Known as Reishi in Japan and Ling Zhi in China, Ganoderma spp. is one of the most esteemed medicinal mushroom, with a long history of use for promoting health and longevity in the Orient. To highlight its revered status, it is sometimes called the “spirit plant,” “mushroom of immortality” and “herb of spiritual potency,” symbolising success, long-term vitality, divine power and longevity. Reishi has a reddish-black fruiting body with a varnished exterior and woody texture, and usually found growing on oak trees. In the past, reishi grew in small quantities in the wild, so it was very expensive and only the nobility could afford and use it. In recent decades, however, successful cultivation of Reishi has made it more accessible and affordable worldwide.
In addition to immune-supportive benefits like all other medicinal mushrooms, reishi’s actions show particular affinity for the lungs. It strengthens respiratory function and regenerates tissue structure, and has been used successfully as a treatment for bronchitis, probably by inhibiting the release of histamine. Reishi is also cardiotonic, liver-protective and detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-tumour, analgesic and enhances bone marrow red blood cell proliferation. When used regularly, Reishi as a whole body adaptogen can bolster resistance to infections, decrease the effects of stress and improve oxygen utilisation, which help you feel more energised and less fatigued while doing activities. Reishi has a grounding and calming effect, which makes it particularly suitable for people with anxiety, nervousness, chronic fatigue or insomnia. Polysaccharides, peptidoglycans, and triterpenes are three major physiologically active constituents in Reishi.
There are six types of Reishi species classified by colour (red, yellow, blue, white, black and purple), each bearing a specific taste and functional use. It is the red reishi (G. lucidum) that is generally regarded as the most potent and medicinal.
Reishi can be taken in various forms, but a double extraction (blend of decoction and tincture method) best delivers the mushroom’s benefits. Capsules or powdered Reishi are also widely available as a convenient alternative. Better products contain 10 percent polysaccharides and can be used in doses of 400-600 mg twice daily.« Back to Glossary Index