How to Get the Most Medicine Out of Your Reishi Mushrooms

I could write a book about the long-lauded benefits of reishi mushrooms, the king of the medicinal forest, the crowning glory of medicinal mushrooms, the mushroom of immortality, the fungus of long and vibrant life, as it is known in much of Chinese medicine. But this blog post is not that.

(If you're curious about the medicinal benefits of mushrooms, you can scratch the surface with a quick internet search, or check out a couple resources here, here, and here.)

So, you may already be well aware of just how fabulous reishi is, but you may not know exactly how to incorporate this fungal friend into your everyday life with ease and grace and efficacy. That is what this blog post is. Here are 5 methods of using reishi that do just that.

One of our species of local Appalachian reishi, Ganoderma tsugae, grows abundantly on dead hemlock trees, eating away at the decaying logs and transforming this dead matter into new, life-giving matter. We love to harvest, slice, and dry this reishi in the summer for use all year long.

  1. The Slow Reishi Simmer (AKA the lazy herbalist method)

Easily my favorite way to prepare reishi, especially during the cold months when soups and stews make almost everyday appearances on the dinner table and our wood stove is on already, the slow simmer is probably the simplest way to integrate reishi into daily life. In our home, every pot of broth, whether bone or veggie, every soup, even water for oatmeal, includes a little reishi. Reishi is an adaptogen and a tonic - the more we get of it on a regular basis, the better our body can use it. And always make sure you are using a high quality dried reishi mushroom that is either organically cultivated or ethically wildcrafted.

Reishi mushroom tea decoction

Some of the dishes I have made that I've included reishi in are: chili, broccoli and cheese soup, miso soup, roasts, chicken soup, squash bisque, tomato soup, and so many more. It's hard to see, but under the carrots around this fabulous chicken-soup-to-be are about 2 oz of reishi slices!

Reishi chicken soup

Don't be afraid to experiment - and don't be afraid of turning the flavor of your dish too much towards the bitter. I've yet to find that I've added so much reishi to a soup or stew that it actually influences the flavor enough to be noticeable to anyone but me. And remember that the taste that counteracts bitter is salt. If you do find yourself experiencing a bitter aftertaste when getting a little overzealous about the reishi, add more salty or savory ingredients to your dish, such as seaweed, tamari or soy sauce, or...salt!

Reishi immunity broth

  1. The Potent Reishi Decoction

When a more concentrated use of reishi is desirable, such as when you're gearing up to come down with something or even in the midst of an illness, I go for a strong decoction, which I often add other medicinal mushrooms or roots to. One of my favorite potently medicinal decoctions to make is reishi, turkey tail mushroom (or really whatever other dried mushrooms I have on hand, like maitake, shiitake, or a bit of chaga), and a little ginger. I simmer it for a few hours, then sip the almost black, coffee or tea-like liquid hot with milk or cream and a little honey and sometimes even a little sprinkle of salt. It's bitter, yes, but not bad. Sometimes medicine should be bitter.

A more savory alternative to this coffee-ish reishi is to make it as above, and then instead of adding milk and honey, add a spoonful of miso when it is still hot and stir to dissolve. Then, you get the powerful probiotic qualities of the miso along with the immunomodulating effects of the reishi - it's a nutritional win-win!

Making reishi tea

  1. The (One of a Kind!) Decoct, Dry, and Powder Method for Instant, Digestible Reishi Powder

When using dried reishi, it is still necessary to break the cell walls down in order to properly assimilate those constituents of reishi that are so beneficial (just as cooking breaks down the cell walls of raw food). Simply powdering reishi and sprinkling this powder on your food might be a 'trendy' way to use this mushroom, but it's the equivalent of eating raw button mushrooms at the salad bar - it's easy, but there's virtually no nutrition there.

