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Mycotherapy: Reishi for the mood

Ganoderma lucidum tea
Reishi and Peppermint tea:
250ml  water (250ml)
8 Reishi mushroom slices 
10 fresh mint leaves
Raw honey to sweeten.

Worldwide, mushrooms have been associated to the contrast between good and evil. There are mushroom-loving (mycophile) cultures and mushroom-hating (mycophobe) cultures; the West tends to relate to fear of mushroom poisoning, whereas the East tends to worship mushrooms.
In the West, mushrooms have always been associated to magical practices or spirits. For example, tales tell about the wanderings of the Saints Peter, Vito and Antonio, who spread mushrooms around forests and other tales that in the county of Styria, spirits would turn into the elves of mushrooms. 

In the Middle-Ages, Saint Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), a renowned Healer, recognised that mushrooms grown on the trunks of different trees would develop different characteristics.

According to the book  “Hermitage on the perfumed mountain”, the traditional medicine of the Celestial Empire was the art of saving the world, because the person who practises it was obliged to never delay or refuse treatment, for a real man to be worthy of being called a man should never reproach himself for having lived in vain.

Ganoderma lucidum ReishiThe most treasured remedy amongst the medicines of ancient China and the Far East was Reishi, Ganoderma lucidum (Ling Zhi), the mushroom of spirituality and longevity, findings of which date back 4000 years. When it grows in the light, Reishi has the shape of kidney, whilst, when it grows in the dark, it takes the shape of horns. 

Reishi can be of variable colours: blue, red, yellow, white, black or purple. All varieties offer particular qualities, all of which can increase physical resistance to ailments and calm the mind. Reishi of a scarlett colour was regarded the best elixir of life by European Alchemists at the time of Paracelso (1493-1511) and this is the most sought variety in the West until today.
It is listed amongst the herbs of the gods, as Reishi could be taken at any dosage for any length of time without side effects. In Japan, Reishi was called Mannentake, the mushroom of eternity, because it never rots while drying and preserves indefinitely. The Taoist monks regarded Reishi as the symbol of immortality, because it would keep illness away and bring good luck. Taoism attributes to the regular use of Reishi the ability to restore Yin-Yang, which is harmony between mind and body, besides toning the Qi, in other words, vital energy of blood and fluids. 
Reishi has been used to support energetic recovery, manage mood swings, panic attacks and as aphrodisiac for men and women. Reishi constituted the most precious dowry that a bride would bring in the XII century. According to the Shen Nung T’sao Ching, the most ancient Chinese herbal text, Reishi belongs to a class of about a hundred remedies, which had been compared to the sky. Kosai Matsumoto, a modern Chinese author, confirms that Reishi improves elimination processes and normalises physiology together with mood and libido. 
Scientific studies demonstrate the efficacy of Reishi in regulating stress hormones, particularly thanks to its richness in ganoderic acids, which save the adrenal production of cortisol and enable relaxation of blood vessels. The adenosine content in the fruiting body of the mushroom reduces muscle and nerve spasm, whilst its high content in protein, different polysaccharides, B Vitamins, micro- and macro-minerals make it an excellent tonic. It contains Germanium, which is oxygenating, a factor in the management of psychological and physical stress. Reishi is an excellent tonic for the circulation to the brain, because it relaxes the blood vessels, thus improving short-term memory. This remedy is not sedating or hypnotic but regulating of neurotransmitters.

Bigliography: Schulten, Frank-Daniel (2007) REISHI il fungo dell’immortalità. Edizioni il Punto d’Incontro.