Growing Reishi Mushrooms in 5 Easy Steps
In Asia, there is one type of mushroom that is popularly known as the mushroom of immortality. In China, it has been used for medicinal purposes for at least 1,000 years. It is the Reishi mushroom. This type of mushroom normally grows on old trees. But with our five easy steps, growing Reishi mushrooms at home is possible.
Is Growing Reishi Mushrooms Worth It?
Growing Reishi mushrooms is very easy. They are fast to colonize and are also resistant to many contaminations. The process also does not require expensive materials or complicated procedures.
- Reishi spawn
- Substrate (50% coarse plus 50% fine hardwood sawdust)
- Large bucket
- Boiling water
- Plastic wrap% gypsum and calcium carbonate (optional)
- When placed in the bucket, the substrate should be between 150 to 300 mm deep
- The spawn should be around 2% of the substrate
5 Easy Steps to Growing Reishi Mushrooms:
- 1. Pasteurizing the substrate
- 2. Spawning the substrate
- 3. Waiting time
- 4. Fruiting
- 5. Harvesting
1. Pasteurizing the substrate
The substrate is where you will be growing Reishi mushrooms. Ideally, it should be a mixture of fine and coarse hardwood sawdust evenly mixed. The best to use is oak sawdust. To produce higher yield, some growers add about 2% gypsum and calcium carbonate to the mixture.
Once you have the substrate ready, put them in a large bucket or bag and mix them well. Don’t fill the bucket to the full. Leave adequate space where you can drill small holes. Add on boiling water enough to submerge the substrate. Leave it for about 2 hours, then drain. Make sure there is no excess water on the substrate. Even small amount of water promotes the growth of mold and other contaminants.
2. Spawning the Substrate
After draining the excess water, leave the substrate for up to 8 hours to cool. Make sure that it is fully covered to prevent exposure from contaminants. It is important that the substrate is cool before inoculation. The warm substrate will kill mushroom spawn. The ideal temperature is below 35°C.
When the substrate already cooled off, mix the spawn in the substrate thoroughly.
3. Waiting Time
After mixing the spawn, cover the bucket with plastic wrap. Make sure that the holes are not blocked. You can also put tiny holes in the plastic wrap. This will ensure proper exchanges of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Place the bucket in a warm and dark area of your house.
After several days, you should be able to see thread-like growth from the spawn. Depending on the general conditions, Reighi mushrooms will start growing in 15 to 20 days.
When you see the substrate covered in cobweb-like growths, it means it is fully colonized. That is the time you should move it to a room that is cool, well-lit and airy. Leave it for about two weeks then remove the plastic wrap. You should also start spraying water on the mushroom two to three times daily. Remember just to moisten, not to keep them wet. It will take several weeks before the Reishi mushrooms will grow to maturity.
When the mushrooms appear to have a fan-shaped, reddish and a wet lacquered appearance, that is the time when they are ready for harvest. You need to harvest Reishi mushrooms before they drop spores.
When harvesting, carefully twist and pull the mature Reishi mushroom. Be careful not to damage those that are still growing. Reishi mushrooms are normally at its highest production in the first two months. You may still be able to harvest one or two more times before your substrate will no longer produce.
Where to Get the Reishi Spawn
Reishi spawns are readily available for purchase online. There are three types of Reishi mushroom spawns that you can buy. The procedure of growing Reishi mushrooms depends on the spawn that you have.
The procedure we listed above applies to sawdust or grain spawn. Many growers prefer this type of spawn as they are easy and inexpensive to grow. You can easily make this type of spawn by following the procedure in this video.
Another type of Reishi mushroom spawn is the hardwood plugs. These mushrooms are dowels that are inoculated with mushroom spawns. They are normally hammered in hardwood holes or drilled in branches, logs or stumps.
There is also the in vitro culture. These spawns are pure mycelium which is prepared in Petri dishes. They are used by more advanced growers.
Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms are extremely bitter and woody. They don’t have a culinary use. Growing this mushroom is not for you if you are looking to cultivate for consumption.
Reishi mushrooms are highly valued because of their medicinal benefits. These benefits include:
- Fights cancer
Reishi mushrooms are rich in anti-cancer nutrients. This includes antioxidants (polysaccharides and triterpenoids), amino acids and beta-glucans. Moreover, Reishi mushrooms have also antiproliferative and chemopreventive effects. These components help alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy (source)
- Protects against virus and infection
Reishi mushroom is a natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medicine. This is because it contains a substance called triterpenes. This substance is known to be effective in reducing and fighting allergies. Triterpenes also offer protection against infection caused by viruses, microbes, and fungi.
- Contains detoxifying effects
Reishi mushrooms are known for their detoxifying effect. They help lower toxins and heavy metals in the body. Toxins and heavy metals are known to cause slanginess and other health problems. Consumption of Reishi mushroom tea or powder in a proper dosage improves energy. Other detoxifying effects include quality sleep and better concentration.
- Alleviates symptoms of asthma.
As mentioned earlier, Reishi mushrooms are rich in triterpenes. It is a ganoderic acid which helps reduce the histamine reactions associated with asthma. Many people consider it a natural remedy for asthma.
- Other health benefits
There are many other benefits that we can get from Reishi mushrooms. One benefit is they improve liver function. Reishi mushrooms also reduce your risk of diabetes, heart problems and abnormal blood pressure (source).
How Do You Use Reishi Mushrooms?
They say that only a brave soul would use Reishi mushrooms in cooking. There are two common ways to benefit from their medicinal components:
- Reshi mushroom powder
These are dried Reishi mushrooms which are then turned into powder. You can sprinkle the powder into stews and soups to enjoy its medicinal benefits.
- Reishi mushroom tea
This is the most popular use of Reishi mushrooms. To make a tea, you can boil fresh Reishi mushrooms for about 20 to 30 minutes. For dried Reishi mushrooms, boil it for about 1-2 hours. The tea is extremely bitter but very beneficial to your health. You can store your prepared tea in the fridge for several days (source).
Reishi mushroom extract is possibly safe when taken appropriately up to one year. In powder form, it should not be taken for more than one month. This is because the use of powder Reishi mushroom is known to have toxic effects on the liver. Also, Reishi mushroom has other known side effects. This includes dryness of the mouth, nasal area and throat, and nasal area. You may also experience itchiness, rashes, nose bleeding, upset stomach, and bloody stools. (source).
The proper dosage of Reishi mushrooms depends on the age, health and other conditions of the person using it (source). When you buy Reshi tea or powder, you will normally find the proper dosage in the packaging. If you are growing Reishi mushrooms, it would be good to consult a pharmacist or physician for the correct dosage before using.
Growing Reishi mushrooms in your home are possible using the 5 simple steps we have listed above. The key here is finding the right type of sawdust to use. While the steps are simple, you need to be extra careful in following them to avoid contaminants. That way, you will benefit from high yield.
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