By Michael A. Smith, MDReishi mushroom has been used for thousands of years and is known as the “mushroom of immortality.” It’s a fungus (mushroom) that flourishes mainly on the dried trunks of dead plum trees.
Out of 10,000 aged plum trees, perhaps 2 or 3 will have Reishi growth, therefore it is very scarce.
Today, there are over 5,000 studies documenting the health benefits of the six primary types of Reishi — red, black, blue, white, yellow and purple.
Traditionally speaking though, black and red Reishi have demonstrated the most significant health-enhancing effects.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the many longevity-enhancing benefits that this particular fungus has to offer.
Traditional Benefits of Black and Red ReishiReishi is called the “mushroom of immortality” for many reasons. However, its immune enhancing properties are probably the most notable. Let’s face it, if you want to live a longer life, you simply need a strong immune system.
Reishi has been shown to support longevity by fighting immunosenescence — which is the loss of immune function as we age.
One way it does this is by activating dendritic cells.1 These cells “present” antigens like bacteria and viruses to antibody producing cells called B-cells. As a result, you’re able to effectively fight infectious diseases before getting too sick.
And it’s Reishi’s effects on the immune system that got researchers thinking even bigger. Could extracts of Reishi help fight cancer?
Red Reishi Contains Anti-tumor ProteinReishi mushroom has been reported to contain anti-tumor proteins that can prevent cancer cell growth.
Researchers during the last decade have showed that Reishi inhibits cell proliferation, induces apoptosis and suppresses the spreading of cancer cells by blocking blood vessel formation.2-4 However, the exact mechanism producing these results was unknown.
Well, Reishi’s anti-cancer properties are exactly what researchers at National Yang-Ming University wanted to find out. They were able to derive and then clone a protein from Reishi called Ling Zhi-8, or LZ-8. They designed a study to test LZ-8 and its effects on human lung cancer cells’ growth.5
They were able to show that LZ-8 inhibited cancer cell growth by preventing the cell’s normal growth cycle. In order for a cell to divide and produce a clone, it cycles through different stages of preparation. The very first stage is called G1 — a highly metabolic stage for any cell.
During this stage, the cell is doing its day-to-day functions. If a cell is “trapped” in G1 and prevented from moving into the next phase, it won’t divide. And that’s exactly what LZ-8 does. It causes cell growth arrest by “trapping” the cancer cell in stage G1.
The authors concluded, “Our current results suggest that LZ-8 may have potential as a therapeutic intervention for the treatment of cancers.”
Drink Reishi Tea for Longer LifeReishi is not edible because it’s woody, fibrous and hard to chew. But you can make tea with it, and it’s actually pretty simple. Just purchase some wild Reishi mushrooms and follow these instructions:
- Using a grinder with a heavy blade, cut the mushroom into small pieces, measuring about 1 tablespoon or 3 grams. Pre-sliced Reishi is available in some areas.
- Filter 4–5 cups of water and bring to a boil in a stainless steel or ceramic pot.
- Add the mushroom pieces, reduce heat and let simmer for 2 hours.
- Remove from heat and strain. Let cool.
Of course, if you're really interested in reaping the rewards of this powerful mushroom, you could always consider supplementing with a quality Reishi mushroom extract.
- BMC Immunol. 2011 May 25;12:31.
- Int J Cancer. 2002 Nov 20;102(3):250-3.
- Int J Oncol. 2004 May;24(5):1093-9.
- Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Apr 29;330(1):46-52.
- Carcinogenesis. vol.0 no.0 pp.1–7, 2011 doi:10.1093/carcin/bgr221 (http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/11/03/carcin.bgr221.full.pdf)
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