Reishi mushroom is a bitter, edible mushroom also know as Ganoderma lucidum or lingzhi mushroom. They are grown and cultivated in East Asia, where they have been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. This fascinating fungus has been revered in Asian societies for thousands of years and is one of the oldest symbols of well-being and longevity. These “mushrooms of immortality” are found growing on plum trees in the wild and were originally reserved for use only by royals.
There are many varieties of reishi, the most common of which has a soft, cork-like texture and an ear-shaped cap that ranges in color from red-orange to black. The reishi mushroom has a rather bitter, woody taste, which is why it is traditionally prepared in a tea or as an extract. It was not until the second half of the 20th century that researchers began to study the medicinal properties of the reishi mushroom.