Reishi mushrooms. The name can bring to mind Chinese emperors, ancient forests, and dusty old herbal apothecaries.Not surprising, as reishi has been used in China for over 2,000 years! This mushroom has a long history of use as an herbal medicine. Modern research is now confirming its healing power in the body.
Let's take a look at this powerful medicinal. I'll start with some basic facts and move on to the reported health benefits. Then I'll explain how to start supplementing and end with some final thoughts.
Due to the popularity of this page, I've added some other pages as well! See the related pages section on the right to learn more.
Much is said about the health benefits of reishi mushrooms. Studies are ongoing into its immune system enhancing and possible cancer fighting effects. Why all the good news about reishi? They contain multiple active ingredients including: polysaccharides and triterpenes.
Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates made up of chains of sugars. These sugars stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar, and have an effect on free radicals.
Specific polysaccharides, known as Beta-D-Glucans, are also suspected to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. The exact cancer fighting action of these molecules is still not clear and is under study. Rather than attacking tumors themselves, some researchers believe they stimulate the production of T cells to fight the afflicted cells.
Triterpenes are steroid like molecules that inhibit histamine release and have anti-inflammatory properties. The triterpenes in reishi are known as ganoderic acids.
Reishi mushrooms are often taken for the below conditions:
Do you have any of these conditions and have benefited from reishi? Please contact me, I'd love to hear your story!
You don't need to be suffering from a disease to take reishi. It is often used as a general tonic for good health and proper immune system functioning.
Does all this talk of good health make you want to start supplementing with reishi mushrooms? First you'll need to get your hands on some! As they are not often found in the wild, it is easiest to purchase or cultivate your own. Below are some different ways to take reishi:
To make reishi tea, either grind whole mushrooms or slice them into long strips. Measure the amount you want and boil in water for a few minutes. Then reduce the heat and simmer the tea for 1-3 hours. Filter the water using cheese cloth or a coffee filter. More detailed mushroom tea instructions are here.
Be aware that the tea will be very bitter! Some fruit juice or honey will make it taste better. You can also use this reishi tea as a soup base, as your water to make rice, or even in coffee. I image you could freeze it and make "frozen reishi pops" although they may be too bitter for a summer treat!
The dried powder is also useful in making "reishi spirits". Place some powder in a bottle of your favorite vodka, rice wine, brandy, or other alcohol. I'd recommend around 20 grams of dried mushrooms per bottle but you can experiment to suit your tastes. Let this mixture sit at least a month and strain the powder when serving. Now you can have some triterpenes with your next dinner party!
New research is sure to reveal even more about this powerful medicinal mushroom. I'll leave you with this passage from Terry Willard's very interesting book Reishi Mushroom: Herb of Spiritual Potency and Medical Wonder:
So although I had found many answers to my travels and research, some questions remained. Has reishi's "spiritual strength" come down from the sacred mountain of the ancient Taoists to aid us at this important historical crossroad, when Western society's health problems seem insurmountable? Will reishi help direct us towards a new medical theory, one that encompasses both Eastern and Western concepts?
Time will tell!
Do you take reishi medicinally? Have you found it in the wild? If you have something to say about this beautiful mushroom share it here!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
I was walking around in my neighborhood and found some wild mushrooms that seem to be Ganoderma lucidum or reishi. Attached is what we found.
It is easier to pick your own Reishi than buy it, they're a very easy polypore to find. It's best when you find a large amount of Ganoderma lucidum …
Stump Full of Red Reishi
Hi, I just discovered a stump full of beautiful red reishi mushrooms growing off my deck. I've researched these wonderful mushrooms and they are indeed …
Pictures 1 and 3 by Eric Steinert and is from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License