Reishi Mushroom

Ganoderma Lucidum

Reishi is Japanese for “divine” or “spiritual mushroom”, the word is derived from rishi which means a wise sage.  In China its known as Ling Chi, Ling Chih, Ling Zhi or “tree of life mushroom”. The most common name for this mushroom is the mushroom of immortality because of its ability to bring health. Reishi was associated with royalty, health, recuperation, longevity, sexual prowess, wisdom and happiness. The Reishi is often portrayed in Asian art work alongside the wise sages as a symbol of longevity. The myth and lore about the Reishi stretches back thousands of years.

This mushroom is available today for us all. It can be taken in tincture, tea or capsules. The dried Reishi mushroom should be cooked in water at a high heat for 30 minutes to 2 hours to get the full potency. The tea tastes earthy and a little sweet it is nice with honey. The mushroom is used by herbalists in tonic soups and teas and has a long history of use by ancient sages and spiritual masters of Asia as it aids is calming the mind and opening the energetic pathways of the body.

The dried Reishi mushroom can be made into a tincture by adding the mushroom into a mason jar filled with brandy or vodka. Shake the sealed jar daily with healing intentions in mind and wait 3-12 months. In the end you can filter out the mushroom and use a 1/16 to 1/8 of a teaspoon or a dropper full in hot water (180 Degrees) to boost immunity and promote longevity.

Description: Polypore with a hard, woody, shiny, varnished appearance. The spores, mushroom body and the mycelium are all medicinal and used in herbal preparations. Found worldwide. Active constituents: Has a wide variety of active components, including alkaloids, proteins, amino acids, polysaccharides (including Beta-D-glucans), ergosterol and other sterols, triterpenes, neucleotides (including adenosine), volatile oils, minerals, vitamins and lipids. Uses: Athletic performance: Enhances oxygenation of the blood, reducing and preventing altitude sickness in high altitude mountain climbers. Cardiovascular health: Lowers cholesterol levels, reduced blood and plasma viscosity in a controlled study of patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Immune enhancement: Potent action against sarcoma, stimulates macrophages and increases levels of tumor-necrosis factor (TNF-α) and interleukins. Immunopotentiation: Anti-HIV in in vitro and in vivo animal studies; protects against ionizing radiation. Liver health: Reduced liver enzyme levels (SGOT and SGPT) in hepatitis B patients. Respiratory health: in studies 60-90% of 3,000 patients with chronic bronchitis showed clinical improvement, especially older patients with bronchial asthma as it aids in regeneration bronchial epithelium (bronchial tract lining). Supports individuals with cancer. Miscellaneous uses: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory; liver detoxification and protective actions.

Mushroom Cafe Mural at COSM in Upstate NY.

Scientific research about Reishi’s medicinal properties: It is directly active as a anti-microbial (Suay et al. 2000) Reishi primarily functions as a biological response modifier, stimulating production of macro phages (often due to interleukins-1, -2, -6, -10) activation the host’s production of natural killer cells, T cells and tumor-necrosis factors. More than 100 distinct polysaccharides and 119 triterpeniods have been isolated (Gao 2002), These triterpenoids and polysaccharides demonstrate immuno-modulatory properties. Can be good for bronchitis, asthma, and allergies (Hirotani and Furuya 1986; han et al 1998; Zhu et al 1999). Has been shown to limit the in-vitro growth of Meth-A and LLC tumor cell lines (Min et al. 2000) and cervical HeLa cells (Zhu et al 2000). It strongly stimulates the activity of T-lymphocytes (Bao et al. 2002). Natural killer T cells were significantly augmented when cancer cells were co-cultured with human spleen cells (Ohtomo 2001) Slivova and colleagues reported Reishi inhibited breast cancer cell adhesion, reducing motility and migration of highly metastasized cancer cells. Reishi’s polysaccharides caused a 5 to 29 fold increase in the tumor-necrosis factors, interlukins -1 and -6 and a substantial augmentation of T lymphocytes (Lieu and other 1992). polysaccharides of Reishi significantly inhibited the growth of leukemia (U937) cells. This mushroom also restricts tumor angiogenesis. (Lee and others 2001) found that Reishi prevents oxidative damage from the effects of cancer chemotherapy. Reishi has a Beta-Glucan from the mycelium enhanced the production of nitric oxides from macrophages but decreased other free radicals and the collateral harm they cause to healthy cells (Han et al. 198; Li et al 2000; Zhou and Gao 2002). Tumor necrosis factors (Alpha TNF’s) were released by macrophages 8 hours after exposure to derivatives of mushroom polysaccharides targeting cancerous cells, followed 4 hours later by a burst of nitric oxide, which then killed the diseased cells.

