Many different plants and fungus are used in Eastern medicine. Surprisingly, the Reishi mushroom is the desired choice because it has a number of possible health benefits, including immune system enhancement and cancer prevention.
Functional mushrooms, such as these, are becoming increasingly popular because of their long history of therapeutic use. In the instance of Reishi, a man named Shigeaki Mori is responsible for the widespread use of this adaptable fungus.
He spent 15 years inventing a novel cultivation method based on wild spores and a plum tree, resulting in a mushroom that is significantly more inexpensive and widely available. Today you can find Reishi supplements for a fair price in high street shops and online worldwide.
Is Reishi Good for Sleep?
Reishi is also well-known for its sleep-inducing properties. Chinese and Japanese herbalists have traditionally recommended these mushrooms as a cure for insomnia for thousands of years. Studies have shown the Reishi can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep when ingested in the evening.
Personally I find Reishi a very calming substance that can help you relax, often after drinking Reishi tea I enjoy the feeling of getting into bed, relaxing and my head barely hits the pillow before I am alseep.
Reishi also helps your immune system and circulatory system, so taking it before travelling, in the morning on a cold day, before visiting a crowded area, and so on is just as effective. You must take Reishi every day at a time that is convenient for you.
Why is Reishi Good for Sleep?
Reishi extract has been shown to decrease the length of time it takes for people to fall asleep at night, this is probably down to the calming effect Reishi has on the nervous system.
Some researchers believe that this sleep improvement is due to a reduction in stress, which has been linked to poor sleep quality, while others believe it is due to its relaxing influence on the central nervous system, which helps to relax the muscles. Others have classified this sleep aid as a tranquillizer with sedative properties, which is why it's been used to treat insomnia.
One study found that ingesting Reishi mushrooms has no effect on REM sleep, but it has been shown to reduce sleep latency, or the time it takes to shift from completely awake to sleep and to increase the sleeping time.
The study also suggests that Reishi can be beneficial in the early phases of sleep, such as the suppression of motor activity and relaxation that leads to natural REM sleep, or in combination with other natural sleep aids such as Wulinshen mushroom for a more comprehensive influence on sleep quality.
It's worth noting that while the Reishi mushroom increases overall sleep time and sleep latency, it doesn't boost total REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep; only non-REM sleep. While all sleep is necessary, REM sleep is the deepest type of sleep you can have at night.
This isn't to say that the Reishi mushroom is not really beneficial to sleep. It opens the door to combining it with other products that have been shown to help with sleep, such as valerian root and melatonin.
What is the Best Time to Take Reishi for Sleep?
Because of its mildly sedative and calming effects, many people swear that the best time to take Reishi is at night a couple of hours before sleep. It's important to note that Reishi is an effective medicinal mushroom for regulating sleep cycles and alleviating insomnia.
I have to agree, the optimal time for me to take Reishi is in the evening (after dinner), but near enough to bedtime that you know those holy chemicals are making their way through your circulatory system as you fall asleep.
Reishi Mushroom Dosage for Sleep
The most widely recommended dosage of Reishi is 6 to 12 g reishi extract daily. When consuming the whole mushroom doses vary between 25- 100 grams.
Most supplement products consist of mushroom extracts which are considered 10x stronger than the whole mushroom form. As a result, proper dosage of Reishi mushroom extract or powder might vary considerably depending on which form of the mushroom a person consumes.
Furthermore, some supplements merely use a part of the extract. The recommended doses in certain circumstances may be significantly lower than the ones mentioned above.
As a result, it is recommended to always read the label of the specific product for the suggested dosage.
Can Reishi Cause Insomnia?
In research evaluating the clinical effects of Reishi mushrooms on tumour size in cancer patients, insomnia was identified as a minor side effect.
This may seem counterintuitive, given that we earlier stated that Reishi can help with sleep. I have never experienced this myself but everyone is different.
The idea is most likely owing to a scarcity of solid studies on the effects of Reishi mushrooms on human sleep. A study that assessed the sedative effects of an water extract (like a tea) from Reishi mushrooms on rats is one of the most important studies on the broad effects of Reishi on sleep.
As a result, there is no 100% conclusive evidence that Reishi helps to solve sleep-related problems such as insomnia, there are several pieces of evidence that this fungus can actually reduce this disorder. In the same way, it is not 100% proven that Reishi causes insomnia, although there are testimonies that it could be a side effect.
Reishi Side Effects
Despite its widespread use, some have questioned the safety of the Reishi mushroom. When consumed properly for up to a year, Reishi mushroom extract is considered safe. When eaten for up to 16 weeks, powdered whole Reishi mushroom is considered safe.
I have never experienced side effects when taking Reishi mushrooms and find the effects mild and calming.
Some studies suggest that Reishi mushrooms can help enhance the immune system and during these studies a few persons claimed stomach distress, liver damage, and skin rashes as side effects.
Other research suggests that taking Reishi mushroom extract orally could keep you safe for up to a year. They do warn, however, that eating whole powdered Reishi mushrooms for more than a month can be harmful to the liver.
There are other side effects that could appear depending on the person's body since we have to remember that not all are the same. Some of them are:
- Bloody stool.
- Chronic diarrhoea.
- Dryness in the mouth, throat, and nose.
- Liver toxicity.
Many side effects of Reishi mushrooms remain unknown due to the limited body of research in humans, however the tea has been used for thousands of years to treat ailments sparingly.