Are you worried about hair loss? You're not alone.
Millions of people around the world experience some degree of hair loss each year. While there are many causes of hair loss, including genetics and hormonal changes, it's also possible to reverse this process through lifestyle changes and natural remedies.
One such remedy is the reishi mushroom. This article will answer questions like, what does Reishi mushroom do for hair? What about Reishi mushroom for hair loss?
If you are someone who has brittle and weak hair or has issues with hair fall, this mushroom may be the one for you. The reishi mushroom products can reverse your hair loss, helping you avoid balding.
Keep reading below to know about the 13 Reishi mushroom hair loss benefits that may help you get your lustrous mane back. We will show you scientific and research-backed ways through which reishi mushrooms can help promote healthy hair growth.
Ganoderma Lucidum: What Is Reishi Mushroom?
Ganoderma lucidum or Reishi is a medicinal superfood fungus that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. The use of this orange to red fan-shaped “mushroom of immortality” has now gained significant interest among pharmaceutical industries and alternative medicine for its many health-boosting benefits.
Reishi mushroom is native to Asia, where it was widely cultivated and studied for medicinal use. Today the fungus is available in the form of supplements and people take it to enhance immunity and as a preventative anti-inflammatory treatment among a myriad of other uses.
However, while most people only take reishi for its general health benefits, the mushroom has much more uses—one of the most overlooked uses is helping with hair loss.
In this detailed guide, we will go beyond the general health benefits of reishi mushrooms to show you how the mushroom helps people maintain youthful hair. Stay with us to see how to use reishi mushroom powder for hair. We will also show you the best time to take reishi mushrooms to promote healthy hair growth and general hair health.
13 Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Hair Loss
Reishi mushrooms are believed to contain properties that may also be the root of promoting hair health. Studies have shown that Ganoderma contains immune-boosting compounds such as polysaccharides and beta-glucans that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects.
So how does Reishi mushroom help with hair loss? Or, how does reishi prevent male pattern baldness?
To understand reishi mushroom hair loss benefits, we need to first look at some of the reasons people often lose their hair. Hair loss can be caused by several factors such as breakage from a weak shaft, diseases like Alopecia, inadequate nutrition to the hair, and other factors damaging the hair.
Poor diet and food that does not contain the right ingredients can easily lead to lifestyle disease or symptoms that reduce thicker hair and overall hair health and instead create an environment where patients experience hair loss.
Reishi mushrooms can help combat hair loss by addressing these concerns and may effectively promote the growth of new hair. What's even better, the fungi is the best mushroom for hair growth for both men and women. The nutrients and compounds in reishi work effectively and have made reishi one of the top mushrooms for hair growth in shampoo used by both men and women.
So, let’s look at each of the 13 ways Reishi mushroom helps improve hair health, which eventually translates to reduced hair fall. Read on to learn what research information says when it comes to reishi mushroom and hair regrowth.
1. Prevents Baldness In Men
When it comes to reishi mushrooms and hair growth, the most common problem that necessitates the use of the mushroom is baldness. This condition often affects more men than it does women.
Studies have shown that the most common hair loss problem globally is the pattern of baldness in men, also known as Androgenic Alopecia (AA). Androgenetic alopecia is caused by a byproduct hormone of testosterone, called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
The higher the levels of DHT in the body, the more likely that you are going to experience AA. Since men have more testosterone than women, they tend to deal with androgenetic alopecia more often than women do. The fact that testosterone is primarily a male hormone is one of the reasons why more men than women experience baldness.
It is worth noting that testosterone is the most important sex hormone in males. This means that having the sex hormone—and even using Lion's mane to boost testosterone—is a good thing.
The sex hormone converted to DHT, however, creates problems. Therefore, when it comes to hair follicle health improvement in males and hair care routine, reishi mushroom extract works on reducing the conversion of testosterone to DHT, not lowering the production of testosterone.
Studies have shown that Ganoderma lucidum can help reduce the levels of DHT(1). Although the research is limited, here is what we know so far about reishi mushroom benefits for hair growth, especially when it comes to men and DHT.
In a 2005 study, researchers investigated different mushrooms for their ability to decrease 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. Of the 19 mushrooms tested, Reishi outperformed each one of them.
This showed that the reishi mushroom tea or extract—just like mushroom Chaga offers hair health benefits—can help with the prevention of premature hair loss just by the virtue of ensuring testosterone is not converted into DHT.
Reishi mushroom contains a unique group of fatty molecules, called Ganoderic acids. These compounds have major anti-androgen effects that not only reduce the enzyme 5-alpha reductase but also decrease the expression of the androgen receptor. This reduces the ability of the male hormone to attach to the cells and exert its functions.
Going back to the study, the alcohol extracts of Reishi were shown to inhibit 5-alpha reductase by 75%, which means it is comparable to what the anti-hair loss drug finasteride does (60-90% inhibition). This suggests that when it comes to preventing premature hair loss, a reishi product can be compared to one of the medications given to people experiencing hair loss.
However, would a doctor say the potency of reishi is similar to that of Finasteride? Or, can Reishi be a natural form of Finasteride?
