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Reishi In TCM: The Immortal Herb with High Spiritual Potency

Would you support your health with a fungus that grows in hot, humid climates? It sounds like a recipe for diaper rash or athlete’s foot, not a hipster popular functional ingredient in coffee and dietary supplement powders. Yet that’s exactly what reishi mushroom is and it’s the engine that’s fueling the functional mushroom boom

According to the market analysis outfit, CDI, the global functional mushroom market size was valued at nearly $27 billion in 2022. The forecast for functional fungi is even more fantastic. The compound annual growth rate for functional ‘shrooms is expected to rise nearly 11% from this year to 2023, with reishi being one of the leading players in the industry. 

The health benefits of reishi have only been realized a blink of an eye ago in Western culture. But in the Far East, the reddish/purplish, polypore with a shiny, lacquered veneer known as Ling Zhi have been known for at least 2,000 years. 

(Polypores are fungi in the woods that form large fruiting bodies with pores or tubes on the underside. Reishi/Ling Zhi is known in botany as Ganoderma Lucidum.)

Let’s get to know Ling Zhi in TCM. 

What is Ling Zhi (Reishi) Used For In TCM? 

If you could only have one supplement while stranded on an island, reishi would be a good choice. For starters, it’s known as an immortality elixir. Ok, so nobody wants to live forever stranded by themselves. But because reishi is a potent Qi revitalizer, it’ll give you the energy you need to climb trees and gather coconuts. 

Reishi For Calmness

Not only that, but reishi is regarded in TCM as one of the best herbs for calming your spirit. That would come in handy in case your only “friend” was a volleyball named Wilson. You certainly don’t have to be a castaway like Tom Hanks to benefit from reishi. 

In fact, the herbal compendium, Shen Nong Ben Cao, written nearly 2,000 years ago and based upon the eponymous legendary/mythical deity, mentions reishi’s therapeutic potential. In TCM theory, reishi is used to: 

  • Tonify Qi
  • Calm the Spirit
  • Stop coughing and relieve wheezing

Beyond its possible energizing and longevity benefits, reishi is renowned as an herb with high spiritual potency. This means that reishi can help ease an overactive mind and promote spiritual balance. 

Most often, TCM herbs are used in combination with other herbs. But Ling Zhi in TCM can be used as a stand alone herb for deficiencies of Heart Blood and/or Heart Qi. (Qi moves Blood thus any deficiency in Qi will result in a Blood deficiency as well.)

If you could only have one supplement while stranded on an island, reishi would be a good choice.

If there is a deficiency of Heart Qi/Blood, the Shen (rough translation: spirit) will suffer. This will manifest in poor sleep quality, cognitive function and heart function. 

Another stand-alone function of Ling Zhi is respiratory support as it tonifies Qi in the Lung channel. If you live in a cold, damp environment in the winter, taking Ling Zhi on a regular basis may help prevent excess Phlegm from accumulating in the Lung meridians. 

By and large, however, many TCM experts prescribe Ling Zhi as a Qi tonic. Thus, if you struggle with tiredness and shortness of breath, consult with your local acupuncturist or herbalist and ask if Ling Zhi is right for your specific patterns. 

What Are The Benefits of Reishi In The West? 

Hundreds of constituents have been identified in reishi mushrooms. Research studies have shown that these compounds help support the immune system, the cardiovascular system and healthy inflammatory pathways. For instance, the soluble fibers in reishi known as beta-glucans have been shown to support normal white blood cell production. 

New research also suggests that reishi may support the tiny universe of bacteria known as the gut microbiome, which greatly affects the immune system, mood, metabolism and other key markers of health. In a study published in Food & Functions, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported that reishi is an “essential prebiotic for increasing bacterial flora and a health-promoting agent due to its components, especially its abundant source of polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and polyphenols.” 

Prebiotic fiber acts like fertilizer for the beneficial bacteria that resides in the large intestine (colon), where approximately 70 to 80 percent of immune cells reside. For this reason, the researchers concluded that reishi “has been shown to promote the balance of the gut microbiota, boosting and regulating the immune system … [activating] a number of defense mechanisms that respond rapidly to invading or attacking pathogenic microbes and also play a key role in initiating and maintaining specific immunity.”

What To Know Before Buying Reishi 

As the highly-respected herbalist Ron Teeguarden writes in Acupuncture Today,  “Reishi cannot be digested by humans if it is raw – no matter how finely it is ground.” Thus Teeguarden suggests that if a product uses raw, ground reishi powder, don’t purchase it because you’ll be wasting your money; the raw reishi will provide no therapeutic benefit. 

In order to reap the benefits of Ling Zhi, the product must derive from extracts of the fruiting body. Teeguarden also warns that some sellers of reishi use high levels of filler to cut the product. 

Finally, Teeguarden urges consumers of TCM products and practitioners to purchase reishi of the ganoderma lucidum variety because it is the most potent form of this legendary tonic herb. 

The Highest-Quality Reishi For Pennies On The Dollar

If functional mushrooms are a part of your health routine, you’ve probably noticed that they’re not cheap. Check out the prices for “reishi coffee” on Google Shopping. Top-selling functional coffee products with reishi easily sell for $40 or more. That’s expensive considering there are only enough servings to last for a couple weeks. 

If you want the highest-quality reishi at the most affordable price, Ling Zhi extract granules from are the best option. 

Each bottle of Ling Zhi granules contains the highest concentration of reishi on the market: 12x. This means that inside every 100-gram bottle is the equivalent of 1200 grams of dried, raw reishi. That’s the equivalent of 2.6 pounds of reishi in one small but potent bottle!

As for quality, Ling Zhi extract granules contain 440 mg of fruiting body extract with minimal fillers. This is the maximum purity on the market. 

At 200 servings per bottle and at a cost of only $39, each serving costs 19 cents

If you want to make functional coffee with reishi, purchase Ling Zhi extract granules and inexpensive coffee beans/grounds and mix them together. 

Prefer tea instead? Simply add a scoop from the provided spoon and add to hot (but not boiling) water and stir. 

Want to make Reishi tea the old-school way? is a leading importer of Chinese herbs, including reishi. Just one pound of raw sliced reishi (sealed airtight) is now on sale for $29. Order now before the cost of bulk herbs and transportation rises…again!