The use of reishi mushroom in medicine has a history as old as human civilization. The commonly accepted mythical ancestor of Chinese people, Xuanyuan Huangdi, is seen as the first person who discovered reishi’s potentials.
Also known as the “Yellow Emperor,” he is the mythical sovereign of the Yellow River plain. According to the legend, his rule starts in 2697 BC, more than 4500 years ago. He is the first legendary practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), maybe the first recognized physician in history.
Huangdi is the deified patron of esoteric knowledge. The roots of TCM lie in that kind of esoteric knowledge which isn’t restrained by the narrow scope of empirical research like in modern science. TCM dares to look deeper into human condition.
And in those depths of being and existence, its practitioners have encountered reishi.
Huangdi is also one of the earliest philosophers. The first classical work on TCM is attributed to him. When mammoths were still roaming on land, Egyptians pyramids were under construction, and Rome was not yet a city, the Yellow Emperor recognized the benefits of reishi mushroom. The mushroom appears in the oldest known book on Chinese medicine.
Current widespread use of the name “reishi” is actually Japanese rendering of the original Chinese lingzhi.
The Chinese version has become a loanword in Vietnamese language, where they call it ling chi. Aside from these, Koreans and Japanese have many other names denoting it, all indicating how widely reishi is known all around East Asia. It enjoys a kind of celebrity status for practitioners of traditional medicine.
The meaning of the name is composed of spiritual, divine, or miraculous combined with fungus. It is traditionally referred as herb of divinity, mushroom of spiritual potency, and as many other highly eloquent metaphors. For many centuries, it has been the symbol of divinity, longevity, and good fortune in China.
Masters of Chinese art and medicine never stop praising its merits. The naming is a fortune one since reishi has both psychological and physical benefits for human health.
Rediscovery of Reishi
Throughout the time, as science reaches new heights, experiments debunk many old myths about the health benefits of different plants, fungi, and other traditional remedies. They even go and refute their own previous commitments.
Science puts past beliefs into test. For example, aristolochia is one of those esteemed herbs of the past ages which nobody uses today. Once popular all around Europe, it was used extensively because people expected it to be helpful during childbirth. But in the 20th century it was found out that the plant had no positive effect at all.
Many other once treasured remedies have suffered similar fates. They fell out of favor as a result of rigorous scientific experiments. We now know that many trusted medicines of the past actually have adverse effects.
However, reishi mushroom is not one of them.
On the contrary, as today we have more access to objective knowledge and different perspectives, Reishi’s wide array of health benefits have become more apparent than ever. More importantly, its hitherto unknown perks have been discovered thanks to scientific researches.
The mushroom’s one of the relatively newly discovered quality is its adaptogen properties. Adaptogens help coping with modern problems such as depression, stress, anxiety, helplessness; in short, with the trademarks of our times. In the past, people suffered less from those maladies. In rare cases when people had severe depression it was labeled as madness, or curse.
Therefore, reishi’s potential on that area passed unnoticed. It has only recently been brought to light that reishi can offer peace of mind, and mental respite from the ever increasing psychological problems.
In other words, science did not only approve reishi’s benefits, but it also unearthed the mushroom’s hidden strengths. It even helped many practitioners to rediscover reishi’s merits.
Reishi has always been a part of TCM. Yet up until present time it was only one among nature’s countless healing gifts. But because of the scientific developments that have put to the test every aspect of traditional ways, many trusted remedies were shown to be lacking in effectiveness.
Those who failed to pass the test slowly died away, leaving only the real useful ones stand. That is the reason why lately reishi has gained so much importance. The mushroom’s star has risen as fake remedies fell into disgrace. Today, reishi has ascended to the top ranks of traditional medicines.
Holistic Medicine and Reishi
Holistic medicine is about uniting human with cosmos, particular with the whole. The core of holistic medicine is that it does not isolate individual from nature. It does not treat humans as fundamentally different from the environment surrounding them.
