With the benefits of medicinal mushrooms becoming more and more known in the Western world, many people are asking, ‘where can I buy reishi mushrooms?’ (UK).

The majority of modern medicines originate in nature. Although some mushrooms have been used in therapies for thousands of years, we are still discovering new potential medicines in them. – Paul Stamets

The reishi mushroom has been celebrated in Asian societies for thousands of years and is commonly referred to as ‘the mushroom of immortality’. It’s Chinese name ‘lingzhi’ means ‘herb of spiritual potency’. It’s thought to be one of the most medicinal, well-known herbs in history. It’s always been thought to be superior in terms of what it can offer in potential health benefits.

But in the second half of the 20th century, researchers began to study its medicinal properties and today, modern science and technology supports the health claims that allows this herb to be branded a ‘superfood’, proving its healing powers that people already knew thousands of years ago.

As the reishi mushroom continues to spread through the Western World, more people are becoming aware of what this magical mushroom could offer them, and it’s now cultivated commercially throughout the world. There are many varieties of reishi. It has a bitter, woody taste.

The reishi mushroom has 400 unique bioactive compounds, which have been reported in scientific studies to have a number of potential health benefits. This includes being anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, antibacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidative, and anti-ulcer.

Reishi is NOT for Everyone

So, this mushroom has a whole host of potential benefits, BUT, you might be surprised to hear that reishi might not suit every single person.

As a Th1 stimulant, but if you’re already Th1 dominant, then reishi might not benefit you at all.

Th1 cells are the body’s first line of defense to fight off pathogens that get inside our cells. There are several autoimmune conditions that are often associated with a dominance in Th1 cells, including multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, sjoren’s syndrome and psoriasis. For individuals with a dominance in Th1 cells, and autoimmune issues, reishi is not recommended because it might over-activate the immune system.

However, the potential benefits for people without any of these issues are endless…

Benefits of the Reishi Mushroom

Here are some of the ways reishi has the potential to benefits your health.

May Increase Longevity.

The polysaccharides found in the reishi mushroom are believed to increase longevity. Polysaccharides are long-chain sugar molecules that gives the reishi mushroom its bitter taste. A study by Biorganic and Medicinal Chemistry published in 2009, showed that the polysaccharides had a life span-promoting effect. This is due to their immune system strengthening and anti-tumor effects that potentially have long-term benefits for longevity when reishi is consumed every day.

May Shrink Cancer Cells.

When using an extract of the polysaccharides from reishi mushrooms on active cancer cells, studies showed that the body recruits specialised adaptive proteins that activate shrinkage of cancer cells. In some cases, the polysaccharides were shown to achieve apoptosis, a natural process of self-destruction in certain cells, supporting the natural inhibition and elimination of active cancer cells.

To put it simply, reishi activates the body’s own immune cells to attack harmful cells. This action is called immuno-modulation.

Therefore, studies have concluded that polysaccharides can be used as a powerful addition for treatment of cancer cells. However, all treatments for cancer should be part of a plan with a Doctor and before adding anything to your supplement routine, you should consult with a doctor first for advice on whether it’s worth taking as part of your wider treatment.

Reduces Inflammation.

The Reishi mushroom’s anti-inflammatory properties can relieve muscle aches and pains. Reishi has been proven to reduce inflammation in a whole host of inflammatory conditions, according to a report by the American-Eurasian Journal of Botany.

The report stated: ‘studies showed that Reishi extract significantly inhibited all four types of allergic reactions, including positive effects against asthma and contact dermatitis and effectively used in treating stiff necks, stiff shoulders, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the fine membrane lining the eye and eyelids), bronchitis, rheumatism and improving "competence" of the immune system without any significant side-effects.

Improves the Immune System.

Hundreds of biologically active molecules in reishi promote the immune system, the cardiovascular system and the brain. Ganoderma Lucidum Peptide, which is one of these compounds, is believed to be responsibile for its antioxidant capacity. The immunue system is given a boost due to the polysaccharides and triterpenes content, which target inflammation.

Viruses, fungal and microbial infections are protected against with triterpenes. They have been shown to strengthen the lining of the digestive system by assisting with fighting off bad bacteria and promoting the growth of good bacteria.

Improved digestion leads to better absorption of nutrients from food. Gut health is thought to be the root of all illness, and it’s known that a healthy gut helps to build a strong immune system.

The mushroom is believed to reduce the risk of and fight infections and viruses due to its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Lowering inflammation boosts the immune system and helps the body to fight off infection.

Not only this, but reishi can help improve blood circulation, and this can help address pain and speed up the healing of the body.

Allergy Relief.

Reishi has steroid-like anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit histamine, the chemical responsible for allergic reactions. This gives it great potential in fighting off allergies and relieving symptoms.

Liver Health.

The adaptogenic qualities of the reishi mushroom may help to improve liver function. A healthy liver supports the body in flushing out toxins and circulating healthy blood and nutrients.

Promotes Heart Health.

Reishi has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels, which is a good thing for heart health. This is due to the triterpenes content. These also help prevent blood clotting and reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and arteries. Because reishi mushrooms balance hormones, this can have the effect of improving heart health. A hormonal imbalance is often linked to high blood pressure, so the combination of boosting circulation, restoring hormonal balance and reducing blood pressure, overall heart health can be improved.

There has also been some research on the potential reishi has in helping to unclog arteries, as well as reducing chest pains and shortness of breath.

Did you know that monks and yogis take reishi mushroom to enhance their practice? Reishi mushrooms are said to induce feelings of calm and peace. They are thought to increase focus and concentration. This is great for assisting with long periods of meditation, or for studying when focus and concentration is greatly needed.

Where Can I Buy Good Quality Reishi Mushrooms (UK)?

This is the important question. Not all medicinal mushrooms are created equal, and this is why it’s essential to know how to find reishi mushrooms of the best quality. When mushrooms grow naturally and free of chemicals, pesticides and anything non-organic, they’re of a higher quality and therefore you’re more likely to reap the benefits you desire.

You can find organic companies through the Soil Association directory. Simply search a company’s name to find out if it’s certified organic, and you will know that their reishi mushrooms are sourced and grown organically to the highest of standards for the best quality.

Ethically sourced and 100% pure reishi mushroom products made with zero added fillers and preservatives, prepared without the use of harsh chemical or excess heat, is the way to go.

Have you heard of the medicinal power of reishi? Will you be looking for good quality reishi mushrooms in the UK?

Written by Jess Burman

Wellbeing Writer

BA (Honours) Writing