The Power and Mystery of Reishi

by Dr. Eric Karchmer, PhD, MD (China), LAc |

The Power and Mystery of Reishi

Reishi (or Lingzhi) is the king of all medicinal mushrooms, but it abounds in mystery. This mushroom was first described more than 2,000 years ago in the Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica, the earliest Chinese text on medicinal substances. According to this text, Reishi has a number of remarkable properties, such as the ability to “treat hearing loss, benefit the joints, protect the spirit, augment essence, strengthen the sinews and bones, and enhance the complexion.” 

Furthermore, it was classified as a “superior product” in this canon, which means it was thought to not have any toxic side effects. According to contemporary studies, Reishi can improve immunity, regulate blood pressure, protect the liver, reduce hair loss, improve cognition, support joints, promote weight loss, support cardiovascular health, and counter fatigue and depression.

The Great Mystery of Reishi

One of the great mysteries about Reishi is that despite this glowing description, it is rarely featured in Chinese medicinal formulary. Formulary refers to the practice of using "medicinal substances" in combination.

Doctors of Chinese medicine give great attention to how they combine various herbs to produce solutions that specific to their patient’s individual needs. The therapeutic “magic” of formulary is that the right combination of herbs, rather than individual herbs, can help patients achieve balance and health.

By contrast, Ginseng, another prized medicinal that was also ranked as a “superior product” in the Divine Farmer’s Classic, is a crucial component of dozens of formulas that are used to address all manner of wellness needs.

This absence from Chinese formulary and clinical practice, however, had no effect on the popularity of Reishi as a supplement in China. The Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica claims that when Reishi is taken regularly, it helps to lighten the body, tackle aging, and increase life span.”

Eventually, the mushroom became known as the “herb of immortality,” attracting the attention of the emperors of early China. Over the ensuing centuries, Reishi also appeared in many works of Chinese literature as a prized gift or life-saving elixir.

My Experience with Reishi in China 

When I was a medical student in China in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I often encountered patients who would consume Reishi on their own, as a supplement to the doctor’s prescribed recommendations, cancer patients being among its most eager consumers. Although doctors do not generally recommend Reishi, I never saw them object to their patients consuming it.

The wide number of benefits, and the minimal number of side effects, that come from taking Reishi seem to make it the ultimate supplement to contemporary wellness solutions.

At DAO Labs, we want to share the unique benefits of this medical mushroom with our consumers. We believe it can be easily and safely added to your current health regimes. Please enjoy our new high quality, pure Reishi tablets.


Receive 15% Off Your Order with Promo Code "REISHI15"


Care Consideration: Just a reminder that the above information is not a substitute for medical care and is not a substitute for medical advice or recommendations  from a healthcare provider.  This information is not intended to treat, mitigate or cure any disease.  That said, we encourage you to connect with an Acupuncturist in your community to learn more about this and other Traditional Chinese Medicine options.  If you’ve got questions about Chinese herbal medicine or getting started with an Acupuncturist, feel free to connect with us on


Dr. Eric Karchmer is a practicing Chinese medical doctor, medical anthropologist, and co-founder and Chief Doctor of Chinese Medicine for DAO Labs. From 1995-2000, Eric studied at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and today is both a licensed acupuncturist and professor at Appalachian State University. Eric can be reached at

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