Reishi mushrooms may help eliminate candida through its immune-stimulating and anti-microbial effects. While more research is needed, based on its actions, reishi could be an important part of an anti-candida protocol.
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Reishi (Ganoderma) is referred to as the “divine mushroom” in Japan or the “spirit plant” in China. While there are six different types of traditional reishi, only three are part of the Ganoderma genus. Red reishi, called that for its red brick color, is Ganoderma lucidum, and is the most medically active of the reishi fungi. Ganoderma tsugae is also referred to as red reishi but is not as effective or commonly used. Ganoderma sinensis is called black reishi and is commonly used in China. To avoid confusion, use of the term “reishi” in the rest of the article will be solely referring to Ganoderma lucidium since it has the most researched and known medicinal effects.
Reishi has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its ability to increase longevity. This may be due to Reishi’s adaptogenic and immune-stimulating effect. Adaptogenic herbs essentially help the body adapt to stressful situations so a person avoids becoming worn-down and ill due to long-term exposure to daily stress. As for immune-stimulation, Reishi contains beta 1,3-glucans which are herbal constituents that help to stimulate the immune system. Reishi also specifically contains ganoderic acids, which have been shown to inhibit tumor metastases, and ergosterol, also known as pro-vitamin D2, which induces apoptosis, an important mechanism in cancer prevention.
Reishi is most widely known and well researched for its ability to support the immune system as well as its cancer-fighting properties. Additional research has been published in recent years highlighting the types of cancers it can benefit. The most noteworthy implication involves HPV (human papilloma virus). Several HPV strains are associated with cervical cancer, which lead to the creation of the controversial HPV vaccine, to help promote immunity against a few HPV strains. According to a study by Lai, Reishi extract significantly suppressed expression of a known cancer-causing HPV strain. And additional studies by Cheng and Xu, found that constituents like ganoderic acids, actually inhibited human cervical cancer cell growth. While more research is needed, it appears reishi may be a natural alternative to preventing HPV infections and subsequent cervical cancer. In addition, reishi can complement conventional cancer treatments as it protects against the harmful effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
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Reishi can be greatly beneficial for other diseases as well. Due to its anti-histamine effect, it can be an important part of an allergy, bronchitis, asthma, or respiratory wellness protocol. Reishi has also been known to help with hepatitis, arthritis, or just assisting with recovery from a long illness. Reishi is also great for cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, or atherosclerosis. In fact, according to a study by Jin, patients who had high blood pressure that was unresponsive to medication, when started on 220 mg of reishi extract tablets a day, the vast majority of patients experienced significantly decreased blood pressure. Reishi has also been used to lower blood sugar in diabetics as well as possibly help with insomnia.
Reishi can be taken internally as a liquid or alcohol extract of the dried mushroom, a powder, or even as a tea. Studies suggest that the most healing properties can be gained from taking reishi in an alcohol extract. However, reishi tea appears to be most associated with promoting longevity. If you’re taking an alcohol or liquid extract, using 30 drops two-four times a day can be taken without any adverse effects. However, reishi, like most adaptogens, doesn’t act quickly and is better if taken over a long period of time.
Overall, reishi is a very safe herb and can be taken indefinitely with no harmful effects. In rare instances, some people may experience a mild upset stomach from taking reishi. The only people that need to take caution if trying to use reishi are people on blood-thinning medications like warfarin or those with clotting disorders since reishi can act as an anti-coagulant in high enough doses. Also, if you are an organ transplant recipient or are on immunosuppressive therapy, you should consult your doctor before taking reishi to avoid complications.
There is no evidence that shows that reishi feeds candida and in fact, is more likely to help eradicate candida due to reishi’s anti-microbial and immune-stimulating effects. Reishi has a bitter taste so it may be better to opt for an extract than a tea. High-quality reishi can be obtained from your herbalist or TCM doctor and always look for Ganoderma lucidum reishi extracted from the fruiting bodies of the fungus and not the mycelium. The fruiting bodies have been shown to have significantly greater medicinal effect than the mycelium and cannot be used interchangeably.