Reishi is the most revered of the medicinal mushrooms and has the longest recorded history of use. It was believed to extend life span and increase youthful vigour and vitality.
Ganoderma was routinely used by monks and Taoist adepts throughout Asia because it was believed to help calm the mind, open the breath, ease tension, strengthen nerves and the heart, improve memory, sharpen concentration and focus, build will power and, as a result, help build wisdom. It was considered to be a teacher substance, due to the mushroom’s ability to strengthen and refine the quality and perception of a person’s inner life. Called the “Mushroom of Spiritual Potency,” it was noted for the peacefulness that accompanied its use and interestingly, that the effect of its power was cumulative. It not only nurtured the body’s defenses as a protective tonic but also helped develop profound mental and spiritual insight, improving one’s life the more one used it.
According to Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., Ganoderma is, “. . . without a doubt, one of the most famous medicinal mushrooms. It has been used for thousands of years to treat liver disease (such as hepatitis), nephritis (kidney inflammation), high blood pressure, arthritis, neurasthenia, insomnia, bronchitis, asthma, and gastric ulcers. It is also said to benefit the heart. In the past, Ganoderma lucidum was very expensive because it only grew in the wild, but cultivation techniques developed in the last twenty years have now made it accessible and affordable. Today this king of the fungi is used especially for ageing-related and degenerative conditions, such as cancer, and as an immune stimulant.” (Medicinal Mushrooms, Botanical Press, 1996)
Taken on a daily basis, Reishi is thought to eliminate toxins and detoxify the liver, rejuvenate cells, regulate blood sugar imbalances, improve circulation, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, and act as a superb tonic for those who suffer from allergies. It can also be effective in calming the nerves and reducing stress. In Japan, the government has officially listed Ganoderma as an adjunct herb for treating cancer and according to Hobbs, it has been used in treating Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, altitude sickness, chronic bronchitis, and anxiety conditions.