Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
Other common names: Red reishi, lingzhi mushroom, shenzhi, mulingzhi, ruicao, xiancao, God’s herb, holy mushroom, lacquered bracket, lucky fungus.
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Immune booster, liver tonic, anticarcinogenic, blood sugar regulator, antioxidant, cardiovascular tonic, improves mental focus, antitumorigenic, adaptogen, lowers blood pressure, antitussive, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic.
First harvest is in June, and another less plentiful harvest may be conducted in late summer. If harvesting in the wild, ensure that the mushrooms are not endangered in your area (they are scarce in some places due to environmental damage and other factors), and only take mature specimens.
Part used: Fruiting body, spores, mycelium
Triterpenes (including ganoderic acids), polysaccharides, sterols, alkaloids, ergosterols, proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, mannitol, coumarin, vitamins, minerals and others.
Weakened immune system, autoimmune conditions (check with your doctor first, as some immune boosters are not suited for autoimmune patients), chronic stress and illness, exhaustion, anxiety, depression, liver health (has been used as a support supplement in patients with hepatitis B), cancer prevention and support (consult with a doctor before using if you do have cancer), diabetes (type 2) support, coughs, chronic fatigue syndrome, poor circulation, heart health, altitude sickness, inability to focus, tumours, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, asthma, bronchitis, cold/flu symptoms, viral and bacterial infections, hair loss.
The spores can be processed and used to make a powder or a fluid extract, and are considered by some to be the most potent part of the mushroom. The fruiting body can also be used in the same way. Powdered reishi can be put in capsules, as well.
While external use isn’t as common, reishi extract has been included in some cosmetics and anti-inflammatory creams.
Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Do not administer to children without the advice of a doctor. If you have diabetes or cancer (or any other serious underlying condition), consult with a doctor prior to use – reishi may interact with your treatments. It may also interact with blood thinners, blood pressure/blood sugar modifying medications, Do not take for long-term on a daily basis without taking a break. Side effects may occur when reishi is taken (especially in high doses) daily for longer than four months. These side effects are rare, and include nosebleeds, dry mouth, stomach upset and skin irritation. Do not take two weeks before a scheduled surgery, as it may increase the risk of bleeding.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
In Asia the reishi mushroom is associated with longevity, endurance and even immortality. It was considered to revitalize the qi, or vital life force in the body, improving intellectual capacity and mental focus, as well as restoring health after a long illness. It was considered a valuable aid to meditation and energetic balance, as it quieted and calmed the mind. Asian brides would bring reishi as part of their contribution to the marriage, and it was considered a very valuable gift to her new husband. It was also a subject of art and architecture throughout eastern history.
Many report that the farmers harvesting reishi experience a sense of euphoria when doing so.
Reishi is considered by some to be slightly on the warm side, but some also claim that it has a neutral constitution (as far as temperature is concerned).
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.