1.WHAT IS REISHI ?*
Reishi is a basidiomycete, lamellaless fungus belonging to the family of polyporaceae. In nature, it grows in densely wooded mountain of high humidity and dim lighting. It is rarely found since it flourishes mainly on the dried trunks of dead plum, guercus serrata or pasonia trees. Out of 10,000 such aged trees, perhaps 2 or 3 will have reishi growth, therefore it is very scarce indeed. The spores of reishi have such tough outer husks that germination is next to impossible and this accounts for its rarity. It was said that in the old days when one discovered reishi, it had to be kept a secret even from one's closest relative and there was big celebration upon fruitful return. The herballous history of reishi had long been documented in the oldest Chinese pharmacopoeia written in about the first or second century B.C. In it reishi had been recorded as having the most extensive and effective healing powers. It is because of this recognition that there is diligent research for methods of reishi cultivation feasible for commercial productions.In 1972, the cultivation of reishi became successful and as a result, what was once only attainable by the privileged is now readily make available to everyone. A number of countries are now conducting sophisticated research in reishi hoping to further the practice and science of medicine. The booklet reports the result of such research.
2. REISHI, THE SUPERIOR HERB, IN ANCIENT CHINA*
In ancient time, reishi in medicine was considered so auspicious that its medical efficacy has been attested to in the oldest Chinese medical text ( presumed to be over 2,000 years old ). The book, which are known in Japan as "Shinnoh Honsohkyo", is now accepted as being the original textbook of Oriental medical science. In it, 365 kinds of medicines are classified and explained. The medicines are basically classified into 3 categories: 120 of them are declared to be "superior" medicines, another 120 are classified as "average" medicines, and the remaining 125 are placed in the "fair" category. The "superior" medicines are called "God's Herbs" and they are for perpetual youth and longevity - the medicines of the legendary wizards. The "average" category medicines are those which can be taken as a tonic, and those in the "fair" category are taken to remedy specific ailments. One must be careful about the volume taken of the "average" and "fair" category medicines, and should never take them continuously. However, the book states that for "superior" medicines, any amount can be taken as desired on a continuous basis with no unfavorable effects. Of the superior medicines listed in the text, reishi was rated number one. You can see how important and powerful reishi was considered in ancient times. It achieved its ranking in the Chinese text not because of its symbolic importance as a good omen but because of its medicinal properties. Centuries ago, reishi was said to be a medicine that would grant you eternal youth and longevity.
3. SUCCESSFUL CULTIVATION OF REISHI
As mentioned before, reishi was recognized as a superior herbs in the old days but was rare. Because of its rarity, extensive research and the wide use of reishi is prohibited. With the success of reishi cultivation, the world rejoiced over the abundant use of reishi in research and consumption. Reishi cultivation as developed by the Japanese is cultured by grafting the reishi fungi onto aged dried wood of Japanese oak, then grown in greenhouses under strictly controlled conditions. Recently, the use of the "plum tree dust" in culture bottles is tested but further experiments are needed for better balance development between the cap and stalk of the reishi.
There are many varieties of reishi :
- Akashiba ( red reishi )
- Kuroshiba ( black reishi )
- Aoshiba ( blue reishi )
- Shiroshiba ( white reishi )
- Kishiba ( yellow reishi )
- Murasakishiba ( purple reishi )
Each had been classified in the "Shinnoh Honshokyo" and in the catalogue of herbs written in the Ming Dynasty about the first or second century BC. The Akashiba ( red reishi ) is the one undergoing cultivation.
( I ) How to Select the Right Reishi ?
In the future, research on reishi's miraculous properties will be vastly extended because reishi does contain a vast number of active ingredients and it is the combination of these elements that make reishi so potent.
To be able to distinguish the different elements of reishi and apply it to different uses will require further studies with substantial time and effort!
At the present, we would like to clarify how to select the best reishi available for use effectively. As mentioned before, reishi comes in 6 different colors. According to our studies, the properties among the different reishi do not differ much from one another, but, most studies are done with the red reishi because of its abundance due to the success of cultivation and the common understanding that the red type is the most potent..
It is found that the essence extracted from the crown/cap is more potent than that from the stalk. The essence from the stalk is also potent for another type of active ingredient. From this, we have concluded that the most potent reishi is the red type with short stalk and large, thick crown.
Cultivation of reishi also plays a very important role in determining the potency of the reishi.
Some types of reishi which are not fully grown would develop into a branch-like looking reishi. Its essence potency will be about 1/5 or 20% of the full grown reishi.
Recently, wood-pulp/bottle cultivation is widely used as a ccost-cutting and quicker measure to harvest Reishi. The resulting crops' medicinal values are not as potent as the ones using natural whole logs. Wood-log cultivation is considered to be the best possible way to cultivate reishi. Rumors of using "plum tree logs" would produce the better reishi crop is not true - there are no facts or studies supporting this claim.
Aside from the above, we are certain that using a certain reishi fungi for cultivation, the climate and cultivation method do present a significant difference in the resulting crop.
