Reishi is scientifically known by the name of Ganoderma lucidum, and Lingzhi mushroom in China. Chinese herbalists idolized these amazing fungi, claiming its immortality and spiritual properties in their medical texts. Ancient Taoists thought that Reishi was able to bring happiness and health to those who ate it. As a matter of fact, parts of these properties have been scientifically analyzed and proved, indeed, Reishi is one of the few mushrooms species whose DNA has been completely sequenced. Researches in fact have proven the health benefits provided by Reishi, specifically the life-span expansion (thanks to the great polysaccharide content) the deep relaxation and physical rejuvenation.
There are various legends behind Reishi mushrooms, all centered on its spiritual power. The followings are two out of the most powerful and poetic legends! The first legend behind Reishi takes place in a small village in China, where a young student called Mr. Ambition lived. Mr. Ambition wanted to become a governmental officer so he studied very hard to pass the empirical examination, although after dozens times of failure he decided to change his path and become a Taoist Monk instead. He wanted to leave behind the mundanity and dedicate his life to self-consciousness and spirituality. After few years as a monk, Mr. Ambitious found himself in front of a mirror, he looked up that figure but didn’t recognize himself: he was extremely thin, he looked ill. That’s the moment he decided to leave the temple and to go back to the mundanity and get healthy again. He created a construction company and made his own fortune, even if he couldn’t restore his good health. One day, while building a large apartment, he found a very strange object that resembled to a human hand. Mr. Ambition got very scared, he thought that could be an omen for him! He went to a fortuneteller who told him that the object could represent a disaster for him, and the only way to transform it in good luck was to eat that strange object. He took a long pause and after evaluating all the possibilities, Mr. Ambition decided to follow the advice. He ate the object and what seemed to be a bad presage revealed to be his biggest luck! After few days his hair grew stronger and came back to the original color, his health restored, he felt incredibly good, and he had a spark in his eyes! A monk noticed that he looked different from other people and he suddenly understood that Mr. Ambition ate the “spiritual vegetable meat.” The monk approached to Mr. Ambition and told him that that incredible plant gave him the privilege to be a Taoist monk again and enjoy the immortality on Earth.
The second legend involves the emperor who, after discovering the amazing healing powers of Reishi, sent a float of 300 hundreds men and women to take it from the mountains. However, the float did never come back! The 300 men and women ended up on an island where they created a new community. That island was Japan!
Reishi mushroom is an adaptogen plant, which means it boosts human resilience to stress improving the overall health. Indeed, adaptogens don’t act directly on stress, but on the organism ability to respond to stress in the most effective way. It helps us to adapt to every challenge! Reishi, in particular, has been proving to have anti-aging properties, plus, it has properties in preventing cancer. Studies indeed have proven Reishi ability to reduce the metastasis of cancerous cells and prevent tumor growth. Reishi acts also as a detoxification of body, decreasing levels of toxins in our livers; it lowers blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory properties. Reishi mushroom, as many other adaptogen plants, boosts our immune system and gives us much more energy helping the body to perform better.
Reishi can be found in the market fresh or dried, in capsule and in powder. Because of its incredible sour taste, it is common to consume it mixed with juice, warm water, herbal tea, or mixed with other foods such as lentils, pasta or pastries.
For this recipe you would need dried reishi mushrooms and water. Quite easy :) Put the water in a stainless steel or a ceramic pot and bring it to a boil. Take small pieces of dried Reishi (3 or 5 grams) and let it simmer for at least 2 hours. In this way we’ll be able to extract all the molecules important to stimulate the immune system. It could taste a bit sour, so we advice you to add honey or maple syrup.