Last weekend, I received a package in the mail from a friend who also dabbles in herbs. Upon opening it, I discovered that it was the much-anticipated Reishi tincture that she'd promised me. Having never used Reishi mushrooms before, I decided (like any good herbalist) that some research was in order before I opened the bottle. And I will definitely be opening that bottle! Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) have a rich history and have been recorded in documents that date back to the Han Dynasty (around 206 B.C.-8 A.D.). The Japanese called this mushroom Reishi or Mannetake, which means 10,000 years mushroom, and the Chinese called it Ling Chu or Ling Zhi, which roughly translates into the mushrooms of immortality and the resurrection plant. Even the Romans and Egyptians believed in the Reishi's healing power and considered it to be a gift from the Gods. Modern medicine didn't start studying the benefits of Reishi until the late 1960s; and man, are we glad they did. The biggest benefit of Reishi Mushrooms has to be their cancer-fighting and cancer-preventative properties. This is possible because of its high amounts of antioxidants, beta-glucans, amino acids, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids. Polysaccharides are immune-modulating substances that seem to protect the DNA and stop cell mutations, which is typically how cancer forms. In addition, Triterpenoids limit tumor growth by preventing cancer cells from attaching to endothelial cells. Both of these elements, when combined with the others mentioned, work to keep the body healthy and cancer-free. As someone who's survived a bout with colon cancer, this is extremely exciting news for me. But cancer-fighting isn't Reishi's only claim to fame. Reishi will also help with: These are some of the major benefits of the Reishi mushroom. Some of the smaller benefits include: Obviously, Reishi is a wonder herb! You can use Reishi in a variety of ways, but the two I like the most are Tea (of course) and Tincture. To make Reishi tea: Take some fresh or dried Reishi (whole or ground) and add it to a quart of water in a saucepan. Boil the water for about 15 minutes. Strain and drink when cooled. I like this simple recipe because you can add other herbs to it before it boils to try and help with the Reishi's naturally bitter flavor. A bit of honey mixed in before you drink couldn't hurt either. If you'd rather make a tincture, you can check out the recipe at Ann Marie (where I found the Tea recipe) I'm excited to begin my Reishi journey, and while I haven't used the tincture yet, I fully plan to in the future. I wonder how it would taste mixed in with my coffee? For more information, visit The Fisher Clinic, Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, Self Hacked, and Nootriment. To read the scientific studies, visit NCBI (article 1) and NCBI (article 2) The Reishi photo came from Nootriment, the tincture photo is my own.