Mushrooms are one of our favourite superfoods, with many of us enjoying their taste and health benefits in a wide variety of recipes.1 However, there’s one mushroom in particular that has been popular for centuries: the reishi mushroom.
If you’re wondering whether this fungus is worth incorporating into your health routine, we’ve got everything you need to know below.
What are reishi mushrooms?
Reishi mushrooms are a popular ingredient in Eastern culture. It’s a type of fungus that grows exceptionally well in warm, humid locations.2 It’s native to Asia, although it is usually available to buy through health food stores and specialist retailers.
It’s reported that reishi mushrooms could have several health benefits. For this reason, they’re often eaten fresh or taken in powdered form.3
Reishi mushrooms benefits
Reishi mushrooms have a long history in Eastern culturealternative medicine. They are reported to have a wide variety of health benefits, some of which have the science to back them up.4
Nevertheless, if you are experiencing symptoms or you’re worried about your health, always visit your doctor first.
Some reishi benefits might include:
- Supporting the immune system5
- Maintaining blood sugar levels6
- Supporting heart health7
- Decreased fatigue8
While some research does support the reported health benefits of reishi mushrooms, it’s worth bearing in mind that the evidence is mixed. Some research reports no positive effects at all, or little change in symptoms experienced.9,10
Potential side effects
The evidence isn’t very clear about whether reishi mushrooms are safe to use. Some research suggests that people may experience minor side effects like nausea or upset stomachs.11 Others have noted that reishi mushroom powder could harm liver function.12
Either way, the safety research we have is quite limited, so it’s a good idea to think carefully about whether using reishi mushrooms is right for you.13
If you are worried about your health or are experiencing adverse symptoms, it’s essential to visit your doctor. They’ll be able to advise you on the best treatment plan for your needs. It’s especially crucial if you take regular medication or have a pre-existing health condition. You might want to be cautious if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding too.
Reishi mushroom dosage
Knowing how much reishi mushroom to take can be tricky. Dosage can depend on the type of reishi mushrooms you choose, as its potency can be different depending on the form you take it in.
Fresh reishi mushrooms will usually give you the most significant dose (although it does depend on the size of the mushroom).14 Powdered varieties tend to have a lower dosage than the fresh mushrooms, with some research suggesting up to 10 times less.15 Of course, this also depends on the ingredients included in your chosen product too.
Whether you choose powdered or fresh reishi mushrooms, it’s a good idea to follow the instructions on your chosen product to be sure you’re not taking too much. If you decide on a powdered reishi mushroom, look for high-quality plant-sourced supplements to be sure you’re getting the best possible product.
Last updated: 24 March 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal
Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Toxicology, BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal