There is a trend in modern health circles of looking for miracle foods, superfoods, and secret ingredients with health-boosting properties. Unfortunately, most of these super-ingredients show little hard evidence of efficacy at best and can actually be detrimental at worst. Most often, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and more research and time is needed to determine whether something is actually beneficial or just another unfounded claim.
Ganoderma coffee is one of those middle-ground cases with some lofty health claims and little scientific research to back them up. In this article, we summarize everything you need to know about Ganoderma coffee. We’ll teach you about what it is, what its supporters claim, and what evidence there is to bolster those claims. As always, you should consult your doctor before including anything new in your diet. There is no substitute for a medical expert’s opinion.
Mushrooms in Coffee?
Ganoderma coffee is coffee mixed with Ganoderma lucidum, a type of mushroom commonly referred to as “reishi” or “Lingzhi,” depending on who you’re talking to. Often, Ganoderma coffee is made by mixing powdered Ganoderma lucidum with instant coffee, but you can also make it by combining powdered reishi with regular ground coffee.
If mushroom coffee sounds strange to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Ganoderma coffee is relatively unknown and, therefore, also relatively unstudied. There are only a few scientific studies of Ganoderma lucidum, and the results are mixed and contradictory, a sure sign that more research is needed.
To understand the growing popularity of Ganoderma coffee, we can turn to the health claims made by its proponents. Like many unfounded superfoods, Ganoderma lucidum’s purported health benefits are ill-defined and nebulous. Among the most commonly cited benefits of Ganoderma are reduced fatigue, boosted immune system, inflammation reduction, and stress relief.
Health Claims Surrounding Ganoderma
Unfortunately, none of the health claims surrounding Ganoderma or Ganoderma coffee consumption have been verified by a scientific study. A 2016 study showed promising results using Ganoderma lucidum to enhance cancer treatment but nevertheless concluded that it wasn’t enough to use as a standalone treatment. Similarly, a 2015 study found no evidence that Ganoderma was an effective treatment for cardiovascular diseases.
To make matters worse, some of the primary claims made by Ganoderma supporters focus on boosting memory and combatting neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, both well-established benefits of drinking coffee. Any study that claimed to produce evidence of Ganoderma coffee’s effectiveness at bolstering brain health would have to show an increased effect above and beyond coffee alone, making it a more challenging study to conduct.
If the lack of benefit doesn’t bother you, consider that unstudied supplements could come with hidden side effects that won’t be revealed in short-term studies. To give something the green light for long-term human consumption, extensive research needs to be conducted spanning many years to ensure the supplement’s safety. Ganoderma and Ganoderma coffee don’t simply lack evidence of any benefit; they also aren’t well-studied enough to be guaranteed safe. While drinking coffee in moderation has established health benefits and relatively benign side effects, the long-term effects of drinking Ganoderma coffee are unknown.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, despite the tantalizing claims made by alternative health practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support drinking Ganoderma coffee. Perhaps more importantly, Ganoderma coffee hasn’t been studied long enough to ensure it is safe for regular human consumption. It is possible that certain side effects would only become detectable after many years of regular consumption, and it is not possible to predict what these side effects could be.
No one can say for sure whether Ganoderma is safe for human consumption over years or decades, and there is not enough evidence to support the health claims to warrant taking the unknown risks that may be involved. It might turn out that Ganoderma lucidum is a viable and safe treatment for cancer or neurodegenerative diseases, but it is impossible to tell at this point.
We should reiterate that this article is not a substitute for a professional medical opinion. If you are interested in Ganoderma coffee, you should consult a doctor. Your doctor will be able to guide your decision from an informed, expert opinion and help you decide whether Ganoderma coffee is a viable option for you.
Featured Image Credit: NATDANAI SRICHAIYOD, Shutterstock