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Reishi mushroom, also known as the lingzhi mushroom, includes a number of fungal species of the genus Ganoderma. Ganoderma lucidum is the most commonly used reishi mushroom used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2000 years. Reishi is one of the oldest mushrooms used for medical purposes. This mushroom has many significant health benefits, but the most interesting thing is that it does not cause any side effects. This actually means that everybody can enjoy therapeutic effects of reishi, despite the age or the health status. Moreover, this non-toxic mushroom can be taken daily without any accompanying complications.
Active ingredients in reishi mushrooms
Components known as water-soluble polysaccharides are the main active ingredients in reishi mushrooms. These ingredients have strong anti-tumor, immune regulating and blood pressure lowering effects. Reishi mushrooms also contain triterpanes, and especially ganoderic acids. Ganoderic acid can alleviate the symptoms and reoccurrence of many allergies, by inhibiting the release of histamine. Ganoderic acid also improves oxygen consumption and restores liver functions. Mushrooms like shitake, maitake and cordyceps, contain similar and beneficial active ingredients but only reishi mushroom contains ganoderic acid. The presence of this healthy compound is reflected in a bitterly tasting mushroom flesh.
Health benefits of reishi mushrooms
Reishi has long term health effects on the human body. When taken regularly it restores the body to its natural state and regulates the immune system. This mushroom possibly contains anti-tumor, immune-modulatory and immunotherapeutic properties, which is supported by a number of studies. The regular use of reishi mushroom can inhibit platelet aggregation and help against hypertension, cholesterol and abnormally high blood sugar levels.
Some animal studies even suggest that reishi mushroom prevents cancer metastasis. The extracts from reishi mushroom are already used in commercial pharmaceuticals in various medications for suppressing cancer cell proliferation and migration.
Ganoderic acid is very beneficial for liver and helps to restore normal liver functions. The mushroom is very beneficial for patients suffering from liver injury caused by viruses or toxic agents. The mushroom can also prevent liver diseases in humans.
The antiviral and antibacterial activities of reishi mushroom are exhibited with HSV-1, HSV-2, influenza virus, vesicular stomatitis, Aspergillus niger, Bacillus cereus, Candida albicans and Escherichia coli.
Ways to enjoy reishi mushroom
Reishi mushroom has a bitter taste, and therefore it is commonly used as a hot water extract. Fresh or dried slices of reishi are added to a pot of boiling water and covered to shimmer for two hours.

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