Herb of The MonthWe’ve been sharing a lot of interesting information about mushrooms on our Facebook page recently, so this month we want to talk about a very special “herb” that is dear to us, Reishi (Ganodermoa lucidum). More research continues to come out about the potent characteristics of mushrooms – from Lion’s Mane, Chaga, and Reishi – to the mushrooms we are all familiar with showing up in our favorite dishes.

Reishi, like most mushrooms, requires a multiple extraction process that utilizes water, alcohol, and heat in order to fully extract all of its medicinal constitutuents. This process, referred to as a mucopolysaccharide, allows for many constituents that would otherwise remain in the fungal matter if simply tinctured, to be released and create a complete extraction.

Popular culture is catching on to the fact that mushrooms can significantly help our cognitive function, immuno-response system, regulate stress, and even combat cancerous cells.  Reishi, often though of as the queen bee of mushrooms,  is considered an adaptogen and mild nervine. It helps our body respond to stress levels, limiting the common depletion we feel after life’s intensity hits.  It contains essential polysaccharides, flavonoids, and triterpenes that act as immunomodulators (help the immune system regain equilibrium), and particularly sines when the body is being attacked by autoimmune issues. Through the function of creating homeostasis within the body, Reishi has been shown to increase white blood cell counts, as well as other cells which potentially fight off tumors and cancerous growth. Often this mushroom is used in response to chemotherapy or radiation treatments because of this.

In addition to helping to regulate our immune and stress response systems, Reishi can directly affect endocrine function, specifically relating to female hormones. We know Reishi supports healthy adrenal function through its adaptogenic properties, however it also plays an important role in regulating androgen levels within the adrenal cortex. Female hormone irregularity manifests in a number of ways – from an initial excess or deficiency in specific hormones, varying physical manifestations of these issues – to secondary effects from those initial imbalances. It’s no surprise that Reishi can help regulate our hormones, from the release of cortisol due to stress, to androgen levels which occur due to improper pituitary and adrenal function. That said, this mushroom could be a crucial addition to many female regiments for supporting, balancing, and tonifying the female reproductive and endocrine system as a whole.