Also Known As The Mushroom of Immortality.
The only wild mushrooms I knew about were the legendary Morel mushrooms for a long time, but I've come a long way, baby. I was lucky to get a handful of morels during my spring mushroom hunting expeditions until only a couple of years ago.
Morel mushrooms taste incredible and bring back pleasant memories of my childhood spent tagging along behind my dad in the woods. He would undoubtedly be a fan of my mushroom adventures if he were here today. Most childhood memories of time spent with my dad occur outdoors, either in the woods or on a lake.
But it was one of my favorite herbal and nutrition professors who turned on my insatiable appetite for woodland fungi.
I made it to my third autoimmune diagnosis before I really began to learn and understand how to bio-hack my own body with nutrition and herbs.
The Ganoderma mushroom quickly became fundamental to me in my healing journey, and still is to this day. Except now, I forage for them myself and have a healthy supply for my family in stock at all times.
Many are under the impression that Reishi mushrooms can only be found in Japan, where only royalty was allowed to have them once upon a time. However, a subspecies of this mushroom also grows all over Europe and North America.
This fall, I stumbled upon several huge patches of one of the most common American varieties, Ganoderma Sessile. ( “Sessile” means that it has no stem. ) I was beginning to lose hope of ever finding my own Reishi mushrooms, and voila!
This particular species grows on dead and decaying hardwood stumps and trees. It’s a beautiful mushroom with stunning deep red and brown tones. The exterior— is hard, smooth and shiny, and when you cut them away from the tree, they leave a bit of watery red stain on your hands.
You know these polypore mushrooms are ready to harvest when they grow a soft white outer rim. Some say they are good to eat at this stage, but I find them too valuable to eat all at once. So, I prefer to dry my Reishi and use the powdered version of them medicinally instead.
When Ganodermas become covered in red “dust,” they have released their spores and are no longer at their prime for picking. But don’t worry because these mushrooms come back every year so long as you take care to collect them responsibly.
Reishi and Cancer
Reishi may temper various components of the immune system, which are necessary to initiate primary immune responses. Scientist thinks that through this immune modulation, reishi’s anti-tumor effect may come about.
Science has done quite a bit of research on some of the Ganoderma species like this one.
Sliva states: ‘'Ganoderma lucidum clearly demonstrates anticancer activity in experiments with cancer cells and has possible therapeutic potential as a dietary supplement for an alternative therapy for breast and prostate cancer ‘
Like many other mushroom species, Ganoderma species contain powerful polysaccharides that have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.
The glucans that make up the cell wall of the Reishi mushroom increase the body's defenses against the growth of tumors and the overall capacity of the immune system.
With an over 4,000 year history, this novel mushroom has also been used to:
Supporting liver function
Aid in Immunomodulation
Immune system support
Helping the body fight cancer
Bolstering the body's ability to fight colds & virus
As an apoptogenic
Blood sugar balance
As an antibacterial
As an antifungal
As an antiviral
As an antiallergenic
For hormone regulation
Improving heart health
Improving blood pressure
As a blood thinner
For fertility and reproductive health
For digestive disturbances
As with most mushrooms, Reishi is a nutritional powerhouse. It is definitely in the "superfood" category.
Reishi retains beneficial amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, macronutrients, protein, and healthy fats, and it's exceptionally high in potassium, phosphorus and sulfur. Further, it contains smaller amounts of other beneficial nutrients like copper, manganese, and calcium.
It's easy to see why this mushroom was so life-changing for me as it has been for many others. With such a wide range of practical uses, you could quite possibly fall in love with the therapeutic benefits of this mushroom too.
It's okay if you are not a forager. You will find a surplus of reishi distributors online. Just be sure to choose a quality organic source. Then, no matter how you decide to include this superfood in your diet, just start eating it.
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