The antioxidant properties of Reishi have been well established (Chang and But 1986; Chen and Zhanga 1987; Wang et al. 1985; Yang et al. 1992; and Lee et al. 2001) and thus provides a powerful antioxidant effect. Reishi can play an important role in minimizing the effects of aging by reducing damage from oxidative stress associated with free radicals. Constituents including Lanostanic triterpenoids have been shown to be anti-inflammatory (Ukai et al 1983) in the treatment of arthritis (stavinoha et al. 1990, 1996; Lin et al. 1993; Mizuno and Kim 1996; Lee et al. 2001). Mushroom inhibited platelet aggregation and gave positive results in treatment of atherosclerosis (Tao and Feng 1990). Significant results were obtained in a clinical study in the treatment of prostate inflammation (Small et al. 2000). Zhang (2002) isolated an bioactive glucose-galactose-mannose sugar that enhances lymphocyte activity and immunoglobulin. Reishi helps respiration, since this species enhances the oxygen absorbing capacity of the alveoli in the lungs, thereby enhancing stamina (Chang and But 1986). Andreacchi and others (1997) demonstrated that Reishi increased coronary flow due to vasodilation, with a corresponding decrease in diastolic blood pressure and no change in heart rhythm.

By: Transpersonal spirit

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Nanba, 1994. “Anti-diabetic activity present in the fruit body Grifola frondosa (Maitake).” Biol. Pharm. Bull. 17, 8: 1106-1110. Kim, B.K., H.W. Kim and E.C. Choi, 1994. “Anti-HIV effects of Ganoderma lucidum.” In Ganoderma: Systematics, Phytopathology & Pharmacology: Proceedings of Contributed Symposium 59 A,B. 5th International Mycological Congress. Vancouver. Kahlos, K. et al., 1996. “Preliminary tests of antiviral activity of two Inonotus obliquus strains”. Fitopterapia 6 (4) 344-7. Ikekawa, T., N. Uehara, Y. Maeda, M. Nakanishi, F. Fukuoka, 1969. “Twenty years of Studies on Antitumor Activities of Mushrooms”. Cancer Research 29, 734-735 Hattori, M., 1997. “Inhibitory effects of components from Ganoderma lucidum on the growth of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the Protease Activity” in Proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on Ganoderma lucidum in Japan, Nov. 17-18th, 128-135. Tokyo. Furusawa, E., S.C. Chou, S. Furusawa, et al. 1992. “Antitumor activity of Ganoderma lucidum, an edible mushroom, on intraperitoneally implanted Lewis lung carcinoma in synergenic mice. Phytotherapy Research 6: 300-304. Ebina, T. and K. Murata, 1994. “Antitumor effect of intratumoral administration of a Coriolus preparation, PSK: inhibition of tumor invasion in vitro.” Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 21: 2241-3 Collins, R.A., and T.B. Ng, 1997. “Polysaccharopeptide from Coriolus versicolor has potential for use against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection” Life Sciences 60(25): PL383-7. Chihara, G. et al., 1969. Inhibition of mouse sarcoma 180 by polysaccharides from Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. Nature 222: 637-688 Chen, W.C., D.M. Hau, C.C. Wang, I.H. Lin, and S.S. Lee., 1995 “Effects of Ganoderma lucidum and Krestin on subset T-cell in spleen of gamma-irradiated mice.” American Journal of Chinese Medicine. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 23(3-4): 289-98 Adachi, Y., M. Okazaki, N. Ohno, and T. Yadomae, 1994. “Enhancement of cytokine production by macrophages stimulated with (1—3)-beta-D-glucan, grifolan (GRN), isolated from Grifola frondosa. Biol. Phar. Bull. Dec; 17(12)1554-60. Adachi, K. et al., 1987. “Potentiation of host-mediated antitumor activity in mice by B-glucan obtained from Grifola frondosa (Maitake)” Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 35:262-270. Adachi, et al. 1988. “Blood pressure lowering activity present in the fruitbody of Grifola frondosa (Maitake). “Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 3: 1000-1006. Adachi, Y., N. Ohno, M. Ohsawa, S. Oikawa, T. Yadomae, 1990. “Change of biological activities of (1—3) beta-D-glucan from Grifola frondosa upon molecular weight reduction by heat treatment. “Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. Feb; 38:(2):477-481. Zhou, A.R., 1987. “Studies on antitumor activity of Tremella polysaccharides.” J. Beijing Med. Univ. 19: 150-. Weil, A. 1993. “Boost immunity with mushrooms.” Natural Health, May-June, pp. 12-16. Weil, A., 1997. “Miraculous mushrooms.” Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter, May, 1997.

