Get Well

Wellness One-oh-Ones: Reishi Mushroom

by Hannah Smith

Welcome to the Wellness One-oh-Ones, a digital encyclopedia for all your wellness needs. This series is geared to tackle those everyday questions you secretly ask yourself in wonderment when you hear about a new trend. Instead of pretending to know what people are talking about, come hang with us as we uncover the latest and greatest in the wellness industry. Check back every other Wednesday to pick up your refill — no doctor’s signature required.

In case you missed it, Chillhouse officially relaunched our Chill Blends – adaptogenic blends tailored to help with a variety of commonplace issues, from getting a boost of energy to chilling the f*ck out. To help you get acquainted with the products, we’ll be teaching you about the different key ingredients found in our blends and their primary benefits. To kick it off, we’ll be talking about Chill Me Out. Formulated with ashwagandha and reishi mushroom, this blend does it exactly what it says it will while strengthening the immune system. Most of the “chill” benefits come from the ashwagandha, which you can read about here, but what on earth is the reishi mushroom there to accomplish? We got you covered.

What is Reishi Mushroom?

The reishi mushroom is found naturally in the hot and humid geographic areas of Asia, and because of that, has been a staple in Eastern medicine for years. There are many varieties of reishi, but the most common has cork-like texture and an ear-shaped top that ranges in color from a rustic orange to black. Traditionally referred to as “the mushroom of immortality,” reishi was coveted by royals for their ability to maintain a healthy wellbeing.

In western wellness, reishi mushroom is more commonly found in tincture or powder extract formats, almost as an easily camouflaged batch of nutrients meant to add to smoothies or juices. In our case, Chillhouse created a blend that can be turned into an at-home latte in no time (but if you have time, swing by for a mani with a side of Chill Me Out!)

What are the Benefits of Reishi?

There’s a reason reishi has been used for so long, and that’s because it doesn’t just help with one specific issue. Instead, it helps aid a plethora of commonplace issues, from immunity to depression. Get to know how it interacts in many of its different ways below.

Reishi and Depression

Clinical depression is a serious matter and should be treated as such, but if you feel like you’re not quite where you want to be and are running out of options, give reishi a go. One study demonstrated those antidepressant-like behaviors in rats, but testimonies from those in the wellness space support the same effect in humans.  

Reishi and Your Immune System

The reishi mushroom is known as the “mushroom of immortality” for a reason, that reason being that it can strengthen the immune system and in turn, causes its consumers to live longer lives. It works by stimulating your body into creating more white blood cells, which are there to fight infection and other illnesses, keeping you healthier for longer. In fact, a study conducted in Taiwan confirmed that compounds within the mushroom known as polysaccharides demonstrate “lifespan-promoting” effects. If you’re trying to pull a Tuck Everlasting on us or simply keep your youth for as long as possible, reishi might be your answer.

Reishi and Fatigue

One of the compounds found in reishi mushrooms is most well known for improving aches, pains, and irritability, and in turn, has made reishi a go-to when it comes to kicking fatigue out the door. Don’t think of this as a quick fix by any means, but with long term daily usage, symptoms of fatigue will subside.  Of course, when you’re less irritable, your mood is overall much improved- think of it as a literal dose of positivity.

Reishi and Your Brain

If you’re looking to keep your brain sharp no matter the age, reishi is also a good addition to your routine. Reishi has been proven to have therapeutic effects on various neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzeihmer’s and Huntington’s disease. In fact, it helps your brain to prevent neurodegenerative diseases from doing damage to the train in the first place. In turn, early signs of aging such as memory loss and shorter attention spans are put off longer

Reishi and Cancer

Reishi will not be your end all and be all, but numerous studies have been done on reishi’s effects on cancer cells and the results are promising. One study found that taking reishi reduced the size of tumors, and another found that a component of the mushroom can help stop the metastasis of existing tumors. Another study expanded on this, hypothesizing that bioactive compounds within the mushroom seek out and eradicate existing cancerous cells within the body. All in all, it’s been proven that taking reishi can be hugely beneficial in the realm of cancer, so might as well give it a shot.

How Much Should I Take?

The dosage tends to vary per person, per concern and depending on how a person is choosing to consume. Reishi mushrooms can be consumed as the mushroom itself, a tincture, or a powder extract, and they hold different potencies. For example, 50 grams of mushrooms themselves would be equivalent to 5 grams of mushroom extract. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of how you’re consuming the mushroom. In this day in age, we know it can be easier to get a hold of mushroom powders than mushrooms themselves. When consuming the powder extract, the recommended dosage ranges from 1.5 – 9 grams, depending on the severity of the condition, but for reference, most pre-packaged mushroom powders have 1.5 grams per serving.

Can I Use It Topically?

A general rule of thumb: if you can eat it, it can go on your face. Yes, reishi mushroom can be applied topically through serums and creams, and boy are the effects worth noting. Remember how we mentioned reishi is known as “the mushroom of immortality”? That applies to your outsides just as it does your insides. Reishi is imperative in maintaining your skin’s moisture barrier, as it helps to rebuild and strength, in turn allowing your skin to hold moisture more effectively. It’s chock full of anti-inflammatory properties, effectively soothing acne, redness, scarring, and other symptoms of inflammation. To top it off, reishi delivers a massive dosage of antioxidants to the skin, which can help to strengthen elastin and kickstart the production of more collagen.

Feature Image via Hannah Smith

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