Can This Popular Immune-Booster have Added Benefits for Your Brain?

You might have heard of the reishi mushroom for its ability to strengthen your immune system, but did you know that these unassuming mushrooms might have incredible benefits for your brain? 

The reishi mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum, is a reddish-brown mushroom with a kidney-shaped cap. Commonly referred to as the “mushroom of immortality” in Korea and China, the reishi mushroom is often used to boost overall health and longevity. Reishi contains sterols, polysaccharides, and peptides that provide a long list of potential health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antitumor properties.  

Brain Conditions 

However, further studies on this magical mushroom have discovered the possibility that reishi could be a helpful treatment for neurodegenerative conditions. One study performed on animals has indicated that the polysaccharides in reishi could encourage neuron growth in the brain. This revolutionary finding could help alleviate cognitive decline caused by aging. Wow! 

The beneficial plant compounds in reishi may help protect the brain from neurodegeneration, boost cognitive function, improve memory and mood, support focus and concentration, and help reduce symptoms of brain diseases and disorders. Additional studies are required to determine the full benefits of this ancient, immune-boosting fungus, but the results so far are promising. 

Mood and Anxiety 

This incredible mushroom might even be beneficial for mental health. In one study, reishi extract emulated the effects of one popular antidepressant. A 2011 study found that subjects taking reishi daily reported reduced anxiety and depression symptoms.  

Proponents of reishi point to its adaptogenic potential as one of its most helpful health properties. Adaptogens can help bring the body and its systems into balance, and reishi as an adaptogen may prove to be soothing and relaxing. Some research has also indicated that reishi can help support more restful sleep, which can be difficult to achieve for those with anxiety. Sleep easier with reishi on your side! 

The Bottom Line 

Among other medicinal mushrooms, reishi is widely regarded for its health-boosting properties. This stellar mushroom has been used throughout history to enhance the health of the immune system, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue. Newer research has indicated that reishi might carry even more health benefits than was previously thought. Really, what can’t this mushroom do?