One of our best wildcrafters, Michael, has been inspired (thanks to Christopher Hobbs!) to develop a unique and brilliant process of reishi preparation that gives you a super simple, convenient way of consuming a pre-cooked, digestible form of this mushroom. Here we have NC wildcrafted (native) Ganoderma curtisii (found on oak stumps and roots), but you can use any species of dried reishi mushroom that you have.

Here are the instructions for how to make your own alcohol-free instant reishi powder. Do please note that this extraction process is unique and if you are purchasing pre-prepared reishi powder from other sources and you DO NOT process it first, your body will not be able to assimilate the constituents within the mushroom.

    1) Take 4 oz dried reishi slices and put in 32 oz of water in a crockpot or slow cooker.
        Making reishi decoction
            2) Put it on low with the lid on for a minimum of 8 hours (or overnight) and up to 24 hours.

              3) Strain out the Reishi slices and compost.

                Making reishi decoction 2
                Straining reishi
                  4) Put a lid on and turn the cooker on high.
                    5) Simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 inch of liquid.

                      6) Turn the cooker off, and add enough of your flour of choice to the liquid until it forms a ball and comes off the walls of the crockpot.

                      Reishi powder patties

                        7) Flatten this ball into 1/4" patties and place on dehydrator sheets or on the lowest setting in the oven.
                        Reishi dehydrating into powder

                          8) Once dehydrated, break your 'reishi patties' apart into small pieces to fully dry and place back in dehydrator for another hour or two until they are fully dry and crispy.


                          9) Place in coffee grinder or blender/Vitamix-type-contraption (Ninja showed here) and pulverize until powdered.

                          Powdering reishi mushroom

                            10) This is your super amazing, digestible, assimilate-able, nourishing and easy to use reishi powder!

                            Homemade reishi powder

                             Store in a cool dark place such as in Mason/Ball jar. Use in and on food, soups, drinks, in capsules, and sprinkle liberally on your favorite dishes.

                            (and, as you noticed, Yoda was there... may the force be with you!)

                            1. The Double Reishi Extraction

                            The method we use to prepare the reishi tincture for our Reishi Mushroom Extract and our Triple Mushroom Elixir is probably the most comprehensive way to pull out the constituents of reishi and make these bioavailable for the body. It takes at least six weeks to be prepared properly, though ours often macerates for even longer (and stronger).

                            Since reishi mushroom contains important components that are both alcohol-soluble and water-soluble, it's important to use both of these liquid mediums to tincture it in order to pull the most goodness out of your mushrooms. We like to make our reishi double extraction from the fresh mushrooms, because we believe that the chemical constituents as well as the energetics of fresh plants provide for the most vital and affecting medicine.

                            Our reishi extract is at least a month-and-a-half in the making, first being prepared with alcohol and then secondly with heat and water in addition to the extra dried reishi we add in to ensure a healthy polysaccharide content.

                            1. Drink Reishi Lemonade!

                            ...and finally, the ultimate summertime drink for longevity and deliciousness entwined: Long Life Reishi Lemonade. Follow the recipe on the link for easy warm-weather sipping.

                            Reishi lemonade

                            What are your experiences with preparing reishi? What methods have you found to be the most helpful? For fun and fungi!

                            Heather and the Red Moon Herbs Family

                            March 09, 2018 — Red Moon Herbs

                            Comments

                            Sandy Price

                            Sandy Price said:

                            I too have Liz’s question, and I don’t see it answered anywhere:

                            “I have been eating pre-prepared reishi powder …mixed with [in my case tea] every day and then I read your article that it has no medicinal value if it’s not processed first. Can you please tell me how to process reishi powder so I can get the medicinal value? Thank you.

                            Samantha

                            Samantha said:

                            I just found this mushroom in the forest. Do I need to do anything prior? Or can I just cook the fresh mushroom in the water and get the same effect? Thanks :)

                            Tracy Simmons

                            Tracy Simmons said:

                            I have just harvested some fresh reishi and was trying to determine the best way to prepare. I have already dehydrated the mushrooms for storage. My question is, can I now just grind the mushrooms to a powder form and place in capsules to take daily, or is there another process that needs to be performed in order to get the best benefits from reishi?

