Ganoderma, reishi: different species.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Reishi mushrooms?
From: (Don Scott)
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 1994 22:33:41

Lee Grimes writes:
>I've heard that Reishi mushrooms were good help in dealing with the coming cold weather. Last night in Philly's Chinatown I went in a shop where they just got in a shipment. There were two types, a dusty rust colored one ("Japanese") and a shiny maroon one ("chinese"). The owners said the "japanese" was better. My questions are........ Why is one better than the other? What are the active ingredients? What is the best method of preparation? Would I have been better off to have purchased a preparation?

You're right. Reishi is a good adaptogen. The "valuable components include immunopolysaccharides (1,3-beta glucans), ganoderic acids (triterpenoids), and gamma-amino-butyric acid (a neurotransmitter). I have the results of s study by the Japanese Defense Agency that was done on rats and mice, indicating increased strength and stamina from reishi that persisted over the test period of six months, as long as the reishi is consumed.

The "dusty" mushroom caps simply had spores on the top; wipe them clean and you have shiny ones.

The Japanese mushrooms are generally better than the Chinese because the Japanese reishi is cultivated on sawdust from selected strains and tend to have a higher proportion of spores and much less woody parts and a thinner woody layer over the spore cap. However I have purchased excellent quality reishi extract from China, as good as what I have bought from Japan since 1986.

The way to tell if you have good cps, in my opinion, is to get those with the shortest stems, and then break a cap apart; Note the slightly tan layer on top-- the thinner the better, and the dark brown/rust colored ;ayer below it, the spore layer -- the thicker the better. Cut it in the middle and see if the woody stem spreads out to a wide woody area or just stays abouth the same width as the stem right thru the cap.

The advantage of getting a GOOD reishi preparation is the standardization and the averaging that comes from processing tons of reishi at a time. But you can get good reishi, even if you buy the mushrooms yourself.

To prepare the mushroom for your use, it is best to get the mushroom ground; Chinese pharmacies will do this for you. Note that Chinese pharmacies often do not differentiate between the red Ganoderma lucidum and the almost blackish dark brown Ganoderma japonicum. Don't worry about that, as they both are good, and share the same properties in use.

Once you have the ground reishi, make a strong tea out of it by using very hot water and a "Mr. Coffee" type brewer. Or you could let it steep. Drink the tea. The best reishi is, in my opinion, very bitter, so, again, you as a Westerner, may prefer to take a GOOD commercial preparation that comes in tablet form.

How much should you take? Well, I normally take the extract from 8-10 grams of top quality cap daily, taking two tablets four times a day. Some experts recommend as much as 35 grams a day to get the best adaptogen action. I used to take only 2 tablets (from 2 grams of cap) daily except on international travel, where I increased it to 4. However, I am now convinced that, if you can afford it, one should take the extract from at least 8 grams of reishi a

I hope this answers your questions. I have been studing reishi for a decade, and visited researchers, growers, extraction facilities,and other experts literally "round the world".

The biggest problem with commercial preparations is that many, in my opinion, have only enough reishi in them to put it on the label. So, if you don't know what you are buying, you may be better off making your own reishi tea; you get used to the bitteer flavor. (I am a Westerner, and I have learned to judge the quality of reishi, approximately, by the taste.)

If you have some specific questions, I'd be happy to take a crack at answering them. Feel free to post it publicly or email me directly.

Don Scott