Information on Reishi

Latin NameGanoderma lucidum
Other NamesLing zhi
Part UsedFruiting Body
Herb FormsTincture, powdered extract, tablet, capsule, bulk herb.
AffectsImmune system, Nervous system, Liver, Cardiovascular system
CautionsNone noted.
Botanical InfoA beautiful red- or black-varnished, hard mushroom that grows with a long stalk on dead trees.
DescriptionReishi is an ancient mushroom, used in Asia for thousands of years as a longevity and powerful restorative remedy. It is a powerful immune-strengthening mushroom that has been revered as a panacea for 2,000-3,000 years in China. In some studies, it appears to regulate blood sugar, relieve allergies, reduce heart problems, alleviate insomnia, and possibly lower cholesterol. In China, it is known as the 'mushroom of immortality' and is used for fatigue, neurasthenia, and insomnia.
I have found it useful for many kinds of deficiency syndromes, such as AIDS, chronic fatigue, and cancer--in conjunction with a total constitutional tonification program.
Reishi extract is especially useful for helping to reduce fatigue, "calm the spirit," promote a restful sleep and night, and reduce anxiety and nervousness in people who have deficiency, or adrenal weakness.
Reishi can be found alone or blended with other herbs in liquid extracts, powdered extracts, and powders. It is best to use only extract products, because the powder is often not efficiently absorbed and is generally too weak for full therapeutic benefits.

Notes on reishi preparations:
The powdered extract is the best form to use to maximize the herb's tonic properties. This is made by boiling down the mushroom fruiting bodies in hot water which breaks down the cell walls and releases large-molecular weight polysaccharides (giant sugar molecules). This hot tea is then reduced under heat, ground up to a smoothie-like consistency and then dried and powdered. The average tonic dose of this powdered dried tea concentrate is about 2-4 grams/day. With "00" caps (about 400-500 mg/cap), use 2-3, 2-3 x daily with meals.

Reishi has a taste of SWEET, MILD and a temperature of WARM.


Powder2-3 capsules 2-3 x daily
Decoction10-25 grams daily

Ailments Treated by Reishi

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Cancerimmune tonictincture, tablet, tea
Chemotherapy side effectsimmune strengthenertablet, tincture
Convalescence, from long-term illnessnourishing tonictincture, tablet
Liver, protectantliver tonictincture, tablet
Lupus, mildimmune tonictincture, tablet
Hypoglycemianutritive tonictablet, capsule, tincture
Hysteriatonifying, calming to the spirittablet, capsule, tincture
Immune deficiencytonifying to the immune systemtablet, capsule, tincture
Jet lagadaptogen, immune modulatorextract in capsules or tablets, tea
Nightmarescalming to the spirittablet, tincture, capsule
Protectivestonic, liver protecant, calmanttablet, tincture
Radiation side effectsimmune tonictincture, tablet, capsule
Xray radiationimmune tonictincture, tablet
Insomniacalms spirittea, tincture, capsules, tablets
Nervousnesscalms spirittea, tincture
Nervous exhaustioncalms the spiritpowdered extract in capsules or tablets, tea


McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Hobbs, C. 1996. Medicinal Mushrooms. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press.