The heart of the matter is TCM does not treat us as mechanical bodies which can be healed with chemical injections or drugs created in cold laboratories by the hands of metallic and soulless technology.
Holistic medicine is not hostile to technology, or scientific developments. On the contrary, the most conscientious and well-known practitioners of holistic medicine have sought confirmation of their methods by subjecting them to scientific experiments.
What they disagree is the way scientific methods treat us as broken tools when we are sick and ill. Science may cure our pain, but it can never feel our pain, or bring us back to our roots – the very nature we are born from.
Holistic medicine negates the scientific approach which attributes no value to humanity. TCM searches for our roots to solve our maladies. It sees human and the universe as two inseparable parts of the same unity.
That is why herbs and other biological lives play such a crucial role in holistic way. Life can be improved with other lives. Holistic Chinese medicine seeks to bring alienated humans back to where they began their journey: to nature, to Earth itself.
That admirable quest to link nature and human to provide us peaceful and healthy lives has led traditional medicine to meet with reishi mushroom.
Reishi has combined the best of both worlds. On the one hand, as the scientific experiments prove, it can affect the composure of human body.
It has proven and scientifically observable benefits on body. Science cannot deny its merits. On the other hand, as the philosophy of traditional medicine demands, it also bridges the gap between human and nature. By doing that it creates better life experience.
Furthermore, it works on both physical and mental levels, as if refusing to be seen like a simple chemical substance. Its adaptogen features have been more than enough to demonstrate that.
What kind of Mushroom is Reishi?
Reishi is a group of mushrooms. It is not a single species. Reishi is an umbrella name for a group of related fungi. They are so similar in appearance that if you are not an expert in this area, it would be very hard to tell their difference from one another. They all fall under the genus Ganoderma.
One of these species, Ganoderma tsugae grows in eastern North America, from French speaking regions of Canada to the Northeastern United States, particularly in the woods of Pennsylvania. Ganoderma tsugae prefers Eastern hemlock trees.
There is another similar looking species that can be found in the Amazons. The one species venerated in TCM is Ganoderma lucidum. This is what the Chinese call linghzi. It grows in Eastern Asia.
Though different species of reishi are very similar to each other in appearance and biological characteristics, nonetheless the most esteemed species is Ganoderma lucidum.
The debate over whether other species are as good as lingzhi reishi is still ongoing. Although there is not a consensus, many people prefer reishi grown in China and Japan to others. Whether lingzhi is significantly better or not is unclear. Still, it enjoys more prestige. They are more expensive, especially those cultivated in Japanese farms.
Before buying reishi mushroom, it is recommended to inquire which Ganoderma species is being sold. Some sellers might lie about their produce to lure unsuspecting people. Therefore it is better to buy reishi from trusted producers. Because of the fact that the boundaries are often blurry among different reishi fungi, dishonest people might try to sell less effective (arguably), and cheaper reishi mushrooms for higher prices.
Yet on most cases North American reishi is as potent as Asian ones. Even if they weren’t, given the fact that reishi mushroom very rarely causes side effects, taking more reishi can solve the problem. The point is, discussions questioning different Ganderma species’ amount of health benefits is more of a matter of opinion than of facts.
However, linghzi reishi is unquestionably the king. It is also called red reishi. This is the mushroom cultivated in East Asia. In Japan, specialized producers cultivate it under professional supervision.
When people are talking about reishi they usually mean this one. A simple Internet search mostly shows this species. This is the focus of most scientific experiments.
It is also the most potent species (again, there is no consensus on the subject). Food scientists are needed to asses which species are the best for human consumption to pass the final judgment. There are significant price differences among them. Although even the least effective reishi species do not harm human body, they do affect our budgets.
Asian reishi is popular because it has the whole historical tradition elevating it. It has been the beloved medicine of Chinese and other Asian emperors and poets. Depicted many times by ancient Asian painters, reishi enjoys cultural importance as well.
