Reishi Mushrooms and ADHD: Exploring a Natural Approach to Management

March 22, 2024 | Dr. Silvana Jakupovic, ND

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interfere with daily functioning or development. While ADHD is often discussed in the context of childhood, it can persist into adulthood, affecting every facet of an individual's life, from education and employment to relationships and self-esteem.

Amidst conventional treatment methods such as medication and behavioural therapy, there's a growing interest in alternative therapies that can complement or, in some cases, substitute traditional approaches. One such alternative, which has its roots in traditional medicine, is Reishi mushrooms. By offering a blend of traditional wisdom and modern science, we hope to shed light on this natural remedy's potential role in ADHD care.


• What is ADHD?

• What are ADHD Treatments?

• What are Reishi Mushrooms?

• Reishi Mushrooms for ADHD

• How to Use Reishi for ADHD


What is ADHD?

ADHD is a medical condition characterized by differences in brain activity and development that may affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. The exact cause of ADHD remains unclear, but a combination of genetics, environment, and possibly diet and the brain's exposure to toxins is believed to play a role. Risk factors include a family history of ADHD or other mental health disorders, exposure to environmental toxins (like lead), alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature birth, and low birth weight.

ADHD can significantly impact a person's daily life, affecting academic performance, work productivity, and interpersonal relationships. Without appropriate management, individuals with ADHD may experience higher rates of unemployment, substance abuse, and legal or financial problems.

What are the Treatments for ADHD?

Conventional ADHD treatments often involve medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Medications like stimulants and non-stimulants can help manage symptoms but may come with side effects such as sleep problems, decreased appetite, and mood swings. Psychotherapy, including behavioural and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), aims to develop coping strategies and improve social skills, organizational abilities, and self-esteem.

While these treatments can be effective for many, they do not work for everyone, prompting some to seek alternative approaches. The exploration of Reishi mushrooms as a potential aid in managing ADHD symptoms arises from this search for additional, holistic treatment options.

eversio wellness reishi

What are Reishi Mushrooms?

Reishi mushrooms, scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum, have been a cornerstone in traditional Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Revered as the "Mushroom of Immortality," these functional fungi are believed to enhance longevity, boost immunity, and maintain balance within the body. Unlike the common mushrooms found in grocery stores, Reishi mushrooms have a hard texture and a woody taste, making them more suited for teas, extracts, and supplements rather than culinary dishes.

Reishi Mushrooms for ADHD

The exploration of Reishi mushrooms for ADHD management is an emerging field, with the potential benefits largely grounded in their effects on overall well-being. To date, there are no specific studies directly linking Reishi mushrooms to improved outcomes for individuals with ADHD. The potential benefits are extrapolated from research on the mushroom's impact on related health areas. Therefore, while Reishi may offer supportive benefits for managing certain ADHD symptoms, it may not be the answer for everyone. 

Reishi for Stress and Sleep

ADHD is often accompanied by stress, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Reishi's potential to mitigate stress and improve sleep quality could indirectly benefit individuals with ADHD by enhancing overall well-being and reducing ADHD symptom severity.

One study found that Reishi mushrooms may boost levels of neurotransmitters that promote sleep, facilitating better communication within the nervous system [1]. Emerging research indicates that changes in the gut's bacterial composition can influence sleep quality via the gut-brain axis, and Reishi was shown to positively affect gut microbiota [1]. Overall, the findings suggest that Reishi may enhance sleep quality by influencing gut microbiota and serotonin-related pathways. 

Another study on rats indicated that consuming the mushroom might increase total sleep time and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep duration, leading to a more restful sleeping pattern [2]. This effect of Reishi could be linked to its regulation of cytokines, especially TNF-alpha, which is essential for sleep regulation and the enhancement of NREM sleep [2]. 

Reishi for Anxiety and Depression

The hyperactivity aspect of ADHD manifests through actions such as fidgeting, restlessness, excessive talking, and a lack of patience [3]. The calming effects of Reishi mushrooms could offer relief to those who find it challenging to stay still [4]. While the precise reasons behind the sleep issues seen in ADHD are not fully understood, they could be related to the symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention, such as difficulties staying calm, poor sleep routines, and the use of electronic devices at night [5]. As mentioned, Reishi mushrooms have been recognized for their potential to improve sleep quality.

Research indicates that sleep difficulties in individuals with ADHD can increase the risk of developing mood disorders, including depression [5]. Furthermore, there's an observed correlation between ADHD in childhood and a higher incidence of recurring depression in later life. However, the exact cause-and-effect relationship is yet to be established [6].

