The Reishi Mushroom has been revered as one of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms on the planet. The ancients called this fantastic fungus, “The Mushroom of Immortality,” due to it’s incomparable ability to heal an array of diseases and conditions in a multi-faceted approach. The Reishi is said to have the strength to heal the human body’s main organ’s and return them back to their natural state.
Studies have shown that Reishi mushrooms can help manage some of today’s most troubling age-related conditions, including autoimmune diseases, heart diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, liver disease, cancer, and more.
How can one little mushroom have such positive, healing effects in so many different areas of our overall health? The mushroom itself contains hundreds of biologically active molecules—all of which work together to have such broad-reaching health benefits.
Researchers have identified three specific compounds that are essential to Reishi’s powerful antioxidant and antiaging effects:
- Polysaccharides have anticancer effects based on their ability to prevent abnormal blood vessel formation, and to boost immune system function.
- Triterpenes protect the liver, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent platelet clumping that leads to heart attack and stroke, fight allergic responses triggered by histamine, and also possess anticancer activity.
- Ganoderma lucidum peptide is a unique protein that has remarkably potent antioxidant characteristics that are still being unraveled.
These three active super molecules help to make the Reishi Mushroom one of the most powerful mushrooms on the planet, boosting the immune system and expanding our life-spans!
So, now you want the Reishi, but where do you get them?
This magnificant medicinal mushroom can be found in North America and East Asia. They can be spotted growing out of the base of trees in forests usually in a damp area, near a river or creek. The Reishi Mushroom is rarely confused with any other mushroom due to it’s distinct red and orange appearance and rubbery texture. The Reishi’s underbelly is pure white and smooth.
Reishi Mushroom Identification Characteristics
So you wanna know the specifics of reishi mushroom identification?
Saprotrophic, meaning it feeds on dead organic matter. Look for them on dead or dying trees and old stumps or logs.
Grows on hardwood stumps and logs including oaks, elms, beeches, maples, and more. The tsugae species seems to prefer conifers, mainly hemlocks (tsuga means hemlock).
Kidney or fan-shaped and reddish with a wet, lacquered appearance when young. The shiny, reddish cap is one of the main identifying features of reishi mushrooms. As they age the flesh becomes tougher and spores drop. Air currents often blow these spores to the top of the mushroom, dulling its shiny cap.
The cap rarely gets larger than a foot across and an inch or two thick. It may or may not be attached to a stem.
The newest growth often shows up as a whitish edge. A main difference between the two species is that Ganoderma lucidum has a more brownish flesh color and Ganoderma tsugae has whiter flesh (see pictures below).
Ganoderma lucidum prefers warmer regions and is found in many parts of Asia, Australia, South America, Southern Europe, and the Southeastern United States. Ganoderma tsugae likes colder temperatures, and can be found as far as the Northeastern United States.
Time of year:
Summer to fall for all species.
Here’s a great view of the cap of Ganoderma lucidum. You can see the shiny appearance and new white growth on the edge. Note the reddish color as well.
The Ganoderma tsugae
The Ganoderma tsugae. Notice how the caps of these mushrooms are whiter/lighter-colored than their lucidum relatives?
If you find reishi, you’ll have to make a tea to reap the reported health benefits. They’re simply too woody to eat like other mushrooms.
Fortunately, there are no poisonous reishi look-alikes. In fact, there are no known poisonous polypores! So hunting for reishi is pretty safe.
Keep in mind that you should always consult with someone experienced when hunting for a new medicinal mushroom.
When in doubt, Throw it out!
Good luck Reishi Hunting and Healing!!