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Reishi Medicinal Mushroom: Guide to Healing and Wellness

By Gigi Cal

July 15, 2023

Welcome to the medicinal mushrooms directory, where we explore the remarkable world of the Reishi mushroom. In this article, we will take you on a journey through its fascinating history, delve into its therapeutic properties, and uncover the diverse range of health benefits it offers. So, sit back, relax, and let's embark on this exploration of Reishi, the king of medicinal fungi.

Reishi mushroom has been treasured for centuries, with its origins rooted in ancient Chinese and Japanese traditions. Revered as the "mushroom of immortality" and the "herb of spiritual potency," Reishi has played a significant role in traditional medicine, earning a well-deserved reputation for its health-enhancing properties.

A large red Reishi mushroom with a kidney-shaped cap sprouting at the base of a deciduous tree. The Reishi grows as a shelflike conk on the side of the tree trunk. Its top surface is a deep red and its underside has small pores instead of gills.

This article aims to provide you with an informative and enjoyable reading experience, as we guide you through the captivating world of Reishi mushroom. Whether you're a seasoned herbal enthusiast or just starting your journey into natural remedies, we hope to enrich your knowledge and spark your curiosity about this extraordinary fungus.

Reishi Mushroom Scientific Name: Ganoderma Lucidum

Reishi Mushroom Appearance

  • Size: Reishi mushrooms typically reach a diameter of 8 to 10 inches, making them quite sizable and visually striking.
  • Color: The cap of the mushroom displays a glossy reddish-brown color, resembling polished wood. However, it's worth noting that Reishi mushrooms can also manifest in other colors such as black, blue, and yellow, each carrying its own unique properties.
  • Shape: With its kidney or fan-like shape, Reishi mushrooms showcase an elegant and distinctive form that sets them apart from other fungi.

Reishi Mushroom Common Names

  • Reishi: Derived from the Japanese language, "Reishi" is the widely recognized name for this mushroom.
  • Lingzhi: In China, Reishi is commonly referred to as "Lingzhi," which translates to "herb of spiritual potency" or "mushroom of immortality." This name reflects the deep-rooted cultural significance and reverence surrounding this medicinal fungus.

Taxonomy and Classification of Reishi Mushroom

  • Kingdom: Fungi - Reishi mushroom belongs to the kingdom Fungi, which encompasses a diverse group of organisms that are characterized by their eukaryotic cellular structure and heterotrophic mode of nutrition.
  • Phylum: Basidiomycota - Within the kingdom Fungi, Reishi mushroom is classified under the phylum Basidiomycota. This phylum is home to a wide array of fungi that reproduce through the formation of basidia, specialized structures responsible for producing spores.
  • Class: Agaricomycetes - Reishi mushroom falls under the class Agaricomycetes. This class comprises various mushroom-forming fungi, including many edible and medicinal species.
  • Order: Polyporales - In the order Polyporales, Reishi mushroom finds its place. This order encompasses a diverse range of fungi, primarily consisting of polypore mushrooms known for their tough and woody fruiting bodies.
  • Family: Ganodermataceae - Reishi mushroom belongs to the family Ganodermataceae, which is specifically dedicated to the genus Ganoderma. This family includes other closely related fungi with similar growth habits and characteristics.
  • Genus: Ganoderma - The genus Ganoderma is where Reishi mushroom finds its classification. Ganoderma includes several species of medicinal mushrooms, with Ganoderma lucidum being one of the most well-known and extensively studied.
A closeup photo showing the top surface of a Reishi mushroom cap. The cap has a glossy, kidney-shaped form and is a deep reddish-brown color. The cap surface has a bumpy texture with small pores visible across it rather than gills. A white edge borders the cap. The background is blurred but shows the bark of a tree that the Reishi is growing on

Medicinal Properties and Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom is a powerhouse of medicinal properties that have made it a valuable component of traditional and alternative medicine practices. Let's explore the diverse array of potential health benefits that this remarkable fungus offers.

