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Herb Spotlight - Reishi

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)  

Family: Ganodermataceae

Part Used: Fruiting Body

Flavor/Aroma: Bitter, Smokey

Energetics: Cooling

 

Overview:

For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have worshiped the life-giving force of this powerful fungi. Reishi has been widely researched and utilized in both traditional and modern medicine to support a variety of ailments, but most commonly to promote vitality and balance- giving way to one of the many nicknames: “Mushroom of Immortality”. This powerful fungi may look unassuming in nature, but you can be sure that this is an herbal therapeutic worth further investigating.

Botany:

Reishi is an annual mushroom that expresses in a variety of colors from greens and purples to whites, blacks, and yellows. The fruiting body usually grows in a kidney shaped pattern or semi-circle, and is about 4-8 cm thick. There is a yellowish rim near the edge of the mushroom when it is actively growing, that will slowly become thinner as the fruit matures. The cap and flesh of Reishi is moist and leather like in texture, while older fruits will appear more cork like. Resihi tends to grow on dead trees such as Oaks, Hemlocks, and Conifers.1

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Reishi species are native to many regions globally, growing most prolifically and famously throughout China on the roots and stumps of Oak trees. Most commercial Reishi supplements are imported from China to America for therapeutic use. Reishi is best harvested with care after the fruiting body is fully mature, and when only a small amount of yellow is apparent on the cap of the mushroom.2

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Reishi mushrooms can be identified while hiking through the many forested regions of Southern Oregon growing amongst the variety of hardwood trees in the area. The fruiting body is best harvested when it has matured, and there is no longer any signs of growth. Always take the time to observe the stand you wish to harvest from as to preserve population and protect the delicate ecosystems in which they thrive.

History and Folklore:

Traditional Chinese Medicine: Reishi, or Lingzhi, symbolizes longevity, immortality, spiritual awakening, success, and divine power. It has been utilized as a tea to support a variety of respiratory conditions, help regulate blood glucose levels, modulate the immune system, and improve and protect liver functions.2 It has also been used to strengthen the mind and improve the overall quality of life of those that consume this potent medicine.

The Reishi was recognized as a traditional Taoist medicine in 1400 A.D, as well as being identified in ancient paintings, carvings, furniture, and jewelry of many cultures.

American Native Uses: A tea of the fruiting body of the Reishi was used to support irritations of the mouth and throat, both dry and wetter coughs, to reduce inflammation of the mucosal tissue, and relax both the mind and body. Certain tribes have also used this medicinal mushroom to boost the immune system and prevent future illnesses. It was used to combat fatigue and was thought to be a key component to longevity and vitality amongst many tribes.1

Modern Applications:

Reishi mushrooms are indicated to support a variety of immune-specific ailments such infections, autoimmune diseases, and atopic conditions like allergies and eczema. There is research to substantiate claims supporting its use as a therapy for heart conditions such as high blood pressure, prevention of heart disease, and lowering or maintaining a healthy cholesterol.2 Reishi’s high antioxidant value contributes greatly to its therapeutic potency, and the active constituents of this mushroom are recognized to protect healthy cells of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, activate anti-inflammatory enzymes as needed, and balance blood glucose levels.1,4

Uses and Preparations:

 

Tincture: 

2-4 mL up to 4 times daily. Shake well before using.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Recommended Usage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended usage amounts are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the usage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.

Precautions:

We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications, especially those with immunomodulatory actions.

References:

  1. Graff, A., Swisher, D., Upton, R., McGuffin, M., & Pizzorno, J. (2006, April). http://www.medicinacomplementar.com.br/biblioteca/pdfs/Fitoterapia/fi-0405.pdf
  2. Reishi Mushroom, Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://restorativemedicine.org/library/monographs/reishi-mushroom/ 
  3. Wachtel-Galor, S. (1970, January 1). Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/ 
  4. Vazirian, M., Faramarzi, M. A., Ebrahimi, S. E. S., Esfahani, H. R. M., Samadi, N., Hosseini, S. A., Amanzadeh, Y. (2014). Antimicrobial effect of the Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (higher Basidiomycetes) and its main compounds. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24940906

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.