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A Sceptical Look at Reishi Mushroom Powder – Live Now, Thrive Later

I first heard about Reishi Mushroom powder some time in the past by way of the Tim Ferriss podcast, I appeared into it at the time and thought of writing a submit about it, but then acquired sidetracked on different tasks.

I’d totally forgotten about it till yesterday, when a pal of mine invited me to hitch her in a new “business enterprise“, which she thought can be proper up my road, as she knows I’m into both entrepreneurship and health and vitamin.

It seems that stated enterprise venture was actually selling Reishi Mushroom Powder merchandise – Teas, Coffees and Shakes – which she defined she’d been launched to by her mother and father after they’d both experienced miraculous well being advantages after just some weeks of consuming them.

Persuaded by her mother and father’ testimonials, she tried the powders herself, and a nagging shoulder pain from an previous damage cleared up inside a few weeks, and she or he herself was transformed to this excellent panacea…

Reishi or Lingzhi Mushroom
Eric Steinert, CC-BY-SA-3.0 by way of Wikimedia Commons

The Sceptics Dilema

Spoiler alert – I’m not satisfied by Reishi Mushroom Powder.

I’ve little interest in taking it for myself, and positively do not need to be involved in its promotion or sale to anyone else (for causes I shall explain under).

My dilema was easy methods to break this to my good friend, who was clearly invested within the powders each emotionally and financially – satisfied that they have cured her mother’s mystery illness, made her father extra smiley and jolly, helped a relative’s arthritis, lowered her nagging shoulder ache, and brought her potential monetary security (she’s a very gifted modern dancer, however work might be very sporadic).

I lately came throughout the netflix present “Adam Ruins Everything” the place the presenter busts in style myths and thus ruins individuals’s days – did I really need to wreck my good friend’s hopes and aspirations for 2019?

The straightforward means out can be to easily say, “I’m sorry I’m not in a position to invest time or money in any other projects now, best of luck with it though”.

Whereas that’s true, it’s not the entire fact, as even when I did have unlimited money and time, I nonetheless wouldn’t have been fascinated by investing.

I’m comitted to 100% fact, so needed to chew the bullet and clarify to her precisely why I wasn’t interested at this time.

I don’t assume I ruined her day. Actually, I don’t assume there’s something I might realistically say or do to shake her belief within the power of Reishi.

I did assume, nevertheless, that a few of you out there may discover my ideas on Reishi Powder useful, and furthermore, I feel the arguments are applicable to the a lot broader subject of Natural Medicines and Dietary Dietary supplements generally, so thought it was about time I lastly wrote the article.

Pricey Horn Reishi
Hokkaido Reishi Co., Ltd CC BY-SA, from Wikimedia Commons

What’s the Fuss about Reishi Mushroom Powder?

Reishi is the Japanese identify for the mushroom Ganoderma Lucidum (Lingzhi in Chinese language Drugs).

These mushrooms, along with maitake and shiitake mushrooms, have been “recognised as medicinal for over 2000 years” and are stated to treat a wide range (to say the least) of circumstances:

Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi) is called a bitter mushroom with exceptional health benefits. The lively constituents present in mushrooms embrace polysaccharides, dietary fibers, oligosaccharides, triterpenoids, peptides and proteins, alcohols and phenols, mineral parts (akin to zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, and iron), nutritional vitamins, and amino acids. The bioactive elements found within the G. lucidum mushroom have quite a few well being properties to deal with diseased circumstances corresponding to hepatopathy, continual hepatitis, nephritis, hypertension, hyperlipemia, arthritis, neurasthenia, insomnia, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, gastric ulcers, atherosclerosis, leukopenia, diabetes, anorexia, and cancer. Regardless of the voluminous literature out there, G. lucidum is used principally as an immune enhancer and a health supplement, not therapeutically. This evaluation discusses the therapeutic potential of G. luidum to draw the scientific group to think about its therapeutic software where it may be value pursuing.

A veritable panacea no much less! I have to be crazy to show down such a chance…

Had to be accomplished, sorry.

Cynicism vs Scepticism

I have many associates who are fans of “alternative therapies and medicine” – homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropracty, herbalism, and past.

I’m typically accused by them of being a cynic. I simply don’t consider in anything.

That is far from the case, nevertheless, and I truly assume that Reishi Mushroom Powder is a superb example for demonstrating the difference between scepticism and cynicism.