Reishi: Swiss Army Knife of Traditional Medicine
Reishi does not have remarkable nutritional values. It is not a delicacy. It is a low-calorie mushroom used predominantly for its paramount pharmaceutical value. Its popularity solely depends on its healing properties. If not for them, it would be useless.
One thing that makes reishi indispensable for health is beta-glucans. Admittedly, beta-glucans are present in other medical mushroom species as well. However, reishi stands out from the rest on the grounds that it has ample amounts of beta-glucans. It is a kind of storehouse for them.
Beta-glucans are known for their cholesterol lowering effects. By dealing with cholesterol they guarantee healthier heart and blood vessels. The use and benefits of beta-glucans were only found out in the late 20th century. This shows that ancient Chinese did not have scientific empirical data on reishi.
What they lacked in science was compensated with apparent health benefits of reishi they observed in their daily lives. Another relatively recently discovered property of beta-glucans is that if taken regularly, they greatly decrease saturated fats in the body, and therefore, they reduce heart attack risks.
Beta-glucans are just the introduction. The list of things that give reishi its well-known medicinal properties does not end there.
Maybe you were surprised when you heard about reishi for the first time. It is a mushroom offered as a remedy for a range of health problems. It is a magical spell for cure-all-the-diseases in TCM.
Usually, we see traditional herbs or mushrooms that are good for one or two things. And naturally, people are suspicious if someone tells them that certain herb or mushroom can solve dozens of health problems. Being skeptic is the right mindset when it comes to health, but it does not work on reishi.
Reishi can offer help for many health issues because it has triterpenes. Reishi has over a hundred (100!) triterpenes, each with its own duties working collectively for a healthy body. They give reishi incredible potency. They are one of the causes why reishi is offered for different kinds of maladies, ranging from malign tumors to anxiety, sleep problems to inflammation.
The mushroom has something to offer for liver ailments, DNA-damage, brain malfunction, etc. Reishi is the Swiss army knife of traditional Chinese medicine. If ever a single medicine that can cure everything is created, it would definitely have reishi as one of its major components.
Reishi Immediately Effects Our Everyday Life by Bringing Vitality
As stated above, reishi’s forte is tackling with a wide range of illnesses. To achieve the desired effects, you need to use it regularly instead of taking it at occasional intervals. Especially for chronic cases, its curing abilities do not immediately show themselves on the first try.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long for reishi to show positive effects. Many people report that the very first thing they feel after consuming reishi is energy flow within their bodies. It brings a kind of energy flow that is not hostile with its vessel – the human body – but is at peace with it. Reishi revives the body from its slumber.
People feel like they are breathing with their whole body, not just with their lungs. And the best part about it is that it is a constant feeling. A cup of reishi tea gives pleasant warmth that lasts as long as eight hours. It is a kind of warmth that also brings mental clarity, and saves us from getting lost in the busy and mundane everyday life. Thanks to reishi, mind regains its focus.
Unlike coffee and energy drinks which give a rush of energy for a brief time, reishi provides a stable energy flow in the body. It encompasses the body in nice warm energy throughout the entire day. Coffee and energy drinks leave exhausted body and soul once their effects wear off.
It is not the case with reishi. Reishi does not intervene in body’s usual rhythm with narcotic-like effects as coffee does. It does not interfere with our biological clock. Once taken, it slowly fades away throughout the day without causing steep spikes in natural energy balance.
Its second immediate effect is on sleep. It helps us relax and sleep deeper, and hopefully, have better dreams. Reishi can create miracles on especially older adults who suffer from disrupted sleep patterns.
Old age is infamous for its reduced sleeping quality. Reishi helps with that by sustaining biological harmony, so that unwanted involuntary waking ups in the middle of the night happen less frequently.
A simple reishi tea can bring more vitality to our days and nights. Victims of insomnia can sleep through the night by taking it an hour before bedtime.
