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Science has been researching mushrooms for decades. Below we've listed the main targets in Reishi research*. For an extensive background click here ( page opens in new window ).
Take notice: this list should not be interpreted as a list of medical claims !
A shared property of all mushrooms is said to be immune-modulation: research has been investigating their potential to help balance our natural defense against diseases for many decades.
In particular water-soluble beta-glucans have triggered the interest of scientists: in the EU several health-claims based on beta-glucans have been ratified in the past years by the EFSA. Beta-glucans are supporting a well-balanced immune function and might help to create an good balance between the good and the bad types of cholesterol. ABM is a mushroom with significant levels of beta-glucan.
Given that our immune system is the core of our health this is very important - allergies, infections, auto-immune diseases and many old-age problems are all immune related. Also see our dedicated article about the immune system.
Two terms are worth mentioning here: adaptogenic (helping our body to adapt to the never-ending assaults on our health) and BRM (a natural Biological Response Modifier - helps to normalize the body's natural defense mechanisms without any side effects). These terms are keywords when describing these particular mushrooms. They do not cure or heal, but they help the body to perform at its best.
The beta-glucan fractions are the most important compounds for immune support.
Polysaccharide-bound proteins (glycoproteins / proteo-glycans, comparable to the PSK and PSP fractions in Coriolus versicolor) from Reishi showed inhibitory effects on Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1), Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2), and Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV - New Jersey strain) in a lab test. Using the plaque reduction method, a significant inhibitory effect was seen at doses that showed no cytotoxicity.
A dried hot water extract of Reishi taken orally was used as the sole treatment for postherpetic (varicella zoster virus) neuralgia in 4 elderly patients. This treatment was reported to dramatically decrease pain and promote the healing of lesions without any toxicity, even at very high doses. This is very promising and will hopefully lead to more research in this field.
The anti-microbial combination of Reishi with four commonly used antibiotics resulted in an additive or synergistic effect in most, but not all, instances, with apparent antagonism against cefazolin and ampicillin effects on Proteus vulgaris (known to cause urinary tract infections and wound infections).
There are indications that mushroom extracts that are rich in beta-glucans can be benificial for diabetics. In several controlled animal studies the oral administration of hot water extracted Reishi was found to lower serum glucose levels. The first effects were seen after one week. The extract markedly reduced levels of phosphoenol-pyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK).
Serum insulin levels increased (when compared to the nontreated diabetic group) and glucose levels decreased in a dose-dependent way. Levels of non-enzymic and enzymic anti-oxidants increased and lipid peroxidation levels decreased. Therefore, in addition to its glycemic modulation, treatment with this hot water extract appeared to help to decrease oxidative stress.
There are a few human trials with similar positive results. Overall, the data from several studies suggests that taking a Reishi extract supports modulating blood glucose levels. However, these studies were performed mostly with animals. More support from well-planned human clinical studies is needed with and without combination with conventional medicines to be able to make more definitive claims.
Triterpenes are mainly responsible for the hepato-protective effects, but some studies also show polysaccharide/beta-glucan extracts to be benificial. A dual extract, again, would therefore be the best choice, because it guarantees both triterpenes and beta-glucans.
Reishi extracts were also found to support the healing of ulcers; up to 56%, depending on the dosage. The Helicobacter Pylori, the bacteria that causes e.g. peptic ulcers and gastritis (and might also be involved in the development of stomach cancers) was inhibited in its growth by a Reishi extract.
As far as we know all research in this field has been performed with animals or in the lab, though. No controlled trials with humans exist as far as we know. Research was performed with ethanol and/or hot water extracts, which were administered orally.
In SE-Asia Reishi extracts are popular supplements, taken by cancer patients along with conventional therapies, to reduce the side effects of those therapies (including the negative effects on the immune-function, which can lead to secondary infections and indirectly can increase the chances of metastasis). The chemo-preventive activities of the mushroom on prostate cancer were demonstrated by a triterpenoid-rich extract of Reishi that suppressed the ventral prostate growth induced by testosterone. Reishi is said to have relatively strong anti-androgenic effects, limiting the production of DHT. This is very positive for those with prostate cancer but can cause loss of libido as well.
Reishi appears to have a positive effect in inflammatory breast-cancer, but should not be used in hormone-related breast cancers - there are contradicting results.
However, whether the anti-tumor effect of Reishi is a direct one or is mediated via the immune system is still unclear. The research results with humans seem to indicate that the anti-tumor effects are a side effect of Reishi's effects on the immune system. Much more research with human volunteers is needed - the majority of research so far was in vivo and in vitro.