It’s also an ideal instance of the confusions encountered on the planet of SCAMs (Supplements and Complementary and Various Drugs) between “natural remedies” vs “medicines” vs “supplements” and “whole foods” vs “processed foods”.

I Need to Consider

I am, for probably the most half, a believer in the pursuit of progress, with the caveat that we should always do it responsibly and ethically, ideally without destroying the world (pdf).

I firmly consider that at some level we’ll design a shake/shakes that present all mandatory vitamin.

I also firmly consider that mushrooms (and lots of different crops) can and do include highly effective chemical compounds that can have a critical effect in your body chemistry (assume psilocybin or alpha-amanitin).

I do not assume it is beyond the realms of risk that there might be some potential well being benefits to consuming reishi mushroom tea.

Unfortunately, I additionally don’t assume it’s past the realms of risk that consuming the tea regularly is at greatest a complete waste of money (these things isn’t low cost), or at worst, that there might be potential opposed well being results.

Because of this, I say that I’m not interested at this time. If sooner or later evidence comes to mild that there’s some benefit from taking Reishi Mushroom Additional supplements (or some other complement for that matter), and no undesirable unwanted effects, I might in fact change my opinion.

Mushrooms can have powerful results in your well being!

A World of Contradictions and Confusion

As a sceptic, and believer in science and progress, I get numerous conflicting messages from my various associates.

On the one hand, they subscribe to the naturalistic fallacy – entire foods, natural cures and traditional medicines are good because they’re pure. Typical drugs and processed meals are dangerous because they are unnatural.

They are saying that science doesn’t have all the answers, and that we should always take heed to historic wisdom.

On the similar time though, they’ll take highly refined dietary supplements and
homeopathic medicines which are manufactured in factories, and are anything but pure and unprocessed, nor a product of historic wisdom.

Perhaps somewhat sarcastically, the present scientific consensus says that we should always eat predominantly pure, unprocessed entire foods, and that supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and other extracts and so forth is at greatest waste of time, at worst probably dangerous.

There’s nothing inherently particular about natural entire foods, and there is no cause why someday we shouldn’t have the ability to manufacture shakes and meal replacements which might be superior to “real food” – containing solely the great things, with not one of the dangerous stuff.

But we’re not there but. Not by a great distance.

The “Evidence” for Reishi Mushroom Powder

So, back to Reishi Mushroom powder particularly.

That was an enormous record of purported benefits that I referenced earlier. Why is it that Reishi Mushroom powder continues to be lurking on the earth of SCAM? Why is it that “In spite of the voluminous literature available, G. lucidum is used mostly as an immune enhancer and a health supplement, not therapeutically”?

Properly, it might in fact be that the ruling class of evil capitalist Area Lizards is suppressing all the voluminous literature to be able to maintain the proletariat too riddled with arthritis and most cancers to mount an rebellion.

I nevertheless assume that the Area Lizards are too busy plotting towards the Bilderberg group to worry about mushrooms proper now, so it have to be one thing else.

Might it’s that the voluminous literature, maybe merely isn’t fairly so voluminous, and moreover, is fairly weak?


Primarily, the proof we’ve got thus far for Reishi Mushroom Extract comes from:

The overwhelming majority of “evidence” for Reishi Mushroom Extract supplements come from anecdotal proof – Johnny began taking it after which circumstances X, Y and Z cleared up. It have to be the mushroom powder!

Take for instance my good friend – her mom’s sickness disappeared, her father’s mood lifted, her auntie’s arthritis improved, and her shoulder ache went away.

What more evidence might you ask for?

The issue is, that we human beings are very powerful sample recognition machines. Typically too powerful, so that we end up seeing patterns and making connections where we shouldn’t.

Correlation does not suggest causation

The human body is superb.

Once we really feel unwell, the symptoms – be it coughing, fever, vomiting, and so on – this is truly our personal immune system in motion, preventing the invading pathogens.

The severity and period of these symptoms will differ depending upon the individual and the an infection, and though in fact there are extraordinarily dangerous infections that may prove fatal with out medical intervention, in the overwhelming majority of instances the immune system does its job, and ultimately you’ll really feel better once more.

