The Amazing Benefits of Red Reishi Mushrooms

The beautiful reishi mushroom, also known as the Queen of Mushrooms, Mushroom of Immortality, Lingzhi Mushroom, Ganoderma Lucidum, or most commonly, reishi, has been used to support well-being for well over 2000 years in both China and Japan. While it isn't a pantry staple in the USA or Canada, it's time we started raving more about this amazing mushroom and its long-lauded benefits. 

Reishi for Sleep. 

Reishi helps you chill out. And not in a drowsy, tired all day long kind of way (it's a non-sedative). Instead, when consumed in continuous, small doses, reishi may help to balance the body's sleep cycles and improve sleep quality. Personally, I have found that daily, consistent use shows more promise than just drinking it once or twice. Reishi is also a nerve tonic and eases any alarm signals that reach the brain, therefore, it can help alleviate insomnia, especially when the trouble sleeping comes from an active mind that won't turn off. Did you know that the same mental agitation that interferes with sleep at night triggers anxiety during the day? Therefore, making reishi a helpful herb around the clock. 

Reishi for Stress & Anxiety.

Reishi is used in herbal medicine as an adaptogen, meaning it can support our ability to grow stronger in the face of stress - so, basically, they help our body adapt to stress! Reishi has health benefits that are effective in supporting our stress response. It is antimicrobial against viruses, bacteria, and other fungi such as candida. It is anti-inflammatory and supports the immune system as well as promoting heart, liver, and kidney health. But it's main discussion is on its ability to help us adapt to whatever life throws our way. 

Reishi also appears to work on the hypothalamus (HPA) - a small region located at the base of the brain which plays a crucial role in many important functions - by improving the function of the adrenal glands themselves. This makes reishi an excellent herb choice for calming the mind, easing anxiety, promoting sleep, grounding and centering us. 

Reishi for Immune Function.

Reishi contains many naturally occurring antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have also extracted and identified two major components that are beneficial for immune health, the water-soluble polysaccharides (beta-glucan) and the triterpenes. 

The beta-glucans stimulate and strengthen the immune system which in turn reduce your susceptibility to colds and flus, and prevent other diseases and ailments. 

Reishi also contains a group of triterpenes known as "ganoderic acids", which cause the mushrooms to have an extremely bitter taste. These ganoderic acids are also thought to be responsible for supporting organ health, particularly the liver and heart, improving blood circulation and reducing incidence of allergies. 

Reishi for Cancer Prevention & Supplementation.

The beta-glucans, found in reishi mushrooms, are thought to be responsible for the anti-cancer effect of reishi mushrooms. They do this by stimulating and strengthening the immune system, which can reduce and prevent tumors. 

Due to its immune-boosting potential, reishi appears to work well was a supplementary cancer treatment. Studies also show that reishi can improve white blood cell counts and stimulate the body's production of natural killer cells which attack and destroy infections and disease. 

More on this, reishi mushroom has been studied for its cancer fighting abilities. One study on colorectal cancer found that reishi supplements decreased the size and amount of tumours in the small intestine. 

Reishi works best either as a preventative measure or as a supplement combined with conventional cancer treatments. In many cases, studies show that reishi can help fight prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and more. 

Reishi for Respiratory Relief. 

Reishi mushrooms can help boost an ailing respiratory system and has the ability to support healthy lungs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi mushrooms are used for viral infections such as the flu (influenza), swine flu, and avian flu, as well as certain lung conditions including asthma and bronchitis. Reishi may help stop cough, wheezing, and disperse phlegm, in addition to strengthening the body and calming the mind. 

More recently, research has shown reishi to help relief chronic respiratory issues. It can increase the alveoli's ability to absorb oxygen, as well as reduce coughing in people suffering from bronchitis. 

On a side note, reishi is considered a natural antihistamine, meaning this miraculous mushroom may help your body respond appropriately to environmental irritants like dust and mold. 

Reishi for Cholesterol and Heart. 

Studies suggest that reishi can lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and support blood vessel health. A recent study showed that reishi mushroom may even increase HDL "good" cholesterol. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi is used for heart disease and contributing conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Some of the components found in reishi, such as ganodermic acids A, B, C and D, lucidenic acid B and ganodermanontriol, are powerful antioxidants that counteract the damaging effects of free radicals on tissues in the body. Antioxidants protect the blood vessels and capillaries and are vital for cardiovascular health. 

