Mushrooms are massive fleshy fungi which typically grow on soil and trees. Typically, the mushroom plant has a spore bearing cap which is smooth on top and ridged on the underside (gills). There are thousands of different types of mushrooms and they vary in sizes, colors, and textures. Here are few of the categories used to group mushrooms:
- Wild edible mushroom
- Wild poisonous mushroom
- Cultivated mushroom (to supplement the edible mushroom market)
- Psychedelic mushrooms (used as a recreational drug)
Many wild mushrooms are edible, but it is extremely important to learn how to differentiate them from the poisonous ones. It is dangerous to harvest wild mushrooms for cooking if you have no expertise in differentiating edible and poisonous mushrooms. Luckily, there are specially cultivated mushrooms to meet the heavy demand of consumers all over the world.
The taste of edible mushrooms has been described as earthy and nutty. The nutrients in mushrooms include carbohydrate, protein, B vitamins, Vitamin C, and trace minerals.
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi mushroom is a species of mushroom also known as lingzhi. It belongs to the genus Ganoderma. This mushroom has been used for thousands of year in China and Japan. It has earned the name of the “King of Herbs” as there have been several amazing health benefits attributed to the mushroom. The anti-oxidant and immune system modulator properties underpin the healing properties.
Persons have reported overall improvement in their physical health and wellbeing with ongoing use of ganoderma lucidum. The list of claims with specific health benefits include:
- Shrinking of some tumors notably lung and colon
- Reducing the viral load of Hepatitis B
- Boosting the immune system
- Improvement of pain due to shingles
- Boosting energy and vigor
- Resolving insomnia
- Stress reduction
- Improvement in arthritis
- Weight loss
- Helping to reduce allergies
- Reducing stomach problems such as heartburn and indigestion
- Improving constipation
- Boosting sexual function
As medical scientists do more research to unravel the mystery and secrets of this “King of Herbs,” we await the evidence to substantiate a very long list of other health claims. Ganoderma which has been formulated in drinks (coffee, tea and chocolate) as well as other products make it easier for the consumer to have the convenience of a ready to use product.
Word of Caution
Dosage, frequency, and length of time a product is used will determine effectiveness or not. It is important to follow the instructions of the manufacturers. In general, pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid using herbs unless they are doing so under the care and guidance of a licensed healthcare practitioner. It is important to have blood pressure and blood sugar monitored if you are on medication for these. Do not use ganoderma if you are taking blood thinners.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
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