Reishi mushrooms have become a hot topic in the world of supplements. In capsule and powder form, users consume them daily in an effort to curate a better lifestyle. Some recent scientific studies are unveiling the powers of these mushrooms, comparing results to what Traditional Chinese Medicine already knew.
Traditional herbalists in Eastern countries have utilized mushrooms for centuries for various reasons. Often, they are employed to help the user sleep better. Recently, anecdotal evidence is piling up suggesting that reishi mushroom supplements are a fantastic herbal remedy for sleep troubles.
How much truth is behind these claims?
What the Research On Reishi Mushroooms Says So Far
So far, there is not a lot of research on using reishi mushrooms for sleep. While other aspects of this mushroom have been studied more deeply, its impact on sleep is not scientifically confirmed.
Some brands are already promoting reishi mushroom sleep products, and users are finding success with them. So, what’s the deal?
The little research performed so far has yielded positive results. A study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior explains that reishi extract can increase total sleep time, light sleep time, and non-REM sleep time in rats. It also decreased sleep latency, meaning the rats fell asleep more quickly.
Another study, this time from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, involved administering rats with 80mg/kg of body weight for three days. The reishi increased levels of TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor alpha), a compound that helps with sleep regulation and the sleep-wake cycle. TNF-a also contributes to learning and memory.
Finally, a human study was conducted in 2005. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included a sample of 132 patients with neurasthenia, a condition with symptoms including fatigue and irritability. After eight weeks of taking reishi extract, the participants reported “significantly lower scores” for fatigue.
The mechanisms by which reishi helps sleep are not clear. Whether it has a direct impact on sleep or it relieves distractions to help the user drift off is yet to be determined.
What Does This Mean?
Most studies performed so far have been conducted on animal models. There is no guarantee that the sleep-promoting effects of reishi mushrooms translate to humans. However, the human study linked above also shows that they may have some efficacy for sleep.
Of course, much more future research is required to determine the best dose, interactions with other medications, and more.
For now, lots of users are employing reishi mushroom extract to improve their sleep. Ensure you use a reputable brand when you try mushrooms for sleep, and you might also find some benefits.
What Are the Other Potential Benefits?
When using reishi mushrooms for sleep, users may notice several other benefits. Common advantages for health and wellness include:
- Antioxidant status: reishi, like other mushrooms, is loaded with antioxidants. These are a great addition to the diet. However, it’s worth noting that research has found no difference in the blood’s antioxidant enzymes after taking reishi for several weeks.
- Heart health: In some studies, reishi has been shown to increase levels of good cholesterol and decrease triglycerides.
- Immunity: The most well-renowned benefit of reishi is its ability to boost the immune system. It may increase activity in some white blood cells, among other things.
Dosage and Risks
As of yet, there is no solid recommendation for reishi dosage. In fact, the best dosage may vary depending on the consumption method.
For example, when eating the mushroom itself, users can take 25-100g at a time. However, the user might take only 5g per day with concentrated reishi extract products.
It’s best to purchase reishi from a reputable brand and always follow the dosage advice on the label.
All users should note the potential risks of using reishi mushrooms. Fortunately, the side effects tend to be mild and include an upset stomach.
In two case studies, patients reported adverse effects on the liver after switching to a powdered form of reishi. In both cases, it’s unclear whether the mushroom itself was the issue, or whether there was a problem with the extract.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid taking mushroom extracts. Also, if you are taking existing medication for another condition, it’s vital to contact your physician before using reishi extracts.
Final Thoughts: How to Add Reishi to Your Evening Routine
There are plenty of ways to try reishi for sleep by adding it to your nightly routine. Whether you choose powdered extracts, capsules, or gummies, there will be something to suit your needs.
In some instances, it can be beneficial to combine reishi with other natural sleep aids, such as passionflower and melatonin. Check out the available options from reputable brands to see what might suit you.
It’s important to always purchase from a reputable brand offering lab reports so that you can verify the quality of the product. That way, you’re more likely to have a positive experience and get a good night’s sleep.