                            Some say you must also boil the mushrooms in order to break down the mushroom. I’m trying to determine the step by step process to get the extract in powder form.

                            Also can I not just place the powder in a crock pot and cook to extract the soluble and then dry used powder and extract to make another powder form?

                            Also can I just use the dry powder from the mushroom and place in a hot coffee and get the extract that way?

                            Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

                            Jerry Killian

                            Jerry Killian said:

                            I enjoyed your article very much, and I’m pleased that you did take the time to address most concerns. That speaks volumes about your character.
                            I wanted to suggest to Kristina, whom had asked about dehydration. You can leave them in the bottom vegetable drawer of your fridge for a couple of weeks, and they will dry nicely without heat possibly damaging any medicinal affects. Cheers, everyone!

                            Heather Faith

                            Heather Faith said:

                            I just watched a 30 minute video on YouTube about reishi if anyone is interested. Just look up Terry Willard, reishi and listen to the whole thing. He is a leading expert herbalist and reishi master, so to speak. He will answer every question you have about this potent medicine.

                            One quick note, he states that dual extracted powders are, hands down, the best way to use the medicine for its best benefits.

                            Kristina

                            Kristina said:

                            Hi! I read your post thoroughly because every tutorial I have watched about making a reishi dual extraction states that you must use dried reishi. Am I to understand that you guys soak fresh reishi in alcohol? Right now I have a bunch of fresh harvested reishi soaking in everclear and I have just found a bunch more (#blessed) that I want to add to this. I don’t have a dehydrator (although I do have a sauna?) and don’t want to dry them if not necessary. Also praying my efforts thus far aren’t wasted … Thanks so much :)

                            Rita

                            Rita said:

                            I’m curious how long the drying of the flour-extraction patties should take. I am starting at 125. Also your mix looked dark. Am curious what flours you used. (I used almond and white flour—didn’t think to use flaxseed flour!)

                            Michael

                            Michael said:

                            When making a powder you say start with 32 oz, which is a good measure of volume, of water then you say cook it off until its 1/2” deep. How much is that in volume? I have a larger oval crock pot and the volume at 1/2” is very likely more than yours. If i leave too much water my powder will less potent. Also if i have a larger crock pot is it ok to double the batch?

                            Liz

                            Liz said:

                            Hi. I have been eating pre-prepared reishi powder mixed with yogurt every day and then I read your article that it has no medicinal value if it’s not processed first. Can you please tell me how to make tea with this powder so I can get the medicinal value? Thank you.

                            Blanche Derby

                            Blanche Derby said:

                            approximately how many cups is 4 oz net weight of dried reishi mushrooms? I don’t have a scale to weigh them.

                            Trina

                            Trina said:

                            Why do you need to do.tje double extraction to get the full benefits medicinally?
                            Are you not getting the full benefits if you just dry and then turn to a powder in the Vitamix and make tea/coffee in a French press. Can you please explain.
                            Thanks,
                            Trina

                            Olivia

                            Olivia said:

                            Hi sorry totally off on a tangent, but no idea where else to find this out but I have some dried mushrooms I want to infuse into an oil to use as part of an ingredient for making a topical balm… can I do this safely and will it’s shelf life be stable or should I add any preservative?

                            Heather Wood Buzzard

                            Heather Wood Buzzard said:

                            I’m going to address some of the questions asked in the comments generally:

                            - Powdering the double-extraction liquid would not be particularly medicinally effective, no. Taking the liquid would be preferable.

                            - The pros of consuming the whole cooked mushroom include many of the general benefits: immunomodulation, anti-inflammation, endocrine influencer etc… there have been many studies done on Ganoderma that you can research.

                            - The daily dose of powdered reishi is totally dependent on the person/desired outcome and might range from 1/8-1/2 tsp/day.

                            - The average dose of the double extraction can be found on our reishi product page on this site.

