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Reishi Mushroom: A Complete Guide

January 25, 2023

Whether small or large, there are literally 14,000+ mushroom species in the world. Many of them are flavorful and rich, favored highly by chefs for their distinctive flavor and rare availability, while others are more on the bland side and preferred for their nutritional properties.

Reishi mushrooms are just such fungi – preferred for what they offer rather than how they taste. Many cultures claim them to have significant health benefits, even dubbing these shrooms the mushroom of immortality. They’ve been used in ancient Chinese medicine for millennia, helping to lend to that legend and common name of “mushroom of immortality.”

Let’s dig in and see what’s up with them and how – or if – you should see about including them in your diet.

Reishi mushrooms, or Ganoderma lingzhi, are part of the genus Ganoderma. They are a polypore fungus or bracket fungus, native to East Asia. The mushroom has many common names, with the most well-known among them being Champignon Reishi, Ganoderma, Ling Chih, Ling Zhi, Lingzhi, Mannentake, mushroom of immortality, mushroom of spiritual potency, red reishi, reishi antler mushroom, reishi rouge, rei-shi, and spirit plant.

The name Lingzhi comes from its Japanese pronunciation, which translates as “mushroom of immortality,” fitting its 2000+ year old reputation as a healer. The mushrooms sold under this name in various medicinal shops, groceries, and others may be any among 8 species, but most commonly those going by the name of reishi refer to this singular fungus.

The fungus is native to East Asia, but may be found elsewhere, thanks to its exportation over the centuries. It’s in North America, Europe, and possibly in the Mediterranean region. It will primarily be found at the bases of trees and stumps of deciduous trees such as maples. The mushroom is rare in the wild, however, and mostly is cultivated for herbal remedy and traditional medicinal purposes among hardwood logs, wood chips, and sawdust. Know more:

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