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In the pound, Reishi, or a lacquer dwarf whose health claims manage to amaze… Most of the health claims circulating in Reish are certainly not to be believed, but it also has many scientifically proven benefits that are mainly discussed here.

Before the advent of modern medicine, Reishi was one of nature’s most coveted herbs, and because of its rarity, it was often reserved exclusively for the use of the royal and wealthiest individuals. Although nowadays the Reishi mushroom is roaring everywhere, it is certainly not a new discovery. Namely, already in the classic Chinese Shennong Bencaojing medicinal plant book, reish is said to sustain life, increase longevity, promote health and balance body functions without side effects. That book was written approximately 2300-2400 years ago, so it is not a completely new phenomenon.

Of course, the benefits of Reishi mushroom are not only limited to health promotion, its use is also believed to have various mystical effects. Many believe the reish awakens spiritual wisdom and accelerates the attainment of enlightenment.

Common names by which the Reishi mushroom is or was called: “Herb of Immortality”, “The great Protector”, “Supernatural mushroom”, “The elixir of life”. These names already say a lot and reflect what kind of thing we are dealing with…

Young lacquer (Reishi, Ganoderma lucidum)

What is Reishi and how does it work?

Reishi is a wood-decomposing one-year-old dwarf mushroom belonging to the Ganoderma dwarf family, whose name is Ling Zhi (known in Japanese as Reishi) and the Finnish name is lacquer dwarf.

Reishi mushroom is considered to be the superior king of adaptogens and is one of the oldest mushrooms used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese medicine. Today, Reishi is one of the most studied if not the most studied fungus in the world.

Reishi, or lacquer dwarf, contains a large number of bioactive molecules, and one cannot say a single molecule that would be Reish’s main bioactive substance. In general, the health claims of reish are based on the polysaccharide compounds and triterpenoids it contains.

Polysaccharides provide mostly support to the immune system. Triterpenoids, in turn, can have hormone-like properties and can affect blood triglycerides, hormone, and nervous system function.

Reishi also contains other compounds often found in fungal materials such as beta-glucans, coumarins, mannitol, alkaloids, and some sterols.

The ingredients in Reish can affect the cells that regulate the immune system and have the ability to “train” these immune cells to better meet the needs of the body. Where steroid drugs “suppress” the immune system, Reishi does not stimulate or suppress, but educates, helps adapt and teach the cells of the immune system to self-regulate more effectively. In other words, if the cells of the immune system are not receptive enough, then Reishi “invokes” them again, or if the cells are hyperactive, then Reishi silences their function.

Reishi also contains other compounds often found in fungal materials such as beta-glucans, coumarins, mannitol, alkaloids, and some sterols.

The ingredients in Reish can affect the cells that regulate the immune system and have the ability to “train” these immune cells to better meet the needs of the body. Where steroid drugs “suppress” the immune system, Reishi does not stimulate or suppress, but educates, helps adapt and teach the cells of the immune system to self-regulate more effectively. In other words, if the cells of the immune system are not receptive enough, then Reishi “invokes” them again, or if the cells are hyperactive, then Reishi silences their function.

Reish’s health claims

Reish’s alleged health claims are almost endless, including dozens if not hundreds of different claims. (Note: these will be added later, as not all of Reish’s health claims are yet here.)

Reishi and stress

A very common claim among reish users is a reduction in stress and is said to be one of nature’s best antidotes to stress. Reishi is an intelligent adaptogenic fungus and can help e.g. to balance the hormone system undergoing “overspeed”.

Human studies support these claims, at least in part. In human studies, Reishi has alleviated fatigue, anxiety, and depression, as well as increased physical and emotional well-being (1, 2).

How the effects of reish manifest are greatly different. For some it is really refreshing, for others it soothes and helps you sleep better.

The benefits of Reish against aging

In ancient litanias, the lacquer head has been called the sponge of immortality, and many claim it rejuvenates and prolongs life.

An example of the growing body of science that supports this claim can be considered the study of life extension in mice. Reishi mushroom has been studied using laboratory mice, the results of which show that the life of the mice is extended by 9% -20%. In human years, this would correspond to 7-16 years.

Reishi in improving the quality of sleep

Reishi mushroom has traditionally been used to treat restlessness and insomnia due to its sedative effects. The lacquer can improve the quality of sleep, it can work both to increase the length and depth of sleep, and to shorten the sleep latency. For example, this study in rats supports these traditionally known effects of reish. Studies show that there is no immediate improvement in the quality of sleep or a reduction in the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Improvement in sleep is seen after three days, but any relief from the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome can take more than 4 weeks.

As a warning: Reishi can trigger very lively dreams and even therapeutic dreams. In the past, the Reishi mushroom has been used as a teaching material among monks because it can cause back pain and so-called “teaching dreams” that deal with states of fear that are often associated with personal experiences. For example, if you have deep-rooted fears, such as dog phobia (Kynophobia). In Reishi’s dream, you can return to the moment where the phobia was born and make friends with the dogs. In these dreams, you can often hear the narration, or see yourself in the third person. These therapy dreams are good stuff for most, but if you have fears that you by no means want to deal with, then you may not want to take large doses of reish before going to bed.

Science and the effects of reish against cancer

Many manage to market superfoods with their anti-cancer effects, and most often these claims are weak and controversial. In the case of Reish, these claims are not entirely out of the question, but more research is needed before proper conclusions can be drawn…

In China, Reishi is a really popular anti-cancer herb: in a study in Shanghai, as many as 58% of breast cancer survivors said they used Reishi mushroom on their own and regularly.