                            - I am not familiar with that method of making what sounds like some kind of tea with leaves and reishi mushrooms, so can’t comment.

                            - I’m not familiar with making reishi powder in a Blendtec, just a Vitamix or Ninja, so can’t comment.

                            - Improving the ‘mixability’ of a mushroom powder is essentially done by achieving the smallest grain of powder possible, otherwise some grit at the bottom is inevitable.

                            - I can’t comment on adding an ounce of vodka to the ‘whole process’ as I’m not sure how much water or reishi you’re beginning with.

                            - You may lose some components by baking reishi, and I am most familiar with extracting it in water/alcohol, so can’t really comment.

                            - The ‘danger’ of overcooking isn’t super relevant when any minerals or other constituents are going into the water that will be incorporated into the medicine.

                            - You can try pulverizing whole, dried reishi but it’s really best sliced, as we offer it, as the whole become too hard to work with.

                            Astrid Brodahl

                            Astrid Brodahl said:

                            What is the best way to pulverize whole, dried Reishi mushrooms?

                            Josh Hayes

                            Josh Hayes said:

                            Is there anything to be said about overcooking the product? I always hear comments about cooking nutrients out of vegetables and the like, is that possible with Reishi? How much is too much or is there any such thing?

                            See

                            See said:

                            It’s hard to see the font on this page.

                            Charley Vinson

                            Charley Vinson said:

                            Will vinegar work to pull out the
                            beneficial components

                            Soanna

                            Soanna said:

                            If I wanted to add reishi powder to a superfood bar for example and bake it, would I be losing any of the nutrients? If not, is there a limit on how long I can bake it for?

                            Thanks!

                            nick padgett

                            nick padgett said:

                            does it work as a double extraction if during the 24 hour water extraction in the crockpot, I put an ounce of vodka in it for the whole process?

                            Charoson herbal Nigeria,

                            Charoson herbal Nigeria, said:

                            I appreciate this information, I’ LL give it a try

                            Michael C. Cason

                            Michael C. Cason said:

                            Hello,
                            I’ve tried many other mushroom products, but they never fully dissolve in neither coffee, tea, or with a blender! There is always a “sediment” like grit left at the bottom of the cup or glass, that I have to swirl so I don’t waste the product! How do I improve the mix ability?
                            Thank you,
                            Mike

                            Teddy Trend

                            Teddy Trend said:

                            Hi I would like to know more about how to make Reishi powder with my Blandtec?

                            Mathias

                            Mathias said:

                            Iam using this medicinal mushroom but I need guidance on how I prepare the tea.
                            I boil water and add tea leaves, then add sugar to cold tea.Filter the mixture and then pour the tea on the fresh ganoderma in a bucket. Then I cover for two-three days and then start drinking. Is this process correct or not?

                            Lori

                            Lori said:

                            I’ve made a double extract tincture and wondered how to determine potency. Also what would be an average dosage?
                            I have low blood pressure so I’m giving the tincture away. Disappointed but happy to share. Thanks, Lori

                            Angela Fisher

                            Angela Fisher said:

                            I wasgiben a whole reshi mushroom. The problem is. I dint knw if its real or a prop??? Please help.

                            Kim

                            Kim said:

                            I recently made the powdered reishi mushroom but I am curious as to how much I should be taking per day to see benefits?

                            Seth Braun

                            Seth Braun said:

                            Thanks for sharing your lessons on how to prepare Ganoderma.
                            I am experimenting with dual extraction and converting that into a powder or paste.
                            I’ve found that the Blendtec can process Reishi when I add the alcohol/mushroom mixture.
                            I take that mash and complete the water extraction in the crock pot.
                            I wonder what the pros and cons are of consuming the whole mushroom when processing this way?

                            Ray Yu

                            Ray Yu said:

                            Would it be medicinally effective to make a powder out of the double-extraction liquid (alcohol and water combined) ? Thank you for posting this , I am excited to make the powder .

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