Elixir of Immortality

In historical Japan Reishi mushrooms were called the ‘elixir of immortality’. More recently it has been valued for helping the body produce interferon, which protects and cleanses the liver and helps defend against HIV related conditions. Reishi also has shown promise in fighting tumors, lowering cholesterol and acting as an antihistamine to help with chronic hay fever. It also increases RNA and DNA synthesis in bone marrow, thereby increasing immune responses. In Japan, Reishi is regularly used as a cancer treatment, often taken with vitamin C to increase absorption. While Reishi is safe occasional dizziness or stomach upset can occur.

Daily dose: 2g powder; 2 to 9 g dried mushroom; or taken as tea. Reishi should not be taken as an alcoholic tincture as its effects are reduced by alcohol.

Sally Chilvers and Heidi Dunn are registered Chinese herbalists, acupuncturists and health directors at ben&biao in Sydney.