Parts Used & Where Grown
Reishi mushrooms grow wild on decaying logs and tree stumps in the coastal provinces of China. The fruiting body of the mushroom is employed medicinally. Reishi grows in six different colors, but the red variety is most commonly used and commercially cultivated in North America, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.1
How It Works
Reishi contains several major constituents, including sterols, coumarin, mannitol, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids called ganoderic acids. Ganoderic acids may lower blood pressure as well as decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. These specific triterpenoids also help reduce blood platelets from sticking together—an important factor in lowering the risk for coronary artery disease. While human research has been reported that demonstrates some efficacy for the herb in treating altitude sickness and chronic hepatitis B, these uses still need to be confirmed in well-designed human trials.2 Animal studies and some very preliminary trials in humans suggest reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes mellitus and cancer.3 Two controlled clinical trials have investigated the effects of reishi on high blood pressure in humans and both found it could lower blood pressure significantly compared to a placebo or controls.4,5 The people with hypertension in the second study had previously not responded to medications, though these were continued during the study.