Reishi and Maitake mushrooms are heralded for life-enhancing properties. Reishi, Gandoderma lucidum, tonifies immunity and has been shown to have strong effects against tumors and cancers. Various types of Reishi grow in ecosystems throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. During outings in Virginia, we’ve found a variety called ‘American Reishi’, Gandoderma tsugae, growing in woodlands. Reishi is a tough, fibrous mushroom, not commonly cooked as food, unless Reishi is especially young and tender. Most often, Reishi is powdered, extracted or made into medicinal broth for consumption.
Reishi nourishes the emotional heart. If the emotional heart is out of balance, anxiety, depression and insomnia may be present. Reishi is an ally working as a nervine and adaptogenic herb, helping ease experiences of depression and anxiety. Due to Reishi’s life-giving properties, Traditional Chinese Medicine has long connected Reishi mushroom to increasing lifespan and a symbol of longevity (Tierra 2003:115).
Reishi is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, heart tonic, liver protective, and an immunomodulator (Winston and Maimes 2007:184). Reishi’s action as an immunomodulator means, it is “capable of strengthening the immune system (it enhances monocyte, macrophage, and T lymphocyte activity) and down-regulating excessive immune system response in patients with immune dysregulation (autoimmune diseases) and allergies” (Winston and Maimes 2007:184). A scientific study found that not only did Reishi strengthen immune response, but Reishi may also have anti-tumor properties. In this study “65 percent of patients with lung cancer had improved quality of life and enhanced cellular immune response after using reishi” (Winston and Maimes 2007:187). Powerful carbohydrates present in Reishi called polysaccharides, or specifically beta-glucans, are largely responsible for the immune strengthening and anti-cancer properties.
Another impressive mushroom, Maitake, Grifola frondosa, also contains potent polysaccharides or beta-glucans. These beta-glucans exhibit anti-tumor potential and may be regenerative to the immune system (Pitchford 2002:418). Maitake, commonly know as hen-of-the-woods, is delicious as food; sautéed with oil and garlic or cooked into your favorite stew. Medicinally, Maitake can be extracted into tincture and cooked into a medicinal broth. Similar to Reishi, Maitake is an immunomodulator. Recent research demonstrates Maitake’s anti-cancer action, by increasing the elimination of breast cancer cells in patients with breast cancer and slowed tumor growth (Metzger 2017). Bring these valuable mushrooms into your weekly diet! Whether in your foods, beverages or tonics—mushrooms are super foods offering many life-giving properties to our diets.
Vibrant Elderberries are also packed full of goodness. They are antibacterial and antiviral, containing quercetin and phenolic acids and are naturally high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, and other essential nutrients. Elderberries contain flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that can help prevent cell damage, and anthocyanins, which are chemical compounds that are known to have immune-boosting properties. Elderberries are immunostimulating meaning they will ignite particular aspects of the immune system. Because they are so effective at strengthening immune response, folks with autoimmune diseases should avoid immune stimulants.
Further contributing to Red Root & Co Berries & Shrooms Immune Tonic, are botanicals of Cinnamon, Sarsaparilla and Hawthorn. Cinnamon is warming and stimulating, Hawthorn Berries support the cardiovascular system, while Sarsaparilla offers deep nutritive qualities. Bringing a bright boost to your day, Berries & Shrooms Immune Tonic is a mighty formula supporting you with rich antioxidants and deep nourishment.
- Metzger, Jane. “Maitake 101: A Valuable Mushroom.” The Herbal Academy, 9 October 2017, theherbalacademy.com/maitake-101-valuable-mushroom/. Accessed 11 January 2021.
- Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books, 2002.
- Tierra, Leslie. Healing with the Herbs of Life. Crossing Press, 2003.
- Winston, David and Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press, 2007.