if you’re already ill or using medication, supplements (and even certain mainstream foods) can clash with your treatments. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s also wise to be extra-cautious. Consult a doctor about using Reishi mushrooms if any of these apply to you.
Luckily, we don’t have to use the traditional method of boiling up mushrooms into a bitter-tasting tea. Today, it’s simply a matter of taking an expertly produced powder that retains the valuable active nutrients found inside the mushroom cells in one convenient capsule. A Reishi mushroom supplement could be just the thing to add to your daily self-care routine for optimal physical and mental well-being. So, kick back, relax, and try incorporating functional mushrooms into your routine and benefit from one of the world’s most fascinating natural products. Will you end up feeling like a king or queen? We certainly hope that functional mushrooms will help you to face the world feeling better than ever!
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