Benefits of reishi mushrooms
The benefits of reishi mushrooms have long been understood by Eastern medicine. With a red varnished top and kidney-shaped cap, these mushrooms native to Asia are easy to supplement or delicious in a soup. They are particular popular among the various types of mushrooms studied for their health benefits.
What are the benefits of reishi mushrooms?
One of the most important qualities of these mushrooms is their effect on the immune system. Studies show that the mushroom can alter the way our white blood cells work, one of the key components of our immune response. Research suggests that they may alter the inflammation pathways that white blood cells use.
The polysaccharides found in these mushrooms have also been found to increase the activity of natural killer cells. These are the cells that are key to fighting infections and cancers in the body. There have been some studies that link reishi with the death of cancer cells. So far, these have only been proven effective in test tubes.
Researchers also think that reishi mushrooms can help with fatigue too. A study of patients with neurasthenia, a condition associated with aches, pains and dizziness, found that wellbeing was improved after only eight weeks of taking the supplement.
How does it help with hay fever?
Believe it or not, reishi mushrooms could be helpful for those with allergy and hay fever issues. Symptoms of hay fever happen when pollen gets in our eyes, nose and throat. This triggers our mast cells to release histamine. The antibodies our immune system sends to the site are actually what cause the unpleasant itching, congestion and sneezing we associate with this time of year.
Reishi mushrooms are immune modulatory as they contain polysaccharides. This means they help our immune systems function normally and proportionately. By lessening our body’s heightened response to pollen, they can help to ease hay fever symptoms.
They’re also rich in a compound called lanostan, which has anti-inflammatory and anti histamine properties. This helps stabilise the mast cells that are responsible for releasing histamine. This means that these mushrooms can help address the inflammatory symptoms of hay fever, as well as the root cause of an overloaded immune system.
Hay fever also occurs when the body struggles to clear histamine from the blood stream. Liver function is essential to this process. A weakened liver function is likely lead to more a more toxic response and allergies. Reishi mushrooms appear to be a very helpful way to naturally fortify the liver.
How to eat them
You can eat these mushrooms fresh. Like most mushrooms they have savoury, nutty flavour, which you can use in a variety of ways. Bear in mind that some describe them as being tough.
You can also find reishi extract in powdered form, which can be a much more convenient way to take. However, pay careful attention to the recommended dosage on the pack, as too much can cause nausea and may adversely affect the liver.