Reishi Supports Immune System
Complex compounds, amply present in reishi, are immune system’s allies in regulating its functions and assisting its fight against diseases. Not surprisingly, people with high proclivity to catch diseases, and even some HIV positive patients, use reishi to boost their immune system. Reishi achieves to create that boost by its unique relationship with macrophages.
Macrophages have vital value for our immunity. They are not always present in the body. They are created as a reaction to infections and destruction or damage done to body cells.
They are nature’s tiny SWAT teams dispatched to identify, locate, encircle, and destroy body’s enemies. Body creates macrophages from white blood cells known as monocytes. Once the immune system is alerted by the presence of invaders, they come into existence, and quickly leave the blood stream to fight the microbes.
What role does reishi have in this process? A simple but great one. It stimulates monocytes to become macrophages. Think it like an arduous training program little cells have to undergo to become highly professional soldiers.
Reishi stimulates them to graduate into macrophages. In other words, it helps them to become little professional knights to save the princess called healthy life. This is how reishi boosts immune system.
This boost is extra helpful for the sufferers of Candida and leaky gut syndrome. Candida is the most common yeast infection type. Normally, candida helps our digestive system. They are helpful organisms that inhabit in bodies. They are harmless as long as the immune system works properly.
Once the system weakens, usually as a result of aging, candida can turn into infection in mouth, skin, and other parts of body. Left unchecked, candida breaks down intestinal walls and enters into the bloodstream. The result is high amount of toxins in the body. At that stage candida has already turned into leaky gut syndrome, and immediate treatment has fundamental importance.
Reishi assists the immune system by ‘training’ macrophages and thus boosting immune responses to the toxins. Candida and other insidious infections prey on immune system decline.
It is impossible to completely eliminate immune decline – if it was, then immortality would be just one step ahead – but what reishi does is to slow it down incrementally.
By energizing the system, mitigating the effects of passage of time, reishi also slows the aging process. This is one of the reason why ancient Chinese medicine practitioners valued reishi in the first place.
They didn’t have the high-tech equipment to observe deeper, but their eyes saw and their hearts felt the effects of reishi on rejuvenating the body.
Reishi is an Anti-Aging Champion
Reishi’s massive polysaccharide content gives it life-span extending property. By themselves, polysaccharides are hardly digestible, and consequently, they do not have much energy value for our body. However, they are massively important for human diet.
They enhance the digestion process itself by managing other nutrients and chemicals processed in the digestive system.
To put it another way, polysaccharides help by absorbing the nutrients and even more, by keeping sugar response normal after eating.
By the way of boosting health, reishi’s rich insoluble polysaccharide fibers fight against aging. Reishi banishes diseases that come with eating and adds more years to life.
Adding to this reishi’s immunity boosting and other functions, such as cholesterol reducing elements, aging process becomes a much slower journey. With the extra vitality which is the mushroom’s signature immediate effect, one feels years younger after taking reishi.
Throughout the history, Chinese emperors relied on reishi to live longer. However, due to the occupational hazard, many of them had suffered short lives at the hands of assassins. Reishi may be an enemy of aging, but it sure does not know anything about shortcomings of human society.
Reishi is an powerful Adaptogen
Reishi is classified as adaptogen. As the name implies, adaptogens promote homeostasis, and aid us in adapting to changes. They contribute to the well-being of immune system, help us in sustaining healthy weight, increase our endurance against physical environment (they do not make us super powerful, but assist us to be better equipped for contingencies of life), and most notably, promote low stress levels.
Stress is the insidious enemy of health. Although it is not directly responsible for all the other diseases, it paves the way for them by rendering the body weak. It creates troubled mental state.
To put simply, it builds a fertile environment for all kinds of health-related calamities. Its threats are innumerable but the most widespread effects are depression, headache, weak heart, insomnia, gum and tooth damage, heartburn, high blood sugar and pressure, stomachache, immune failures, sexual dysfunctions, tense muscles, etc.
