Herbal Uses for the reishi mushroom uk
Knowledge and use of reishi mushroom uk (s) in the western world have recently ballooned.
When a group of mushrooms are referred to with the same name, the group is known as a complex.
The Reishi complex has a long history of reverence and uses in several East Asian cultures, and a far shorter, but also very striking, history of investigation in clinical science. You’ll find a plethora of blog posts, articles and scientific journal entries exploring the mechanisms of action of the various carbohydrate chains, fatty acids, triterpenoids and other juicy names for chemicals that Reishi fungi synthesise to help themselves survive, and that happen (some say due to evolutionary processes, others say biochemistry is lazy and conserves what works) to exhibit potent protection of human health when ingested as a tea, broth or powder.
We’ll explore the ways you can work with these mushrooms a little later, and we’ll assume that you can find plenty of other sources that tell you exactly what they might be doing inside you elsewhere.
mushroom extract powder
Take a walk in a British woodland and you are less likely to find a shiny, orange-coloured Reishi bracket (Ganoderma lucidum) than one of the more common Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum) with its matt cap and abundant, bulging white flesh. The good news is that they are both safe to ingest in food quantities (provided you have no clotting disorders and are not taking particular medications – if in doubt, check with a medical herbalist or doctor!) and have both had reams of research conducted on their biological activity. There are in fact two subgroups in the Ganoderma genus (meaning the denomination above species):
The shiny capped (laccate) ones that look as though they’ve been lacquered and polished. In the UK, Lacquered Bracket and Hemlock Varnish Shelf are the two you’ll most usually find.
The matt capped ones like Artist’s Conk and Southern Bracket.
Knowing What You’re Looking For…..
Reishi/Ganoderma mushrooms are the fruits of white-rot fungi that live on the wood and roots of trees. Some species parasitise living trees and are considered agricultural pests, particularly in tropical areas. Others feed on dead wood. Most of them are quite specific about what kind of wood they’re after, so take note (do this with any mushroom you identify) of what kind of tree they’re living on.
You might have heard of reishi mushroom uk ……But did you know it is many mushrooms?:
Ganoderma lucidum, the species that is most used in western herbal medicine, is a relatively rare find in Britain and Ireland, and if you do come across it it’s likely to be in the southern half of the island. It has a shiny, red-brown upper surface and can appear with or without a stalk protruding horizontally from the wood it grows on. The flesh is white, and there may be a white rim on the upper surface. It is found growing on deciduous and coniferous wood, but here usually prefers deciduous, and can be distinguished from a close relative, the Hemlock Varnish Shelf (Ganoderma tsugae) because the latter prefers coniferous wood.
Artist’s Conk/Bracket/Fungus and Southern Bracket, Ganoderma applanatum and G. australe, are some of the ones you’re most likely to find here in the UK. They particularly like Beech, both dead and alive, but may be found on other deciduous tree species. These species are almost indistinguishable from each other, and the undersides of both can be used as a canvas on which to draw. A significant amount of research has been undertaken on these species as well as the lacquered relatives. These are perennial mushrooms, and you can see the ringed annual growth. When harvesting, just slice/hack a couple of rings away and leave the remaining reishi mushroom uk to continue growing.
The spore surface of all the above species is white. The spores themselves are chocolatey brown and are often found on top of the mushrooms. A mycologist once told me that this is because, as they leave the pore tubes, the aerodynamics of the microscopic spores are such that they interact with the air, spitting them up and over to the top surface of the mushroom. I have yet to find this corroborated in writing!
The texture of all the above reishi mushroom uk does not lend itself to easy eating. They are tough, fibrous and woody. Instead, think about the best ways to extract them. We’ll go through this in more detail below.
Gathering reishi mushroom uk
When harvesting, you might need a strong implement! Always gather sensibly, keeping in mind that people are low on the list for creatures that depend on this organism eco systemically. Mushrooms are considered aerial parts, so provided you are gathering for your own purposes in the UK, as long as you have public access to the land, you are operating legally.
Use the same judgement when collecting wild foods as when foraging at a supermarket – choose healthy-looking specimens that have not been invaded by insects or other fungi, like rot.
Preparing (mushrooms life organic reishi)
Given their impenetrable texture, these are mushrooms that you need to extract using water, alcohol, and potentially heat.
If you want to make a tincture,
simply cut the reishi mushroom uk into the smallest possible pieces and cover with vodka, or another spirit that has an ABV at least as high as vodka. reishi mushroom uk holland and barrett
Steep for up to 4 weeks, strain and bottle.
Remember to label, otherwise the brown liquids proliferate and become anonymous.
The advantages of tinctures are that they have a long shelf life, extract a good range of therapeutic compounds, are possible novel additions to cocktails, desserts and sauces, and don’t take much space, time or maintenance.
