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reishi mushrooms

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Primary benefits: Supports immune function and heart health; helps with stress management. 

Reishi is sometimes called the queen of mushrooms because of its broad spectrum of health benefits. Evidence suggests it may boost immunity, mood, heart health, and overall energy.

These mushrooms offer abundant triterpenes, substances with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial effects. Integrative cancer-care expert Nalini Chilkov, LAc, OMD recom­mends reishi mushrooms to her cancer patients more than any other medicinal mushroom. (Discover the power of these “5 Healing Spices” with anti-cancer and other health-boosting properties as well.)

Reishi mushrooms are also adaptogens, which means they help support the body’s ability to manage stress. “Reishi is a calming mushroom compared to others,” says Mason Bresett, ND, whose research focuses on functional mushrooms. “It can soothe the central nervous system, so if you aren’t sleeping well, reishi is a great choice due to its adaptogenic effect.”

How to use reishi:

reishi mushroomsReishi mush­rooms are typically consumed as a powdered supplement or tincture. You can brew them into a tea or add them to soup broth. (Try reishi in this overnight oats recipe.)

If you’re taking a powdered supplement, aim for 2 to 3 grams (about 1 teaspoon) per day for maintenance, or 2 teaspoons per day for therapeutic purposes. If using a tincture, look for “double-extracted” on the label: This means it’s been processed with both ­water and alcohol. Alcohol activates the triterpenes, while hot water enlivens the beta-glucans. For dosage, follow the instructions on the bottle.

More on Mushrooms!

Fungi have been used as medicine for thousands of years. Discover five more varieties and their many health benefits at “The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms,” from which this article was excerpted.

Catherine Guthrie

Catherine Guthrie is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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