What Are Medicinal Mushrooms?

Lingzhi - compilation

Ganoderma Lucidum also known as Lingzhi (Chinese 靈芝) or Reishi mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are not psychedelic entities. Nor are they the mushrooms in the grocery store that you may or may not like the texture and taste of.

Medicinal mushrooms are a food, meaning they can be consumed by anyone at any age and at any stage of health, but they are commonly taken in powder form, as a tea, or in an elixir. So if you do not care to eat mushrooms, you can still enjoy the medicinal version.

Medicinal mushrooms are some of the oldest sources of longevity and spiritual wisdom known to man. And I believe that they are also the future of health creation and health maintenance for everyone who seeks greater balance, increased vitality, more peace, more courage, and spiritual breakthroughs.

Introduction to Medicinal Mushrooms

Via a process called ‘mycorestoration’ mushrooms break down debris, waste, and toxins. Whether in the forest, or in the human body, mushrooms serve the function of maintaining balance in their surrounding ecosystem. This characteristic makes mushrooms to be both food + medicine = medicinal food!


Medicinal mushrooms are adaptogens. An adaptogen is a substance that helps the body adapt to stress and normalizes all of the body’s processes to balance and restore it. Adaptogens do not have specific functions – they neither stimulate nor inhibit bodily functions. Instead they establish homeostasis, assist the individual’s ability to heal, and provide a sense of overall wellness.

Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress by recharging the adrenal glands. This results in the individual feeling calmer, more at peace, and an opening of their spirit.

What this means is that an adaptogen will work differently each time depending on the person ingesting it and the person’s bodily state at that exact moment. If you and I both take a medicinal mushroom right now, it will affect us differently, based on our individual needs. In addition, if we take it right now, and then a few hours from now, the mushroom will work differently within us depending on what our body needs at that moment.

In addition to the medicinal mushrooms chaga and reishi, other adaptogens include ginseng, cordyceps mushroom, rhodiola root, nettles, and maitake and shiitake mushrooms.


Chaga and reishi are known as the King and Queen of Immortality, respectively.  They grow on trees, by supporting them and channeling their energy. Chaga and reishi do not grow on dead trees. Nor are they parasitic to the tree they grow on. Quite the opposite – they support and nourish that tree.

Food that grows on trees tends to be much older than the annual food we generally consume. This means they provide us with a different type of energy than eating, for example, an annual herb. Some herbalists believe that eating medicinal mushrooms allows us to access the inherent cellular intelligence of the ancient world around us. Chinese, Japanese and Asian cultures have revered both these mushrooms as sources of immortality for thousands of years.

Available to Everyone

Chaga and Reishi are food for our immune system. They are a ‘soft’ food meaning they can cause no harm, no matter how much is taken. They can be eaten by anyone including children, sick people, the elderly etc. because they work with the individual at their current level of health.

Chinese Three Trasures (San Bao: 三寶)

The Three Treasures (三寶) are a cornerstone of Daoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These three treasures are your jing (精), your qi (氣), and your shen (神). I like to use the analogy of a candle to describe the three treasures.

Jing 精 : Jing is your physical structure and your genetics. It is your physical inheritance. Some people have strong compositions, which means they have a strong jing. Others are physically weaker. We can inherit certain deficient areas in our jing such as weak bones.  In the Chinese Five Elements, jing is associated primarily with the kidneys and sex organs and the color black.

In the candle analogy, the jing is the wax and wick of the candle.

Qi 氣 : Qi is your life force. It is a result of the air you breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink. What you consume enters your digestive system, interacts with your organs, your blood, and generates your life force. So if you have a strong jing but breathe polluted air and eat processed, toxic foods, your qi will be weak. In this situation, your jing will need to rely on its own resources to provide you with life force. This reliance drains the jing treasure. On the other hand, if you have a weak jing, but a strong qi due to eating and living a healthy lifestyle, your qi treasure can support a weaker jing. In the Chinese Five Elements, qi is associated with the liver and spleen organs.

In the candle  analogy, the qi is the flame.

Shen 神 : Shen is your spirit. It is a difficult word to translate into English as it comprises our spiritual connection to the world around us. Indeed the word ‘Shen’ will often be found in all Chinese spiritual practices and texts. In the Chinese Five Elements, shen is associated with the heart. In our world of reason and logic, it is too easy to overlook the importance of thinking with our heart and connecting spiritually and with intuition to the life all around us. Building your shen treasure opens you up to the magic of the world and enables you to create your reality based on freedom, courage, joy and peace.

In the candle analogy, the shen is the light given off by the candle. How brightly do you glow?

Herbalists recommend to take medicinal mushrooms everyday. By taking the mushrooms regularly, you build a stockpile of your three treasures within you.Then your body can regularly use these stockpiles to keep you well-balanced and in good health.