Some people taking high dosages of 1.5 - 9 grams per day reported one or more of the following side effects: temporary sleepiness, thirst, rashes, bloating, frequent urination and diarrhea. Taking the extract together with vitamin C seemed to improve many of the side effects. Lowering the dosage also helped.
These reports do not give details about the quality and properties of the extracts that were consumed; and taking into account the poor quality level of most Reishi products (see this 2017 report) it is not unlikely that at least some of these side effects might be related to that, so this appears not to be a direct cause for alarm.
As said, the anti-microbial combination of Reishi with four commonly used antibiotics resulted in an additive or synergistic effect in most, but not all, instances. Reishi appears to cause cefazolin and ampicillin to be less effective against Proteus vulgaris (known to cause urinary tract infections and wound infections).
Reishi extracts rich in triterpenes are very powerful; these might not be the best choice for everybody.
Reishi with a high level of triterpenes should not be used in hormone-related breast cancers - there are contradicting results, so it is best to stay on the safe side. The anti-androgenic effects of Reishi can suppress libido.
Because Reishi has immune-balancing properties, it should not be used together with immune-suppressants, like those prescribed after a transplant. The blood sugar lowering effects can cause fatigue in those that are highly susceptible. In general these people are also very susceptible to e.g. caffeine and alcohol, or are diabetic. Taking the extract together with a sugar-containing liquid can neutralise this effect.
Rare side effects are: not sleeping well, bad, vivid dreams, feelings of anxiety, feeling mentally numb/clouded or having a sense of heightened mental activity. These effects are most likely caused by a genetic anomaly, like overreacting to specific triterpenes, such as lanostan. Just like with Cordyceps some people experience effects that are exactly the opposite of what usually happens. This is personal and due to genetic wiring.
Lanostan triggers the function of the adrenal glands, which are responsible for adrenaline/nor-adrenaline production. If you’re very sensitive to this you can experience hyper-activity which can make you feel anxious, etc. If you experience daily stress on top of that, this will also push the production of adrenaline/noradrenaline in your body, potentially causing anxiety.
Reishi Primo contains a relatively high level of triterpenes; if you experience these side effects it might be better to look for a different mushroom extract or to choose a hot-water-extracted-only Reishi extract, which contains no triterpenes.
Ganoderma Lucidum, Reishi, anti-cancer adjuvant, anti-oxidant, immune support, adaptogen
Reishi Primo is a dual extracted and highly concentrated red Reishi fruiting body extract. It has been optimised for the compounds that make Reishi worth considering: triterpenes and beta-glucan.
There is no Reishi supplement with better specifications available. Click here to see our authorized 'Supplement Facts' label, based on objective lab test reports.
We guarantee the presence of the main bioactive compounds and their bioavailability. Go to the quality control page for the most recent third party test results.
What sets these mushrooms apart from pharmaceuticals and what makes them particularly effective is the synergistic effect of the combined bioactives (mainly Beta-Glucans, glycoproteins/proteo-glycans, polyphenols and triterpenes).
Extraction defines the therapeutic potency, since we cannot digest non-extracted mushrooms properly. See this -highly recommended!- link for the details about this.
Extraction is essential for an actual therapeutic effect, and dual extraction is often the best option - it will make both water-solubles and insolubles bioavailable. Research found that the immunological effects of mushroom extracts are up to 10 times higher when compared against non-extracted powders.
In case you are interested in how ORIVeDA did its due diligence when developing Reishi Primo click here (page opens in new window). On this page you'll find an article with a lot of objective background information about cultivation, extraction and other Reishi supplements.
Taking into account that a 2017 report concluded almost all Reishi sold in the US is not actually Reishi and lacks quality it's worthwhile reading material.
Hot water extracts (incl. home made Reishi tea), tinctures and powdered products at best contain only low concentrations of bioactives (which is why you never see them specified on the label of such products - it's better to keep it vague from a vendor's perspective). The bioavailability is always a major problem - if we can't digest all that good stuff we can't benefit from it, right?
Reishi Primo is one of the very few Reishi products that actually offers all those bioactives in a bioavailable form, guaranteeing not only the presence but also the quantity of those compounds. Odd as it may seem, it is actually rare to find Reishi with clear specifications, let alone verifiable specifications. Our mantra is and always will be: quality claims should be supported by third party test reports to be reliable and trustworthy.
Reishi Primo is produced using a multi-step extraction procedure (hot water, alcohol, alcohol precipitation) which ensures a high purity product, as opposed to extraction using only hot water or a mix of water and alcohol in a single-step extraction process.
Immunological effects of 39 mushroom supplements compared. [source]