Various studies have explored Reishi mushroom polysaccharides showing antidepressant properties [7]. Notably, Reishi has been found to act as an antidepressant and anxiety-reducing agent by inhibiting 5HT2A receptors, akin to the action of some prescription antidepressants [8]. These receptors are linked to conditions like anxiety, OCD, depression, fatigue, and a decrease in restorative sleep [9]. Therefore, incorporating Reishi into a treatment plan may offer a way to address the additional mental health issues commonly seen with ADHD.

Anyone considering Reishi mushrooms as part of an ADHD management plan should do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional, ensuring that it complements their overall treatment strategy without interfering with existing medications or therapies.



Integrating Reishi Mushrooms into ADHD Management

While traditional ADHD treatments have proven effective for many, the pursuit of holistic and adjunctive therapies remains significant. With their historic roots in medicinal use and potential health benefits, Reishi mushrooms present an intriguing option. However, it's crucial to approach this integration with care and knowledge.

Before adding Reishi mushrooms or any supplement to your ADHD management plan, consult with a healthcare professional. This ensures safety, especially regarding potential interactions with medications or other treatments. 

If given the green light by a healthcare provider, start with a low dose of Reishi mushroom supplements and gradually increase as needed and advised. This cautious approach helps monitor the body's response and any side effects.

Keep a detailed journal of ADHD symptoms and any changes observed after incorporating Reishi mushrooms into the regimen. As with any supplement, consistency is key. 

Reishi Mushrooms for ADHD

As we continue to navigate the complexities of ADHD and the search for effective treatments, the exploration of natural remedies like Reishi mushrooms underscores the importance of an open, integrative approach to health and wellness. Whether standing alone or alongside conventional therapies, the potential of such remedies enriches our understanding and management of ADHD, offering hope for more personalized, holistic care solutions.



[1] Yao C, Wang Z, Jiang H, Yan R, Huang Q, Wang Y, Xie H, Zou Y, Yu Y, Lv L. Ganoderma lucidum promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway in mice. Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 1;11(1):13660. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-92913-6. PMID: 34211003; PMCID: PMC8249598.

[2] Cui XY, Cui SY, Zhang J, Wang ZJ, Yu B, Sheng ZF, Zhang XQ, Zhang YH. Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Feb 15;139(3):796-800. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.12.020. Epub 2011 Dec 21. PMID: 22207209.

[3] Magnus W, Nazir S, Anilkumar AC, et al. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. [Updated 2022 Aug 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:

[4] Yao C, Wang Z, Jiang H, Yan R, Huang Q, Wang Y, Xie H, Zou Y, Yu Y, Lv L. Ganoderma lucidum promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway in mice. Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 1;11(1):13660. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-92913-6. PMID: 34211003; PMCID: PMC8249598.

[5] Becker SP. ADHD and sleep: recent advances and future directions. Curr Opin Psychol. 2020 Aug;34:50-56. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.09.006. Epub 2019 Sep 20. PMID: 31629217; PMCID: PMC7082190.

[6] Riglin L, Leppert B, Dardani C, Thapar AK, Rice F, O'Donovan MC, Davey Smith G, Stergiakouli E, Tilling K, Thapar A. ADHD and depression: investigating a causal explanation. Psychol Med. 2021 Aug;51(11):1890-1897. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720000665. Epub 2020 Apr 6. PMID: 32249726; PMCID: PMC8381237.

[7] Li H, Xiao Y, Han L, Jia Y, Luo S, Zhang D, Zhang L, Wu P, Xiao C, Kan W, Du J, Bao H. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides ameliorated depression-like behaviors in the chronic social defeat stress depression model via modulation of Dectin-1 and the innate immune system. Brain Res Bull. 2021 Jun;171:16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2021.03.002. Epub 2021 Mar 8. PMID: 33705858.

[8] Matsuzaki H, Shimizu Y, Iwata N, Kamiuchi S, Suzuki F, Iizuka H, Hibino Y, Okazaki M. Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Dec 26;13:370. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-370. PMID: 24369991; PMCID: PMC3879659.

[9] Nakamura Y, Kitamura Y, Sumiyoshi Y, Naito N, Kan S, Ushio S, Miyazaki I, Asanuma M, Sendo T. Involvement of 5-HT2A receptor hyperfunction in the anxiety-like behavior induced by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide combination treatment in rats. J Pharmacol Sci. 2018 Nov;138(3):192-197. doi: 10.1016/j.jphs.2018.10.001. Epub 2018 Oct 9. PMID: 30360947.

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