Today, scientists and researchers are analyzing different plant and fungal species in the hope of finding new chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agents for medicinal use. In studies, the fungus Ganoderma Lucidum, and the ingredients isolated from it, have been very effective in killing cancer cells.

There is extensive evidence that different components isolated from Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum) can cause apoptosis (i.e., programmed cell death) in a remarkably large number of different cancer cells (tested in a test tube). Most of the cytotoxic effects appear to be mediated by triterpenes, although some of the effects may also come from immune system stimulus and / or intracellular signaling dysregulation caused by reish polysaccharides. Mouse studies show the same results seen in the test tube, and preliminary positive results have also been obtained from human experiments. The number of studies is still low, and a large proportion of studies have been conducted in a rehabilitative / therapeutic study design. More experiments will be needed before the exact mechanisms can be elucidated.

Reishi diabetes

Ganoderma lucidum fungus is claimed to be effective in preventing and even curing diabetes. Reishi mushroom has traditionally been used to treat diabetes in Chinese medicine. Today, researchers are trying to elucidate the mechanism of action of reish, and its potential as an antidiabetic drug, as current drugs used to treat diabetes have many nasty side effects and have not yet been observed for reish.

In animal experiments, the Reishi mushroom has been found to have a therapeutic effect on insulin resistance and works by a number of different mechanisms to lower blood sugar. Ingredients isolated from Reish have been shown to have a marked lowering effect on plasma glucose and improving insulin sensitivity.

Reishi may potentially inhibit the activity of the enzyme alphaglucosidase (the main enzyme responsible for breaking down starch into sugars) (source). This reduces the sharp spike in blood sugar after a meal, which can be dangerous especially for the elderly. By blocking the enzyme, carbohydrates are not absorbed at the rate that would cause blood sugar-damaging sugar spikes (much like the antidiabetic medicine Glucobay, which blocks the action of the same enzyme in the gut).

Reishi and its isolated ingredients may have future use in the treatment of diabetes, but before that, proper human studies are needed.

Reishi dieting?

One of Reish’s most interesting health claims is its ability to prevent the development of new fat cells in overweight individuals. Admittedly, this, too, seems to be just a theory that has apparently been inferred from one test tube study.

“Triterpenes and polysaccharides isolated from medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, inhibits the expression of key transcription factors and genes responsible for adipocyte differentiation, synthesis, transport and storage of Lipids. In addition, RM activates AMPK and stimulates glucose uptake to levels comparable to the Insulin activity. ”

That is, triterpenes and polysaccharides isolated from the medicinal fungus Ganoderma lucidum prevent the emergence of “key” transcription factors and genes responsible for the differentiation of adipocytes (fat cells) and the synthesis, transport, and storage of lipids. In addition, Reishi activates the enzyme AMPK (metabolic balance regulator) and stimulates glucose uptake at a level proportional to insulin activity.

There is currently at least one 12-week human study in which Reishi had no effect on weight in any way. So more research is needed before it can be argued that Reishi would help against the accumulation of overweight.

Reishi and skin

Reish is believed to protect the skin and slow its aging. The name Reish Ganoderma lucidum means something shiny or shiny in Latin, but it also derives its roots from the appearance of the Reishi mushroom, from which human influences. Today, all kinds of soaps can be made from Reishi mushroom and are added to skin creams and whole beauty products. In Asia, for example, you see a lot of reish for skin whitening products because they people want to look white to white.

This is a time of no scientific fact, but reishin has been shown to be an effective tyrosinase inhibitor (source). The thyronase enzyme increases the production of dark pigment, so blocking it is believed to lighten the skin or prevent it from darkening.

How to use Reishi sponge?

With hot water, a polysaccharide is found to combine with the new fungus, and triterpenoids can be selected for alcohol extraction. Reishi tea and then obtains new crucial substances, including alcoholic extraction methods for all bioactive molecules.

Reish water extraction (boiling):

If you are not already extracting the product now, then it is important that you cook the rice powder with water and do not enjoy the powder just a few more. About five actually boiling will probably suffice at first, but of course the longer the cooking time the more Reishi sponge dissolves the active ingredients in the water.

Reish’s Alcohol Extraction:

Reishi mushroom should also be extracted with alcohol so that you also get the fat-soluble active ingredients. The most sensible protocol is to first extract the Reishi with alcohol and finally boil the remaining tea (otherwise, moisture would lower the alcohol content of the extract). It can be extracted with any alcohol that is more than 20% concentrated (for example, bacterial growth), but of course the stronger the alcohol the better. I recommend clear unflavoured 40-70% liquor in a glass bottle.

Then just put a small glass bottle of Reishi mushrooms in a capped glass of a couple of dec and a couple of dec of alcohol on top (make sure all the dry matter is covered). This mixture can be allowed to stand for a couple of weeks to a whole month (shake the bottle 1-2 times a day). Alcohol has excellent shelf life, as there is no fear of shelf life and bacterial growth. Finally, you just filter the alcohol through a gauze cloth, for example, and Reishi is ready to eat. The easiest way to consume a concentrated alcohol extract is with Reishi tea, which provides both fat and water soluble ingredients at once.

The best and easiest way to use a Reishi mushroom is, of course, to buy a pre-made dual water and alcohol extracted Reishi preparation.

Article source: vitamiinisuositukset.com (In finnish language)

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