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Reishi Mushroom: The Mystical Fungi

The reishi mushroom is an ancient delicacy that has been a staple in traditional medicine and cuisine for centuries. Among the many species of mushrooms, Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is a standout due to its unique appearance and purported health benefits. Known as the "mushroom of immortality," Reishi has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

What is Reishi mushroom?

Reishi mushroom is a type of fungi that grows on decaying wood. Its fruiting body has a distinctive flat, kidney-shaped cap with a shiny, reddish-brown color. The underside of the cap is dotted with tiny pores, through which spores are released. Reishi mushroom grows naturally in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is also cultivated commercially for medicinal and culinary purposes. There are 6 types of Reishi, Ganoderma, species. The Ganoderma Lucidum, or Red Reishi, is the traditional healing mushroom described in the ancient Taoist texts as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Other Ganoderma species that have therapeutic properties are the G. annulare, G. Resinaceum, G. Tsugae, G. Applanatum (artists conk), and G. Oregonense. However, the traditional Red Reishi is considered the most potent when considering its healing properties.

Reishi: the Sacred Mushroom of Immortality

In traditional Chinese Ling Zhi, Ganoderma lucidium translates into the Sacred Mushroom of Immortality. With its detoxifying properties and qualities as an outstanding adaptogen, red Reishi has been used by shamans and monks throughout history, as the consumption of this powerful botanical led to feelings of peace, tranquillity, and general well-being. Thus, red Reishi is considered a powerful spiritual mushroom, bridging the space between heaven and earth.
The names given to this red power mushroom highlight its powerful health benefits. The Japanese describe it as mannentake; meaning 10.000-year-old mushroom. This emphasises Reishi’s potency as a healing herb to enhance longevity.

Reishi Mushroom

What are the health benefits of Reishi mushroom?

Reishi mushroom has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. However, it is important to note that scientific evidence on the effectiveness of Reishi mushroom is limited, and more research is needed to confirm its health benefits. That being said, some of the potential health benefits of Reishi mushroom include:

  • – Reishi mushroom contains beta-glucans, which are complex sugars that can boost the immune system by activating immune cells such as macrophages and natural killer cells.
  • – Reishi mushroom has a high concentration of triterpenes, which are natural compounds that have been shown to help the body manage inflammation
  • – Reishi mushroom contains polysaccharides and triterpenes that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative stress, which can damage cells and contribute to aging and disease.


How do you use Reishi mushroom?

Reishi mushroom can be consumed in several forms, including capsules, powders, and extracts. It can also be brewed into a tea, added to soups or stews, or used as a supplement. It is important to note that Reishi mushroom has a bitter taste, so it may be best to start with a small dose and gradually increase it over time. It is also important to consult with a healthcare professional before using Reishi mushroom as a supplement, especially if you are taking medication or have a medical condition.

Are there any side effects of Reishi mushroom?

Reishi mushroom is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts. However, some people may experience side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and stomach upset. Reishi mushroom may also interact with certain medications, so it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using it as a supplement.


Reishi mushroom is a fascinating fungus with a long history of use in traditional medicine. While there is limited scientific evidence to support its health benefits, Reishi mushroom is generally considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts. If you are interested in trying Reishi mushroom as a supplement, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional first. As with any supplement or herbal remedy, it is important to practice caution and to always do your own research before use.

Bioactive compounds of Reishi

Reishi is an outstanding medicinal mushroom due to the large quantity and variety of triterpenes and triterpenoids. So far, 150 triterpenes have been identified, including lucidadiol, ganodermanandiol, adenosine, meroterpenoid, and unique ganodermic acids. The combination of these triterpenes and triterpenoids with water-soluble beta-D-Glucans create the polysaccharides that make Reishi such a powerful medicinal mushroom. These polysaccharides, proteins, and peptides (proteoglycans, peptidoglycans, and glycopeptides) saturate this power mushroom with phytonutrients like ergosterol mannitol and coumarin. Importantly, the healing properties of Reishi will be exponentially improved when the supplement contains both extracts of the mycelium as well as the fruiting body.

Reishi side effects

Although no complications or negative side effects have been reported when consuming Reishi, at higher dosages sleepiness can be experienced, due to Reishi’s natural calming effect.

Reishi supplements / capsules

Reishi is traditionally brewed into a soup or tea, and is not an edible mushroom. The quality of Reishi can be discovered in its taste; the more bitter the better, as the bitter taste indicates the high levels of triterpenes and triterpenoids. However, it is advised to take Reishi supplements or capsules when consuming Reishi, as the supplements contain bioactive compounds from both the mycelium and the fruiting body. This combination creates a synergy, increasing the effectiveness of the medicinal mushroom’s healing properties. The synergetic effect is especially true for the hepaprotective and cardiovascular benefits Reishi is known for. Additionally, the quality of Reishi is improved by the methods of cultivation. The highest quality Reishi extracts on the market are the fully grown Reishi mushrooms extracted from wood-log cultivation, using the latest extraction techniques.

Is reishi safe to use?

Reishi is considered safe to use; however, due to its immunomodulation properties, it is not advised to be taken with immune-suppressants. For women who are pregnant, or breastfeeding, it is not advised to consume Reishi supplements, as there is limited research available so far. It is always advised to discuss taking any Reishi supplement with your GP or health professional if you have any medical conditions.

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