Sometimes a herb is just so good, so bloody incredible that you’ve just got to raise your hands in the air and wave ‘em around like you just don’t care, and after you read about what this beautiful herb reishi can contribute to your health, healing and spiritual journey, you’ll be droppin’ it like it’s hot and twerking in celebration.
No other herb (I truly mean no other) has as often been the catalyst for a person’s transformation of conscious awareness. Reishi holds the power to liberate you from the stressful grips of the mind and sympathetic nervous system (A.K.A. stressed, controlled in part by our HPA axis) into a place of peace, heart-based (and effortless) presence and general positive-outlook-awesomeness.
The Taoists hold reishi in the highest regard, claiming her most potent benefit is the gift of toning ones spirit, increasing our ability to cultivate wisdom, increase compassion, strengthen our most noble attributes, see beauty in the world and others, shake off spiritual suppression and connect with nature.
All of this is expressed by its position as the primary shen (spirit) tonic in the entire Taoist herbal system. Those who take reishi notice a peacefulness that arrives with its use, accumulating over time as she strengthens the nerves of the body. That’s why she’s seen as the greatest anti-stress herb and has been used by many throughout time to calm the mind, improve memory, strengthen the nerves, sharpen focus, build willpower and ease tension.
The best reishi ever is found in wild northern regions of China and the south Appalachian Mountains of the US, growing wild from living and dead hardwood trees. It is an advanced fungi that contains a phytochemistry that boggles the mind and delights the body.
The flavour is bitter (so you know it’s good), derived from the woody, nutritious tree cellulose that it feeds upon. Because of the intensely wild conditions in which it grows, reishi must develop an advanced and sophisticated inner immunity and internal resistance to external pollutants, fungal competition and meddling fauna.
In response to this, reishi has embodied immunoglobulins, polyglycans, polysaccharides, triterpenes, cholesterol-regulating beta-glucans, macrophage-promoting ganoderic acids, unique antioxidant germanium, and other immune-enhancing components that keep it safe and protected while it does its thing; much like what it does for our bodies when we take it.
As if that wasn’t enough, as if that we hadn’t been exposed to one of the most awe-inspiring and life-affirming herbs ever, reishi has been considered for thousands of years to be the safest and best herb for the expecting, carrying and baby-wearing mother to ingest to transfer an advanced immune system to the bubba, being enabled by the extreme tonic and adaptogenic properties of the herb which only strengthens the body’s systems (reishi never weakens us).
When women begin to try for a little miracle, Taoist herbalists would have them onto reishi right away, and when the little miracle emerges into life in the womb, reishi is taken from beginning to end. This celebrated form of herbal nutrition during pregnancy (and as the first herb introduced on the gums when the time is right) gives rise to the phenomena of “reishi babies,” bubs that have an immunity built and given in the womb that lays a powerful and intelligent immune system that is well endowed to deal with the stressors of the world.
I love seeing reishi babies coming into the world and the feeling of peace and calm that mums who utilise this have as their instincts tell them that their little ones are protected. We ourselves have had a reishi baby and we share our journey here and here.
This herb is truly the “supreme protector,” supporting us on every level: physically, mentally, spiritually and immunologically. As we continue to consume reishi we become more adaptable to the world and stress on all these levels, aiding us to achieve a superior capacity for health and a joyful life.
All in all, reishi is the bomb. The fact that the Taoists depict this herb and this herb alone in their illustrations of heaven says it all. She is a wonderful friend to have, an incredible herb to ingest, and an honour to integrate with and experience as you start and continue to accumulate the benefits and lessons over the years of ingestion.