What is it?
Reishi mushroom is used for aging, boosting the immune system; viral infections such as the flu (influenza), swine flu, and avian flu; lung conditions including asthma and bronchitis; heart disease and contributing conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol; diabetes; kidney disease; cancer; polyps (growths) in the colon or rectum, and liver disease. It is also used for HIV/AIDS, altitude sickness, symptoms in the urinary tract in men, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), trouble sleeping (insomnia), stomach ulcers, poisoning, and herpes pain. Other uses include reducing stress and preventing and treating different kinds of fatigue.
In combination with other herbs, reishi mushroom is used to treat prostate cancer. Also in combination with other ingredients, reishi mushroom may be used for viruses, such as the human papilloma virus (HPV), genital herpes, and cold sores.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for REISHI MUSHROOM are as follows:
Possibly ineffective for...
- High cholesterol. Reishi mushroom does not seem to lower cholesterol in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia; BPH). Men with enlarged prostates often have urinary symptoms. Taking reishi mushroom extract can improve some urinary symptoms such as the need to urinate often or immediately. But other symptoms such as urine flow rate don't seem to improve. Also it's not clear if reishi mushroom improves urinary symptoms in men with enlarged prostates. It might only improve urinary symptoms caused by other conditions.
- Cancer-related tiredness. Early research shows that taking reishi mushroom powder reduces tiredness in people with breast cancer.
- Noncancerous tumors in the colon and rectum (colorectal adenomas). Early research shows that taking reishi mushroom extract can reduce the number and size of these tumors.
- Clogged arteries. Early research shows that taking reishi mushroom extract (Ganopoly) reduces chest pain and shortness of breath in people with clogged arteries.
- Diabetes. Most research shows that taking reishi mushroom extract doesn't improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. But most of these studies were small, and some conflicting results exist.
- Genital herpes. Early research shows that taking a mixture of reishi mushroom and other ingredients helps reduces the time needed for herpes outbreaks to heal.
- Hepatitis B. Early research shows that taking reishi mushroom (Ganopoly) reduces how much of the hepatitis B virus is in the body. This product also seems to improve liver function in people with this condition.
- Cold sores. Early research shows that taking a mixture of reishi mushroom and other ingredients reduces the time needed for cold sores to heal.
- HPV (Human papilloma virus). Early research shows that taking a combination of reishi mushroom and coriolus mushroom reduces amounts of HPV virus in the mouth.
- High blood pressure. The effect of reishi mushroom on blood pressure is conflicting. Taking reishi mushroom doesn't seem to lower blood pressure in people with only slightly high blood pressure. But it seems to lower blood pressure in people with more severe high blood pressure.
- Lung cancer. Early research shows that taking reishi mushroom does not shrink lung tumors. but it seems to improve immune function and quality of life in people with lung cancer.
- Shingles-related pain. Some people report that hot water extracts of reishi mushroom decreases pain when conventional treatment does not work.
- Altitude sickness.
- Asthma and bronchitis.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- HIV disease.
- Kidney disorders.
- Liver disease.
- Prostate cancer.
- Stomach ulcers.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
- Viral infections.
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Reishi mushroom is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in a powdered form for more than one month. Use of powdered reishi mushroom has been associated with toxic effects on the liver.
Reishi mushroom can also cause other side effects including dryness of the mouth, throat, and nasal area along with itchiness and rash, stomach upset and diarrhea, dizziness and headache, nosebleed, and bloody stools. Drinking reishi wine can cause a rash. Breathing in reishi spores can trigger allergies.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking reishi mushroom if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bleeding disorder: High doses of reishi mushroom might increase the risk of bleeding in some people with certain bleeding disorders.
Low blood pressure: Reishi mushroom might lower blood pressure. There is a concern that it might make low blood pressure worse. If your blood pressure is too low, it is best to avoid reishi mushroom.
A clotting disorder called thrombocytopenia: High doses of reishi mushroom might increase the risk of bleeding in people with thrombocytopenia. If you have this condition, do not use reishi mushroom.
Surgery: High doses of reishi mushroom might increase the risk of bleeding in some people if used before or during surgery. Stop using reishi mushroom at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Are there interactions with medications?
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
- eishi mushroom might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking reishi mushroom along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.
- Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
- Reishi mushroom might decrease blood pressure in some people. Taking reishi mushroom along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
- High doses of reishi mushroom might slow blood clotting. Taking reishi mushroom along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure
- Reishi mushroom might lower blood pressure. Taking it along with other herbs and supplements that have this same effect might make blood pressure drop too low. Some of these herbs and supplements include andrographis, casein peptides, cat's claw, coenzyme Q-10, fish oil, L-arginine, lycium, stinging nettle, theanine, and others.
- Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
- Reishi mushroom might lower blood sugar. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that have the same effect might cause blood sugar to drop too low in some people. Some of these products include alpha-lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut seed, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.
- Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
- The effect of reishi mushroom on blood clotting is not clear. Higher amounts (about 3 grams per day) but not lower doses (1.5 grams per day) might slow blood clotting. There is a concern that taking reishi mushroom along with other herbs that slow blood clotting could increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Some of these herbs include angelica, anise, arnica, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, horse chestnut, red clover, turmeric, and others.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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