Reishi for Allergies: Exploring the Potential Benefits
Allergies are an all-too-common condition that affects millions of people worldwide, especially right here in Melbourne where winds are always crazy! From pollen to pet dander, allergies can cause a range of symptoms from mild to severe, including sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and skin rashes.
While there are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications available to manage allergies, Reishi mushroom has also proven to be an effective natural treatment for pesky aversions. Let’s dive in!
What are Reishi Mushrooms?
Reishi mushrooms, also known as Lingzhi mushrooms, are a type of fungus that grows in various parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America. In traditional Chinese medicine, Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years to promote health and wellbeing, and as a treatment for a range of conditions, inclusive of chest congestion, coughs, and allergies.
Reishi themselves are large and reddish-brown, with a shiny, hard surface. They are found growing on the decaying trunks of trees and can take several years to mature to a ‘ripened’ state. While Reishi mushrooms can be eaten fresh, they are more bio-available when consumed in extract form – the spores of Reishi can even be consumed once extracted!
Allergies and the Immune System
Before we dive into how Reishi mushrooms can help with allergies, it’s important to understand how allergies develop and how they relate to the immune system. Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to a substance that is harmless to most people – think dust, pollen, perfume, etc.
This substance, known as an allergen, can trigger an immune response, causing symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and swelling. The immune system has several components, including white blood cells, antibodies, and cytokines. In people with allergies, the immune system produces an antibody called
immunoglobulin E (IgE) in response to exposure to an allergen. This causes the release of histamine and other chemicals, which leads to the icky symptoms associated with allergies.
Reishi Mushrooms and Allergies
Onto the good stuff! Reishi mushrooms contain a range of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties targeted to allergies. Some of the active compounds found in Reishi mushrooms that may be responsible for their anti-allergic effects include polysaccharides, triterpenes, and ganoderic acid.
Reishi are ultra rich in beta-glucans, which are complex carbohydrates that have been shown to modulate the immune system by activating immune cells, such as macrophages and natural killer cells. Beta-glucans can also enhance the production of cytokines, which are signalling molecules that regulate your body’s immune response. Through this clever modulation of the immune system, Reishi mushrooms can help reduce the severity of allergic reactions.
Reishi are also packed with triterpenoids, which have been shown to possess anti- inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a key component of the allergic response, and triterpenes give your body a chance to prevent the inflammation before it happens. Polysaccharides can also be found in Reishi. These are complex carbohydrates can enhance the production of antibodies, such as immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is an antibody that plays a central role in allergic reactions, and enhancing its production can help reduce the severity of allergic reactions.
One study found that Reishi mushroom extract had a significant anti- allergic effect in mice, due to the ability of Reishi mushrooms to suppress the production of IgE. Another published study investigated the effects of Reishi mushroom extract on patients with allergic rhinitis, a condition characterised by inflammation of the nasal passages. Excitingly, this study found that the extract improved symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including sneezing, runny nose, and nasal itching.
How to Use Reishi Mushrooms for Allergies
Reishi mushrooms are the most bio-available to your body when consumed in an extract form. Our Harmonious Reishi-O liquid extract harnesses the potent power of the Reishi sporeand is easy to drop under the tongue, whereas our superblends containing Reishi mushroom will help with allergies, and a range of other health issues.
If you’re interested in trying Reishi mushrooms for allergies, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider first, particularly if you’re taking medications or have a history of allergies or other medical conditions. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the appropriate dosage and form of Reishi mushrooms for your needs.
Safety and Precautions
While Reishi mushrooms are generally considered safe for most people, they may cause side effects in some individuals, particularly when consumed in high doses. These side effects may include dry mouth, upset stomach, and skin rash.
Additionally, Reishi mushrooms may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and medications used to lower blood sugar levels. If you’re taking medications, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider before using Reishi mushrooms. Reishi mushrooms should also be avoided by individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is insufficient evidence to determine their safety in these populations.
Studies have shown that Reishi mushrooms may have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties and can be beneficial for allergies and other immune-related conditions.
If you’re interested in trying Reishi mushrooms for allergies, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider first to determine the appropriate dosage and form for your needs.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and interactions with
Read more about Reishi here.