Be cautious when you are purchasing raw reishi. One has to check the type of reishi, its cultivation method used; the cultivation area and the care of the cultivator given before you make your decision.
There are opportunists that sell low grade reishi products and purchasers would often be blinded by the low prices and in turn get poor quality products. Worst of all, the products might not have the proper quality and safety control and consumption would have negative effects.
Because of reishi's hard wood-like texture, even with the use of very fine grinders, you cannot really pulverize reishi properly without the use of the hot water (boil) extraction method. Furthermore, reishi itself is developed from fungi and while in the cultivation process, there is bound to be a lot of bacteria organisms present on the plant. When merchants grind up the reishi and put it in capsule form, the bacteria content still far exceed the minimum safety requirement for food, that is, the bacteria count should not be more than 3,000 per cm3. These are one of the one reasons why the Chinese in the past have always boiled the reishi and then drank the essence and never consumed pulverized reishi from its raw state.
ALWAYS REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING WHEN YOU ARE SELECTING RAW REISHI OR A REISHI EXTRACT PRODUCT
1. Manufacturers credibility
2. Vendor's reliability
To sum it up, a manufacturer with credibility is the best choice. Although the cultivation of reishi has been successful, it is still sad that the end product is so expensive because of its high production cost. But one's good health is far more important than the price. Take note: You pay for what you get, quality is the most important.
In the past, not too many individuals are exposed to the word "Reishi", even less when coming to seeing the actual plant. Now, the word "reishi" can be seen everywhere and the actual plant is commonly displayed in stores. We have to give praise to the scientists who have succeeded in the cultivation technique. From this, an abundance of reishi end products are made available to the general public who in turn can benefit from the health benefits of reishi.
As recorded in the oldest Chinese medical text, reishi is the "king of herbs", the superior herb for perpetual youth and longevity. Continuous intake will achieve the best results.
By chance, it is advisable to get a diagnosis from a Chinese herb doctor or a naturopathic doctor. After a prescription is given, ask the herbalist to add reishi as an extra ingredient, the patient will benefit tremendously from doing so.
1. The Brewing of Reishi
- Cut up the dried reishi into small pieces with a garden cutter. The smaller the better. For a person daily usage of 3 - 5 gms, add 3 bowls of water ( 600 c.c.) and boil for 30 minutes using low heat. ( Note: Should only use clay pots or glassware, avoid the use of metallic containers.)
- The boiled reishi can be used again until the bitter taste is gone. Usually, it is good for 2 - 3 times of boiling.
- You can prepare 2 - 3 days portions at one time and keep in the refrigerator for daily use. Re-heat is best before use.
- It is best to drink before each meal. For people with gastro-intestional concerns, have the brew after each meal.
- If you dislike the bitter taste of the brew, add pure honey or glucose. (Avoid the use of refined sugar.)
- You can also mix reishi pieces with brandy or Chinese wine. Store for 3 - 4 months before use.
- Used reishi pieces can be used as fertilizers for house plants.
- Raw reishi should be stored in a dry place, but never in the refrigerator.
2. Reishi Soup Recipe
10 grams of sliced reishi pieces ;
6 whole frozen or fresh quails ;
70 grams of dry scallops ;
100 grams of lean pork ;
1.5 litre of hot water ;
salt and pepper ;
A. Soak the sliced reishi pieces in 1.5 litre of water for 4 hours.
B. Remove the quails from boiling water after 5 seconds and put in Chinese steam pot. Pour in the 1.5 litre of water together with the reishi pieces. Add dry scallops, pork lean meat and add adash of cooking wine.
C. Steam boil for 3 hours.
D. Before use, season the soup with salt and pepper to your preference.
Note: You can put in dried long-gang meat or dry red dates to sweeten the soup. You can also substitute 2 frozen whole pigeons, a whole chicken or half a turtle instead of the 6 quails for the above recipe.
3. A Word From the Editor
Reishi is best used as a preventative measure for health.
In addition to a daily consumption of Reishi, we would like to remind our readers that you should pay special attention to the following:
- Refrain from using refined sugar. Substitute with pure honey, glucose or fruit sugar instead.
- Avoid processed foods - canned food, instant noodles, soda pop etc.
- Eat all types of natural foods to maintain your nutritional balance.
- Include all types of vegetables in your diet, especially those with stalks and roots.
- Drink more water to provide excretion ease . This will enhance your metabolism functions and rid your body of poisonous toxins.
- Exercise will definitely help but not rigorous exercise that you cannot handle.
- Avoid stress. Be mentally relaxed and keep an open mind on all matters.
At the present, the recommended daily usage of reishi tea is the boiling of 3 - 5 gm of the dried reishi. One can increase to 10 or 20 gm per day since there is no harm in abundant intake of reishi as it is the 'king herb' and an 'adaptogen'.
There are also reishi essence products by hot-waterextraction method in the market place for sale that comes in tablets, pill or granular form. My final advise is to buy the products from reliable manufacturers.
Best of health to you all.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
last updated: 11/09/09