What typically occurs in these instances nevertheless, is that the sufferer (understandably) needs to find a remedy, and so tries numerous cures. Once they get well from the illness, they mistakenly attribute the treatment as the cause, when in truth the credit score ought to have gone to their very own immune system. They only happened to take the treatment at the same time, it’s nothing greater than coincidence.

Precisely the identical mechanism applies to the shoulder pain. The feeling of ache is produced by your personal mind, to restrict your movement whereas your body has probability to restore itself.

In the overwhelming majority of instances, when the body has completed repairing itself, the pain will go away.

Once again nevertheless, individuals are typically impatient with their physique’s self-repair process and attempt to velocity the processes with dietary supplements and drugs. Finally, when the pain does go away, they once more wrongly attribute their restoration to the capsule or powder, as an alternative of marvelling in marvel at their own physique.

One should also take into the account that pain is strange, and notably prone to the placebo impact. Sometimes pain can linger, or feel rather more extreme than the bodily tissue injury ought to usually warrant for a mess of causes. In these instances, typically a placebo can alleviate and even dispel the feeling of ache altogether.

It’s necessary to understand nevertheless that there is nothing inherently special concerning the specific remedy. It’s higher to study more concerning the idiosyncrasies of ache, and the powers of placebo effects, with a view to harness them without shelling out big quantities of money, being reliant on third parties, or risking unforeseen negative effects of mysterious drugs.

However what about my good friend’s fathers dramatic change in temper? How can we clarify his new found power and pleasure if it wasn’t the mushroom powder?

We humans are extremely complicated creatures, and one can by no means know for positive what might have caused such modifications in somebody, not to mention someone you’ve by no means met.

Might it have been the mushroom powder? Maybe.

But might it also have been related to the fact that the thriller illness of his spouse had finally gone away, and he was spending time together with his beloved daughter while on vacation in lovely Barcelona?

I can’t in fact say definitively in any of these instances that the mushroom powder undoubtedly didn’t play a task, either massive or small.

What I can say, nevertheless, that over the many years I’ve seen many comparable claims for all manner of powders and potions, and none has ever truly turned out to be a real panacea.

For more on why you shouldn’t maintain credence in anecdotal proof, or use your self as a human guinea pig, I’d advocate my article on “The Execs and Cons of N=1 Experimentation“.

As anecdotal evidence merely doesn’t reduce it, we have to look to actual scientific research. What real proof is there on the market?

  • In Vitro Studies on Most cancers Cells

Chemical compounds extracted from reishi mushrooms have been found to kill most cancers cells in petri dishes.

That is definitely fascinating, and warrants further analysis. One ought to nevertheless also bear in mind that numerous things have been discovered to kill cancer cells in petri dishes. Bleach for example does a really efficient job. This doesn’t mean you need to begin placing it in your espresso.

  • Medical Trials in People with Cancer

Giant scale double blind randomised medical trials in people are the gold normal in relation to testing the efficacy of a drug or supplement.

Unfortunately, so far as I can see there aren’t any. I discover it unlikely that nobody has carried out one. Their absence in the literature would point out that any such research have failed to point out the specified outcomes, and thus have been relegated to the waste paper basket. This is called “publication bias“. Somewhat than the Area Lizards suppressing the truth about Reishi mushrooms, it’s more possible that it’s Massive Reishi suppressing it’s failures.

The only vaguely related human research I might find have been some small, non-placebo controlled, and so far as I can inform non-randomised and non-blinded studies in cancer sufferers:

A 2009 research in 34 postmenopausal breast most cancers sufferers of grifola frondosa (Maitake, a “same same but different” mushroom extract) discovered “immunomodulatory effects”.

The research concluded that:

Oral administration of a polysaccharide extract from Maitake mushroom is related to each immunologically stimulatory and inhibitory measurable results in peripheral blood. Cancer patients must be made conscious of the fact that botanical brokers produce more complicated effects than assumed, and should depress as well as enhance immune perform.

It also needs to be noted that the pattern measurement was very small (34 individuals) and the dose-response curve was all over (so probably the variations in immune perform have been simply random).

A 2008 Research of sufferers with hepatocellular carcinoma reported constructive outcomes from combining the administration of lentinan (a fungal extract) with typical remedies of transcatheter arterial chemoembolisation (TACE) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

The tumour necrosis was considerably greater in the mixture group (88.6%), in comparison with the TACE group (37.5%), the RFA group (47.8%) and the TACE/RFA group (60.Three%; P<0.05). The tumour recurrence price was significantly decrease within the mixture group (17.8%), in comparison with the TACE group (45.8%), the RFA group (34.7%) and the TACE/RFA group (29.0%; P<zero.05). Lastly, mean survival period was considerably greater within the mixture group (28.2 months; P<zero.05).

