THE MIGHTY REISHI MUSHROOM
WHY YOU WANT REISHI MUSHROOMS IN YOUR KITCHEN
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands and thousands of years. Throughout history, Reishi mushroom’s medicinal value has earned it such names as: “the plant of immortality”, “the resurrection elixir”, “the elixir of life”, “the herb of spiritual potency”, “the tonic of kings’, ‘lucky fungus’ among others, but you get the picture.
REISHI MUSHROOMS ARE ADAPTOGENS
Anything awarded the very prestigious title of “Adaptogen” or “Adaptogenic” deserves a lot of attention as these plants are essentially tackling today’s biggest health challenge: stress and its impact. They do this by mainly supporting the adrenal glands and in turn manage the body’s response to stress. We often think of “stressors” as things that happen to us, such as interrupted sleep, work pressure, relationship issues etc. but there are also internal stressors that our bodies deal with every day. Examples of these are things such as irritable bowls, heavy menstruation, ulcers, bacterial infections or yeast overgrowths. Adaptogens, beyond managing our stress, are also seen as energy-enhancing, mood improving and promoters of inner balance. They are known as the most prestigious classification of plant medicine because they have a unique (and still not fully understood) ability to adapt their function according to what our body needs, helping us cope with both external and internal stresses.
- Immune system booster/ regulator
- Anti-cancer (lots of cited reports)
- liver support, both repair and rebuilding
- Arthritis or other anti- inflammatory needs
- Insomnia and anxiety
- Allergies and asthma
- Candida overgrowth
- Chronic fatigue.
A SHEN TONIC
In TCM, Reishi is classified as a “Shen tonic”. Shen tonics are used to activate higher self and connection to the divine, providing feelings of serenity.
THE ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS
The Reishi mushroom contains multiple active ingredients including the most prized; polysaccharides and triterpenes.
Polysaccharides are essential in our diet as they lower blood sugar levels, increase artery capacity, improve pancreatic cell function, eliminate free radicals and improve blood cell reproduction in addition to having antiviral properties.
Triterpenes are steroid-like molecules that inhibit histamine release and have anti-inflammatory properties which is one of the reasons why Reishi have such success with allergy relief.
Inflammation is a hot topic in medical research. It is well known these days that inflammation in the body is linked to almost all diseases including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. Bringing an anti-inflammatory supplement into your life is one of the best things one can do in the name of disease prevention.
HOW TO TAKE THEM:
Reishi is generally presented either:
- Raw and dried, in whole, chunks or powdered
- As an extract in capsules
- As liquid tinctures or tonics
If you choose to buy the raw dried reishi mushrooms, you will need to make a decoction (AKA a strong tea or infusion). To draw out the medicinal qualities of the reishi takes longer than it does with delicate herbs, so the mushroom pieces should be simmered in boiling water for at least 15-20 minutes. The Reishi tea will keep for days and days so go ahead and make a few litters at a time so you can keep sipping on your brew. Drink at least 1 cup of Reishi tea a day. This is my personal favourite way to take Reishi since I always prefer to have contact with the actual plant if possible. Reishi tea is earthy and mild and non-offensive to drink but can get it also happens to lend itself incredibly well to brewed coffee at 50-50 brew.
If you choose to take Reishi in tonic form or capsule, do your research online to find a reputable brand and take as directed.
FYI: Reishi grows on hardwoods such as maple, oaks, and elms. They are very rare to find in the wild so most Reishi sold today is cultivated commercially.
WHAT NOT TO DO
There is not much point in eating Reishi powder since your body will not uptake the important components. Sprinkling Reishi on your smoothie bowl or adding them to smoothies is a waste of money in my opinion and you will get much more “Reishi” for your buck if you take an extract, tincture or decoction. Be wary of recipes with reishi powder.
As with all Adaptogens, they are safe to take for life and don’t need rest periods like with some plant medicine. In general, it can also take up to 3-months to fully appreciate their effect on you, so don’t expect instant results! Buying Reishi shots or instant pouches really only make sense if you continue to do so every day. Reishi is non-toxic and can be taken daily without side effects.