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.
This article here will talk about 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 7 Reishi mushroom hair loss benefits that may help you get your lustrous mane back.
The Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Hair
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?
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.
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 7 ways Reishi mushroom helps improves hair health, which eventually translates to reduced hair fall.
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). This 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. The fact that testosterone is primarily a male hormone is one of the reasons why more men than women experience baldness.
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.
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). So, 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. But what we can say is that the mushroom has the potential to benefit Androgenic Alopecia because it does seem to lower DHT.
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.
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. Poor or improper blood circulation on the scalp is one of the leading causes of hair loss.
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.
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 mushroom 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. 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.
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.
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.
- Fujita, R., Liu, J., Shimizu, K., Konishi, F., Noda, K., Kumamoto, S., Ueda, C., Tajiri, H., Kaneko, S., Suimi, Y., & Kondo, R. (2005). Anti-androgenic activities of Ganoderma lucidum.Journal of ethnopharmacology,102(1), 107–112. (1) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2005.05.041
- Sissi Wachtel-Galor, Yuen, J., Buswell, J. A., & Iris. (2011).Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi). Nih.gov; CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. (2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
- Ji, Z., Tang, Q., Zhang, J., Yang, Y., Jia, W., & Pan, Y. (2007). Immunomodulation of RAW264.7 macrophages by GLIS, a proteopolysaccharide from Ganoderma lucidum.Journal of ethnopharmacology,112(3), 445–450. (3) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2007.03.035
- Mau, J. L., Lin, H. C., & Chen, C. C. (2002). Antioxidant properties of several medicinal mushrooms.Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,50(21), 6072–6077. (4) https://doi.org/10.1021/jf0201273
- Wang, H., & Ng, T. B. (2006). Ganodermin, an antifungal protein from fruiting bodies of the medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum.Peptides,27(1), 27–30. (5) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.peptides.2005.06.009
- Vazirian, M., Faramarzi, M. A., Ebrahimi, S. E., Esfahani, H. R., Samadi, N., Hosseini, S. A., Asghari, A., Manayi, A., Mousazadeh, A., Asef, M. R., Habibi, E., & Amanzadeh, Y. (2014). Antimicrobial effect of the Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (higher Basidiomycetes) and its main compounds. International journal of medicinal mushrooms,16(1), 77–84. (6) https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v16.i1.70