The Restorative Benefits of the Red Reishi Mushroom
Are Red Reishi Mushrooms the Key to Immortality?
Although they may be a fungus, they’re definitely the good kind! Reishi mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years.Typically seen in modern times growing on decaying hardwood tree stumps throughout East Asia and North America, reishi mushrooms can be found in six different colors (purple, green, white, black, yellow, and red) and prefer tropical and subtropical climates. The red ones, however, are the only kind that interest us here. Red reishis are considered the “key to immortality” by some, and in China as “the divine fungus“, or the “mushroom of immortality,” (while others simply admire their many health-boosting properties). For most ailments that come with age are treated successfully by ingesting the reishi, such as high blood pressure, liver problems, arthritis, and others.
Another website on the subject elaborates that, “according to the ancient Taoists, the universe supports us when we are doing what we are meant to do in this life. Reishi helps us to fulfill our destiny. When we do what we are here for, we become “immortal” in that we leave behind the legacy we were born to impart to the world.” So there is another layer to the meaning of “immortality” of the reishis, but they can also promote physical longevity as well.
Known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an important adaptogenic herb, red reishis are used for disease prevention, and for helping the body maintain and restore balance after illness. Predominant in TCM is the concept of balance, and paramount to their philosophy is keeping the right amount of meditation, exercise, and nutrition to sustain optimal balance.
Red Reishis, or Ganoderma lucidum, are referred to in Chinese as Ling Zhi (zhi meaning mushroom and ling meaning spiritual potency) and considered particularly miraculous with regard to their health benefits since they are non-toxic immune modulators. This means they can adjust and regulate the immune system to optimal efficiency. And according to reishi.com, “When it is taken regularly, it can restore the body to its natural state, enabling all organs to function normally.
But what’s in them that specifically makes them so healthy?
Antioxidants are the top nutrition element found in reishis, and this is what makes them so great at fighting cancer. Add that to the fact that they aren’t known to interfere with traditional Western medical treatments for cancer, and you’ve got a win all around. They also promote liver function and detoxification, promotes heart health, reduces the risk of infections and viruses, balances hormones, and fights diabetes.
Additionally, red reishi mushrooms have tripterpenes as active ingredients, or ganoderic acids, which help alleviate allergies and improve oxygen utilization. They also enhance the body’s immune system and blood circulation, and can help with anxiety, hepatitis, insomnia asthma, and bronchitis. Dr. Axe explains in more detail that this is because they also contain “complex sugars known as beta-glucans, plant sterols that can act as precursors to hormones in the body” and recent studies suggest they “can lower inflammation and increase the release of natural killer cells (or cytotoxicity), which work to remove various types of mutated cells from the body.”
Also, although they are also known for their high blood pressure-lowering qualities, it is unknown whether they slow blood-clotting as well according to dietitican Lori Zanini. Since some doctors advise that the mushrooms can also cause blood thinning, those interested in taking them in any form should talk to their doctor first, especially if prescribed any form of anticoagulant or antiplatelet. However, it should be noted that most are able to take around 1.5 grams with meals after gaining doctor’s permission.
How can I get them?
Often found in dried form , as well as fresh or cooked, most will opt to ingest them without tasting them as they are quite bitter on the tongue. Tincture, extract, or powder forms ((usually in tea or supplement form) are most popular, as well as in soup.
You can make your own reishi tea by slicing or grinding the mushrooms into strips and boiling in water. After a few minutes, reduce to simmer for 1 – 3 hours. Finally, use a coffee filter (or something similar) to filter out the water for your tea. It will be bitter, so add honey or juice to your liking. You can also make “reishi spirits” by following the directions here, allowing for at least a month’s time for the concoction to sit.
As with any home remedy or health booster shared in my articles, please consult your physician before trying this in any form.