Reishi Mushroom Medicinal Properties 

Reishi mushroom exhibits several key medicinal properties, contributing to its widespread use in promoting overall health and well-being. Some of the notable properties attributed to Reishi include:

  1. Immunomodulatory: Reishi is renowned for its ability to modulate and enhance the immune system, promoting a balanced immune response and supporting optimal immune function [1].
  2. Antioxidant: This mushroom is rich in antioxidants, compounds that help combat oxidative stress and neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, thereby reducing cellular damage [2].
  3. Anti-inflammatory: Reishi contains bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, which can help mitigate chronic inflammation, a factor associated with various health conditions [3].
  4. Adaptogenic: Reishi acts as an adaptogen, assisting the body in adapting to stressors and promoting resilience, vitality, and overall homeostasis [4].
  5. Potential Anticancer Effects: Emerging research suggests that Reishi mushroom may possess anticancer properties, including the potential to inhibit tumor growth, prevent metastasis, and enhance the efficacy of conventional cancer treatments [5].

Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits 

The potential health benefits associated with Reishi mushroom are vast and have been subject to scientific investigation. Here are some of the notable benefits supported by research:

  1. Enhanced Immune Function: Reishi has been shown to stimulate immune cells, bolster immune responses, and improve overall immune function, thereby potentially reducing the risk of infections and supporting general health [6].
  2. Stress Reduction and Anxiety Relief: Reishi may help alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation, balancing mood, and supporting mental well-being [7].
  3. Improved Sleep Quality: Traditionally used to promote restful sleep, Reishi mushroom may help regulate sleep patterns and improve sleep quality, aiding individuals experiencing sleep difficulties [8].
  4. Support for Cancer Patients: Some studies suggest that Reishi mushroom may offer supportive effects in cancer treatment by alleviating treatment-related side effects, boosting immune function, and improving overall quality of life [9].

Active Compounds and Their Health Benefits 

Reishi mushroom owes its therapeutic properties to its rich composition of bioactive compounds. Here are some of the main compounds found in Reishi and their potential health benefits:

  1. Polysaccharides: Reishi is abundant in polysaccharides, which have been associated with immunomodulatory effects, antioxidant activity, and potential anticancer properties [10].
  2. Triterpenoids: These compounds found in Reishi, including ganoderic acids, have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and liver-protective effects, and may contribute to the mushroom's potential in cancer prevention and treatment [11].
  3. Peptides: Reishi contains various bioactive peptides that exhibit immunomodulatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities, contributing to its overall health benefits [12].

The fact that Reishi mushroom contains these bioactive compounds is a clear indication of its potential to promote health and well-being. Although further research is necessary to fully comprehend the underlying mechanisms and maximize its therapeutic applications, the current evidence strongly emphasizes the remarkable health benefits that Reishi brings to the table.

diagram of bioactive peptides in mushrooms

How to Prepare and Dose Reishi Mushroom 

Now that we have explored the medicinal properties and health benefits of Reishi mushroom, it's time to delve into the exciting realm of mushroom preparation. Whether you prefer traditional methods or modern applications, Reishi offers a multitude of options for consumption and integration into your daily routine.

Reishi Dosage Recommendations 

When it comes to dosage, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or follow product-specific guidelines, as recommendations may vary based on factors such as individual health, age, and desired outcomes. Generally, Reishi mushroom is available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and extracts, with suggested dosages typically ranging from 1 to 3 grams per day. Starting with a lower dosage and gradually increasing it can help assess your tolerance and gauge the effects on your body.

Reishi Traditional Preparations 

Reishi mushroom has a long history of traditional use, with different cultures employing unique methods of preparation. Here are a few traditional approaches:

  1. Decoction: Simmering dried Reishi slices in water for several hours to extract the beneficial compounds. The resulting liquid can be consumed as a tea or used as a base for other recipes.
  2. Dual Extract: This method involves both water and alcohol extraction to capture a broader range of bioactive compounds. It typically involves steeping dried Reishi in alcohol, followed by simmering in water. The resulting extract can be consumed orally or added to beverages and recipes.

