Farm-to-Table Reishi – Part 2

After understanding how reishi is cultivated sustainably, let’s talk about how this mushroom should be consumed to yield its full effects. Because Reishi is always dry-preserved after harvest, the traditional consumption method is to break up the herb into pieces, decoct it for several hours (often double boiling) and then drink the soup. This is however a very unappetizing way to consume as the active ingredients of reishi are very bitter in nature, and can be off-putting to many.

Fortunately, as technology advances, reishi extracts are now readily available in the form of essence powder. Similar to how herbal granules are produced, the extraction process begins by cutting up the fungus and processing it with the hot water extraction method. A simplified version of this method is boiling the herbs in hot water for several hours until all the active ingredients are extracted. The solution is then reduced to a highly concentrated powder.

The concentrated powder can either be used by TCM practitioners or is then encapsulated for those who do not prefer the bitter taste. It is important to note that high quality reishi products will only contain essense of a mature fruiting body of reishi that has undergone hot water extraction. Without breaking down this herb, your body is unable to absorb the active ingredients. There are many product in the market that offer reishi alternatives but they are not all equal in quality.

Reishi Mushroom: Fruiting body vs Mycelium

Awareness of medicinal mushrooms that boost health is on the rise, and for good reason. Research has shown that these formidable fungi contain a host of active compounds that can fight infections, improve immune function, and even help to prevent cancer. However, not all mushrooms—or mushroom parts—are created equally.

No doubt, as the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms, the red reishi has a long history of use, stretching back at least as far as 2400 years ago. Aptly named the “Mushroom of Immortality,” reishi is the most celebrated herb in all of Traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. So how can you get the most out of this miracle mushroom that has stood the test of time? To properly understand this question, it is a good idea to explore some basics about reishi mushroom anatomy. What part of the mushroom should we be consuming, the fruiting body or mycelium.

What is the fruiting body?

The fruiting body of fungi is the part that normally grows above ground. It’s the part you probably think of when you think of a mushroom. A fruiting body consists of a stem, a cap, and a spore-bearing surface, such as gills, pores, ridges, or teeth.

What is mycelium?

The mycelium is a cobweb-like mat that grows underground. It functions like a complex network, covering vast areas, and communicating with the surrounding environment. Think of it like Mother Nature’s answer to the internet. Mycelium acts like roots of the mushroom, absorbing and transferring nutrients to the fruiting body.

So what does all this mean?

Looking to get the full benefits of these magnificent mushrooms? Fruiting bodies are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. While both the mycelium and fruiting body contains beneficial polysaccharides that support a healthy immune system, only the fruiting body contains the potent phytonutrient ganoderic acid.

Ganoderic acids are extremely bitter compounds, so you’ll definitely want your reishi mushroom in an encapsulated form. This not-so-tasty compound has cardiovascular health benefits—including lowering elevated blood pressure—that the polysaccharides do not. Ganoderic acid has also been studied for its potential to treat and prevent various forms of cancer.

For centuries, the Japanese and Chinese have revered the medicinal powers of the fruiting body of the reishi mushroom. If you have opted for a reishi mycelium product, you are simply not going to see the same results as you would from using whole fruiting bodies. Fruiting bodies provides you with the most potent and effective medically active ingredients that can only be found in this part of the mushroom.

Choosing Your Reishi Supplement for Quality and Effectiveness

Choosing the right mushroom supplement can be confusing. How do mushroom supplements work? Is there really a difference between the various mushrooms? What can a mushroom supplement help treat? Are there any dangerous side effects? How do I take a mushroom supplement? If you’ve even wondered how to choose a reishi mushroom supplement, we’ve put together this handy guide to help point you in the right direction.

Reishi mushroom (also known as Ganoderma lucidum or ling zhi) has been an important herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It has been used for everything from preventing cancer and lowering blood pressure to warding of diabetes and improving concentration. With so much going for this miracle mushroom, it’s worth investing a little time to find the most effective reishi supplement.

A Mushroom with a Mighty Punch

Looking for some supercharged nutrition to boost up to your list of healthy lifestyle choices? Then you might want to add a Japanese red reishi mushroom supplement to your daily routine. Why, you ask? Because reishi packs a mighty punch as it offers a host of healing properties that are almost too good to be true.

Along with a longstanding historical and documented use by Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese kampo herbal medicine practitioners, there are numerous modern research studies to back up the preventative care benefits of these fascinating fungi.

Reishi mushrooms are one of the most beneficial types of food on the planet. They are bursting with heaps of curative compounds, like triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols, and various key polysaccharides. This highly praised herb has been used to treat and prevent cancer, detoxify the body, stimulate cognitive activity, and reduce inflammation. Reishi also provides amazing prevention from cardiovascular disease because of its ability to improve the efficiency of blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure. What’s more, reishi is also used to help calm the mind, something most of us can use in this busy go-go-go world. It’s no wonder that reishi is hailed as the “mushroom of immortality.”

How to Use Reishi Mushrooms

Because the cap of the reishi mushroom has a hard-outer shell once dried, and because of the chitin that protects the cell walls, in order to release the beneficial compounds, you can’t simply chow down on a raw reishi mushroom.

Traditionally, the reishi mushroom benefits are yielded using hot water extraction. In other words, break up the mushroom into small pieces and boil in hot water for long enough. Two to three hours of steeping can seem daunting if you plan to do this daily. To add to that, reishi is extremely bitter. It should be bitter, as many of those medicinal compounds mentioned above are bitter by nature.

Turned off the idea of taking reishi now? No worries, there’s a much simpler solution.

  1. Choose a high quality Japanese red reishi supplement in capsule form.
  2. Make sure it’s the fruiting body (the above ground structure that you normally identify as a mushroom—stem and cap) that’s used, not just the mycelium (the root-like structure). Though the mycelium is rich in polysaccharides that can benefit immune function, the fruiting body contains some healing compounds not found in the mycelium. Many of these compounds are adaptogenic, helping your body to manage stress, calm the mind, improve cardiovascular function, and support the liver.
  3. Make sure, as well, that it has been properly cultivated and harvested.

Oh, and if the thought of having to take a ton of tablets and capsules is not sitting too well with you, Mikei’s Japanese red reishi makes sure that you have a sufficient daily dose with just one a day. You can up your dose for specific reasons, but for preventative medicine use, one a day is enough.

Doing the healthy thing isn’t always easy. But, when it comes to a once daily routine of Japanese red reishi, it couldn’t be much simpler.