The Woodsy Tea That Could Give Your Immune System A Boost

Dried reishi pieces may look like brittle sticks of wood, but these mushrooms are superfoods. If you've heard of people putting mushrooms in coffee, reishi is one, and for good reason. These nutritional powerhouses have been thought to regulate sleep cycles, help the body handle stress, and fortify immune systems with their antioxidants and beta-glucans. 

Reishi's reputation has been captured in some of the many names this mushroom has become known by, such as the Queen of Mushrooms and Mushroom of Immortality. Lingzhi mushroom and it's scientific name, Ganoderma lucidum, are other names you may find the fungus sold under. Taking a bite out of a fresh reishi mushroom is not like eating other culinary mushrooms, though.

You'll be met with a bitter taste you most likely will not want to repeat. But if you're looking for ingredients to elevate the tea you make at home, reishi could be it. Only ¼ cup of broken dried pieces need to be added to about 8 cups of water and boiled to achieve a subtle umami-flavored broth that can be used to make coffee or tea, as a flavorful marinade for tonight's proteins, or included as an ingredient in soups and sauces.

Cheers to good health

Brewing a regular cup of joe with reishi-infused water could improve digestion while pouring yourself a cup of reishi tea could help you get better sleep. When making reishi tea at home, you can flavor batches with fresh ginger while the mushrooms simmer. Plan in advance, as it can take at least 30 minutes to prepare a batch of tea to enjoy. 

The longer you let the dried mushrooms simmer, the stronger your tea will be. Strain out the mushroom pieces before serving and sweeten cups with honey or agave syrup, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, or splashes of your favorite dairy or plant-based milk for a delightful, soothing treat that can help you take on the rest of the day.

Though reishi mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years in the treatment of diseases and infections, some may experience side effects or allergic reactions after consuming them. Those with low blood pressure or who are on medication should check with their doctors before trying reishi, either in liquid, powder, or capsule form. The use of reishi has been studied extensively within scientific communities, however, and has been found to have positive impacts on both immunity and antioxidant activity in research participants.