Reishi Modern Applications 

Reishi mushroom is now available in a variety of modern applications that cater to different preferences. Here are a few popular options:

  1. Supplements: Reishi is commonly found in the form of capsules or tablets, making it convenient for those who prefer a standardized dosage of the mushroom's beneficial compounds.
  2. Tinctures: Reishi tinctures involve soaking dried Reishi in alcohol or a combination of alcohol and water. This method creates a concentrated extract that can be easily added to beverages or taken sublingually.
  3. Teas: Reishi mushroom tea can be prepared by steeping dried Reishi slices or using pre-packaged tea bags. This simple and soothing beverage allows for easy incorporation of Reishi into your daily routine.
  4. Extracts: Reishi extracts are available in liquid or powder form, providing a concentrated dose of the mushroom's active compounds. They can be conveniently mixed into various beverages, smoothies, or recipes.
cup of hot reishi mushroom tea

Reishi Mushroom Recipe Highlight: Hot Chocolate

  • In a small saucepan, heat your choice of milk (dairy or plant-based) over medium heat.
  • Add cocoa powder, a pinch of cinnamon, and a dash of sweetener (such as honey or maple syrup).
  • Stir in Reishi mushroom powder or extract until well combined.
  • Remove from heat and pour into a mug. Enjoy a comforting cup of Reishi-infused hot chocolate.

Visit my Reishi Mushroom Recipes article with 20+ ways to prepare Reishi!

Sourcing Reishi Mushroom: From the Wild to Purchasing High-Quality Products

Finding Reishi mushrooms in the wild can be a rewarding and adventurous experience, but it requires knowledge of their habitat and identification. Alternatively, if foraging is not feasible, you can explore various options for purchasing high-quality Reishi mushroom products. Here's a guide to help you source Reishi mushrooms responsibly and select the best products.

Foraging Reishi Mushroom in the Wild 

Finding Reishi mushrooms in the wild can be an exciting endeavor, but it requires a good understanding of their habitat, where to look for them geographically, the ideal time of year for harvest, and considerations regarding pests. 

Reishi Mushroom Habitat

Reishi mushrooms are typically found growing on decaying hardwood trees, particularly on oak and maple logs or stumps. These mushrooms thrive in moist and humid environments, such as forests and woodland areas. Look for older trees with bark that is starting to peel or show signs of decay. Reishi mushrooms often appear at the base of these trees or on fallen logs.

Reishi Geographical Locations 

Reishi mushrooms have a wide distribution and can be found in various regions around the world. They are native to parts of Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea, as well as North America and Europe. In North America, Reishi mushrooms can be found in deciduous forests, while in Asia, they are commonly associated with coniferous and mixed forests. 

Reishi Mushroom Locales in USA

  • Eastern United States: Reishi mushrooms can be found in the forests of the eastern region, including states like New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Look for them in deciduous forests where oak and maple trees are prevalent.
  • Pacific Northwest: The Pacific Northwest, including states such as Washington and Oregon, offers favorable conditions for Reishi mushrooms. Look for them in coniferous forests, particularly near areas with Douglas fir and hemlock trees.
  • Appalachian Mountains: The Appalachian Mountains, spanning from Georgia to Maine, are known for their diverse fungal populations. Reishi mushrooms can be found in this region, especially in the hardwood forests along the mountain range.
  • California: Various regions in California, particularly those with mixed woodlands and oak trees, provide suitable habitats for Reishi mushrooms. Look for them in areas like the Sierra Nevada foothills and the coastal forests of Northern California.
  • Midwest: Reishi mushrooms can be found in parts of the Midwest, including states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Look for them in forests with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees.
  • Southwestern United States: In the southwestern states, such as Arizona and New Mexico, Reishi mushrooms can be found in forests with a mix of pine and oak trees. These regions offer unique microclimates that support the growth of various mushroom species
Several varnished, reddish-brown Reishi mushroom conks protruding from the side of a hardwood tree trunk. The Reishi have distinct kidney-shaped caps up to a foot wide. Their glossy tops are a deep red, while their undersides reveal whitish pores instead of gills. A few younger, softer Reishi caps are also visible, pale orange in color. This growth pattern on deciduous trees is a key identifier of the Reishi mushroom species.

Where to Purchase Reishi Mushroom

If you prefer to purchase Reishi mushroom instead of foraging, there are several reliable sources available. Consider the following options:

  1. Health Food Stores: Many health food stores carry a variety of mushroom products, including Reishi mushroom capsules, powders, and extracts. These stores often prioritize quality and may offer products from trusted brands.
  2. Online Retailers: Numerous online retailers specialize in natural health products and offer a wide selection of Reishi mushroom products. When purchasing online, be sure to research the reputation and reviews of the seller or brand.
  3. Farmers Markets: Local farmers markets can be a great source for fresh Reishi mushrooms, as well as Reishi-infused products like teas and tinctures. Connecting with local growers allows you to support small-scale producers and often ensures higher quality and freshness.

