“Often, people take herbal medicines for a physical response, but what they find is that the body also responds in an emotional way to the plant medicine that they're taking.”
- Karen Rose
“Plant spirit medicine is the shaman’s way with plants. It recognizes that plants have spirit and that spirit is the strongest medicine. Spirit can heal the deepest reaches of the heart and soul.”
- Eliot Cowan
The mushroom of spirituality. Can a plant really elevate our spiritual capacity? To those unaccustomed to this way of thinking.. to say so may seem like a poetic liberty. However, psychedelics show us unequivocally the powerful effects that plants can have on the human psyche. Psilocybin as a compound (found in certain mushrooms) is an extreme example of the power of the plant world to alter our consciousness.
Reishi, (Lingzhi or Ganoderma lucidum), can be seen as a tamer version of this.. a sweet and gentle helping hand in moving beyond our monkey mind to a place of peaceful awareness of the good that is inherent in all things.
I will talk about its profound physical and biological effects also, but the truth is, when we take a plant it doesn’t communicate exclusively with our biology, cells and tissues, it affects our mind and spirit also, as they are inextricably linked.
With a history of use by yogis, emperors, monks and ascetics, it’s no wonder this legendary mushroom has earned its name as “the mushroom of spiritual potency”, “the mushroom of immortality”, “queen healer mushroom” and “the medicine of kings”.
One dose of a good quality Reishi powder and you will instantly understand its use as a “Shen tonic” or herb that nourishes the spirit. It is profoundly relaxing to the nervous system, calming to the mind and induces a state of peaceful focus.
One of, if not the most well researched natural substances on earth, in Japan it is classified as a primary treatment option for cancer due to its consistently demonstrated anti-carcinogenic effects.
When Reishi was first discovered in Ancient China over 2000 years ago, it quickly became known as a powerful anti-aging tonic, and was used as a special tonic for emperors seeking immortality. According to recent studies published in Neuropharmacology and Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, Reishi mushroom demonstrates measurable antioxidant and life-extending properties, as well as the ability to stimulate activity in brain neurons by increasing Nerve Growth Factor levels in cells, thereby increasing brain function, creativity and focus.
Like most Adaptogenic herbs, Reishi also has a supportive and balancing effect on the endocrine system. Hormones are powerful biopeptides that control mood, perception, sleep-wake cycles, bonding and connection and our awareness of reality. This is the science behind the mushrooms spiritually activating properties.
Following are what some of the worlds most renowned herbalists and natural doctors list as its actions;
“The reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has a sweet and warm energy, is both sedative and tonic, is a supreme deep immune system tonic, and nourishes the spirit, essence, and vital energy. It has strong anticarcinogenic properties and is rich in a number of complex phyto-chemicals.” 1
“The world’s first plant monograph was done on Reishi mushroom. Referred to as “the mushroom of immortality”, original Chinese and Japanese herbalists described six different colors of Reishi including green, black, white, red, yellow and purple. Reishi has always been associated with divine or magical properties especially by the Taoist monks. This is reflected in the Chinese character for ling zhi which is a shaman crying for rain. It was included in the first Chinese herbal, the Ben Cao Jing of Shen-nung (206 B.C.-8 A.D.) as an herb in the non-toxic superior class.” 2
“Reishi also known as Ling Zhi, is indicated for immune deficiency (cancer, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome) or hyper functioning (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease, ankylosing spondylitis). Reishi is an active antihepatotoxin as well as a cardiotonic, antioxidant and nervine. This “kingly remedy” is also used to treat
altitude sickness, allergies, insomnia, leukopenia, ADD/ADHD, and hypercholesterolemia.” 3
“ Lingzhi has been recognized as a medicinal mushroom for over 2000 years, and its powerful effects have been documented in ancient scripts.. In the Supplement to Classic of Materia Medica (502-536 AD) and the Ben Cao Gang Mu by Li Shin-Zhen, which is considered to be the first pharmacopoeia in China (1590 AD; Ming dynasty), the mushroom was attributed with therapeutic properties, such as tonifying effects, enhancing vital energy, strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory, and antiaging effects. According to the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (2000), G. lucidum acts to replenish Qi (vital energy), and ease the mind.
In Chinese, the name lingzhi represents a combination of spiritual potency and essence of immortality, and is regarded as the “herb of spiritual potency,” symbolizing success, well-being, divine power, and longevity.
One of the most versatile herbs, add the powder to hot water for an instant tea or whisk into warm plant milk, coffee, hot chocolate and even soups and broths. Or try this Reishi Mushroom Chai recipe from the lovely Yoori at http://thechickwhoeats.com/reishi-mushroom-chai-tea/ https://www.instagram.com/thechickwhoeats/ .
Our REISHI powder is non-irradiated.
“We have long known that mushrooms benevolently affect consciousness. Reishi is not psychotropic and does not alter perception, yet it benefits mental clarity and helps instill a reverent attitude. Reishi enhances spiritual enlightenment, and seems to “weave us into the mycelial web of life.” The subterranean relationship of fungi with plants is called mycorrhiza. Humans attempted to sever ourselves from this relationship through disassociation with the ground (pavement, shoes, tires, etc.). Protracted taking of reishi appears to resuscitate our connection to everything else; plugging us back into our Earth. Nature is calling us to reunite for common survival, and that is why I believe reishi and other tonic herbs and superfoods are emerging in our consciousness that this time.”
- Rehmannia Dean Thomas
1 “The Way Of Herbs” Dr. Michael Tierra L.AC., O.M.D.
2 “Chinese Herbalism in America” Dr. Michael Tierra L.AC., O.M.D.
3 David Winston REISHI monograph, https://www.davidwinston.org/extracts/reishi.html
4 Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.
Sissi Wachtel-Galor, John Yuen, John A. Buswell, and Iris F. F. Benzie.