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Making fresh Reishi mushroom tea

October 26, 2012 | Mushroom Cultivation, Mushrooms | 9 comments | Author:

As part of the mushroom propagation systems we’re setting up at Milkwood Farm, we’re growing reishi mushrooms, for their widely established healing properties. In China and Japan, reishi are used widely as a general health tonic and also as a specific treatment for some types of cancers.  Making tea is a simple way of accessing reishi benefits, and it tastes great too.

Actually the good taste was a surprise – all the reading i’ve done on reishi tea is that it’s bitter, but those recipes were made  from dried reishi mushrooms. At our last Mushroom Cultivation course, Will Borowski brewed up some reishi tea from fresh mushrooms – and it tasted great – somewhere between green tea and mushrooms (strangely enough)…

They don’t look like the dried ones you buy from China, but they’re the same thing! Only better because we grew ‘em. Reishi mushrooms growing on grain spawn in the Milkwood shadehouse
Reishi mushrooms sending up ‘antlers’ when they start to fruit, at the top of which the ‘conks’ form
Reishi fruiting in Will Borowski’s basement in Canberra, again on grain spawn. Photo by Will Borowski

In western medicine, ganoderic acid, which is found in Ganoderma mushrooms such as reishi, has been isolated and proven effective in anti-tumor treatments, liver cancer, diabetes treatment and many other applications.

In traditional and holistic medicine it is used even more widely in the treatment of many types of cancer, high cholesterol, hepatitis, nervous disorders and liver disease. The ganoderma mushrooms have also been found to contain strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Reishi mushrooms are also valued because of their lack of side-effects when taken medicinally – they are considered very gentle as a treatment. They’re also sold commercially in a pulverised form mixed with coffee, promoted as a tonic and a slimming drink.

Any way you look at it, it’s a good thing to drink occasionally as part of a preventative strategy for lifelong health. Bring on the reishi tea I say.

Reishi mushrooms (dried) can be bought at some chinese herbalists, but the fresh mushrooms are the real deal. They’re also very leathery and hard, even when fresh, which is probably why they’re grated when being used in their dried form.

To make reishi tea, first access some reishi mycelium (or clone your own if you know how), and grow your reishi mushrooms. There ones were grown on grain spawn by Will Borowski

When the spawn is colonized and the mushrooms start rising, let the air in and the mushrooms will form ‘conks’ – the beautiful red-brown plates characteristic to reishi

Once ready, pick and chop the reishi mushrooms

Add to water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes (for fresh mushrooms, this step takes a couple of hours after soaking the mushrooms overnight).

Gorgeous colors – it seemed a shame to cut them up…
Will Borowski chops up freshly picked reishi mushrooms to make tea in the Milkwood woolshed
They were tough little blighters to chop even when fresh, but we got there in the end…
Simmering for 20 minutes and… time to drink! The tea tasted like green tea crossed with mushrooms… very pleasant.

We run Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation courses in Sydney and beyond, if you’d like to learn how!

>> More posts about mushroom cultivation, how-to’s etc at Milkwood here…

Reishi tea! To a long and fruitful life… cheers.

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  • Paul Ward October 26, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply

    some dried liquorice root, a few goji berries and dried jujubes
    work nicely with it too.
    good tonic

  • Tamas Nemeth October 31, 2012 at 4:24 am | Reply

    Ganoderma can change an imbalanced body to a healthy one. There is no difference among human races, ancient or modern people. Ganoderma has an effect on all.

  • Anthony November 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply

    i hope reishi mushroom tea great taste.. but, in my country, Indonesia reishi mushroom very expensive.
    But, thanks your share…

  • sylvï December 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply

    my guess is the bitterness comes from fermentation during a slow drying process – at least i have never had a cup of anything but mildly mushroom-y tea from my own reishi, which i have not only dried and freezed before, but made into a tincture as well and it’s all just lovely.

    very interested in learning how to clone from the wild, they are so elusive even though some do grow near where i live in southwestern finland.

  • Andrew Penwarden March 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply

    where can you buy reishi mycelium in perth?

    1. milkwoodkirsten March 10, 2013 at 6:32 am | Reply

      Don’t know Andrew – your best bet would be to hop online and buy it from wherever you can – it’s easily postable…

    2. BrewersMushrooms September 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Reply

      Hey Andrew, you can purchase it from us as we have our own strain of Red Reishi that was found in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. thanks

  • Doc September 20, 2013 at 12:06 am | Reply

    Many places to find red reishi near my house in western Massachusetts, they’re very common. The tea I made several days ago was not tasty, but drinkable. I boiled two large cups of tea down to one cup, with a good amount of mushroom in the pot, and it was very strong.
    My liver ached for half a day, a common sign that it was being detoxed. Great!

  • Sue PB January 7, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Reply

    Reishi mushrooms are sold at our local farmer’s market here in Portland, Oregon. It always helps my asthma and any bronchitis lingering from a flu or cold.


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