Due to the fact that stress does not only bring one problem but a group of them – as it opens up Pandora’s box full of problems – stressed bodies usually suffer from more than one troubling health issue.
At first, stress helps the immune system. Stress is part of natural reaction to dangers. If someone is attacked by a tiger, their body gets stressed, which is the precise moment one should get tense and run for their life.
Moreover, stress gives short pikes to immune system, helping us to fight successfully against illnesses. Stress leads to a short burst of energy that calls us to action. Yet unless one is constantly chased by tigers, extended duration of stress is always a trouble.
If left unchecked, it can lead to depression, heart attacks, and even cancer as a result of weakened defense system. In our global world where life moves at a faster rate than we can breathe, stress has ceased to be an exception, and it has become a real threat to our well-being. In such an environment, it falls to adaptogens to deal with stress.
As an adaptogen, reishi mitigates the stress response. It brings harmony back to the tempest caused by the stress in adrenal system. Excessive pikes and activities in adrenal system make a body tired because of adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue does not only accelerate aging, which is a dreadful thing on its own right, but it also hampers our concentration, and disturbs our mental states. Stressful sleepless nights and difficulties in waking up are its prevalent effects.
Reishi works as a kind of thermostat. It keeps the delicate balance in our hormonal state, and keeps stress at bay. On the other hand, it does not completely eliminate stress. As stated above, stress is very helpful in sudden threats to our well-being. Therefore, finely tuned stress response is a sure sign of a healthy body.
Unfortunately, many standard drugs against stress almost completely numb our stress reaction. Thus, they inadvertently make us defenseless against potential threats.
They get rid of harmful stress by completely paralyzing even healthy stress levels. Lethargic and sleep inducing effects of these kind of drugs fail miserably in bringing up balance to our inner lives.
Overuse of such drugs makes us look and move like zombies, totally detached from life and our surroundings. Happily, reishi is not like them. Reishi brings balance instead of complete annihilation of stress. It improves concentration and sharpens memory instead of numbing them.
This is the miracle of reishi. At the one hand, it fights against many kinds of illnesses and strengthens the body to be ready for their attacks. On the other hand, unlike many drugs which create desired effects by disturbing body’s natural balance, reishi does not interfere with body’s normal affairs.
This is the reason why it has very few side effects, the main one being a rare allergic reaction. Allergy is still a mysterious black hole for modern medicine despite the cutting-edge technology at its disposal.
Reishi is Heart’s Friend
High blood pressure is the archenemy of heart. Hypertension causes millions of premature deaths every year. Even without that fatal effect, it reduces quality of life by forcing people to use multiple drugs, always worry about their health, and suffer from heart-related problems. Reishi has a solution for that. Its triterpenes are heart’s best allies.
Triterpenes present in reishi regulate blood pressure. They can even lower high blood pressure. Moreover, they protect blood vessel cells from damages. They can work wonders for blood clotting.
When out of control, blood clotting blocks the flow of blood through the blood vessels. In serious cases, such as prevalent thrombus formations – thrombus is a dangerous blood clot – the clot can detach themselves from blood and from the vessels, and lodge themselves in vital organs.
Left untreated, thrombus is life threatening. By fighting against abnormal clot formations, reishi saves not only the heart, but also other vital organs.
Another benefit of reishi is its capacity to reduce cholesterol levels in blood. Numerous studies indicate reishi’s effects on cholesterol. By controlling cholesterol, reishi stops or hampers the development of factors which can lead to more serious heart problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, and related disorders.
In other words, reishi has a pre-emptive function. It is harder to deal with disorders once their symptoms became evident, which is why using reishi regularly is highly recommended. TCM has one fundamental motto: take precaution before sickness knocks at your door.