"Modern research on reishi has found it to support the cardiovascular system and prevent conditions such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, and high blood pressure. In one study, it demonstrated an ability to normalize blood pressure in a number of patients after four weeks. Research on reishi isolated two beta-glucans within reishi, ganodelan A and B, which help release insulin by facilitating the influx of calcium in pancreas beta cells, helping to lower elevated blood sugar. Many natural practitioners see this as a promising natural supplement for managing diabetes. It's triterpenes, especially genoderic acid F and S have been shown to protect the blood vessels in the heart from stiffening and hardening, and from blood cell clotting."

What are Reishi Mushrooms?

Reishi is a woody mushroom with a glossy exterior. It is shaped like a saucer and ranges in colour from red, black, green, purple and even white. The most studied, and most common, is the red reishi mushroom that grows on Hemlock trees. This is the type of reishi that we, Plena Naturals, use for our powder. 

Our Red Reishi Mushroom powder is organic, non-GMO, and free from fillers and carriers. It is non-toxic and safe for long-term use. 

What do Reishi Mushroom taste like?

I'll be real with you from the start. Reishi is not the most delicious mushroom you will ever taste, which explains why they are not selected for their culinary benefits. They are incredibly bitter. While some describe it as pleasantly bitter or earthy, others say it tastes like tree bark. Either way, reishi mushrooms aren't famous for their taste. 

Many health nerds will know that the most bitter foods are often the ones that are best for us. Honestly, the flavour of reishi will grow on you the more you feel and reap its benefits. 

Since the taste doesn't bother me all that much, I can add it to my black tea or coffee. However, you may add it to hot chocolate or simply add coconut butter or almond milk to your coffee/tea to help improve the taste of reishi.

Reishi Recipe Ideas!

Chocolate Reishi Latte

  • 1 tsp reishi mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or other sweetener of choice!)
  • 2 tsp almond butter (optional // or other butter of choice)
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder 
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk (cashew, coconut, almond, etc)

Reishi Coffee Latte

  • 1 tsp reishi mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cacao powder (optional)
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk (cashew, coconut, almond, etc)
  • 1 shot espresso, or 1/3 cup strong brewed coffee

Instructions for either latte:

  1. Add ingredients to a small blender (I use NinjaBullet).
  2. Steam or heat dairy-free milk until hot and add to the blender. Blend on high for 30-60 seconds, or until frothy and well blended.
  3. Taste and adjust flavour as needed, adding more cinnamon for warmth/spice, more sweetener to taste, or more cacao for rich chocolate flavour. 
  4. Serve as is, or top with coconut whipped cream, cinnamon, and/or cacao powder. Enjoy ♥️

When's the best time to take Reishi?

There isn't necessarily a best time to take reishi. Even though some users swear that nighttime is the best time to take reishi due to its calming effects, I honestly take my in the morning and that works for me. Remember, reishi will not make you feel tired nor drowsy. 

What's more important is that you are taking reishi on a daily basis so that it has time to build up in your system. 

Look at it this way: when someone starts taking anxiety medication, they shouldn't expect the effects to kick-in right away but instead overtime they will feel better. Medicinal mushrooms function in a comparable way - your body needs time to react to the bioactive compounds. 

The best answer is to take the reishi powder every day and find a time that works best for you! 

But is it Safe?

A very common yet very valid question! This marvelous mushroom is considered a safe herb, however, because it can improve blood sugar levels and lower high blood pressure, there are possible drug interactions with diabetic and/or anti-hypertensive medications. It is always advisable to discuss your medications and supplements with a professional health care provider. 

So, whether you are feeling beaten down by life situations and need a little help getting up, or you're heading into a new and exciting stage in your life and want to be in top form to embrace every moment to its fullest, or you're somewhere in the middle and just want to feel calm and less stressed, red reishi mushroom powder is an excellent choice! This marvelous mushroom will help you thrive by enhancing many aspects of your physical and mental health. 

Click here to shop our Red Reishi Mushroom Powder. 


The Food and Administration (FDA) and other government agencies do not monitor the quality, purity, or safety of herbs and extra caution is recommended. This product is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications. 

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