Botanical Name: Ganoderma lucidum, G. tsugae | Family: Ganodermataceae

Common name(s): Reishi, Ganoderma, ling zhi, hemlock varnish shelf (G. tsugae)


  • Fungi | Found across North America and Asia | Sizes vary. Most commonly 4-6 inches wide, 1/2-1 inch thick
  • Begin growing as white, red-orange comes with maturity
  • Shade | Grows on trees/logs


G. tsugae is harvested between May and July. Make sure undersides are still white so you aren’t harvesting old mushrooms that have lost their medicinal qualities.


Double Extraction Tincture: 30-60 drops, 1-2x/day

Tea: Use in tea blends. See cautions, below


Constituents: polysaccharides, bitter triterpenes, protein

Actions: Adaptogen (mild), anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, cholesterol lowering, heart tonic, immunomodulator, liver protector, nervine

Uses: Deep immune activation, anti-cancer treatment, chronic health issues, hepatitis and other viral diseases, maintaining good health

Cautions: reishi can be drying. Use in small doses. Also, use cautiously when on blood thinners. Consult an herbalist.

Note: according to David Winston, G. tsugae has immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory properties but it doesn’t have the rest of the profound effects G. lucidum has (which he calls the true reishi). However, the original edition of his book was written in 1956 and I wonder if there has been more research done since then. Guido Masé lists it together with G. lucidum in his PDF. Since I was researching reishi as part of the materia medica on immunity, and since that is the variety that grows in my area, and since they look so similar, I have included it.


  • Bitter,* warm

* Michael Tierra lists reishi as sweet, warm, but my experience with it is that it is bitter, so I’m using David Winston’s classification


After researching this and other mushrooms for my materia medica, I am wanting to set up a mushroom log farm! I know reishi can be wildcrafted around here, but I’ve only ever found one growing on a log, and it appeared to be old, not fresh. The variety that grows in the Northeast is G. tsugae, and it is most often found on hemlocks.