This is why even children, who generally do not have heart problems and other serious disorders mature age brings forth, can benefit from taking reishi. Reishi is an investment for future.
To put it differently, reishi prevents the emergence of fertile conditions for diseases long before the body falls into the risk category. Once we are in that category, not only we become susceptible to all kinds of health problems, but it also becomes harder to treat them.
Reishi reduces Risks Stemming from Overmedication
Heart-related drugs have almost become a staple for millions of people, especially for those individuals who are in their advanced ages. Years add many health troubles to our lives. It is not a surprise that multiple prescription medication is almost inevitable part of old age. Sadly, multiple medications have their own risks.
Drug-drug interaction has become a serious threat to public health. The practice of using more than three prescribed medication is called polypharmacy. If not finely tuned, polypharmacy can cause multiple organ failures and even early deaths.
Drug to drug interaction can gravely drop life expectancy, and cause unexpected trips to hospitals. Therefore, reishi’s potential in reducing excessive dependency on multiple drugs should be considered. Moreover, in most cases, reishi does not interact with other drugs, thus the drug-drug risk is significantly reduced.
By energizing the body without interacting with other drugs, reishi makes the organism better equipped in avoiding the side effects of other medicines. Many modern medications come with inconveniences such as nausea, upset stomach, itching, etc. Reishi assists us to get rid of them.
Reishi is an Protector of Liver
Liver is a vital organ with many functions, which range from detoxification to hormone production. Having multiple functions means there are multiple areas our liver can fail.
The drugs modern medicine offers for liver ailments are almost always directed toward one specific problem. For example, a doctor may prescribe certain medicine that assists liver in filtering the blood which is one of its functions.
But on the other hand, that medicine may get in the way of another vital function, such as producing proteins which are indispensable in keeping blood clotting at bay. In other words, the fragile balance can be easily disturbed with a single unexpected complication.
This is why traditional Chinese medicine with its emphasis on disease prevention gains such an importance.
Detoxification, one of the main duties of liver, can become less demanding for the organ if reishi is used.
Reishi is a powerful antioxidant. It fights backs when encountering free radicals in the body. Therefore, by sharing of liver’s tasks to some extent, the organ can get less pressure.
Reishi is also prescribed as a liver tonic because it prevents excessive serum cholesterol growth. This in turn stops cholesterol from getting out of control, and building up in the body which can result in hardening of blood vessels.
Modern medicine is mostly about treating diseases that have already developed, which are sometimes at their later stages. They look at the symptoms to treat them. But reishi with its role as a preventive medicine hinders the advance of diseases, and in many cases, can reverse or completely eliminate it.
Reishi improves the way liver works by rejuvenating it, giving it more energy in its indispensable task of throwing toxins out of body. Without liver, human body would be a toxin magnet.
Reishi mushroom enhances detoxification process. Aside from energizing, this is achieved through reishi’s cell regeneration effect. Studies done on the mice show that reishi can actively contribute to liver regeneration.
Reishi can play at least a supporting role in treating cirrhosis and other more serious liver failures which stem from scars created from dying liver cells.
Taking reishi supplements everyday results in better liver performance. It gives liver necessary impetus to work at ease, and be ready for future disease risks.
Reishi for Kidneys
Reishi’s support for other organs translates into better blood circulation, detoxified body, and strong immune system. All eventually create the best possible environment for kidneys to operate. This is especially helpful for those with high risk of kidney problems.
The sad thing about kidney is that once died, kidney cells do not revive. All we are left to do is to help remaining cells to stay strong and healthy. This is where reishi shines best. By improving the general harmony within the body, it reduces the burden on kidney cells. In earlier stages of kidney problems, reishi can work miracles.
However, those patients who have kidneys in serious condition, taking reishi is not recommended. Reishi is rich with potassium mineral. Potassium complicates the problems weak kidneys tackle with.