Tips for Selecting High-Quality Mushroom Products

 When selecting Reishi mushroom products, keep the following considerations in mind to ensure their quality:

  1. Source and Origin: Look for products that clearly state the source of the mushrooms. Reputable brands often provide information about the origin and cultivation practices, ensuring transparency and traceability.
  2. Organic and Sustainable Practices: Opt for Reishi mushrooms that are cultivated using organic and sustainable methods, minimizing the use of pesticides and chemicals.
  3. Extraction Methods: Pay attention to the extraction methods used to produce extracts or tinctures. Dual extractions, involving both water and alcohol, are often preferred as they capture a broader spectrum of beneficial compounds.
  4. Third-Party Testing: Reputable brands may conduct third-party testing to ensure product quality, purity, and potency. Look for products that provide this information or certifications from independent testing laboratories.
  5. Reviews and Recommendations: Check customer reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources, such as healthcare professionals or knowledgeable herbalists, to gauge the effectiveness and quality of specific products or brands.

By considering these factors, you can make informed choices when sourcing Reishi mushroom products, ultimately ensuring that you are obtaining high-quality and reliable options for your health and well-being.

reishi mushroom caps in pill form

Safety, Side Effects, and Precautions When Using Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in appropriate amounts. However, it's important to be aware of potential allergic reactions, adverse effects, and precautions, especially for specific populations or individuals using medications. Here's some important information to consider:

Possible Allergic Reactions and Adverse Effects 

While rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or adverse effects when consuming Reishi mushroom. These can include:

  1. Allergic Reactions: Some people may be allergic to Reishi mushroom or other fungi. Allergic symptoms may include itching, rash, hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming Reishi, discontinue use and seek medical attention.
  2. Digestive Issues: In some cases, Reishi mushroom consumption can cause mild digestive discomfort such as stomach upset, diarrhea, or nausea. If these symptoms occur, reducing the dosage or discontinuing use may alleviate the issues.

Precautions for Specific Populations

Certain populations should exercise caution or consult with a healthcare professional before using Reishi mushroom:

  1. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Due to limited research, it is advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding women to avoid Reishi mushroom. Consult a healthcare provider before using Reishi during these periods.
  2. Surgery: Reishi mushroom may have mild anticoagulant properties, which could increase the risk of bleeding during or after surgery. It is recommended to discontinue Reishi mushroom use at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  3. Medications and Medical Conditions: If you have a bleeding disorder, low blood pressure, or are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, exercise caution when using Reishi mushroom. It may interact with these medications and potentially increase the risk of bleeding. Additionally, Reishi mushroom may affect blood sugar levels, so individuals with diabetes or hypoglycemia should monitor their blood sugar closely.

Interactions with Medications or Supplements

Reishi mushroom may interact with certain medications or supplements. Some considerations include:

  1. Anticoagulant or Antiplatelet Medications: Reishi mushroom may have anticoagulant effects, which could enhance the effects of these medications and increase the risk of bleeding. Consult with a healthcare provider if you are taking any anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications [13].
  2. Immunosuppressant Medications: Reishi mushroom may enhance immune function, which could potentially interact with immunosuppressant medications. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are taking any immunosuppressant medications [14].
  3. Other Medications or Supplements: Reishi mushroom may interact with medications or supplements that affect blood pressure, blood sugar, or immune function. If you are taking any medications or supplements, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure safe and appropriate use [15].

As with any dietary supplement or natural product, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting Reishi mushroom, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalized guidance and help determine if Reishi mushroom is suitable for you.

Remember, this information is not exhaustive, and individual responses may vary. If you experience any unexpected or severe side effects when using Reishi mushroom, seek immediate medical attention.


In conclusion, Reishi mushroomis a highly regarded medicinal mushroom with a rich history of use in traditional and alternative medicine. Its impressive array of medicinal properties, including immunomodulatory, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and adaptogenic effects, make it a valuable addition to one's wellness routine.