Chaga Mushroom, King of the Medicinal Mushrooms

All medicinal mushrooms build all three treasures, and they have an area of expertise. Chaga builds Jing. Jing energy is translated as the essence of the individual, it is the individual’s physical and genetic composition. In Daoist herbalism, black foods are known to have high Jing, and chaga mushrooms are extremely black. Chaga is one of the strongest influencers on our Jing and lifespan, making it the King of Immortality.

Chaga contains numerous B vitamins, including pantothenic acid, wild-source minerals (copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron), melanin, which is required by the pineal gland, anti-oxidants (second only to cacao in the world), Vitamin D . Its most potent ingredient is a special substance known as superoxide dismutase (SOD). This is an enzyme which halts oxidation of and damage to tissues, thereby slowing aging.

A list of benefits from regular consumption of Chaga mushrooms:

  • Oxidative damage to the human lymphocytes DNA.
  • And because of immuno stimulation, Chaga mushrooms also fight against cancerous growths and cancer cells.
  • The presence of betulinic acid in Chaga mushrooms or betulin inhibits the growth of tumors and kills off tumor tissues as well as tumor cells.
  • Creates general feelings of well being, increases the life span, delays the signs of aging, prevents aging and derails cancer cells.
  • It can help to heal injuries and rashes when applied on the skin.
  • Boosts the immune system, promotes longevity, and preserves youth.
  • Since 16th century, ancient eastern Europeans have been using Chaga mushrooms to treat gastritis, tuberculosis, and ulcers.
  • Chaga mushrooms provide an anti inflammatory effect.
  • It can effectively help you get rid of kidney stones.
  • It also helps to combat hormonal imbalance, HIV, diabetes and immune deficiencies.

The above is adapted from David Wolfe’s work on Chaga mushrooms.



Reishi mushroom, Mushroom of Immortality

Reishi builds Shen. Shen is the individual’s Spirit, it is the light, vitality, and aura of an individual. Reishi has been revered by Daoists for thousands of years as the Elixir of Youth. It modulates the immune function, promotes health, longevity, and peace of mind.

The ancient Chinese herbalist Shen Nong some 5,000 years ago wrote: “Long term consumption [of Reishi mushroom] will lighten the body and prevent aging, extend one’s life, and make one an immortal.”

Some of the benefits of taking reishi include:

  • Supports and regulates immune function at the level of the bone marrow, increasing production of immune cells. It is used in China to protect the immune system from damaging effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Protects the cardio vascular system – it is a heart tonic able to reduce blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and keep the arteries pliable and soft.
  • Helps the respiratory system by facilitating oxygen absorption.
  • Supports and protects the liver against damage from chemicals, toxins and infection.
  • Scavenges free radicals.
  • Has antihistamine activity.
  • Is antimicrobial and antifungal.
  • Absorbs heavy metals.
  • Promotes nutrient absorption.
  • Opens the Heart, calms the Spirit, and connects you to your higher self. Great for those with insomnia or anxiety.
  • Enhances wisdom and supports spiritual evolution and insight.

Above adapted from Jing Herbs

How to Take Chaga and Reishi

I have chosen chaga and reishi as the two medicinal mushrooms to highlight here because herbalists state that if you only want to take two medicinal mushrooms for the rest of your life, take chaga and reishi. If you only take one, take reishi.

The easiest way to take these mushrooms is through a hot tea or elixir.

To make a tea from the dried mushroom, boil the mushroom in water, then simmer for several hours. You can reuse the mushroom several times. You will know when it no longer has potency as the color of the water will be clear.

To make a tea from the dried mushroom powder, simply stir 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp of mushroom into 8 oz hot (not boiling) water. (Start with 1 tsp and gradually build up to 1 Tbsp as your body and mind feel inclined to do so).

To make an elixir, blend together your chaga/reishi tea together with a handful of raw nuts (cashews or almonds work well), 1-2 Tbsp of raw cacao, 1 Tbsp cacao nibs, 1 Tbsp raw honey, and you can also add any of the following: maca, blue-green algae, goji berries, aloe, MSM etc.

You can also take chaga and reishi together, as they are the King and Queen and work well together.

How to Purchase Medicinal Mushrooms

Reishi – The China-based company Alphay offers a range of very high quality, organically certified, incredibly potent reishi formulas, teas and coffees. I recommend you talk with me about which reishi formula to get started with.
You can browse and purchase online here. (Scroll way down and click on the ‘Browse Products’ button. If you select the Autoship option, you can receive wholesale pricing! And you can change your Autoship at any time. This is the recommended option for purchasing). If you are interested to become a business builder, contact me.

Chaga  –  I recommend Jing Herbs products, which you can purchase online.

Next Steps

Intrigued? Want to learn more? Do not hesitate to contact me. I can talk about medicinal mushrooms all day, and would love to talk with you!