When kidneys are weak, they have hard time removing the excess mineral, a widespread problem for those with chronic kidney failures. Especially those patients who need dialysis should not use reishi and its extracts under any circumstance. Excess potassium in the body has symptoms such as nausea, tiredness, slow pulse, etc. High potassium levels should not be taken lightly.
Reishi and Cancer
Reishi can help to prevent cancer. However, it does not work in a direct way. It is not a primary choice of medicine in cancer treatment, especially in the later stages of the disease.
Reishi functions as a supporter of defense mechanism, it does not directly interfere in treatment process.
Reishi is a great weapon against multiple types of cancer such as prostate, breast, and kidney cancers. It plays this role by reducing inflammation, and inhibiting tumor growth. That is the reason why reishi use is recommended for preventing or delaying cancer growth in organism. As it does not have side effects, and does not usually interact with other drugs, it can be used in combination with other medication.
Especially those people who have a history of cancer in their family lineage must be extra cautious. Inherited gene mutations may lead to devastating experiences in advanced years. As a pre-emptive power, reishi contributes to tackling with cancer cells. However, to restate again, reishi may not have desired effects in advanced stages of the disease.
TCM emphasizes on everyone’s illness as a unique experience for that specific person. It rejects one-size-fits-all approach to health. With the advance of high technology use in hospitals and research centers, this view has been proven and backed. What works for me may not work for you. And vice versa.
Every disease develops a special relationship with its victim. Naturally, one’s individuality, the way their body interact with the nature surrounding it, the way nature is perceived and sensed, has paramount role in the way sickness develops.
Thus, individual approach is necessary for the best route to success. This explains the reason why new cancer drugs are deemed good based on probability calculations rather than on clear decisive cause and effect evaluation. Each new drug in that area works for a certain percentage of patients.
Because of that peculiar nature of individuality of diseases that TCM has long been exercising, cancer drugs are the least likely to receive US FDA approval. They almost always never work for all patients.
Given the reasons discussed above, it is clear that reishi’s success is not universal. It can work for some people, but can be completely inefficient for others. Conversely, reishi’s star shines because it strengthens the immune system which in its turn resists the disease. Reishi indirectly contributes to the fight against cancer.
Furthermore, its potent anti-tumor activity kills cancer cells. For certain cancers reishi can suppress adhesion and migration of cancer cells, stopping them from spreading to other parts. Killing and slowing down these cells, and potential hazardous mutations, are the reasons why reishi is known for its longevity effect.
If there are no bad cells under the skin, people have longer and more peaceful lives. Regulating immune system efficiently is enough a reason for such a beautiful life.
A healthy immune system is of key importance. This is the reason why lymphoma – the cancer that starts in body’s immune system – is reishi’s main target. Taking high doses of reishi might trigger a successful immune reaction which can eliminate the spread of lymphoma, and cause a complete regression. Nevertheless, people should seek expert opinion before doing that. Every cancer case is different. Such decisions should not be made without a thorough examination by an expert.
Reishi in Anti-Inflammation Treatment
In most cases, inflammation is a great thing. It shows that body is fighting back against diseases. We feel inflammation in our bodies when our white blood cells and other substances in our organisms are in war with infections caused by foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses.
Nevertheless, some diseases disrupt that mechanism, and parts of body get inflamed as a result, without any invasion attempt by foreign substances. Diseases such as arthritis trigger inflammation mechanism without a real need for it.
They are called auto-immune diseases and they significantly drop quality of life by keeping inflammation mechanism active most of the time, thus causing severe pain. They are felt mostly in joints, and cause stiffness, pain, and sometimes loss of limb functionally.
For centuries, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have been recommending reishi for anti-inflammation. Their reasoning behind is not reishi’s specific activity in the inflammation process. Reishi does not directly affect joint pains.
There are mixed results on researches concerning reishi and arthritis interaction. Sometimes one group of researchers completely refutes the findings of another group. In other words, we lack conclusive evidence.