Forest Intelligence

Forest intelligence

The Ancient forests are magnificent and becoming ever more rare. They are the source of the most diverse array of life on the planet. These ancient forests are the lungs of the earth making oxygen and consuming carbon. When we look into old growth forests there are massive trees, soft ground netted with roots, plants, insects, animals and mushrooms. The canopy overhead makes a green sky with sun light twinkling through the leaves.

The largest trees in the forest are called mother trees, grandmother trees by many indigenous groups. These ancient trees can be hundreds and in some cases thousands of years old. In that time they have propagated many younger trees who will someday take their place as a mother tree. The mother tree makes a network which sustains the other organisms in the forest. Plants are not just competing against one another but working together in families and communities in reciprocal and symbiotic relationships.

Suzanne Simard says the secret to the life of the forest is in the soil. Two thirds of the forest is in the soil and only one third is above ground. Now they are finding that the plants work together in a network and community. The whole forest is a system communicating with the other organisms in the ecosystem. The plants transfer nutrients, hormones, water, nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides and many other things through a vast underground network of roots and primarily through Fungi. The forest floor is like a superhighway transporting all kinds of goods and communication between plants.

The fungi make a mycelial network throughout the forest floor. When we think of fungi in the forest we think of the mushrooms. These mushrooms are a small part of the actual organism, the main body is a vast network of mycelium a thin white root structure in the soil. Under a single foot print i n an ancient forest there is 300 miles of fungal cells moving things around the forest. Networks are nodes and links; in the forest the nodes are mother trees and the links are fungi. Fungi are neither plant nor animal they are in a kingdom of their own. The mycelium of the fungi is the padding the ancient forest floor. The mushrooms are huge organisms in the forest they are just flat and in the soil. In fact the world’s largest living organism is a fungi in Oregon.

The whole forest floor is literally covered in fungi and the organisms in the soil have to co-evolve with the fungi. Forest networks are organized like our neuro-networks and communication networks. The fungal network is a billion year old organism which allowed life to travel from the oceans to the land. Eventually the plants came into fungal symbiosis (they bonded on a cellular level) which allowed plants to photosynthesize making food from the sunlight. This led to the creation of oxygen which allowed humans to exist.

The mycelium taps into the trees and the trees give the fungi carbon based sugars, the fungi in return provide the trees with nutrients. Many plants are dependent on the fungi for survival such as the Douglas fir which could not exist without the fungi. The fungi are dependent on the trees and the trees are dependent on the fungi. The roots and the fungi are communicating and helping each other in a mutually beneficial co evolution. The fungal network can fill the small spaces and effectively extend the trees root structure. The fungi give the nutrients from fungi to fungi and from tree to tree and to other plants. I would go as far to say that the fungi also attract and give nutrients to humans and animals through the mushrooms.

This transport of nutrients was discovered by tracking the flow of nutrients through tree using radioactive CO2. Days after the tree are introduced to the radioactive CO2 the scientists can track the location of the radioactive CO2. They found the carbon had traveled to the root of the tree and out through the surrounding fungi network sending the nutrients in greatest quantity to the younger most vulnerable trees. The larger tree gives nourishment to the younger seedlings. The mother trees give more nourishment to her own kin and this giving is governed through the fungi.

The mother trees can gather much more sunlight with its impressive height and gives that nourishment to the rest of the forest. The trees are growing up in a family where the mother tree feeds young with the food she gathered. The big trees with large roots are the hubs and the systems in the forest they grow around this tree. The mother trees are like hubs for the forest network. One tree can be linked to hundreds of other trees The biggest trees the send carbon into the networks around them and the carbon is sent everywhere. The more stressed the younger trees the more the big trees give the little ones. The research shows a self-organizing and complex system of social relationships in the forest.


By Transpersonal Spirit


Nature. What Plants Talk about. Merit motion production. Written directed by Erna Buffie. 2013. DVD.

