Benefits of Reishi Mushroom (Ling Zhi) for Lupus

Lupus is a chronic condition that affects the immune system of the body leading to inflammation. It causes fever, fatigue, rashes, joint pain, weight loss, kidney problems, etc. [1]

Lupus can also affect the mental well-being of the patient by causing depression and anxiety. It can prevent them from performing day-to-day activities appropriately.[2]

Lupus mostly affects women. 9 out of 10 patients with lupus are females. [3] The risk factors for lupus include genetic factors, environmental factors, and hormonal factors. [4]

Managing lupus with medications mainly aims at preventing progression of the disease, halting flares (sudden onset of symptoms of lupus disease), and treating symptoms. [5]

Alternative and complementary medication is preferred by various patients to manage lupus symptoms in view to avoid the side effects of medications. [6]

Traditional herbal medicines used in ancient times have been researched upon to prove its benefits are applied in managing lupus symptoms. [7]

What is Ling Zhi or Reishi?

Ling Zhi is also known as Reishi is a medicinal mushroom that belongs to a class called polypores or bracket fungus. This type of fungus has a fine-pores on its underside. [8]

Ling Zhi is a Chinese name that literally means ‘Spiritual mushroom’. [9]

It was known to heal dying trees and protect the human body from infections. Therefore, it is also referred to as the mushroom of immortality. [10]

Reishi is known with the scientific name of Ganoderma lucidum. It is grown in North and South America, Asia and Europe. It mainly grows on the hardwood of oak trees. [11]

This mushroom has been used by the Chinese and Japanese folk for the past 4000 years. It is believed to help liver problems, arthritis, high blood pressure, infections, and gastric ulcers. [12]

Latest scientific papers have proven this mushroom to possess properties of anti-cancer, antibacterial, antioxidant and immune strengthening effects.

Benefits of Ling Zhi (Reishi) In Lupus Patients

Benefits of Reishi Mushroom (Ling Zhi) for Lupus

The benefits of reishi in lupus patients are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can benefit lupus patients by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Reishi is a mushroom that can reduce symptoms of fatigue in lupus. It is also capable of reducing depression and anxiety in lupus patients.

1.  Reishi a Powerful Antioxidant That Flushes Body Toxins in Lupus

Antioxidant supplementation is a great need in lupus patients as they are found to be present in lower concentration in their body.

Low levels of antioxidants cause ‘oxidative stress’ that is responsible for damaging healthy cells in the body.

Scientific studies on the reishi extracts have proven its powerful antioxidant effects which are effective in reducing oxidative stress. [13] [14]

The polysaccharides present in reishi holds a good level of antioxidant effects that can reduce oxidative stress in lupus patients. [15]

Animal studies have also confirmed the antioxidant effect of reishi that is crucial in eliminating toxins from the body.[16] [17]

What does this Mean? Reishi is a powerful antioxidant that can remove toxins from the body providing lupus patients with lower levels of oxidative stress.

2. Reishi Can Suppress Inflammation in Lupus Patients

Inflammation is the main reason why lupus affects many organs in the body. Withholding inflammation is a main therapeutic goal that can prevent the disease from flaring further.

Reishi is a medicinal mushroom that has demonstrated a good level of anti-inflammatory effects in clinical researches. [18]

Reishi reduced the activity of chemicals that bring about inflammation within the body. [19] Animal studies have confirmed this property of anti-inflammation to be effective in lupus too. [20]

In a study conducted in 48 patients who were treated with reishi, it was found that the concentration of inflammatory chemicals was lesser in their body. [21]

However, more research studies are necessary for lupus patients to reveal the exact beneficial mechanisms in halting lupus-related inflammation.

What does this Mean? Reishi is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can curb inflammation in lupus patients by halting the inflammatory chemicals in the body.

3. Reishi Helps Fight Fatigue in Lupus Patients

Fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms which affect lupus patients. Reishi has been proven to contain anti-fatigue effects which can be beneficial in lupus.

Reishi was studied by researchers in China on 48 patients which proved that it was effective in reducing fatigue and improved quality of life in them without causing any adverse effects. [22]

A New Zealand based study conducted in 132 patients suffering from fatigue had a significant improvement in fatigue after taking reishi for 8 weeks. [23]

Animal studies conducted on this effect of reishi has also proven its anti-fatigue effect. [24] [25]

The effect of reishi on fatigue is well-researched and confirmed to provide benefit without any major adverse effects.

What does this Mean? Reishi is a supplement that has a good capacity to reduce fatigue symptom in lupus patients.

4. Reishi Can Help in Reducing Depression in Lupus Patients

Lupus patients are found to be suffering from depression at higher rates. It is estimated that about 25% of lupus patients suffer from major depression and 37% suffer from anxiety. [26]

Reishi has been proven by clinical research to reduce the levels of anxiety and depression in patients. [27]

Reishi blocks the pathway within the brain that causes depression and anxiety. This is the same mechanism in which the anti-depressant medication works within the body. [28]

The antioxidant levels are found to be lower in patients with depression. The antioxidant effect of reishi also helps lowering depression. [29]

Anti-depressant feature of reishi can be highly beneficial in lupus patients in combating depression and anxiety.

What does this Mean? Lupus patients tend to suffer from depression more than others. Reishi can benefit lupus patients in reducing their depression.

How to Take – Dosage

Ling Zhi can be taken in the form of tea or in the form of powdered extract. The dosage of powdered extract is 1-6 grams per day. The dosage for tea is 10-30 grams per day which are added to boiling water.

Precautions

Reishi is a safe medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries as Eastern Medicine. It is also supported by clinical research evidence that is a safe alternative medicine that has no serious adverse effects.

However, reishi can cause certain minor side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, diarrhea, nausea and stomach upset. [30]

Taking powdered reishi for more than a month can cause damage to the liver. Therefore, it is best to avoid taking powder extract for more than a month. [31]

Avoid reishi if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as the safety data is not available yet. If you suffer from a bleeding disorder, abstain from taking reishi without medical advice. [32]

Reishi can also lower your blood pressure. Therefore, it is best to get medical advice on the dosing for hypertensive patients. [33]

Reishi can interact with your diabetic, hypertensive, blood thinning drugs to alter their effects. Medical advice must be sought before taking reishi by patients on medications. [34]

Conclusion

Reishi or Ling Zhi is a potent medicinal mushroom that has a profound usage record for centuries to treat numerous conditions.

Modern day scientific research has found that using reishi by lupus patients can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress that otherwise cause cell damage in the body.

Reishi is proven to reduce fatigue and depression levels in lupus patients who are at a higher risk of developing depression.

Not only is reishi an effective herbal remedy for lupus is also arguably safe with no major side effects. Hence, making reishi a good supplemental approach for lupus sufferers.

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