By Deanna Gabriel CCH, CN

Herb of the Month

Reishi Mushroom, Ganoderma spp. — A Magical Healer

Parts used

Medicinal uses
Reishi mushrooms can be considered a panacea plant, meaning that they can play a part in healing a wide variety of ailments. These mushrooms work deeply with the immune system and the blood, helping to strengthen the body as a whole, and balance various aspects of immunity. Because the immune system is intimately tied into every aspect of health these mushrooms can be useful for a wide variety of ailments such as allergies, colds and flu, eczema and psoriasis. Reishi mushrooms also have a history of use in conditions such as auto-immune disease, cancer, hepatic ailments, hypertension, heart disease, head injuries and degenerative diseases.

Preparations & Applications
Reishi mushrooms play a powerful role in spiritual healing. These fungi bring the energy of re-birth and rejuvenation and the complete life cycle - birth, life, death, birth. This medicine can be extremely helpful in times of transition and growth. Deeply grounding, these mushrooms help an individual touch the soul light from the deepest reaches of their existence, allowing that light to shine out to the surface of their being. 

For a deeper look into the healing qualities of reishi mushrooms join us for the Spirit of the Reishi class on Tuesday, January 27!

Making a Reishi brew
My favorite way to take Reishi mushrooms is in long, slow decoction, the medicine appears strongest when decocted at a low temperature for about 12-36 hours. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use a crock-pot or slow cooker. 

Complete Immune Tonic
2-3 medium to large Reishi mushrooms
1 oz Codonopsis
1oz Astragalus - omit if making tea for acute illness
1 oz Ashwagandha
Dash of cayenne
For cases of acute colds and flu add 2-3 cloves freshly chopped garlic to strained tea and drink garlic pieces with tea. Add spoonful of honey if desired.

Place all herbs in a 6 quart crock-pot. Fill pot with water. Place the lid on crock-pot and turn to low setting and heat for 24 hrs. Check the water level in the pot after about 8 hours, the water level will decrease slightly from absorption and evaporation, add enough water to re-fill. Remove the mushrooms from the pot and strain out any other herbs. Store tea in the refrigerator and heat each cup before drinking. Sip 2-3 cups daily until batch is gone.