Reishi is called “Ling Zhi” in China, a word meaning a “plant that nourishes the spirit.” Taoist priests in the first century were the first to experiment with Reishi in search of longevity, eternal youth, and immortality. Reishi was placed in China’s oldest Herbal Classic book (dating back to 2000 B.C.) and was described to have potent medicinal qualities, without side effects, when taken over long periods of time. The Herbal Classic described Reishi as follows:
“The taste is bitter, its atmospheric energy is neutral, it has no toxicity… It is good for the Qi of the head, including mental activities. It tonifies the spleen, increases wisdom, improves memory so you won’t forget. Long term consumption will lighten the body, you will never become old. It lengthens years. It has spiritual powers, and it develops spirit so that you become a ‘spirit being like the immortals.’”
Although the spiritual effects of Reishi cannot be verified scientifically, it has been shown to decrease anxiety and enhance focus. It is believed that luminaries such as Confucius consumed Ling zhi daily.