Well, we can’t say for certain at this point, because these studies have not been done on humans, yet. This means that we can't consider reishi as a 100% replacement for other hair loss treatments like Finasteride.
But what we can say is that the mushroom has the potential to benefit Androgenic Alopecia because it does seem to lower DHT. This means that it can always be used as a supporting hair loss treatment option.
2. Helps Prevent Premature Discoloration
While this advantage is not directly related to Ganoderma benefits for hair loss, it has a significant impact on hair appearance. For most people, grey hair can be a major cause of concern—by eliminating these concerns, reishi improves confidence among men and women.
Unlike male pattern hair loss which largely affects one particular group of people, greying hair tends to affect both the male and the female. However, reishi extract as a natural solution provides essential nutrients that hinder the natural process which often results in hair discoloration that occurs prematurely.
Oxidative stress in the hair leads to premature strands of grey that we so often dislike. There is an accumulation of massive amounts of hydrogen peroxide, an oxygen-containing compound known to damage cells in the body.
Ganoderma mushroom is power-packed with anti-oxidants. The polysaccharides of Reishi mushroom are known to mimic the function of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), an enzyme responsible for breaking down oxygen-derived free radicals like hydrogen peroxide.
3. Reduce Scalp Inflammation
One of the best mushrooms for hair growth, Ganoderma helps with hair growth by boosting blood circulation on the scalp. While most people assume that genetic predisposition is the only reason they often lose their hair, scalp inflammation is also a leading cause of hair loss in both men and women.
Poor or improper blood circulation on the scalp is one of the leading causes of hair loss. The mushroom's ability to improve scalp health reduces the risk of hair fall, which, in turn, allows people to keep their hair without having to rely on medications.
What’s more, proper blood circulation to the scalp is one factor that contributes to hair growth. Poor blood supply leads to hair breakage, damage, and subsequent hair loss.
If you are suffering from hair loss, chances are that you are having problems with your scalp. Inflammation is one of the reasons for poor blood circulation in the scalp.
One of the many benefits of the ancient herb—Reishi mushroom—is that it can ensure optimal scalp performance. Reishi is also a mushroom with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Research(2) has shown that Ganoderma contains polysaccharides and peptidoglycans that can reduce many inflammatory conditions.
To tackle the hair loss problem, maintaining a healthy scalp is equally important as maintaining healthy hair. Reishi mushrooms can help relieve scalp inflammation, which may improve circulation in the scalp.
When your scalp is healthy, your hair growth is enhanced.
4. Modulates The Immune System
When using the reishi mushroom for hair growth, a lot of people rarely understand that the mushroom’s impact on the immune system is one of the reasons it is so effective. It is important to note that a poor immune system is a leading cause of male pattern baldness.
By boosting the immune system, the reishi mushroomspromote healthy hair.Ganoderma mushrooms can help modulate the immune system(3). This means it can strengthen a weak and ineffective immune system to fight stressors or it can temper an overactive immune system like in autoimmune diseases like Alopecia.
In Alopecia, the immune system attacks the hair follicles. The compromised immunity leads to follicle damage and falling out. Bald patches of hair loss are seen not only throughout the scalp, but also in the beard, and other parts of the body.
Over time when this is left untreated, it can lead to permanent loss of hair in these areas.
Reishi mushroom manipulates the mediators of the immune system (namely chemicals called cytokines). A proper immune response would mean that the attack on hair follicles could be reduced, thereby encouraging healthy hair growth.
There is no clinical evidence of the benefits of Reishi mushroom on Alopecia. But given the immunomodulatory effects of the fungus, it is not far to say it could be beneficial in the treatment of such conditions.
5. Combats Oxidative Stress
Reishi mushroom is jam-packed with powerful antioxidants. The ability of Ganoderma to combat oxidative stress(4) can be attributed to glutathione, ergothioneine triterpenoids, and other polysaccharides.
So how is this anti-oxidant property linked with hair?
The harmful effect of environmental hazards and free radical damage caused by oxygen molecules can diminish the health of your hair.
Reishi mushrooms can help protect your hair and scalp from these damages. It plays a role in maintaining a healthier scalp and a better environment for the hair follicles to regrow. The results: stronger and thicker hair!
6. Provides Nutrition
Like many other medicinal mushrooms, Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms are an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
When you take Reishi mushroom supplements, not only does your body benefit from its nutrient profile, even your hair can soak it up.
7. It May Help Fight Infection
Bacterial overgrowth and fungal infection can also lead to unhealthy shaft and hair fall. Reishi mushroom is shown to have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that can help fight scalp infections.
The Ganodermin(5) protein found in Reishi mushroom has anti-fungal properties. This improves the condition of the scalp eventually improving hair loss.
By adding the anti-bacterial(6) properties of Reishi into your daily routine, it helps prevent the clogging and blocking of hair follicles. This will make sure that the hair follicles have a suitable environment for optimum growth and development.
8. Reishi Helps With Cancer Treatment And Prevention
Similar to how Chaga offers cancer treatment benefits, the mushroom reishi also has cancer benefits. What's even better, the mushroom is known to prevent cancer. This has been proven scientifically through research studies.
