Travel & Food

Reishi Mushroom: The Basics


Reishi mushroom goes by many names: Ganoderma lucidum, lingzhi, the mushroom of immortality, the herb of spiritual potency… the list goes on and on. The purpose of this post is simply to pull back the veil a tiny bit and share a few things I’ve learned and experienced firsthand. There is SO much to say about this mushroom; this is the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

Reishi is probably the most scientifically studied herb of all time. It has been the focus of innumerable studies over the years, starting in China/Japan and continuing around the globe in recent years. The science is a topic for another post; for now, check out these inspiring search results on reishi (ganorderma lucidum) at the National Library of Medicine’s website.


My first exposure to reishi mushroom was back in 2009. I started by taking a somewhat generic medicinal mushroom extract blend in capsule form. It contained reishi, cordyceps, lions mane, agaricus blazei, and one or two others. Since then I’ve taken some form of reishi almost every day. I have whole mushrooms (like the one pictured here) that I slice and decoct into a tea, I take powdered reishi extract in capsule form when I’m on vacation or otherwise too busy for teas and powders, and on “normal” days I put some powdered extract in my smoothies and elixirs. Over the years, not only have I noticed a huge boost to my immune system, but I’m also far, far less prone to anger, social anxiety, and other negative emotions. To say the least, reishi is a powerful herb. Even if you put the mountain of scientific research aside, it’s clear to me that reishi has profound mental and spiritual effects that become more real in your daily life than you would believe. When I first started taking reishi, I assumed it would be like every other herb and supplement I’d ever tried. You know what I mean… “maybe it’s good for me, but I don’t really feel anything”. Well, as a converted skeptic I’m here to tell you that I was proven very wrong! Reishi, more than any other supertonic or superfood, has opened my eyes to the fact that most humans live and die without ever discovering some of the great foods on this planet.

Hyperion Herbs is a great place to find high quality reishi extract at a reasonable price. I like the fact that Brandon goes out of his way to be clear about the fact that Hyperion’s selling reishi grown on duanwood logs. I won’t get into the details right now, but reishi has been shown to be more potent when grown that way versus, say, on brown rice patties (which is pretty common in commercial reishi powder production).

One of my favorite winter recipes is: 1-2 tbsp reishi extract, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1/2 tbsp maca, 2 tbsp hemp seed, a couple dates, and 20 oz or so of hot water. Sometimes I’ll throw a banana in there too, especially if I’m out of dates. This is such a delicious tonic beverage. The cacao, maca, and sugar from the dates are all pretty stimulating. The hemp seed makes it smooth and almost creamy. The reishi ties it all together with a bitter edge and a very mellowing effect. Just reishi extract powder and hot water is an amazing beverage (if you like the bitter flavor) that will help you relax and maintain focus for hours, but as a kick-start in the morning I like this more stimulating option from time to time.

Have any specific questions about reishi or what I’ve experienced while taking this herb? Post a comment below and I’ll do my best to give you a clear answer.

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