Suzanne Simard. The networked healing of forests. Ted lessons.

Suzanne Simard The Science, Art and Meaning of Forest Wisdom -, Ph.D.

Plant Intelligence

Plant intelligence

eveline hanson gaia mother earth

Eveline Hanson Gaia Mother of Earth

Plants live a secret life which is being revealed by science. The plants have been considered unintelligent for hundreds of years in western culture. The story of Noah’s ark does not mention the plants or the fungi which sustain all animal life. The plants move slowly and thus their behavior is more difficult to observe when compared with animals. Also the majority of the plant is usually found under the soil away from human eyes. The plants do not have a brain or a recognizable nervous system and science has largely assumed this means that plants cannot be intelligent.

Plants can interact with their surrounding environment in astonishing ways. The plants can communicate with each other as well as insects, birds, reptiles and other pollinators. When the movement of the plants is sped up they are very animal like. Plants are not isolated but rather are part of a larger community of organisms such as a forest, prairie or desert.

James (JC) Cahill is investigating if plants behave like animals. The information he has gathered provides evidence that some plants indeed act like animals. The root will seek out areas of nutrients when it find a patch it will slow its growth to consume nourishment. When seeking a distant nutrient patch it will develop and move quickly. This is a typical foraging pattern seen in many animals including human mushroom hunters (more on mushrooms later). The movement of the plant root in slow motion looks much like a worm in soil.

The leaves of many plants will move to capture the movement of light. Many plants become less active and the leaves close at night. The Venus fly trap is another example of a plant which behaves like an animal, it moves quickly as it eats insects and slugs. Plants can also claim territory by killing other plants like the nap weed and other invasive species.

The root structures of even small established plants have over 11,000,000 root tips each tip coordinated and intelligent with its movements. For a plant to move its roots they must grow and even this growth very much resembles the movement of worms. How can a plant coordinate millions of growing roots? The structure of these roots systems is much like the internet with its many independent branches in a network. One can remove 90 percent of the plants root and it can continue to survive the same is true with the internet. Let’s see how complex plant behavior above ground is with the sacred and powerful wild tobacco plant.

Wild Tobacco plant is an amazing plant which Ian Baldwin has studied focusing on its sophisticated ability to respond to threats in its environment. Its seed require a wild fire to begin their growth cycle and they can wait in the soil for hundreds of years for that to occur. The wild tobacco plants are attacked by many bugs and caterpillars in its harsh desert environment. Once attacked it releases a toxin, nicotine, which poisons any organism with muscles and thus poisons my bugs. The horn worm caterpillar eats the tobacco at an amazing speed eating a whole leaf in just minutes. The tobacco is sentient and once the caterpillar’s saliva is on the plant it recognizes its attacker and responds. The Tobacco releases a cry for help using a specific scent which attracts insects like the big eyed bug that attack the caterpillars. The plant knows what bugs to call and how to attract them using chemical volatiles or scents.

The wild tobacco also produces trichomes that have a smell which attracts ground foragers who eat the caterpillars like salamanders. When the caterpillars eat the trichomes they become delicious and easy to find treats for reptiles and rodents. The main pollinator is the Hawk moth which lays the caterpillar eggs. This is why the flowers of the tobacco bloom at night to attract the moth and to reproduce. The moth then lays eggs on the tobacco. Despite the tobaccos defenses they can be overrun with caterpillars. When this occurs the tobacco switches its pollinator. It changes its flowers and they began opening at dawn. The daytime flowers have a different look and smell. The day blooming tobacco flower has different sugar and nectar composition. The flower even changed shape and stopped bring in the hawk moth, instead it began to attract the humming birds. The tobacco chooses to switch its pollinator in just 8 days.

wild tobacco

All these scents, signals and defenses are proving the tobacco plant has incredible awareness of its environment. Furthermore, it has been observed that the surrounding plants are listening in on the signals of the tobacco and may raise their defenses as well. The communities of plants are interacting in complex and adaptive ways. The forest is the best place to observe real living plant communities Suzanne Simard has been studying the forests in Canada and has made ground breaking discoveries, pun intended…. continued in the article Forest intelligence.

By Transpersonal Spirit.



Nature. What Plants Talk about. Merit motion production. Written directed by Erna Buffie. 2013. DVD.

Suzanne Simard. The networked healing of forests. Ted lessons.