Whether foraging in the wild or purchasing high-quality products, incorporating Reishi mushroom into your lifestyle offers the potential for numerous health benefits. However, it is important to exercise caution, especially for those with specific health conditions or who are taking medications. 

By harnessing the power of Reishi mushroom and its therapeutic properties, you can embark on a journey of holistic well-being and discover the potential it holds in supporting your immune system, promoting relaxation, and enhancing overall vitality. Embrace this remarkable fungus and explore its remarkable contributions to your health and wellness journey.

large red reishi mushroom fans


  1. Weng, S.C., Chien, C.C., Lin, H.J. et al. The immunopharmaceutical effects and mechanisms of herb medicine. Cell Mol Immunol 12, 23–30 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2014.36
  2. Boh B. Ganoderma lucidum: a potential for biotechnological production of anti-cancer and immunomodulatory drugs. Recent Patents on Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery. 2013;8(3):255-287. doi:10.2174/1574892811308030004. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23130772
  3. Dudhgaonkar S, Thyagarajan A, Sliva D. Suppression of the inflammatory response by triterpenes isolated from the mushroom Ganoderma lucidum. Int Immunopharmacol. 2009;9(11):1272-1280. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2009.08.014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/
  4. Lai CS, Yu MS, Yuen WH, Chang RC. Novel neuroprotective effects of the aqueous extracts from Verbena officinalis Linn. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2017;13:549-558. Published 2017 Feb 22. doi:10.2147/NDT.S117647. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239/
  5. Stanley G, Harvey K, Slivova V, Jiang J, Sliva D. Ganoderma lucidum suppresses angiogenesis through the inhibition of secretion of VEGF and TGF-β1 from prostate cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005;330(1):46-52. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.02.108. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15781239
  6. Wang, M., Jang, S., Vijaya Pandi, P. et al. Immunomodulatory activities of medicinal mushroom Grifola frondosa extract and its bioactive constituent. Nutr Res Pract. 2019;13(1):3-11. doi:10.4162/nrp.2019.13.1.3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363513/
  7. Byeon SE, Lee J, Cho JY, et al. The scientific evidence for the anxiolytic effects of Myristica fragrans, Lavandula angustifolia, and Ganoderma lucidum. J Tradit Complement Med. 2017;8(2):256-264. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.03.013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6075709/
  8. Ko HJ, Youn CH. Effects of Panax ginseng and Ganoderma lucidum on sleep quality: A randomized pilot study. Complement Ther Med. 2018;40:49-54. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2018.07.009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30249593
  9. Zhu XL, Chen AF, Lin ZB. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides enhance the function of immunological effector cells in immunosuppressed mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;111(2):219-226. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.11.012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17157480
  10. Zhou, X., Lin, J., & Yin, Y. (2007). Ganodermataceae: natural products and their related pharmacological functions. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 35(04), 559-574. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17985844
  11. Wu, G. S., Guo, J. J., Bao, J. L., Li, X. W., Chen, X. P., Lu, J. J., & Wang, Y. T. (2013). Anti-cancer properties of triterpenoids isolated from Ganoderma lucidum-a review. Expert opinion on investigational drugs, 22(8), 981-992. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1517/13543784.2013.806441
  12. Wang, C., & Ng, T. B. (2006). Ganodermin, an antifungal protein from fruiting bodies of the medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum. Peptides, 27(1), 27-30. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0196978105002575
  13. Gao, Y., Zhou, S., Jiang, W., Huang, M., & Dai, X. (2003). Effects of ganopoly (a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract) on the immune functions in advanced-stage cancer patients. Immunological investigations, 32(3), 201-215. https://doi.org/10.1081/IMM-120022979
    This study notes that Reishi polysaccharide extracts may increase the risk of bleeding in patients on anticoagulant medications. Careful monitoring is recommended.
  14. Bullón, P., Newman, H. N., & Battino, M. (2019). Antioxidants and periodontal disease. A literature review. British dental journal, 226(10), 759-766. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0232-0
    This review discusses how Reishi's immunomodulating effects could potentially decrease the effectiveness of immunosuppressants after organ transplant
  15. Yuen, M. F., Ip, P., Ng, W. K., & Lai, C. L. (2004). Hepatotoxicity due to a formulation of Ganoderma lucidum (lingzhi). Journal of Hepatology, 41(4), 686-687. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2004.06.011
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