Welcome to week five of our seven-week immunity series, where we take an in-depth look at an immune-boosting vitamin or herb.
For week four of our seven-week immunity series, check out our article: Support immune response with Astaxanthin.
This week we are covering the medicinal mushroom Reishi and why it is one of the best mushroom supplements for immune function.
Should you believe the mushroom mania that claims Reishi is a super mushroom? Read on to learn more.
Jump ahead to
What is Reishi?
Reishi is a mushroom native to Asia and is often referred to as Ganoderma Lucidum — its scientific name.
This ancient mushroom has been a mainstay in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years to enhance energy, immunity, and longevity.
Today a growing body of scientific research is proving that Reishi possesses some impressive health benefits as an immune enhancer, and also has the potential to be used therapeutically.
Reishi is a very bitter mushroom that can be eaten raw, but it’s more commonly consumed in powdered or liquid extract form.
What are medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are nutrient-dense super mushrooms which possess a whole host of health benefits including supporting gut health and promoting a resilient immune system.
When it comes to the concept of “food as medicine,” mushrooms are its poster child. For centuries medicinal mushrooms have been consumed by cultures all over the world for their healing properties.
Today, many vital pharmaceutical medicines ranging from penicillin to a wide range of FDA-approved drugs are derived from mushrooms like Reishi.
What is the healthiest mushroom?
Some of the healthiest mushroom varieties are also the most bitter in taste. The bitter taste is often due to the high presence of bioactive compounds including triterpenes.
Bioactive compounds such as terpenoids, steroids, phenols, nucleotides and their derivatives, glycoproteins, beta glucan, and polysaccharides are responsible for medicinal mushrooms’ vast health benefits.
Reishi alone contains over 400 bioactive compounds!
Some of the healthiest mushroom varieties include:
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
- Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
- Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
- Almond mushroom (Agaricus blazei)
- Hen-of-the-woods (Grifola frondosa)
- Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Mushrooms like Reishi are also classified as adaptogens, meaning they help to regulate the hormonal system and naturally reduce cortisol levels.
Related reading: Confused about adaptogens? How to select the right one.
Mushrooms also happen to be an excellent source of vegan Vitamin D.
Related reading: The importance of Vitamin D3 and K2 when you’re stuck inside.
Why is Reishi good for boosting immunity?
As humans we actually share almost 50% of our genetic makeup with mushrooms — meaning we are impacted by many of the same diseases and ailments as our fungi friends.
This means that when it comes to immunity we can learn a lot from mushrooms, and the ways they adapt their immune response to their environments.
Research has also shown that Reishi can help increase the production of immune cells known as Th1 cytokines — an important line of defence against viral and bacterial pathogens.
Lymphocytes are essential for our immune defence because they attack and destroy cells that can cause us harm. Our lymphocyte cell count is usually lower right after we have been sick, for example.
Additional ongoing research conducted with cancer patients has revealed that Reishi also supports the functioning of natural killer (NK) cells — another vital defense system against infections.
Although the scientific community still has much to learn about this medicinal mushroom and its bioactive compounds, the research to date sets a promising precedent.
Related reading: Best supplements to boost your immune system.
Where can I get the best mushroom supplement?
At hundred, we never add synthetic fillers or harmful additives to our herbal supplements. Our Reishi is 100% organic certified, and sourced from farms with the highest possible quality standards.
We always keep it transparent by performing quality control checks throughout the supply chain, and we screen all our herbal supplements such as Ashwagandha and Gotu Kola for toxins and heavy metals to ensure purity and safety.
The bottom line
Looking for a powerful medicinal mushroom to support your immune system during these tough times? Our 100% Organic Reishi is 15x more concentrated than the average Reishi powder.
To find out if our Reishi is right for you, take our 5-minute quiz and get paired with your very own Nutrition Expert for free.