Reishi Mushroom

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a medicinal mushroom which has been widely used in China and in Japan for over 2000 years for its many health-promoting characteristics. Reishi mushrooms have been recognized by Chinese medical professionals as a valuable remedy used as a tonic and strengthening medicine. Its Chinese name, Lingzhi, means “spiritual potency”, and they regard it as the “Medicine of Kings”, also called “mushroom of immortality”.

Historical Anecdotes

Since the Yuan Dynasty (CE. 1280-1368) in China, depictions of Reishi have been rendered on everything from jade to carpets, furniture, paintings, and the facades of the Emperor’s palace at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

In Japan, the dried mushroom was hung in the home or its entranceway as a talisman to ward off evil. Upon marrying, Japanese women carried the mushroom into the home as a treasured item to use should any “grave” matters occur in the newly adopted family.

Chinese Emperor holding a Reishi mushroom.

Foraging Reishi

It is possible to find Reishi growing naturally in the forests of Australia. The key signs are its red appearance and white underside. To test it, grab a stick and attempt to write a letter on the underside of the mushroom, and if you are able to do it, you’ve found a Reishi…

foraging for reishi - write below mushroom

Recent Reishi mushrooms that Thomas, Chief Scientist, and Julian found at Nightcap National Park.

5 key benefits

  • Support the immune system, lowering inflammation
  • Induces of a feeling of relaxation and calmness
  • Antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal
  • Detoxification of the liver
  • Possess cancer-fighting properties

(See reference to medical journals below)

How to consume it 

reishi cacao powder drink

Photo Credit: Lola Life on a Plate

Reishi mushrooms grow on trees, mainly decaying hardwoods. They are edible off the tree, but not very tasty to consume this way due to an unpleasant texture and a very bitter flavour. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, once harvested, the Reishi would be cut into slices or chunks. It was dried in the sun and then boiled in hot water to make a tea.

A more modern, but now equally popular method of Reishi consumption is in a powdered form of Reishi being added to hot drinks, smoothies or soups. The flavour of Reishi is earthy and slightly bitter, and so it pairs well with coffee or cacao in drink form.

Whether you add Reishi mushroom powder to your morning coffee or evening hot chocolate or drinking it up in tea form, the important thing is to make sure you are getting Reishi into your body every single day. After all, it is has been regarded for thousands of years as the mushroom of immortality and is now understood by western medicine to be a powerhouse of immune boosting properties.

Author: Julian Mitchell, Co-founder of Life Cykel.


[1] Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom yamabushitake (hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: A doubleblind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research. 2009;23(3):367-72.

[2] Mori K, Obara Y, Hirota M, Azumi Y, Kinugasa S, Inatomi S, et al. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 2008;31(9):1727-32.

[3] Lee JS, Hong EK. Hericium erinaceus enhances doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Cancer Lett. 2010 11/28;297(2):144-54.

[4] Lee JS, Cho JY, Hong EK. Study on macrophage activation and structural characteristics of purified polysaccharides from the liquid culture broth of hericium erinaceus. Carbohydr Polym. 2009 8/4;78(1):162-8.

[5] Wang JC, Hu SH, Wang JT, Chen KS, Chia YC. Hypoglycemic effect of extract of hericium erinaceus. J Sci Food Agric. 2005;85(4):641-6.

[6] Mori K, Kikuchi H, Obara Y, Iwashita M, Azumi Y, Kinugasa S, et al. Inhibitory effect of hericenone B from hericium erinaceus on collagen-induced platelet aggregation. Phytomedicine. 2010 12/1;17(14):1082-5.

[7] Zhang Z, Lv G, Pan H, Pandey A, He W, Fan L. Antioxidant and hepatoprotective potential of endo-polysaccharides from hericium erinaceus grown on tofu whey. Int J Biol Macromol. 2012 12;51(5):1140-6.

[8] Dietary supplementation of H. erinaceus increases mossy fiver-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice. Brandalise et al., 2017. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2017, Article ID 3864340, 13 pages.

[9] M. Nagano, K. Shimizu, R. Kondo et al., “Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake,” Biomedical Research,vol.31,no.4,pp.231–237,2010.

[10] Immunomodulatory activities of a fungal protein extracted from hericium erinaceus through regulating the gut microbiota. Diling et al., 12 June 2017, Original Research.

[11] Anti-obesity activity of Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) powder in ovariectomized mice, and its potentially active compounds. Eri Hiraki et al., J Nat Med DOI 10.1007/s11418-017-1075-8.

[12] Amycenone, a nootropic found in Hericenum erinaceum. Kazutoyo Inanaga. Personalized medicine Universe 1 (2012).

[13] Redox modulation of cellular stress response and lipoxin A4 expression by Hericium Erinaceus in rat brain: relevance to Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. A. Trovato et al. Immunity & Ageing (2016) 13:23.

[14] Hericium Erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., A Medicinal Mushroom, Activates Peripheral Nerve Regeneration. Kah-Hui Wong et al., 2014. Chin J Integr Med.

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