by Jasmin Pedretti

2020 is the year of the rat. Thankfully, it’s also the year of the reishi mushroom, which is a lot more appealing.

This mystical shroom is set to become one of the year’s biggest food trends thanks to its abundance of health benefits and wellbeing inducing effects. It has been a Chinese and Japanese medicinal staple for over 2,000 years, and it’s known as the Mushroom of Immortality. Happy to get on board anything that promises immortality!   

So, what is reishi mushrooms? Also, known as lingzhi, reishi can be eaten fresh, but they’re so damn bitter that it’s often used preferably in powdered form which, added to drinks for added nutrition. There are many different types of reishi, and they range in colour, but the most popular is the red reishi.  

Here are five scientifically-backed benefits of reishi mushrooms. 

  1.   Boosts immune system. The most renowned benefit of reishi is its next level immune system boosting capabilities, thanks to the many beta-glucans (complex sugars). A recent study found that reishi improved lymphocyte function, which helps fight infections. 


  1.   Reduce fatigue, depression and anxiety. Reishi mushrooms are first-class adaptogens, which mean they help your body adapt to stress and essentially chill the f*ck out. Researchers have discovered, after examining 132 people, that fatigue was reduced and wellbeing improved after eight weeks of taking reishi supplements. 

  1.   Anti-cancer powers. Reishi has also been found to increase the activity of a type of white blood cell that fights infections and cancer in the body. One study of over 4,000 breast cancer survivors found that around 59% consumed reishi mushroom. Also, researchers believe beta-glucans in the mushrooms may prevent new blood vessel growth, which is vital as cancer cells need a steady blood supply to grow. 
  2.   Anti-oxidant powerhouse. Their science-backed anti-oxidant potential can reduce the risk of disease and premature aging. 
  3.   Decrease blood sugar. Finally, Reishi mushrooms have been found to decrease blood sugar levels by inhibiting an enzyme that produces glucose. 


However, all good things have the potential to be deadly. That might be a tad dramatic, but there may be some side effects. The use of powdered reishi for more than a month has been associated with toxic effects on the liver. Other possible downsides include an upset stomach and digestive stress. 

But don’t fret! These effects are rare, and the evidence is ultimately inconclusive. 

It’s about time we start celebrating this medicinal wonder shroom. 2020 is the year of the reishi and let’s hope that means a year of health and prosperity for all!