Reishi Double Extraction
Known as the herb of immortality, Reishi is a mushroom with an ancient history of use and is one of the most commonly used herbs throughout the world. Reishi has long been esteemed for its tonic properties that help improve ones ability to resist illness and stress as well as augment stamina and energy levels. Reishi has been studied extensively and shown to improve immune system function, lowers blood pressure, strengthens cardiac function, reduces palpitations, arrhythmia and angina. Reishi is also an anti-inflammatory that is useful for helping those with asthma, arthritis and neuralgia. Reishi has been studied for its ability to combat cancer and especially for liver cancer. Studies have shown that it has a hepatoprotective function that make it useful for liver cancer as well as for damage done to the liver via drugs and alcohol.
In terms of mental health, reishi is known to “calm shen” in Chinese medicine. Shen is a term for the heart spirit and one’s emotional and mental balance. When the “shen” is disturbed by trauma and shock, one can develop symptoms such as anxiety, depression, confusion, panic and insomnia. The light dims from the eyes. This is where I work with reishi the most- for folks with PTSD that appear distant, disturbed, unhappy in their hearts. Reishi restores the light in the eyes.
I also tend to offer it generally as a rich fortifying tonic that will help
restore strength, vitality and help improve resistance to illness. It is gentle enough to be taken by most anyone.
The key aspect of working with reishi is understanding that there are a variety of constituents that have different functions. The polysaccharides that improve immune function are best extracted by hot water in a decoction. The triterpenes, including the potent ganoderic acids, are what give reishi its grounding, calming, adaptogenic qualities as well as its anti-inflammatory, hypotensive and anti-viral qualities. The triterpenes require high percentage alcohol to adequately extract them.
That means the best way to take reishi is to take both a water extract (decoction) and an alcohol extraction of the herb. Combined they form a “double extraction.” Here are some directions to make this at home.
Purchase 3 ounces of sliced organic reishi.
Place the sliced reishi in a blender with enough everclear (95 % alcohol) to cover- about a quart. Blend until the reishi is finely chopped. This is the easiest way to get the reishi cut up fine and creates more surface area for the constituents to be extracted.
Place the reishi in a container and add the rest of the alcohol until it covers the reishi by a half inch.
Cap tight, label and place in a cold dark spot for 4 weeks. Shake
At the end of the four weeks, strain out the reishi and place in a pot. You now have some good reishi tincture.
Add water to the reishi you have placed in the pot until it covers the reishi by an inch. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for 12-24 hours. Top up with water periodically.
Then strain out the reishi decoction and discard the reishi in the compost.
Evaporate the water off until you have an equal amount of decoction as the tincture. Combine the two.
Now you have made a double extraction. But you are not done yet. Put the mix back on the stove and bring to a low simmer and evaporate the double extraction down. You may be starting at about 1.5 to 2 quarts of extraction. You want to simmer it down until it is about a pint, or 16 ounces. Watch this very closely so you don’t lose too much.
Now you have a pint of concentrated reishi double extraction.
Dosage is 1 teaspoon (4 ml) in the morning and 1 teaspoon (4 ml) in the evening. You will get about 48 days from this and about 4 grams of reishi a day.
For slightly different instructions that include more pictures, take a look at this reishi double extraction recipe here.
Reishi-Green Tea chai recipe by Renee Davis