Organic reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine for a wide range of health benefits. But they are quite bitter. Consuming them in the form of tea, a beverage that is popular with most people, is a great way to enjoy their nutritional and health benefits in a more palatable way. Want to learn more about reishi mushroom tea, and how it benefits you? This fast and easy guide can help!
What Is Reishi Mushroom Tea?
Reishi tea is a herbal tea made with a fungus called reishi mushrooms. Reishi mushroom tea is considered a tonic of sorts in Eastern cultures. It's supposed to promote relaxation and a sense of calm.
It's also considered to have wellness benefits, such as boosting your immune system, because of the presence of compounds that help balance disease states.
In this sense, reishi mushrooms are also known as 'functional mushrooms'—types of mushrooms that have a positive impact on health in addition to being a good source of essential nutrients.
How to Perfectly Brew Reishi Mushroom Tea
You can make amazingly flavourful reishi mushroom tea through two tried-and-tested methods. Use the faster method if you don't want to spend as much time brewing a good cup of reishi tea.
Method 1 (Traditional Method)
- Chop up some good-quality dried reishi mushrooms.
- Place a steel pot on a stove and add water.
- Next, add the mushrooms, and bring to a boil.
- Once the mushroom-water mixture has started to boil, turn the flame down, and allow it to simmer for, ideally, two hours. The longer you simmer, the stronger the tea.
- You know the tea's ready when it turns amber in colour.
Method 2 (Quick Method)
This method involves the use of mushroom extract or powder which you can easily purchase from your local organic stores or online retailer (refer to our instructions later in this article to choose quality reishi mushroom powder suppliers!). With this method, you can simply stir mushroom powder into a hot cup of water, and you're ready to go!
Incidentally, reishi mushrooms do have a pronounced bitter taste. Add flavourings of your choice if you want to offset some of that bitterness. Try squeezing in some lemon juice and adding freshly crushed ginger. Or add cacao powder and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. If you like, you can even add natural sweeteners in the form of honey or powdered jaggery.
Is Reishi Mushroom Tea Caffeine-Free?
Reishi mushrooms themselves don't have any caffeine, whether it's the dried mushrooms or the powder. The caffeine, if any, could be present in the tea. The labelling on your tea container should give you some indication of the amount of caffeine to expect in the final cup.
Bear in mind that the amount of caffeine in tea can vary due to several different factors, such as the type of tea (for example, black or green tea), when it was harvested, whether it was grown in the sunlight or under the shade, how long it's brewed, and how much tea you're using.
To learn more about caffeine in tea, read our article Which Tea Has the Most Caffeine? where we break down different types of tea and their caffeine content.
Benefits of Reishi Mushroom Tea
Research is still in the early stages, but based on what we do know, reishi mushrooms are seen to support the following positive effects:
1. Reishi mushroom tea has been found to have sleep-enhancing properties. It can help regulate sleep patterns, improve sleep quality, and promote relaxation, allowing for a more restful night's sleep
2. Fighting cancer through the activation of natural "killer" white blood cells, specifically in the case of breast cancer, hepatoma, and myeloid leukaemia. They show potential for use in cancer treatment and speeding up recovery.
3. Decreasing fatigue, anxiety, and depression in people with specific medical conditions which in turn improves their quality of life (sound mind in a sound body!).
4. Fighting ageing through the presence of compounds called polysaccharides.
5. Preliminary laboratory studies have suggested that Reishi mushrooms may exhibit anti-viral activity against various viruses, including certain strains of the coronavirus.
More research is still needed to further substantiate these findings.
Reishi Mushroom Tea Side Effects
Generally, reishi mushrooms are seen to be safe for consumption by most healthy adults. Do not exceed recommended doses, and start off with small doses if you have any concerns about taking this fungus. Consuming reishi mushrooms in high doses can negatively impact your liver and kidneys. Rarely, some people have experienced side effects such as stomach aches, diarrhea, dizziness, and headaches.
If you're planning to take reishi mushroom tea daily, aim to use no more than 1 tsp (2g) of reishi mushroom powder to create your tea.
You should consult your physician if you have an existing medical condition and are considering taking reishi mushroom tea. Stop consuming reishi tea if you experience discomfort in the stomach or issues with your digestive system.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or people with autoimmune disorders should especially seek medical advice.
What to Consider When Choosing Reishi Mushroom Tea
Unfortunately, there are a lot of low-quality reishi mushrooms in the market, so here's a quick guide on what to look for with suppliers:
Ethical and transparent sourcing - The company should be able to say where and how they're sourcing and processing the dried mushrooms or mushroom powder. They should be sourcing the mushrooms from the regions where they naturally grow. And ideally, they should have testing measures in place to weed out toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides.
Third-party vetting - If they have been vetted by independent quality standard authorities, that's always a plus!
Customer service - Look for reviews online or speak to existing customers in your circle. Good reviews mean that the company is vested in making the customers satisfied with their products. Overwhelmingly bad reviews mean you should definitely give the company a pass.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Are there any reishi mushroom tea benefits for the skin?
Yes, reishi mushrooms have some amazing benefits for the skin! Reishi mushrooms have compounds called beta-glucans that help fight inflammation in the form of acne or breakouts helping you achieve smoother and more toned skin. They have a high level of antioxidants which helps in preventing cell damage and slowing down ageing. Because they help balance hormones, they can also alleviate skin conditions that are the result of stress or pre-period breakouts. They also help wounds heal faster.
Q2. What is reishi mushroom tea good for?
Reishi mushrooms have been used for a wide variety of health benefits; hence you can expect reishi mushroom tea to provide similar benefits. It's known to be a powerful immune booster, anti-ageing and anti-cancer agent. It's also seen to alleviate fatigue, depression, and anxiety. It works to calm the mind and hence can be beneficial in managing stress. Aside from all of this, mushrooms are generally a great alternative source of vegetarian protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Q3. Can you drink reishi mushroom tea every day?
Most healthy adults can drink reishi mushroom tea every day. Limit the amount of mushroom powder you use to no more than 1 tsp per day, and make sure you're sourcing your mushroom powder from reputable and trustworthy suppliers. Stop drinking reishi mushroom tea if you experience any discomfort or side effects such as headaches, dizziness, stomach upset or diarrhoea.
Q4. How long can you drink reishi mushroom tea?
There has yet to be a study carried out on the long-term effects of reishi mushrooms. Reishi mushroom powder in isolation could potentially be safe for up to 16 weeks. If you enjoy drinking reishi mushroom tea, stick to no more than 1 tsp of reishi mushroom powder daily for preparing your tea. Stop consuming the tea if you experience any side effects.
[Note for Darcy: I'm not sure about how long you can safely drink reishi mushroom tea! Couldn't find any concrete research on this.]
Q5. When should I drink reishi tea?
A lot of people prefer to take reishi mushroom tea a few hours before bedtime. It gives the tea just enough time to interact with your body and promotes a state of relaxation ideal for sleep. You can also consume reishi tea first thing in the morning. Also, stick to smaller doses, such as no more than 1 tsp of mushroom powder per day, to avoid unpleasant side effects.
Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in the East to help restore wellness and maintain good health. Drinking reishi mushroom tea can help promote calmness, boost immunity and vitality, and help you stave off infection and disease for longer. Use this guide to learn more about this wonderful health elixir and how it can benefit you.