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What is Reishi Mushroom Extract?

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  • Written By: Micki Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Reishi mushrooms, of which there are several species derived from the genus Ganoderma, have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Once a rarity reserved only for the wealthy, reishi mushroom extract can now be found abundantly as a tincture in capsule form or in granular form that is sold as-is or pressed into tablets. Though the product has not shown significant results in testing on humans, many people rely on the supposed preventative and treatment effects of reishi mushroom extract on a variety of diseases and illnesses.

Six different species of the mushroom have been tested, but the types most commonly made into supplements are black reishi and red reishi. Black reishi may be more abundant and cheaper, but red reishi has shown the most notable benefits in various studies over the years. As the mushroom on its own is tough to chew and nearly inedible, good manufacturers will produce reishi mushroom extract through a long process of boiling the mushrooms and extracting the active ingredients.

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Through the years, tests on animals and humans have suggested that reishi mushroom extract could enhance one’s health in a variety of ways. These mushrooms are believed to contain antibiotic and antifungal properties. The extract, therefore, may have the ability to boost the immune system, which has a number of positive effects: the mushroom could ward off potential viruses. Furthermore, reishi mushroom extract could contain angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, compounds that are commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure.

Reishi mushroom extract is also thought to help prevent and even fight off cancer when used along with other methods and drugs. There are doctors in Japan who do prescribe the extract to cancer patients. This is because the reishi may help to inhibit the body from growing tumors. Cancer, and even the radiation therapy commonly suggested to cancer patients, tends to run down the immune system, so the extract may be a beneficial supplement in conjunction with prescriptions approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other similar entities. The mushrooms have also shown qualities that indicate their help in protecting against the harmful effects of radiation.

No side effects of the supplement have been reported, but one should still consult a doctor before beginning a reishi mushroom extract regimen, especially people with allergies. It is important to remember that the extract is not FDA-approved and that results of taking the product will vary between individuals. Many who have tried the extract have noted beneficial effects within about two weeks. Experts recommend that reishi mushrooms be taken along with lots of water and vitamin C to help the body absorb the active ingredients.

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