File this one under the “Truth” category! Like all other mushrooms, the reishi mushroom is a fungus that has been used for over 2000 years as a medicinal treatment. It is vibrant red in color and is shaped like a kidney, but it’s hard and bitter taste makes it a medicinal mushroom, not a culinary one. It was regarded as the “herb of spiritual potency” in ancient China and the earliest mentions of them can be found around 207 B.C. They were originally used by royalty to extend life and boost health.
But Do They Work for Hair Loss?
Reishi mushrooms have been proven to have many benefits for all types of health conditions like:
- Fights asthma and allergies
- Lowers cholesterol
- Balanced hormones
- Fights diabetes
- Cancer treatment and prevention
- Helps high blood pressure
- Treats insomnia
- Cold sore treatment
- Combats depression
- Eases skin conditions
- Slows premature hair loss/balding
- Promotes hair growth
Whew! With all those benefits is there anything this fungus can’t do? While these other benefits are great, we’re focusing on the last two, slowing premature hair loss and promoting new hair growth.
Slows Premature Hair Loss and Balding
As an inhibitor of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), reishi helps reverse the main cause of hair loss in men and women throughout the world. DHT is converted from testosterone by 5a-reductase, an enzyme. In a study conducted in 2005, there were 19 species of mushrooms that were tested to see if they were able to decrease the effects of 5a-reductase. Reishi mushrooms showed to be the most successful, having an effective rate of 70-80%.
The main take away? Because the reishi mushroom was shown to be an effective inhibitor of 5a-reductase, utilizing it can reduce the amount of DHT in your body which will help prevent hair loss and balding.
Promotes Hair Growth
There is research that has proven that the reishi mushroom, like pumpkin seed oil, can improve the scalp health. When you have a healthy scalp, you can increase hair growth. The reishi mushroom is shown to have antimicrobial, antibacterial, and other properties that can help improve the condition of your scalp.
How to Utilize the Reishi Mushroom
There are a few ways that you can begin to add reishi mushrooms for your hair care routine. The first is if you don’t mind the bitter taste, you can purchase the dried, ground-up mushrooms and make a tea from them. Otherwise, your best bet is to buy the capsules that are available at health stores or online. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage. After taking the supplement for a few months, you’ll begin to notice an improvement in your hair loss.
If you’re looking for even more benefits from the reishi mushroom, you can create your own hair mask for a little extra boost. First, gather the following things:
- Half an avocado
- Vanilla Essential Oil
- Six Cherries (peeled and pitted)
- Half a cup of water
- Tablespoon of Reishi Mushrooms
- Tablespoon of Chamomile
Bring the water to a boil and remove from the heat. Add in the chamomile and reishi mushrooms and allow the water to steep. Once the temperature is room temperature, remove the herbs. Combine this herb/mushroom tea with the avocado, cherries, and vanilla essential oil to a blender. Mix until smooth.
You now have a hair mask that you can add to your wet hair and scalp. Massage the mixture into your scalp for three minutes, then allow it to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.
Important Medical Information
While the reishi mushroom is a wonderful treatment for hair loss (as well as many other medical conditions), you should consult with your doctor before you begin taking it as a supplement. Most will not see side effects from adding this to their daily life, however, it can cause:
- Low blood pressure
- Bleeding disorders
- Clotting disorders
It can also make certain chemotherapy drugs less effective and can cause your blood sugar to dip too low with diabetes medications. So even though this is a relatively safe, natural treatment to help combat hair loss, we suggest working with a doctor to monitor your health while on the supplement.