But what we have is the fact that reishi manages vital organs in such a way that bodily harmony is achieved, immune system works swiftly, and more than anything else, overall burden on the body is reduced. A body with peaceful flow of energy prevents the emergence of the conditions suitable for inflammation.
Reishi is rare in the wild. It prefers base and stumps of deciduous trees, but reishi grows on only one or two in every 5,000 trees. Chances are that one can never find them in the wild if they do not consciously search for them. Because of these hardships, cultivating them is a great alternative. As more people come to appreciate reishi’s qualities, demand for it is ever increasing.
This is the reason reishi farms have mushroomed in East Asia in the past few years. Farms grow reishi on hardwood logs or sawdust. It is especially crucial to avoid the use of chemicals in the process, because it can drastically reduce the quality.
It is a known fact that if chemicals are used excessively, they cause serious side effects. Farms spend a long time on producing reishi. Also, further processing is most times necessary, and many farms do that. In some Japanese farms, just growing and drying reishi naturally takes almost a full year, not including the following stages. Once it is dried, there are several ways to follow.
First, the easiest one: grinding the dried mushroom, and turning it into powder. If the reishi you have bought does not clearly say it is an extract, then it is powdered dry mushroom.
Another way is slicing the mushroom and using hot water for extraction, a process very similar to simmering to get broth. Once the extract is acquired, the slices can be further dried and powdered. Both the liquid and processed slices retain their health benefits.
However, please do not assume that dry powder or untouched mushrooms are better than extracted reishi. On the contrary, without extraction, pulverized and whole dry reishi have little or no benefits.
Due to hard cell walls of reishi mushroom, the main useful ingredients are locked inside the cells. Chitin, which is responsible for making the mushroom hard in the first place, does not allow the quality stuff to leave cells. The cell structure doesn’t let un-extracted powder show its effects. If not at farms, powdered or whole mushrooms need to be subjected to extraction at home.
Reishi is not meant to be consumed raw. If one uses it raw, they will just have indigestible substance in their body. If people consume it raw, they can only get bitter taste in their mouths with little or no health benefits.
How to Consume Reishi Mushroom
Reishi is not a delicacy. If it did not have medicinal use, nobody would ever think about introducing it to human consumption. First of all, it is hard to bite. And it tastes like soil. Its bitter taste doesn’t help either. If the taste is too much for you, you can sweeten it with honey or molasses.
Powdered extract is ready for use. Just add hot water and drink. Liquid extracts can be drunk without further process, or can be added to tea or coffee for better drinking experience.
As reishi has no side effects, there is no limit to the amount one can take. Nevertheless, if you are on anticoagulant (blood thinning) or cholesterol medicine, you should be careful.
Reishi also contributes to blood thinning. If those medicines and reishi are consumed together, their combined effects can put too much pressure and harm the body. Please, take caution.
In case you have raw dry mushrooms, you can extract it yourself. The simple way is exposing it to heat. If you can, slice it for larger surface area. If you find it hard to slice because of its woody and hard body, you can wrap it up in a bag and then hammer it to get smaller pieces.
Then put 30 grams (1 ounce) of reishi mushroom into a normal sized pot and add water all the way to fill it up. Put the lid on and bring it to the boiling point. Once it starts boiling, turn down the heat.
Let the lid stay on. The goal is to expose the mushroom cells to heat so long that its cells walls break down. The required time is two hours after it starts boiling. If you put the whole mushroom without slicing or breaking it up, then allow three hours.
Once it is done, let it cool. You can pour it into a cup to drink. The rest can be kept in the refrigerator for a week. The liquid can be drunk like tea but it can also be used as a base for coffee, soup, etc. depending on one’s preferences.
Legend says reishi is an ingredient of the elixir of immortality. Such an elixir might not exist. But what exist are reishi’s wonderful medicinal properties. As science and technology develops, we will uncover hitherto unknown properties of that magical natural medicine.