You may notice an interesting ingredient in some of our products (Good'n Hearty Onion Ring Clusters, Chocolate Macaroon Sweet Snackers, Lemon Crunch Sweet Snackers): reishi mushrooms. Why do we include a mushroom in some of our products? Well, the answer has less to do with taste and more to do with health (don't worry, they still taste great!).
Reishi mushrooms (also known as lingzhi) are native to Asia and typically grow in hot, humid conditions. For centuries, these mushroom powerhouses have been used to improve long-term health and longevity. In fact, they were so revered they were reserved only for royalty!
While reishi can be eaten fresh, it is most typically used and available in its powdered form. From there, it is most often consumed as a supplement or tea (or other beverage).
Despite generations of use and positive anecdotal outcomes, clinical studies on humans with reishi are somewhat limited. However, there have been studies done on the compounds present in reishi that provide some guidance for why these mushrooms are so valued.
Possible Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
- Immune System Boost - one group of compounds found in reishi is triterpenes. These compounds have been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system. Typically, we associate a positive effect on the immune system as a "boost", it increases the activity of the immune system, and reishi does that. For people who already have an overactive immune system (as with most autoimmune conditions), an increase is not a good thing. However, reishi seems to be an immunomodulator which works in both directions as needed within the body. It increases immune activity for those who need it, and decreases immune activity for those who are overactive. Reishi also seems to have a positive effect on Natural Killer cells (NK), cells within the body that help defend against viruses and cancers.
- Chronic Fatigue & Depression Relief - the reasonings for this are not well understood, however, reishi seems to be able to help minimize some of the effects of chronic fatigue and depression. It is believed that this is tied to the effect on the immune system and/or the antioxidant components of reishi.
- Stress & Sleep - again, the reasonings are not well understood, but studies have shown reishi to help minimize the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It has also been widely used as an adaptogen, a substance that helps to minimize the effects of stress and fatigue on the body. Both these aspects lead to more energy and greater ease in everyday life.
Reishi is considered safe for pretty much everyone. There are some concerns that it could lower blood pressure or blood sugar, so do your homework if that is something you are concerned about. The more significant concerns are that supplements are not closely monitored by the FDA and may contain contaminants, so be sure to purchase your reishi from a reputable source!
We are an organic food manufacturer. We are not licensed health care providers, and cannot offer nutritional advice or make claims that our products will help or cure any ailments. We make food, not drugs, and according to the FDA, only drugs can make claims to cure ailments. Please be sure to speak with your health/wellness care provider for more information about particular concerns.
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