By: Charlotte LaGuardia, Board Certified Nutrition Specialist, American College of Nutrition Member. Founder, Thrive East
Gaboderma lucidum, more commonly known as the reishi mushroom, has been used across the globe for over 2000 years. Native to the warm, humid areas of Japan and China, this fungus has long been regarded as the “herb of spiritual potency” and has been used to promote health and longevity. (1)
This large, dark red mushroom is traditionally foraged in the wild and harvested for consumption. However, in recent years, many reishi mushrooms are artificially cultivated on substrates in large scale growing operations. This is due to an increased demand for the fungus as more information comes out about its medicinal benefits.
Currently, many of the studies done on the benefits of reishi mushrooms are still in animal models. But there are promising human studies looking at anti-cancer benefits as well as immunomodulation. (2)
The reishi mushroom is made up of some protein, fat, and carbohydrates and small amounts of essential minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Additionally, depending on the environment it was grown in, it is possible for there to be an increased selenium content. (1)
Traditionally, reishi mushrooms have been used to promote proper blood sugar regulation and longevity. The high antioxidant capacity of the mushroom is most likely responsible for these benefits. Antioxidants prevent cellular damage from exposure to free radicals and chemicals from the environment. Consuming a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can ensure ample antioxidant intake. (4)
Additionally, the reishi mushroom contains a polysaccharide called beta-glucan. This compound is well studies in its ability to support the immune system and increase activity when necessary. (3)
Due to the bitter taste and woody texture, reishi is traditionally consumed as a tea. The fruiting body can be sliced fresh, dried, or ground into a powder. Either way it is then simmered in water for 1-2 hours to extract the medicinal benefits.
Reishi can also be found in capsule and tincture form as well. (5)
Mushroom Matcha Latte
½ tsp reishi mushroom powder
1 tsp Plentea Matcha
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp local honey
1 cup coconut milk, warmed
½ cup hot (not boiling) water
Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend until frothy, roughly 30-45 seconds. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!