The Reishi Mushroom is known the world over as a mushroom with equal amounts of both of medicinal and divine power. With a multitude of names exemplifying its extraordinary capabilities, we might think of the Reishi mushroom as having unlimited potential for protecting our health and enabling connection with our inner higher power.
One of the most researched super-nutrient mushrooms in the world, Reishi has been used medicinally for 4000 years and is still going strong. Even more impressive is the fact that the legendary claims are morphing into scientific fact, with research studies continuing to prove the potent pharmacopeia of Reishi.
In Chinese Traditional Medicine, Reishi belongs to a class of medicinal concoctions known as ‘tonic herbs’, which are so vital for overall health preservation that they are recommended to be taken on a daily basis. Reishi was revered by Daoist monks who referred to the mushroom as “Shen tonic” which translates to “soul nourishment”. Daoist monks used Reishi to create a relaxed but focused mental state. This is the exact state that is sought after by meditators. Scientists are now in agreement – Reishi can calm the mind, create balance within the nervous system with great effect and induce relaxed yet focused states of mind. Reishi is perfect for mediating and in particular directing Chi or life-force into certain points of the body. When we ease into a meditative state we can mentally visualize any part of our body we wish to direct our vital energy towards — in this case, we can mediate and direct Chi into our pineal gland. Reishi will help to facilitate the transportation of Chi. When we direct life-force towards our pineal gland in this way, we both nourish and acknowledge it, which can be the beginning of awakening the vast intuitive intelligence that lays dormant within our Their Eye. Reishi is an adaptogenic herb which supports our whole endocrine system, gradually coaxing a more stable hormonal profile, along with an increased ability to reawaken our “molecules of consciousness”. The more balanced our endocrine system is, the healthier our mood is, our sleep/wake cycle improves, we feel an enhanced connection to others and our perception and awareness increase.
Botanical name – Ganoderma Lucidium
Greek name – Ganoderma – “Shining Skin”
Nickname – Mushroom of immortality
Chinese – Lingzhi – líng, “divine” + zhī “fungus”
Chinese – Shenzhi – shen “spirit, God, divine” + zhī “fungus”
Daoist/Taoist translation – immortal, wizard, soul nourishment
In Chinese dialects across China, Ling also means “spirit, spiritual; soul; miraculous; sacred; divine; mysterious; efficacious; effective”. In Chinese languages, Lingzhi can also translate as “plant of longevity”. In English, Lingzhi can be translated as “possessed of soul power”, “Herb of Spiritual Potency”, “divine mushroom” “divine fungus” among many other translations!
The Japanese word reishi is a Sino-Japanese loanword deriving from the Chinese word lingzhi.
Emperors sought out Reishi believing it would grant them immortality. Even though immortality is impossible, extending our lives is absolutely within our reach — and scientific studies have verified that Reishi has some serious life-extending qualities. Let’s delve in a little deeper.
With excessive reliance on processed foods, absorption of environmental toxins both in the home and outside, along with little to no effort to detox or cleanse; our liver is overtaxed and desperate for some support from us. The liver is a very efficient detoxifier, however, we should not take it for granted by any means. If you feel tired, with a low mood, and not your best self in general, symptoms like this could suggest a sluggish overloaded liver. Reishi is a powerful tonic that can help to reverse liver damage and liver disease by promoting regeneration of healthy liver cells. This means a greater quantity of liver cells and liver enzymes, enabling our liver to do its detoxifying job more efficiently. A stronger liver equals a greater ability to detoxify and flush harmful accumulated toxin out of the body. A fully functioning liver also means a more positive outlook on life along with a less melancholic perception of reality — as a healthy liver is linked to a more stable mood.
When we are highly stressed — our brain stops working to a large extent, in a bid to preserve energy and focus instead on fight or flight survival, rather than complex prefrontal cortex functioning. We need our frontal cortex working efficiently because without it we will struggle to finish writing and sending those important emails, make mistakes on that accounting spreadsheet and then go home and burn the dinner by accident! This is cognitive burnout — caused by chronic stress. Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies Reishi as a tonic herb, which “Calms Spirit”. Prescribed throughout the centuries as a viable way to calm the nervous system down, reishi is also a perfect stress reduction herb. When we experience stress — which all of us do, whether at home or at work — reishi’s adaptogenic power enables us to adapt to stress and deal with it more efficiently. This is due to Reishi being an abundant supplier of bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides and triterpenes, which help humans adapt to stressful situations. This results in us being able to back away from the high-stress response, both physically and mentally. Regular use of reishi can protect us from the damaging effects of chronic stress. Reishi mushrooms are also packed with anxiety calming compounds and can also help to alleviate insomnia. For overwhelm, chronic stress, fatigue of mind and body, cognitive haze and burnout – reishi is nature’s answer to a natural coping mechanism that will not only support you but breathe life and energy back into your being.
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry published a study in 2009 demonstrating the polysaccharide power of the Reishi mushroom. Polysaccharides are unrivaled as immune boosters and in their ability to prevent abnormal blood vessels from forming which can lead to cancer. A 2011 study suggested that the bioactive compounds of Reishi are adept at seeking out and destroying cancerous cells. The life-extending properties of the polysaccharides found in the Reishi mushroom are worth taking notice of, as these could play a leading role in your current health and pay huge dividends in the future, helping you to avoid disease and live longer.
The Reishi mushroom has demonstrated neuroprotective properties and can help protect the brain from epilepsy. A 2012 study was published in Neuropharmacology which looked into the effects of Reishi consumption on the brain. Researchers found that Reishi has neuroprotective properties and that compounds in this wonder mushroom could stimulate activity in the brain’s neurons by promoting the production of new neural pathways. This is achieved by activating the proliferation of “Nerve Growth Factor” within brain cells. NGF is a brain protein vital for healthy neurological and cognitive function along with overall brain function and health. This same study also suggested that Reishi mushrooms may have therapeutic effects on the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders.