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does reishi help with anxiety

Does Reishi Help with Anxiety?

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(Last Updated On: August 20, 2022)

Reishi mushroom is also known as lingzhi and Ganoderma lucidum. The fungus grows throughout Asia and potentially has several mental and physical health benefits. So, does reishi help with anxiety?

Evidence suggests that it might, and the following are some key things to know.

What is Reishi?

Reishi has long been sued in eastern medicine to help with combating cancer and boosting the immune system. The reishi mushroom grows in hot, humid Asian locations. There are many potentially beneficial molecules in reishi, including polysaccharides and peptidoglycans. The mushrooms can be eaten fresh, but in the United States, it’s more common to use extracts and powdered reishi to get health benefits.

Reishi is used in China, Japan, and Korea. It’s an immunostimulant for patients with AIDS and cancers.

Reishi extracts have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, renoprotective, and liver protective properties. This mushroom is considered one of the most potent in natural medicine and is sometimes referred to as the mushroom of immortality.

In Chinese medicine, reishi is a tonic herb, meaning large and regular quantities are consumed without harmful side effects.

What Are the Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms?

Some of the purported health benefits of reishi mushrooms include:

  • Immune system: Reishi may improve immune function because of the effects on white blood cells. Test-tube studies have shown that reishi can potentially affect the genetics of white blood cells. The mushroom may enhance the activity of natural killer cells, a particular type of white blood cell responsible for combating cancer and infections. Another study found reishi could improve the number of lymphocytes, another type of white blood cell.
  • Anti-cancer properties: One of the reasons reishi is most commonly used in traditional eastern medicine is because it may have cancer-fighting properties. Some people use the mushroom for particular types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, and prostate. Some research shows that in colorectal cancer, for example, reishi decreased the number and size of tumors in the large intestine after a year. There are other ways that the mushroom may benefit cancer patients. For example, since it can improve white blood cell function, it could help improve the overall quality of life and immune function in people with cancer. Preclinical findings show that reishi can help with chemotherapy-induced nausea, improve radiotherapy’s efficacy, and increase ovarian cancer’s sensitivity to cisplatin.
  • Fatigue: Researchers found in one study that after taking reishi for eight weeks, fatigue was reduced and increased feelings of well-being. Another study found taking reishi for four weeks reduced fatigue and improved the quality of life in breast cancer survivors.

Other possible benefits of reishi mushrooms include improvements in strength and stamina, cholesterol-lowering benefits, and improvements in lower urinary tract symptoms. In a few studies, reishi helped improve heart health by improving good HDL cholesterol and lowering triglycerides. Some studies have shown that the molecules found in reishi can reduce animal blood sugar, but human studies are needed to confirm this. Reishi is also thought to improve the body’s antioxidant status, which can help prevent cellular damage. Small studies have found that reishi helped reduce pain and helped heal varicella-zoster lesions in older people.

How Does Reishi Work?

The beta-glucans and polysaccharides present in reishi may be what provide the immunostimulant and antitumor effects. The triterpene compounds might prevent tumor metastasis. Reishi can also include natural killer cytotoxicity against different cell cancer lines.

Does Reishi Help with Anxiety?

It appears reishi can help with mental health along with potent potential physical health benefits. Reishi is considered an adaptogen. That means it can support a healthy stress response. Our nervous systems perceive stress. The signal then goes to the hypothalamus, the brain’s control center. That then relays the message to our adrenal glands. Our adrenal glands stimulate the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

Reishi can help ease the alarm signals that reach the brain because it potentially affects the nervous system and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis.

Reishi can alleviate insomnia and improve the adrenal glands’ function.

Along with reishi potentially helping with anxiety symptoms, there’s also research showing it could improve depression symptoms, including those of major depressive disorder.

Does Reishi Have Side Effects?

Typical doses of dried mushroom extract usually range from 1.5 to 9 grams daily. Reishi is considered fairly safe, but there is a risk of side effects, particularly if someone takes very large amounts. Possible reishi side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nosebleed
  • A bleeding risk, especially in people with bleeding disorders like thrombocytopenia
  • Low blood pressure

Summary—Does Reishi Help with Anxiety?

Reishi mushroom is one of the most utilized and potent medicinal mushrooms. Does reishi help with anxiety? Evidence indicates that it might. This mushroom might also help with fatigue and depression and promote a better overall sense of well-being.

Sources

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Reishi Mushroom.” February 5, 2021. Accessed August 19, 2022.

Jayanthi, K. “Reishi Mushroom- Promising in treatment of depression.” Pondicherry Journal of Nursing, May 2016. Accessed August 19, 2022.

Singh, Ranjeet. “Evaluation of Antianxiety Potential of Four Ganoderma (Agaricomycetes) Species from India in Mice.” NIH National Library of Medicine, 2016. Accessed August 19, 2022.

Hossen, Moazzem SM et al. “CNS anti-depressant, anxiolytic and analgesic effects of Ganoderma applantum (mushroom) along with ligand-receptor binding screening provides new insights: Multi-disciplinary approaches.” Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, September 2021. Accessed August 19, 2022.

Fijalkowska, Agata. “Edible Mushrooms as a Potential Component of Dietary Interventions for Major Depressive Disorder.” Foods, 2022. Accessed August 19, 2022.

Shane-McWhorter, Laura PharmD. “Reishi.” Merck Manual, January 2022. Accessed August 20, 2022.

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