This dietary supplement is one that we here at Superfood Evolution both take regularly for its profound health-promoting influences. Not because of its long list of significant nutraceutical uses, but for other underlying benefits that it can offer to everyday life.
Often denoted as the "mushroom of immortality", yes, a seemingly bold claim to consider, however, this tonic has been valued as a longevity herb in East Asian cultures for well over 2,000 years.
What is this mysterious woody fungus?
Displayed proudly on our YT header, it is one of our most beloved top superfoods in the world as well as on our website and YouTube channel. It is the reishi mushroom, also known as lingzhi or Ganoderma lucidum.
Today, it is scientifically recognized for
its wide spectrum of benefits ranging from
metabolic to immune support.
Again, it’s not for the typical list of uses that we love reishi. It is our personal favorite top 10 superfood for these main reasons.
Here are the overlapping qualities that have made taking reishi mushroom so important to our daily health protocol for over 20 years.
Reishi, in our opinion, is one of the best herbal anti-stress allies you can take. This is due in part to its powerful qualities as an adaptogen, valued for increasing our body-mind ability to "adapt" or become more "adept" at handling stress-filled moments when they invariably come our way.
Life and the environment we live in is always in a state of change which can affect us on physical and emotional levels. Strong adaptogenic compounds in reishi can help to support the body's ability to overcome these various everyday stress factors.
Likewise, since taking on the stress in one's life is often associated with aging and a shortened lifespan, our ability to "adapt" is crucial to encouraging a healthy long life.
Often, those who take reishi mushroom notice a deep calm "peaceful energy" that appears to accompany its use. However, reishi teas or extracts are not drug-like, but more akin to tonifying foods which makes them generally safe to add as a dietary supplement for most people.
It is certainly not a cure-all to all of life's problems but can be a worthy ally to add to your arsenal of tonics. While it is one of the best in our view, keep in mind that what works for one particular person may not be suitable for another.
Also called "The Great Protector", reishi contains beneficial BETA-GLUCAN polysaccharides as well as the ANTIOXIDANT TRITERPENES known as ganoderic acids. These are the active constituents reviewed for their major support to immune, liver and cardio functions, in turn influencing one's overall health and well-being.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is highly respected as a longevity elixir, in both science and folk tradition, for all of these mentioned properties. Likewise, it comes as no surprise that it's also a top herbal remedy for promoting restful sleep.
Lingzhi's assets are cumulative, so regular use is favorable for long-term effectiveness.
To enable the release of beneficial components, however, the dried mushroom must be either simmered in water as a tea or infused in alcohol. Quality suppliers typically use a special alcohol and hot water extraction process which produces a liquid or spray-dried powder extract.
We give more on how to find the best reishi below.
Being human on planet Earth undoubtedly comes with its share of anxiety and worry. Some would say that learning how to bounce back from the overwhelm and negative cycles of thinking that it can cause is part of our evolution as a species.
To us, reishi is like the "personal assistant" of herbs that greatly supports this goal. By promoting a calm mind and open heart, it can provide the winning combination as a SHEN TONIC.
From our own experience taking a high-quality reishi extract for over two decades, we find it becomes easier to discover and maintain positive thoughts and feelings. This goes along with an increased sense of well-being and enthusiasm about life. This might sound a bit odd, but it is an aspect that is commonly acknowledged after consuming it, even for a short period of time.
Many herbalists conclude that if everyone were taking reishi mushroom, the world at large would be a far better place.
Ongoing reishi supplementation can not only bring about positive changes on physical and emotional levels but can likewise greatly enhance one's spiritual awareness.
Lingzhi is a highly valued Shen tonic renowned as the "Herb of Spiritual Potency" for its ability to open the heart and encourage meditative states.
Reishi mushroom benefits have been used throughout history by Taoist monks and spiritual seekers alike to sharpen concentration skills, build willpower and expand inner consciousness.
Once reserved for emperors and the ruling elite, the reishi mushroom was often found embroidered on imperial clothing, carved into stone and architecture, incorporated in legendary folk stories and painted into famous artwork.
Again, reishi mushrooms must be processed to concentrate their medicinal components and make them edible to humans.
Unlike other mushrooms, they typically have an unusual woody, cork-like texture and sometimes unique glossy varnished appearance. Ganoderma lucidum is derived from the Greek words gano and derma, which translates as "sheen skin". The Latin word lucidum means "shining."
The fruiting body or cap is rounded on one side with a kidney-like shape and has a patchy white to light brown underside.
One of the best ways that many suppliers process the reishi mushroom is by making a liquid or spray-dried powder from the mature mushroom using alcohol and hot water extraction methods.
Quality reishi is known for its strong bitter flavor, the more bitter the better. We personally don't mind the taste mixed into hot water or herbal tea, but others may prefer to take it in small amounts of water.
Over the years of taking it, we often like to also alternate between quality suppliers. Our favorites are Dragon Herbs Duanwood Reishi, Lost Empire Herbs and Jing Herbs. We occasionally use the brand Terrasoul, which is slightly more affordable yet still of good quality.
You can of course make a simmered brew using dried reishi or make your own alcohol-based tinctures. Mountain Rose Herbs sells whole organic mushrooms or sliced.
The most popular form of reishi is Red Reishi. However, you might also want to consider alternating between other types such as wild reishi, purple reishi or extracts that contain a number of reishi varieties.
"Wild" reishi mushrooms are particularly famed for their higher Shen-like qualities.
For those who really enjoy reishi as a regular herbal ally, you might also at some point wish to try reishi spore oil, usually in soft-gel capsule form.
This is a very highly concentrated oil from the "seeds" or spores of the fruiting mushroom. Known for its high triterpene content and Very therapeutic influence, it is viewed as an extremely precious substance extracted after the spores have been "cracked". Reishi spore oil is easily absorbed by the body and up to 100 times more potent than the fruiting body, already of a very high potency.