Once more, these outcomes may sound very spectacular, however one should once more take into consideration that the sample measurement is small, so presenting the results as percentages might be extremely deceptive.

It might just take one or two individuals within the combination group to make miraculous recoveries, all their tumors to disappear and then go on to reside very long lives to totally skew the results.

This isn’t to say that it’s not attainable that the mushroom extract does have a useful effect, however just that this research definitely can’t prove it.

(It also needs to be famous that neither of these research which I’ve seen cited as proof for Reishi Mushroom Extract, truly use Reishi Mushroom Extract…)

A Morning’s Haul of Wild Mushrooms

Don’t Put Chemo in Your Espresso

Simply to make it clear, there’s ZERO proof that Reishi Mushroom Extract could possibly be an effective remedy for most cancers patients, either in combating cancer immediately or not directly by boosting sufferers’ immune techniques.

If, nevertheless, we lived in a parallel universe the place there was robust proof that Reishi Extract contained potent most cancers preventing chemical compounds, this nonetheless wouldn’t imply that it might be a clever concept for a healthy individual to eat it regularly within the hope of preventing cancer.

Prevention is best than a remedy, sure. But this doesn’t mean that you must start taking cancer medicine on the off probability!

Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy are two of probably the most extensively efficient remedies for many forms of cancer, but it will be highly inadvisable to start out doing every day periods of each as a preventative measure.

Clearly, these are extreme examples, but this is principally true of any treatment. A life saving drug to a critically unwell individual, is often a poisonous poison to a wholesome one.

For more on this take a look at my article on “The differences between Dietary supplements vs Drugs and Why it Matters“.

Do Eat Mushrooms

Though I is probably not a fan of Reishi Mushroom Powder, I do advocate eating mushrooms.

Button mushrooms, portobello, oyster, porcini, even reishi, maitake and shiitake, are all good, healthy food decisions.

Will they remedy all recognized disease and stop you from getting cancer? In all probability not. However they are low in energy, excessive in fibre, and packed filled with vitamins and minerals.

I am nonetheless fairly positive that any perceived advantages of consuming mushroom teas and shakes might be placebo, however there’s also the likelihood that in some instances benefits are gained from correcting vitamin of mineral deficiencies.

Reishi Mushrooms are a rich source of zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, and iron, plus B vitamins, amongst others. Deficiency in these essential nutrients may end up in signs of fatigue, decreased immune features, slower recovery from exercise, and so on.

Research after research have proven nevertheless, that vitamin and mineral supplements will not be one of the simplest ways to go nevertheless. Their use is associated with elevated cancer danger and decreased life expectancy.

We don’t fairly know why that is. Maybe it’s an excessive amount of of a very good thing, maybe it provides individuals the green mild to skip entire meals they usually end up missing out on essential vitamins not coated by the tablets and powders.

I’m positive we’ll work it out someday, but within the meantime, the evidence nonetheless exhibits that supplements suck and entire foods rock, so you’re a lot better off simply buying no matter mushrooms can be found in your native space, and sauteing them with some herbs and butter.

(I additionally extremely advocate going foraging for mushrooms, it’s great enjoyable, and nice exercise. Just ensure you go together with somebody who knows what they are doing so that you don’t poison yourself…)

Stir fried Shiitake Mushrooms

Hyeon-Jeong Suk CC BY, by way of Wikimedia Commons

Some Mushrooms Really Are Magic

Ultimate observe, while we’re on the subject of mushrooms, is that there’s a rising body of fascinating analysis into the consequences of psilocybin, the psychoactive chemical present in quite a lot of mushroom species.

Once more, it’s too early to say definitively how efficient they’re, but they do appear promising potential remedies for melancholy and nervousness.

One thing that can’t be argued is that psilocybin undoubtedly has results that go method beyond placebo!

Analyzing the curious genes behind ‘magic mushrooms’

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this publish of interest.

I might love to hear your ideas and feedback under, or be happy to tweet me at @Simon_Whyatt

This text was written by Simon Whyatt and first appeared on the blog Live Now Thrive Later.