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Respiratory diseases, or lung diseases, are disorders or infections that affect the lungs and cause breathing problems. It can be caused by infection, smoking tobacco, or by breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke, radon, asbestos, or other forms of air pollution. (1)
Unfortunately, air pollution has not been getting any cleaner.
Although there are many lung-related diseases, studies on Reishi have shown to directly benefit individuals with allergies, asthma and bronchitis. As an energy tonic, Reishi helps nurture the lungs while strengthening the extraction of energy from the air we breathe, clearing the pathways into our lungs. Strong lungs and the development of respiratory power is fundamental for health and longevity.
Reishi contains high amounts of triterpenes, especially ganoderic acids, in which studies (both in-vivo and in-vitro) have shown the ability to suppress allergies and histamine reactions associated with asthma. (2)(3) Another human clinical study of 20 nonsmoking adults with asthma indicated similar results, using an anti-asthma herbal formula containing Reishi as the main active ingredient. The study suggested the formula to be safe and well-tolerated even in short periods of use. (4)
Another respiratory condition in which Reishi promotes benefits is chronic bronchitis. A human clinical study of more than 2000 Chinese patients with chronic bronchitis were given Reishi for a short period of 2 weeks, finding significant improvement (as much as 60-90%) in their well-being and increased appetite. (5)
Studies have also shown that Reishi can benefit chronic allergic bronchitis due to an active constituent found in this fungi called cyclooctasulfur. Allergic bronchitis causes inflammation in the bronchial tubes, leading to difficulty breathing. Allergic bronchitis is treated with antihistamine medications to reduce the allergic reaction. The study suggests cyclooctasulfur in Reishi contains antihistamine effects. (6)
Due to Reishi's ability to strengthen the lungs, herbalists have recommended this mushroom to fight symptoms associated with other lung conditions like acute respiratory infections, various forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, and even lung cancer.
Click on other conditions to continue exploring studies done on Reishi:
5. “Medicinal mushrooms,” by Christopher Hobbs, published in Herbs for Health, Jan/Feb 97.