The Reishi Mushroom & Its History: Part 1 of Understanding the Reishi Mushroom

April 22, 2022 | By Sebastian Munevar (The Mad Mycologists, LLC) Instagram: @themadmycologists

When choosing a botanical to extract, it means embarking on a journey to understand everything that plant is before extracting it. With all kinds of flowers and plants to extract, it can also lead to us losing sight of a whole other kingdom that exists with the potential for extraction: mushrooms. In this article, we will be highlighting a very special mushroom: The Reishi Mushroom.

But First, Let’s Start with an Introduction

Before we take a dive into the rabbit hole that is Reishi, I would like to formally introduce myself: My name is Sebastian Munevar and I am the founder of The Mad Mycologists, a locally-oriented small business start-up based in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Our first goal as a science-driven business is to produce the highest quality mushroom extracts for later infusion into a line of intentionally-crafted supplements that we plan to release in the near future. Until then and even after, our goal will always be education; by sharing the knowledge behind mushrooms and asking one question: What is their purpose here?

What is the elusive Reishi mushroom?

The Reishi mushroom is one that eludes many lucky enough to cross its path. Upon the first glimpse, this mushroom is characterized by its glossy, lacquered cap and a blend of red, brown, and burgundy colors; colors that inspire a warm and fuzzy feeling, followed by an earthy texture and density. It’s a mushroom whose mystical appearance takes after the lore and stories hiding beneath it; waiting to be found.

Considered the queen of mushrooms by many, Reishi is rich in both history and medicinal benefits, backed by a strong reverence for its power. This is a power whose origin can be found in many Eastern cultures, such as China, where Reishi is known as “Ling Zhi”, which means “spiritual mushroom”, and in Japan, where “Reishi” is actually the common name for this mushroom. If we look at its taxonomic name, Ganoderma lucidum, it translates to “shiny mushroom”. It is a mushroom known by many names and today, we can find Reishi growing throughout most parts of the Western and Eastern Hemisphere, with species and subvarieties varying by region. For example, you can find Ganoderma curtisii throughout most parts of Florida and Ganoderma tsugae throughout many parts of North Carolina, or even Ganoderma oregonense in parts of Oregon. Each region is prolific with its own unique species of Reishi mushroom.

A Little History of the Reishi Mushroom

Reishi was first documented in Shennong’s Pharmacopeia, one of the world’s oldest pharmacopeia, possibly written as long as 5,000 years ago. In this book, Reishi was described as “the herb with spiritual benevolence”, and since then, Reishi has made quite the name for itself in Eastern culture. Leaving a trail of letters from above, Reishi is seen as this cosmic messenger, here to help us manifest higher energy and protect us from lower frequencies of discord. And in the not too distant past, the growing superstition surrounding Reishi became a concern for even the Chinese Communist Party, so much that they removed it from the Chinese Materia Medica, a widely used encyclopedia for Chinese herbal medicine. Like many other plants and fungi filled with stories of magic, Reishi is no stranger to being a target for politically-motivated groups, whose intention is one that seeks to snuff out any idea or being that challenges the status quo.

Reishi; Something to Look Forward To

As you decide whether you want to work with Reishi or not, keep these stories in mind. It is a mushroom that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, yet its potential benefits are truly worthy of exploration. Stay tuned for next week’s blog, where we will cover Reishi’s medicinal benefits and take a deep dive into the chemistry of this medicinal mushroom within the context of extraction and how ExtractCraft devices can efficiently facilitate this process.


Fig.2 Wild Ganoderma tsugae in North Carolina