Reishi is one of most popular mushrooms not just in traditional Chinese medicine, but all over the world.
Thanks to its calming effect on the brain and powerful antioxidant properties, reishi mushroom extract is an excellent natural supplement that is used to support the immune system, reduce anxiety, and much more.
When people first learn about Reishi mushrooms as a supplement, a common question is:
"Is there a best time to take Reishi?"
Let's go over the basics so you can decide how to add a reishi dietary supplement to your routine.
What is Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi is truly a stunning mushroom. In all its glory, reishi has multiple "rings" of color in deep burgundy, red, orange, gold, yellow, and white.
Reishi can be grown on logs in greenhouses and shadehouses using traditional low-impact methods.
Formally, in traditional Chinese medicine, reishi goes by "lingzhi" mushroom and the scientific name is Ganoderma lucidum.
Lingzhi or reishi grows naturally in many temperate and tropical climates on hemlock and maple trees so you may find it anywhere during spring to autumn.
What are the Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom Extract?
Dubbed the "mushroom of immortality" in traditional Chinese medicine and "nature's Xanax" in the west, reishi mushroom is an adaptogen that helps your body defend and protect itself against physical and emotional stress.
Potential Anti-Cancer Effects
Reishi mushroom has been studied for its cancer fighting abilities.
Reishi's anti-cancer effects appear to work best either as a preventative measure or when combined with conventional cancer treatments. In these cases, studies show that reishi can help fight prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and more.
Supports Immune Function
Medicinal mushrooms like reishi extract are some of the best sources of naturally occurring antioxidants to support the immune system and provide anti-inflammatory properties.
Reishi appears to work well as a supplementary cancer treatment because of its immune-boosting potential.
Studies show that reishi can improve white blood cell counts and stimulate the body's production of natural killer cells which attack and destroy infections and disease. (4)
Improves Sleep Quality and Well-Being
While reishi mushroom has been used to help reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia symptoms, it won't make you feel tired all day long.
Instead, reishi extract helps balance your sleep cycle and improve sleep quality. Studies show that reishi can actually help you feel less fatigue in the long-run. (5)
What is Reishi Mushroom Tea?
While reishi mushroom isn't poisonous, it isn't exactly edible either.
Reishi is tough and not palatable so raw consumption or even cooked options aren't a great idea.
Instead, you can dry out reishi mushrooms and grind them into powder, or use slices and steep in hot water to make tea.
You can also buy organic reishi mushroom extract powder and create your own tea this way.
Reishi tea is popular because the polysaccharides in reishi are water-soluble.
People drank reishi tea as part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and it's still a popular way to consume reishi extract today!
Reishi is extremely bitter. But that's what it's supposed to taste like!
If the taste is still too much to bear, go ahead and add some other ingredients like peppermint, ginger, or honey.
What's the Best Time to Take Reishi? Is There One?
Is there a best time to take reishi? Not necessarily.
People swear that nighttime is the best time to take reishi because of its mildly sedative and calming effects.
Reishi is a helpful medicinal mushroom for regulating sleep cycles and reducing insomnia.
However, it's more important that you take your mushrooms on a daily basis so they have time to build up in your system.
Think of it this way: When people start taking an antidepressant, they don't expect the effects to kick-in right away.
Medicinal mushrooms function in a comparable way. Your body needs time to react to the bioactive compounds.
Take reishi every day and find a time that works for you.
How to Choose a high-Quality Reishi Extract
Not all mushroom supplements are created equal. In fact, a study was done that showed the majority of Reishi supplements on the market didn't even contain any Reishi at all!
You really need to look at the ingredient label, and make sure the company you are purchasing from is reliable.
If it says your reishi extract is made from "mycelium on grain," "brown rice mycelium," or any combination of mycelium, you might want to think twice.
Mycelium can be thought of as the "roots" of a fungus and doesn't containthe beneficial compounds you expect to find when you purchase a dried mushroom extract.
Instead, look for reishi mushroom extract that says it's made from the whole fruiting body. If the brand also lists the beta-glucan content directly on the label, that's even better.
Transparency is key here. If you find a reishi that's too cheap to be true, it probably is.
Does Reishi Have Any Potential Side Effects?
Reishi is a natural product, and is generally very safe.
Most side effects associated with reishi are mild and include upset stomach.
Since reishi calms the nervous system and can reduce blood pressure, anyone with already low blood pressure should avoid taking reishi mushroom or talk to their healthcare professional first.
The Bottom Line
Reishi is generally safe for most people to consume and comes with plenty of incredible health benefits. Choose a high-quality reishi supplement and add this mushroom of immortality to your diet today!