A research study conducted in 2003(7) revealed that in tests with cancer cells, Ganoderma lucidum definitely exhibits anticancer activity, and it may have therapeutic potential as a dietary supplement and as an alternative therapy for breast and prostate cancer.
While cancer may not directly cause hair loss, the treatment methods used often lead to hair loss. Not just on your scalp, but also elsewhere on your body, chemotherapy may result in hair loss.
Your pubic hair, armpit hair, brow hair, and other body hair can fall out occasionally as a result of chemotherapy treatment. Different doses of chemotherapy medications can result in anything from mild hair thinning to full baldness, and some chemotherapy drugs are more prone to induce hair loss than others.
By aiding in the treatment of cancer and also preventing the disease, reishi, indirectly fights hair loss.
9. Reishi Fights Anxiety
Research has shown that chronic stress leads to hair loss. A research study conducted in 2021(8) helped researchers from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) establish the biochemical process by which ongoing stress damages hair follicle stem cells, supporting previous theories that stress may contribute to hair loss.
Just like Lion's mane offers anxiety benefits and the mushroom reishi has anxiety treatment benefits. Also, just like Lion's mane treats depression, reishi also does offer depression benefits.
Anxiety and depression are both a result of stress. By fixing these issues, one of the best mushrooms for brain health, the reishi mushroom lowers the risk of hair loss.
10. Reishi Fights Allergies
Research has confirmed that allergies cause hair loss. According to a research study conducted in 2020(9), allergy promotes alopecia areata—sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap—in a subset of patients.
Luckily, the reishi mushroom offers allergy benefits. By helping patients fight allergy symptoms, the mushroom also reduces the risk of suffering from hair loss and baldness.
11. Reishi Offers Hormonal Balance Benefits
Hormonal balance plays a key role in hair loss and hair growth. For example, in men, the leading cause of hair loss is the hormone testosterone being transformed into DHT (as described earlier).
In women, hair grows more slowly and gets much thinner as estrogen and progesterone levels fall. The production of androgens, or a class of male hormones, rises in response to a drop in these hormones. Androgens cause hair follicles to shrink, which causes head hair loss.
Reishi mushroom offers hormonal balance benefits. By ensuring hormones are balanced in both the male and female body, reishi reduces the risk of hair fall in men and women.
12. Reishi Helps With Diabetes Treatment
People with type 1 diabetes are generally at a higher risk of developing Alopecia Areata. This could be a result of the stress associated with living with the condition and the side effects of medications used for diabetes treatment.
Just like Lion's mane helps with diabetes treatment and the mushroom Chaga offers diabetes benefits, reishi also helps with diabetes management. By reducing the risks and stress associated with living with diabetes, the reishi mushroom reduces the risk of suffering from hair loss.
13. Reishi Helps With Blood Pressure Management
While high blood pressure may not cause hair loss, some of the medications used in managing hypertension can cause hair fall. Hair loss may be caused by beta blockers while ACE inhibitors often lead to hair thinning.
Just like Chaga helps with blood pressure management, reishi is known to offer blood pressure benefits. Research conducted in 2018 showed that when it comes to blood pressure management, reishi is as effective as a medication known as Losartan.
This means that by using reishi to manage their blood pressure, people with hypertension can avoid medications whose side effects cause hair loss. Even better, combining Chaga and reishi can have a much better impact on balancing blood pressure levels.
How To Use Reishi Mushroom For Hair Loss?
The easiest way of using Reishi mushroom for hair loss is by including it in your daily supplement. Ganoderma lucidum is widely available as tablets, capsules, powders, and tinctures which can be taken as such or mixed in your favorite snacks, soups, and desserts.
When using reishi for hair loss, always ensure you are using the right reishi dosage to avoid dealing with side effects.
Additional tip: for an added protein boost, mix Rishi powders in your favorite protein shake.
Reishi mushrooms may be able to protect hair from damage by strengthening and restoring damaged hair follicles. The mushroom may be able to offer anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties that not only nourish and improve the condition of the scalp but also provides the benefits you need to grow healthy and strong hair.
Although the Reishi mushroom hair loss benefits may not be directly evident at this point, the mushroom does play many different roles in improving hair fall. If you have problems with hair fall, give this mushroom a chance to work its magic.
Have you tried using reishi mushrooms to improve your hair health? Let us know in the comments below how they’ve worked for you and if you have any tips to share. We love hearing from our readers, so please don’t be shy!
- Anti-androgenic activities of Ganoderma lucidum, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16029938/
- Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
- Immunomodulation of RAW264.7 macrophages by GLIS, a proteopolysaccharide from Ganoderma lucidum, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17524580/
- Antioxidant Properties of Several Medicinal Mushrooms, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12358482/
- Ganodermin, an antifungal protein from fruiting bodies of the medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16039755/
- Antimicrobial Effect of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) and Its Main Compounds, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24940906/
- Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in cancer treatment, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14713328/
- Corticosterone inhibits GAS6 to govern hair follicle stem-cell quiescence (8)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03417-2
- Allergy promotes alopecia areata in a subset of patients, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31479542/