Mushroom of the Month - Reishi

Mushroom of the Month - Reishi

The farm got tucked in under a heavy blanket of fresh snow overnight, well protected for the long winter ahead. Even as the days have slowly begun to stretch back towards the light, we can take this time to sink down into the fertile darkness. It is a wonderful time to rest, turn in, and tend to our bodies after summer's outward exuberance and the hectic holiday season. A wonderful ally for this time of year is reishi mushroom.


Mushroom of Immortality

Reishi is often known as the herb of immortality because of its all encompassing support to the body. It has a long and rich history in Chinese medicine dating back thousands of years, documented through ancient scripts and artwork. Referred to as Lingzhi or the herb of spiritual potency in China, this mushroom was greatly revered and sought after to increase longevity and vitality and was attributed with therapeutic benefits such as tonifying effects, boosting vital energy, strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory and anti-aging effects.

The Medicine of Reishi

Reishi offers gentle, yet potent medicine that has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-viral properties. Its fruiting body is packed with polysaccharides, triterpenes, and amino acids that come together to educate the immune system, protect from cancer, nourish the heart, and tone the lungs. Reishi is also an adaptogen, helping the body cope with stress and calming the mind. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi is used to calm the shen - the spirit of the heart - to help calm anxiety and ease violent dreams. Reishi helps to increase oxygen uptake in the lungs and can be a loyal ally when hiking in high altitudes. 

Hemlock Shelf Reishi

While different kinds of Reishi can be found all over the world, the most common species found here in the Northeast is Ganoderma tsugae. This shelf mushroom can be found in our neck of the woods growing on dead and dying hemlock trees, and is easy to identify with its shiny red and yellow surface and woody texture. It is sustainably harvested in early summer from the magical forests here on the farm, and can be prepared in teas, broths, and tinctures.

Unlocking Reishi's Medicine

Reishi is not an edible mushroom. Even after hours of cooking, it will have the consistency of leather and cannot be digested. The cell walls of reishi are grown from chitin, the same substance that makes oyster and mussel shells hard. To unlock the potent medicine from the cells, fresh or dried reishi slices need to be boiled for a minimum of 14 hours to release the medicinal properties into the water. Other constituents, like triterpenes, are more alcohol soluble. 

We use a double extraction process that includes boiling the mushroom in water and tincturing in alcohol to make healing polysacharides and potent terpenes bio-available and open access to the full spectrum benefits of this ancient healing mushroom.

When buying reishi powder products it is important to verify that the powder has been cooked and dehydrated to unlock reishi's health benefits. Simply grinding reishi slices to a powder does not offer any bio-availability. 

Raven Crest Reishi Remedies

We offer reishi as a single tincture or together with other powerful mushrooms in our Mushroom Magic blend. This formula combines reishi along with turkey tail, maitake, lionsmane and shiitake that work together to boost the immune system and support your body's ability to cope with stress, making it a gentle and powerful ally to carry you through the long winter months. Our Allergy Relief formula includes reishi to help balance the over-the-top allergic immune response. And our Immune Education blend combines reishi with other roots and plants and acts as a preventative immunity tonic.

Let food be thy medicine

Add a slice of dried reishi mushroom to your bone broth recipe and a little reishi powder to your ceremonial cacao or coffee. Make a medicinal immunity broth with astragalus and reishi, simmer for 14 hours in a crockpot, reduce to half volume and store in ice cube strays. Add a couple of broth cubes to any sauteed vegetables, soups, or stews for a potent immunity boost. Or take the tincture daily through the winter months to support all your body systems and greet spring healthy and in balance.