Reishi mushrooms are among several medicinal mushrooms that have been used for hundreds of years, mainly in Asian countries, for treatment of infections. More recently, they have also been used in the treatment of pulmonary diseases and cancer. Medicinal mushrooms have been approved adjuncts to standard cancer treatments in Japan and China for more than 30 years and have an extensive clinical history of safe use as single agents or combined with chemotherapy.
The reishi mushroom is also known as lingzhi.
Why do people take reishi mushroom?
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
- Liver or kidney disease
- Respiratory diseases (such as asthma)
- Viral infections (such as the flu)
- Cancer and support during chemotherapy
- Pain during and after a shingles outbreak
- Building strength and stamina
There is some scientific evidence of its effectiveness, including lab research and some small human studies. Researchers are beginning to look at the chemical makeup of this mushroom to better understand how and whether it really works for each of these conditions.
Doses may depend upon factors that include:
- Your age
- Condition for which the mushroom is being prescribed
- Form of the mushroom
- Your overall health
Optimal doses of reishi mushroom have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely. This makes it very hard to set a standard dose.
Can you get reishi mushroom naturally from foods?
Reishi mushroom is cultivated and sold as a food, but it may be tough and bitter.
When taken for health reasons, it is usually dried or taken as an extract, such as in the form of:
What are the risks of taking reishi mushroom?
Side effects. Reishi mushroom can cause an allergic reaction associated with dryness in your:
- Nasal passages
It can also cause:
Risks. Taking reishi mushroom may be riskier if you have low blood pressure or are taking therapy to raise your blood pressure, are taking diabetes medications, or have immune system disorders or medications.
Higher doses of reishi mushroom might make bleeding more likely in people who have a very low platelet count.
Interactions. Reishi mushroom may increase the risk of bleeding. Talk to your doctor before taking reishi mushroom if you take any medicines especially anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs such as:
Reishi mushroom may also interact with high blood pressure medications.
Tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking, even if they're natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications or foods. They can let you know if the supplement might raise your risk.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements, but it uses different regulations than it does for "conventional" foods or drugs. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.