Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is one of the most researched and widely used medicinal mushrooms in the world. This powerful organism, known as the "Mushroom of Immortality" and "Mushroom of the Ages", holds great promise in terms of its nutritional properties and healing the human body.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Reishi mushroom has been used as a vital benefit for thousands of years. The Chinese have long used it for health and wellness, improving Qi or “life force” and invigorating the blood. Although in-depth human testing is needed, Ganoderma's many medicinal qualities are well received in the western world.


Reishi is a polypore mushroom, meaning it has small pores in its interior rather than in its gills. Polypores play an important role in the cycling and production of carbon dioxide in forest ecosystems. They are saprophytes, meaning they feed on the organic matter of decaying trees.

Reishi mushroom generally grows in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions where deciduous broad-leaved trees are abundant. They love oak and maple trees and produce from spring to autumn every year. Although they grow wild mostly in Asia, one study found 13 different species in the United States. One of the wild species harvested and used in the United States is Shushan, a Ganoderma variety that grows on hemlock trees.

The name Ganoderma means "shiny skin" and refers to the lacquer-like texture of the skin. Ganoderma cap varnish. The crown usually resembles a kidney, but in some cases a horn-like growth may develop. They are recognized by their characteristic concentric rings that are brick red and burnt orange.

History of Reishi mushroom

Reishi has been used as medicine in China and Japan for more than 2000 years. It is considered one of the most powerful herbs in the world and is used as a panacea in traditional Chinese medicine. The name Ganoderma represents spiritual power, immortality and divine power.

We can trace it back to the Han Dynasty, where it was used by Taoist priests and Chinese healers at Changbai Mountain. It is a very valuable plant used by monks for meditation and by doctors to achieve a long and healthy life. Since the growth habit of wild Ganoderma is far from common, it is thought to be rare. Therefore, for many years it was used only by politicians.

It wasn't until the 1980s that a Japanese named Shigeaki Mori discovered a way to grow Ganoderma more effectively. Mori spent 15 years developing a cultivation system using wild spores until he found a solution that would make Reishi production by humans more economical and reliable. Nowadays, Reishi mushroom is commonly grown on hardwood sawdust, logs and sawdust. This is good news because an increase in mushroom cultivation may help slow the growth of our fungal friends. Purchasing cultured Ganoderma rather than wild Ganoderma is important to allow wild Ganoderma to persist.


In the last few years, Reishi has attracted attention as a superhero drug. Extracts of the fruiting bodies are used in herbal medicines, herbal remedies, and even coffee blends. The benefits of this herb are generally excellent, from anti-aging to fighting cancer. Three phytochemicals have been isolated from Reishi mushroom, and research has focused on: polysaccharides (mainly β-glucan), sterols, and triterpenes. Each has its own unique features and benefits. These compounds are also extracted by different methods; some with hot water, others with alcohol. Therefore, it is widely believed that double extraction is the best way to get the most out of this powerful herb. Beta-glucan supports healthy cell growth and renewal. Reishi has also been found to make the immune system more active. Research shows that reishi can disrupt genes in white blood cells and increase the activity of infection-fighting killer cells.

Cancer treatment

According to laboratory studies, this drug may also help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. Cancer. Researchers have also found that Reishi mushroom extract can improve the immune system of cancer patients. The anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant have shown positive results in clinical studies on mice. But human research needs more in the future.


Although the cardioprotective benefits of Reishi mushroom are less reported, there is no decrease in its alcohol content. Drinking ganoderma can lower blood pressure, improve circulation and improve blood clotting. A 12-week study showed that reishi increased "good" HDL cholesterol and lowered triglycerides. It also has a mild anti-diabetic effect because it reduces insulin resistance and lowers blood sugar.

Stress and sleep

Ganoderma is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps our body adapt to stress. It is best used as a supplement, meaning it works best when taken in small doses over a long period of time. It has a calming effect and can improve sleep quality. Reishi stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system ("relax and chew"), many people choose to take it before bed to help them sleep better.


With all these wonderful healing products, many manufacturers have jumped on the Reishi bandwagon, producing capsules, powders, and other remedies. However, the quality is very different. When buying mushroom supplements, pay attention to where the company's products are available. Check where the mushrooms are growing and consider the lack of transparency as a red flag.

You also want to make sure the products are made from fruiting bodies rather than mycelium to benefit from their medicinal properties. Finally, consider that reishi mushroom crops contaminated with pesticides or loaded with heavy metals will not affect the results you hope to get.

Nutritional Profile

Ganoderma is not only a superfood, but it also has some great nutritional benefits. Using these mushrooms as part of your daily diet provides important nutrients and good protein.

Ganoderma is a good source of antioxidants, minerals, potassium and protein. Contains B vitamins and amino acids. These benefits make it especially suitable for vegans because the quality of protein and B vitamins can be difficult to find in a vegan diet. Ganoderma is also rich in vitamin D, which strengthens the immune system.

Cooking with Reishi

With all this in mind, how do you make Reishi a part of your diet? It should not be eaten raw as it is a hard mushroom with a very bitter taste. Plus, if you drink it this way, you'll miss out on a lot of the benefits. Chitin (the tough skin wall) needs to be broken down for the body to absorb it properly.

Reishi mushroom should be boiled, extracted or powdered before eating. Making a decoction or slow-simmering tea is a popular way to reap the benefits of reishi. Generally speaking, the longer the mushroom is cooked, the tougher the chitin will be.

Tea, tincture or powder can also be added to various ingredients. Try it with other bitter flavors like chocolate and coffee, or balance it with sweet and tangy flavors like coconut milk and nut butters. It makes a delightful homemade latte, mixes well into desserts and raw foods, and can be added to smoothies.