06.28.2021 •

What is Red Reishi?

As we continue the conversation on immune boosting, I’d like to also introduce an prestigious adaptogenic herb that has been used for centuries in TCM as a tonic, the Reishi mushroom. Due to its scarcity in the wild, it is traditionally referred to as the “divine herb”, and folktales of its immortality were widespread. According to classical texts, Reishi is divided into five different types, each colour resembling one of the five elements. I will cover Red Reishi in this post as it is most commonly used today:

Red reishi tastes bitter and is neutral in property, with the following functions:

Releases chest stagnation & benefits heart Qi – It’s red colour and bitter taste determines its benefits in the heart, and replenishing the emperor organ’s Qi will improve circulation in the cardiopulmonary system, hence unblocking any stagnation. Studies have also shown reishi’s benefits in treating respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

Tonifies middle & benefits essence – By tonifying Qi in the middle jiao and replenishing the body’s essence, this allows the herb to replenish all the vital organs responsible for our immunity. This function is also reflected in the fact that the beta glucans in reishi act as a prime immunostimulant to prevent infections, and that its adaptogenic qualities aid in battling fatigue.

Calms mind & increases wisdom – Last but not least, reishi is well known for its stress alleviating properties, which is illustrated in this function. Moreover, the herb is shown to be effective in preventing memory loss in Alzheimer’s as well as treating depression.


Adrien Ip graduated from the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Vancouver as a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is currently a CTCMA-accredited Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Having completed his internship in Taiwan, Adrien has extensive practical experience in a hospital setting, including training in the intensive care and oncology unit. Currently, Adrien has a private practice in Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia, focusing on internal medicine, autoimmune diseases and various complicated illnesses using a combination of herbs and acupuncture. Besides clinical practice, Adrien is also an instructor at TCICTCM, sharing his knowledge through the teaching of theoretical and clinical courses