A Beginner's Guide to Reishi

A Beginner's Guide to Reishi

Latin name: Ganoderma lucidum
Origin: China
Alternative names:
Ling chih
Ling zhi
the Mushroom of Immortality
the Mushroom of Spiritual Potency
Parts used: The fruiting body of the mushroom
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Immune System

Reishi Mushrooms contain hundreds of biologically active molecules which promote the immune system, longevity, the cardiovascular system and the brain. One of these compounds is Ganoderma Lucidum Peptide which is thought to be responsible for its potent antioxidant capacity, with polysaccharides & triterpenes targetting inflammation which in turn can bolster the immune system. Triterpenes also offer protection against viruses, fungal and microbial infections and have been shown to strengthen the lining of the digestive system, helping to fight off bad bacteria whilst encouaging the growth of good bacteria. This can result in better digestion which leads to the absorption of more nutrients from the food you eat. It is now known that gut health plays an important role in immunity, with a healthy gut being an essential component to a strong immune system.

Liver Health

The Reishi Mushroom is a powerful anti-inflammatory and a known adaptogen - adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients which help your body adjust to stressful circumstances ranging from extreme heat or cold to infections or trauma. These adaptogenic qualities also help to improve liver function - this important organ is responsible for flushing toxins from the body and in circulating healthy blood and nutrients. 

Allergy Relief

Reishi benefits don't stop there - its steroid like anti-inflammatory compounds inhibit histamine, the chemical responsible for allergic reactions, giving it the potential to decrease the symptoms of allergies.

Cardiovascular System Support

Studies show Reishi can lower inflammation within the blood vessels whilst balancing hormone levels (high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be caused by hormonal issues). This strengthens the cardiovascular system and lowers blood pressure, making Reishi Mushrooms a great contributor to heart health. 

Folklore and history

The Reishi Mushroom is one of the most valued plants in traditional Chinese medicine, and is described alongside Ginseng as one of the two most important elixirs. Revered for over 2,000 years, this powerful mushroom has been harvested to almost extinction at times. Known as the "Medicine of Kings", one of its earliest known uses was as a special tonic for emporers seeking immortality. It was once considered a greater treasure than any jewel, being out of reach to the common people due to its tremendous cost and rarity.

Traditional use

One of the oldest mushrooms to have been used therapeutically, the Reshi Mushroom belongs to a special class of Chinese Medicine known as "tonic herbs". These are herbs that make a powerful contribution to overall health and vitality and are not just prescribed for illness, rather they should be incorporated into one's daily diet to reap their various benefits.

Traditional Eastern Medicine attributes the success of Reishi Mushroom to its ability to "defend the equilibrium" and maintain balance in the body. For thousands of years Reishi has been used by monks, Taoist adepts & spiritual seekers throughout Asia in the belief that it helps to calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves and build willpower resulting in the attainment of wisdom - earning it the name "the Mushroom of Spiritual Potency".

Typical use

Take 2 grams up to twice a day or as directed by a herbal practitioner


Reishi contains several major constituents, including sterols, coumarin, mannitol, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids called ganoderic acids.


Side effects from reishi can include dizziness, dry mouth and throat, nosebleeds, and abdominal upset. These rare effects may develop with continuous use over three to six months. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult a physician before taking reishi.


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  2. Boh, B., et al. (2007). Ganoderma lucidum and its pharmaceutically active compounds. Biotechnology Annual Review, 13, 265-301. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1387265607000323

  3. Wang, S. Y., et al. (2012). Anti-tumor and immunomodulatory activities of polysaccharides from the medicinal mushrooms Ganoderma lucidum and Hericium erinaceus. Journal of Functional Foods, 4(2), 614-623. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464612000703

  4. Batra, P., et al. (2013). Ganoderma lucidum spore extract inhibit endothelial and breast cancer cells in vitro. Journal of Medicinal Food, 16(02), 147-158. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2012.0247

  5. Ren, Z., et al. (2012). Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides stimulate the proliferation of rat lymphocytes in vitro. Journal of Zhejiang University. Science. B, 13(12), 1020-1026. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3524381/

  6. Ji, Z., et al. (2014). Immunomodulation of bone marrow macrophages by GLIS, a proteoglycan fraction from Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt.:Fr.) P.Karst. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 16(05), 485-495. https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,4d4fc4fb13234428,51de514e1f24e91c.html

  7. Cao, Q. Z., & Lin, Z. B. (2006). Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides peptide inhibits the growth of vascular endothelial cell and the induction of VEGF in human lung cancer cell. Life Sciences, 78(13), 1457-1463. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320505009445

  8. El Enshasy, H. A., et al. (2016). Optimization of submerged culture conditions for the production of bioactive polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, 24(2), 129-137. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791188/

  9. Wang, S. Y., et al. (2013). Ganoderma lucidum extract inhibits proliferation of SW 480 human colorectal cancer cells. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 5(3), 781-784. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/etm.2012.840

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