Dry them well in a low heat oven or in a dehydrator. Store well out of sunlight and the reach of damp, and add to stocks, stews and tea mixes. My favourite way to do this last bit is to put everything in a big Thermos type flask and let it sit for a couple of hours before warming up with the deliciously complex flavours that have seeped into the water after all that extra time and heat. reishi mushroom uk wild
Tonic Properties(polysaccharides vegetarian capsules lingzhi ganoderma)
Know that every time you add mushrooms to your soups, stocks and teas you are supporting your immune system, both in helping it care for itself, and in carrying out anti-pathogenic activity. You are increasing the number of chemicals your body has to work with, which adds complexity and resilience to your system. And, perhaps most of all, you have taken the tonic medicine of going outside, looking around at the wonders of a woodland, and coming home with a little bit more wild. It’s the simple things that keep us healthiest in the end.
reishi mushroom uk Identification Species and Characteristics
Reishi mushroom uk identification isn’t very difficult. Few other species in the fungal kingdom rival its iconic beauty.
Different types of reishi grow all over the world, so you may be able to find some in your area. If you just take the capsules for health benefits, it’s still nice to know what the mushroom looks like in nature. dried reishi mushroom uk
Below I’ll go over some information on the identification of this medicinal mushroom. We’ll start with a brief discussion on different species, and move on to straight identification characteristics. Don’t forget to check out the pictures at the bottom!
Species of reishi mushroom uk
There are a few different species of Ganoderma that are referred to as “reishi”. The most common by far is Ganoderma lucidum. This is usually what people think of when talking about reishi mushrooms.
Where I live in the Northeastern United States, another common species is Ganoderma tsugae. This mushroom is so similar to Ganoderma lucidum that many people have trouble telling them apart. reishi mushroom tesco
Additionally, there exists a larger species, Ganoderma oregonense, which fruits on conifers in the Pacific Northwest. There’s even a Southeastern reishi known as Ganoderma curtisii. And let’s not forget Ganoderma capense, Ganoderma carnosum, and Ganoderma resinaceum. One can see how reishi appears all over the world!
Of course, reishi mushroom identification does not fall so easily into these categories. There’s debate over which, if any, of these species are actually different. Many believe that Ganoderma curtisii and Ganoderma lucidum are the same. Some insist that all of the mushrooms above are the same species.
For the purpose of this article we’ll treat Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma tsugae as two separate species and focus on their identification characteristics. These two seem to be the most common and well known of all reishi mushrooms.
reishi mushroom uk Identification Characteristics
So you wanna know the specifics of reishi mushroom uk identification? I’ve laid them out below, noting where the two main species differ. reishi mushroom capsules uk
Ecology:(vegetarian capsules lingzhi ganoderma lucidum )
Saprotrophic, meaning it feeds on dead organic matter. Look for them on dead or dying trees and old stumps or logs.
Grows on hardwood stumps and logs including oaks, elms, beeches, maples, and more. The tsugae species seems to prefer conifers, mainly hemlocks (tsuga means hemlock).
Kidney or fan-shaped and reddish with a wet, lacquered appearance when young. The shiny, reddish cap is one of the main identifying features of reishi mushroom uk. As they age the flesh becomes tougher and spores drop. Air currents often blow these spores to the top of the reishi mushroom uk, dulling its shiny cap.
The cap rarely gets larger than a foot across and an inch or two thick. It may or may not be attached to a stem.
The newest growth often shows up as a whitish edge. A main difference between the two species is that Ganoderma lucidum has a more brownish flesh color and Ganoderma tsugae has whiter flesh (see pictures below).
Spores come out of tiny pores on the underside of the reishi mushroom uk rather than gills. This is why they’re known as polypores (poly means “many”).
Brown in both species.
Ganoderma lucidum prefers warmer regions and is found in many parts of Asia, Australia, South America, Southern Europe, and the Southeastern United States. Ganoderma tsugae likes colder temperatures, and can be found as far as the Northeastern United States.
Time of year:(germany mushrooms life organic
Summer to fall for all species.
Now let’s take a look at some pictures to aid you in reishi mushroom uk identification!
Here’s a great view of the cap of Ganoderma lucidum. You can see the shiny appearance and new white growth on the edge. Note the reddish color as well.
Another good Ganoderma lucidum shot. This one has a stalk and seems to be growing on an old stump or log. If your eyes are good, you can see the concentric layers on the cap indicating past growth spurts.
A close-up of the Ganoderma tsugae picture from the top of this page. Notice how the caps of these mushrooms are whiter/lighter-colored than their lucidum relatives?
If you find reishi, you’ll have to make a tea to reap the reported health benefits. They’re simply too woody to eat like other mushrooms.
Fortunately, there are no poisonous reishi look-alikes. In fact, there are no known poisonous polypores! So hunting for reishi is pretty safe.
Do keep in mind that you should always consult with someone experienced when hunting for a new medicinal mushroom. Throw out anything you’re not sure of, and only try a little bit your first time.
Good luck hunting for reishi, one of the most beautiful of all mushrooms!