Red Reishi mushrooms used in neurological therapies – stress, insomnia, psychiatric disorders, use in traditional Chinese medicine.
Wang Chung, China’s First Century Philosopher wrote that Red Reishi was used by Taoist priests in their search for enlightened consciousness…
“They dose themselves with the germ of gold and jade
And eat the finest fruit of the purple polypore fungus*
By eating what is germinal, their bodies are lightened
And they are capable of spiritual transcendence.”
*Red Reishi mushroom
For over 4,000 years Traditional Chinese Medicine has prescribed this woody mushroom for a general sense of wellness and well-being. A text from the Ming Dynasty of the sixteenth century quotes the ability of Reishi to “mend the heart”. “Elixir of Immortality”, “Medicine of Kings” and “King of Mushrooms” are just a few of its traditional names. These ancient physicians recognized that if the body was out of balance, then it could be plagued by all sorts of diseases. Red Reishi was their answer to treating the stresses of the body holistically. Even today the Red Reishi is so important to Chinese doctors that it is often incorporated into their business logos as a sign of respect.
In Japan it is called Reishi, in China it’s known as Ling Zhi and in America it’s commonly called Varnished Conk. While there are 6 other ‘colours’ of Reishi these are actually related species and it is the Red Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum which is considered the most medicinal and is therefore the one most prescribed throughout Asia and North America.
Red Reishi is recommended to prevent and treat an incredible array of ailments: arrhythmia, high-blood pressure, heart disease, hepatitis, chronic bronchitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein-Barr, muscle tension, liver function, HIV/AIDS and other immune-deficient disorders, influenza (the flu), altitude sickness, ulcers, diabetes, arthritis, all types of inflammation, allergies and poisoning. Active and ongoing studies in Germany, the United States, Japan and China continue to find new health benefits of this versatile mushroom.
Following numerous scientific and clinical cancer-related studies around the world it is commonly prescribed in Asia today to help boost both the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation treatments as well as help mitigate their side effects. “Studies done at the Cancer Research Center in Moscow have found Reishi to act as a host defense protector. It helps the body to fight cancer and slow down tumor growth. 1” “In China, many pharmacological, chemical, and biochemical studies have been conducted with this remarkable mushroom. Results show that Reishi meets all qualifications of being an ad-aptogen and tonic. Its use bolsters the immune system, stimulates health, and improves or prevents allergic conditions and a variety of degenerative and other disease conditions.2”
From a psychological standpoint Red Reishi is said to help with anorexia, insomnia, calming anxiety and promoting a healthy brain including assisting with memory and concentration. It has been posited that perhaps its ability to address these neurological conditions harkens back to its Ancient roots as a balancer of the body and spirit. In order to satisfy Western Medicine, however, further studies are needed to determine Red Reishi’s efficacy in this area.
In China, Red Reishi is traditionally made into a tea and allowed to steep for some time. With more than 90% ingestible fiber, the mushroom has a strong woody taste and is also incredibly bitter. True, some die-hards add it to salads and other dishes, but as it is readily available in capsule, extract and powder form most chose one of these more palatable options. Recommended dosages vary from 100 milligrams of extract daily to 1,000 milligram tablets 3 times a day, and some side-effects such as dry mouth, stomach upset and dizziness have been known to occur. Consult your physician or Naturopath to help you decide which dosage and method is right for you.
1. Treating Cancer With Herbs by Michael Tierra ND,
2. Miracle Medicine Herbs by Richard M Lucas
“Ill-health of body or of mind, is defeat. Health alone is victory. Let all, if they can manage it, contrive to be healthy!”