Medicinal Reishi Mushrooms Benefit Multiple Kidney Diseases

Summary:  Reishi mushroom latin name Ganoderma lucidum (G. lucidum, Lingzhi) is a popular Chinese traditional medicine to treat numerous diseases for over 2000 years in Asian countries.

Reishi contains lots of therapeutic chemicals which have various biological activities including anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, anti-liver disorders, anti-tumor growth and mrore.  

Recently, many studies have shown the therapeutic effects of G. lucidum and its extracts on numerous acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney diseases (CKD), including:

  • Diabetic Nephropathy (Diabetic Kidney Disease)
  • Renal proximal tubular cell oxidative damage
  • Fibrotic Process
  • Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Cisplatin-Induced Renal Injury
  • Renal Ischemia
  • Adriamycin-Induced Nephropathy
  • Chronic Proteinuria Kidney Diseases such as
    Auto-Immune Kidney Disorders

The prevalence of kidney disease is dramatically on the rise and researchers are looking for new therapies and solutions that can offer improvement without imposing the added burden of excessive cost.

As we know, the kidneys are a vital pair of organs, filtering and detoxifying the body in tandem with the liver. That calls for the best remedy to boost kidney health.

The quest for a natural remedy is constantly evolving, but one of the most amazing discoveries to come out of this search is the powerful species of medicinal mushroom called Reishi. 

Reishi Mushroom and China

The Reishi mushroom has many medicinal powers which are extremely useful for soothing renal troubles. There is no exaggeration when it comes to Reishi’s nickname as the “soul mushroom” or “king of mushrooms.” Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has a long and varied history of medicinal use.

Traditional Chinese healers began using the reishi mushroom more than 2,000 years ago during the Han dynasty.  In ancient China, the mushroom has been called “lingzhi,” which translates to “mushroom of immortality,” “divine mushroom,” or “magic fungus.”

The Reishi mushroom grows in many colors, with the red Reishi being the most potent. According to reports, Chinese healers first discovered the Reishi mushroom more than 2,000 years ago in the Changbai mountains where it grew in frigid conditions. This rare mushroom was plentiful at the base of the mountain where big hardwood forests are abundant.

Reishi also grows in temperate woods all over the world including in North America, parts of Europe and Asia. Ancient Chinese texts refer to the secret locations where the fungus grows. They believed that the Reishi mushroom had anti-aging properties and used it as a talisman of luck, healing, and wellness.

In ancient China, traditional healing practices that thrived used herbs and mushrooms. Many of these traditions are still alive in the form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the Traditional Chinese Medicine scheme of medicines, the Reishi mushroom enjoys an especially prestigious reputation. Traditional Chinese Medicine has long cited Reishi’s power to restore energy in the kidneys, as well as the cascade of benefits it offers to other areas of the body overall. 

This woodland fungus has a multitude of benefits. Traditional and empirical studies point to many benefits in the Reishi mushroom. They include a boost to the immune system, treating Fibromyalgia, strengthening mental health and curbing the risk of cancer.

As for the Reishi connection to the kidneys, scientific studies point to the mushroom’s kidney-boosting potential. Recent research also added new information on how Reishi has positively impacted kidney health. The consensus among healers is unanimous in Reishi’s support of the kidneys through their significantly high volume of antioxidants that fight free-radical compounds, which are a well-known cause of disease. 

According to a study, when Reishi was used on a test patient with kidney failure, damage was observed to have partially reversed. Scientists attributed this to the reishi mushroom’s active antioxidant compound called Lingzhilactone B.

Many follow-up studies have come up regarding Reishi’s antioxidant effects on the kidneys mapping out how this really works. In one such study, scientists examined how Reishi extract improves kidney damage. By stopping the oxidative stress as an antioxidant Reishi halts the damage on a deep, cellular level through kidneys’ mitochondria. The mushroom’s ability to facilitate healing at such a microscopic level has only served to enhance interest in its wondrous healing attributes.

Preventable threats to kidney health are mostly managed by a suitable change in diet. If that is not enough, a little help from Reishi will go a long way. According to science, a poor diet casts unhealthy effects on the kidneys and causes chronic inflammation. Reishi is a wonderful, natural way to tackle this type of inflammation.

A study has traced beta-glucan in the mushroom as having an “immunomodulatory” effect on curbing inflammation in the kidneys, the kind of inflammation specifically caused by a poor diet. What this means is that Reishi mitigates inflammation and helps kidney tissues gradually return to a much healthier state.

One study stopped short of explicitly concluding that the Reishi mushroom could be a remedy for kidney disease. But it made a call to the scientific world to expand research on ways Reishi can be used in medicines to treat the illness. This is a rather significant claim which, at the very least, reinforces the notion that Reishi is a good ally to kidney health.

Kidney problems dominate in sections of the population suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. Studies have reinforced Reishi’s varied benefits to diabetic kidney problems. In a 2014 study, the use of Reishi mushroom found a healing effect on a diabetic test subject and it made news as the patient developed kidney problems from diabetes.

The benefits of Reishi are such that anyone with kidney damage, inflammation, injury, or disease can take advantage of Reishi’s direct benefits for diabetes too, going beyond just kidney problems. This includes regulating blood sugars and more.

Among organs, the liver can be called the best partner for kidneys as the duo purifies and detoxifies the body and keeps immunity intact and going strong. Boosting kidney health indirectly enhances liver health too and the reverse is also true. Both filter toxins and remove waste while complementing one another’s work.

Considering Reishi’s exceptional kidney health properties, a school of medical opinion suggests it boosts liver health too. Advanced research and traditional herbal knowledge has revealed that if a person is diabetic and has liver issues, Reishi mushroom will be the most powerful candidate for treating kidney issues.

The bitter flavor of Reishi Mushroom works amazingly well in hot teas and soups. Reishi mushroom soup is another popular method of consuming the mushroom and is typically made by adding fresh or dried Reishi into a pot of boiling water, before enhancing the flavor with additional ingredients like olive oil, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and other vegetables or herbs.

Furthermore, the Reishi mushroom also produces a bitter, Reishi-infused liquid that is quite good for cooking rice and other foods.

Reishi’s also been lauded as an ideal way to support treatment for other serious illnesses like heart disease, cancers and even HIV/AIDs. Again, since the Reishi mushroom is a powerhouse of antioxidants, it can fight against free radicals while simultaneously boosting the immune system, allegedly preventing the multiplication of cancer cells and possibly hastening the elimination of prostate cancer cells.

Reishi-added compounds like Triterpenes also improve oxygen utilization and aid in the vital functioning of organs. Being high in water-soluble polysaccharides, Reishi has got remarkable cancer-fighting and immune-boosting properties, per researchers.

Conclusion: If you decide to use Reishi supplement which is  preferred over teas or loose powder. I recommend using a Reishi Extract and 1000-3000mg per day. 

Source: Advances in Pharmacology, Volume 87 # 2020