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Glossary: Reishi Mushroom

Sakara Glossary is your go-to place to learn the foundation of optimal health and wellness — we give you the 411 on the minerals, vitamins, and concepts that are integral to a healthier, more conscious, sexier life.

Reishi Mushroom (ray-sheeee)

Origin: Japan, China, Korea

Ganoderma lucidum, Ling Zhi

With nicknames like “Elixir of life,” “Food of the Gods”, and “Tonic of the Emperors”, the reishi mushroom is basically the prom queen of Superfood High. In all seriousness, if you haven’t begun exploring the wild wonderland of medicinal mushrooms, reishi is a prime place to start.

You’ll be in good company with this stuff; most ancient civilizations utilized reishi not only for a range of ailments, but also to enhance their everyday life experience. It was the drink of choice for great Chinese emperors and royalty to engage with their Higher Selves, and to increase longevity (hence, another nickname, "the 100,000 Year Mushroom"). And in Egypt, pharaohs considered it a special, but integral part of their diet for immortality.

Traditional reishi is said to support all three treasures: Jing, Chi and Shen energies  a rare feat for just one herb. In this way, it is praised as one of the most spiritual plants on earth and incorporating it daily is said to expand a mystical power within its user, and heal the heart, liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs.

Reishi mushrooms’ high-vibrational power comes to us by way of its hundreds of bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides (for anticancer properties and suppression of abnormal blood vessel formation), triterpenes (for fighting allergies, lowering cholesterol, and protecting the liver) and ganoderma lucidum peptide (for its unique protein profile that contains powerful antioxidants and anti-aging tools). Above all, reishi is constantly being researched and unraveled to discover its usage in preventative cancer treatments and protective DNA support.  

In ~200 B.C., when herbalist-emperor Shen Nong penned about reishi, he dubbed it a “superior herb,” a unique classification stating the mushroom caused no side-effects, and promoted radiant health and a long life by harmonizing all systems of the body. Even then, it was clear that reishi had an adaptogenic profile and could balance the physiological, mental and emotional stress of the body to help overcome challenges and maintain equilibrium.

Now, the last piece of the puzzle is: how do you make reishi a part of YOUR life?? Cultivated wild reishi in the form of powder is an easy way to mix in sauces and spreads (we’ve got you covered with our Magic Mushroom dressing), and blended into elixirs, tonics, smoothies or green juices. Another tried + true reishi recipe? Scooping a teaspoon in your morning java for a sustainable energy boost and hit of spiritual nutrition.

Fun fact bonus!: While it works to keep your organs toned and in balance, your spirit might be transcending to otherworldly places. Reishi has been discovered in the farthest reaches of the atmosphere, and is even hypothesized to survive in outer space in its dormant state, making it a truly cosmic experience to consume these ‘shrooms on the daily.

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