Reishi Mushrooms Prostate and Other Health Benefits
- What are Reishi Mushrooms?
- Reishi Mushrooms and Prostate Health
- How Reishi Mushrooms Help Your Entire Body
- How to Incorporate Reishi Mushrooms Into Your Diet
Daily intake of superfoods and adaptogens can have a profoundly positive impact on your health. And today I want to show you something that’s both a superfood and adaptogen—reishi mushroom has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years for its dozens of health benefits.
If you are a regular reader, you are familiar with the term “superfoods”—nutrient-loaded foods that take the extra step of helping prevent or abate chronic diseases and aging.
And you also may remember reading about “adaptogens,” which are foods and supplements that help counter the negative effects of physical, mental and emotional stress.
Reishi mushrooms can decrease inflammation, fight anxiety, boost your immune system, help lull you to sleep, heal damage to the liver, and much more. Western medicine has largely ignored the wonders of the reishi mushroom, but right now it’s turning its attention to the mushroom because of its ability to fight prostate cancer.
Read on to learn more about reishi mushrooms and the best ways to incorporate them into your diet.
What Are Reishi Mushrooms?
For millennia, reishi mushrooms only grew on an extremely small percentage of deciduous trees, making them exceptionally rare and highly sought after. Ancient Chinese writings in the Shennong Benaco Jing (Divine Farmer’s Classic of Pharmaceutics) describe the mushrooms as beneficial to one’s qi (life force) in several areas of the body—liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys.
Turns out that those authors weren’t too far off. Now that Western medicine is catching on (a mere 2,000-some years later!), reishi mushrooms are cultivated on hardwood logs and sawdust chips because of their booming popularity around the world.
Numerous studies back the writings in the Shennong Benaco Jing. I’ll get to them in a little bit but first I want to talk about something very unique about the reishi mushroom that even the ancient Chinese didn’t recognize.
I’m talking about prostate health.
Reishi Mushrooms and Prostate Health
America’s prostate health is collectively getting worse. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Nearly 3 million men have prostate cancer right now. About six out of ten prostate cancer cases are found in men older than 65 years old. All totaled, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men.
But there is good news within this. Prostate cancer is very treatable and preventable, and reishi mushrooms can help. Here’s how they work.
Israeli scientists found that molecules extracted from reishi mushrooms blocked the action of the male sex hormone androgen upon cancerous cells. That’s an important finding because otherwise androgen would stimulate cancerous cells, multiplying the number of them.
Popular drugs for prostate cancer, notably Flutamide, also attempt to interfere with androgen receptions. But reishi extracts do the same thing for far less and with minimal side effects. And, even better, it worked better than Flutamide in the study.
It’s important to note that current studies on reishi mushrooms and prostate cancer are in the preliminary stages. That means that it’s important to wait for additional studies before you hang your hat on reishi as a cure.
But there are two things about reishi mushrooms that hold a lot of promise.
First, it’s not a medication. It’s a gift from the earth to the medical community. Reported side effects have been generally mild, such as respiratory dryness and itchiness and nosebleed.
Second, reishi mushrooms already have a wide array of clinically-proven health benefits. And I suspect that additional studies will only increase that number.
Reishi Mushrooms Benefits For Your Entire Body
So don’t take reishi mushrooms just for your prostate health. Take them for your entire health!
Reishi mushrooms contain several active healing ingredients that go to work immediately after you consume them.
For example, triterpenes are acidic substances that can switch off your body’s response to allergies. Polysaccharides prevent formation and development of cancer cells. Plant sterols can prevent absorption of cholesterol into your intestines—thus lowering levels of LDL cholesterol.
Dozens of studies conducted separately on three different continents concluded that reishi mushrooms can protect you from an impressive array of diseases and illnesses such as:
- Common infections such as urinary tract and bronchitis
- Liver disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Tumor growth and cancer
- Food allergies
- Digestive problems
- Stomach ulcers
- Skin disorders
- Heart Disease, hypertension and high cholesterol
- Sleep disorders
That’s one powerful mushroom! Again, it’s worth repeating that these conclusions come from separate studies—and those studies show very few and extremely mild side effects.
How to Incorporate Reishi Mushrooms Into Your Diet
Adding reishi mushrooms to your soups and salads is a great idea. I’m a huge proponent of eating locally sourced, organic and non-GMO food.
That said, don’t expect to find reishi mushrooms at your local grocery store or farmers market. But you can find them at a lot of online retailers, usually in several forms—many of them organic, non-GMO too.
You can buy them dried, but they don’t last as long nor do they have the concentrated benefit you can get from concentrated powders, extracts, and supplements.
Reishi Mushroom Powder
Reishi powder can be added to smoothies, soups, and teas. You may need add a few other ingredients to offset the bitter taste that reishi mushrooms can leave, even as a powder.
My preference is supplement form. It’s just easier to take and easier to remember to take! Look for a supplement with 6 mg/daily.
If You are an Older Guy, Consider this Fungi
It’s ironic that as modern medicine advances, the more it seems to incorporate what was considered cutting-edge practices thousands of years ago. Many of them are natural, effective, and are less likely to produce side effects than lab-developed medicines. Add reishi mushrooms to that lot. Head to toe, they are one of the healthiest things you can eat.
If you are a man over the age of 50, your chances of getting prostate cancer increase every year. Studies show that reishi mushroom extract can prevent cancerous cells in your prostate from binding and multiplying. And separately, reishi’s anti-inflammatory and immunity superpowers can prevent diseases and illness from taking hold in your body to begin with.
- “Reishi Mushroom.” WebMD. Last Reviewed November 7, 2018.
- Frenkel, Deborah. “Israeli Scientists Reveal the Prostate-Healing Power of Mushrooms.” Israel 21C. Published Jan. 1, 2008.
Last Updated: May 22, 2021