Reishi mushroom, or Ganoderma Lucidum, has exceptional nutritional value and is, therefore, appropriately known as the "herb of spiritual potency." In addition, it has a variety of bioactive compounds, which give it numerous health benefits(1). But can something so healthy also be tasty?
Ganoderma is not the most delicious mushroom you will ever taste. But it does have a bitter taste, reminiscent of rich dark chocolate.The less appealing Reishi mushroom taste explains why people rarely choose them for whipping up a culinary delight.
This article will explore Reishi mushrooms' taste and the different ways you can incorporate the fungi into your diet, despite having far less prestige in the culinary world. We will also examine why many people use Reishi despite its bitter taste.
Let's get right to it!
What Do Reishi Mushrooms Taste Like?
The best way to describe the flavor of Reishi mushrooms is as an earthy bitterness. Unfortunately, it's not palatable overall, so it's hardly surprising that your neighborhood grocery shop doesn't carry it.
The bitter taste of Reishi is reminiscent of rich dark chocolate. So it could be your favorite mushroom if you love dark chocolates. The mushrooms' bitter flavor comes from triterpenes, which support many functions in the body, including brain function and the immune and nervous systems.
Read More: Learn about all the benefits of Reishi mushrooms.
How To Include Reishi In Cuisines?
Reishi mushrooms can be tasty if prepared correctly. Although eating Reishi mushrooms won't necessarily give you that divine feeling, they aren't entirely bitter.
The bitter flavor of Reishi dishes comes from the inner yellow portion. So, if you remove this section, what's left is the white part. So, the edible portion of this mushroom is this white, textural portion with a meaty flavor.
So, when cooking a delicacy, avoiding the yellow zone is crucial to avoid ruining the dish's flavor. No matter how much spice you use, it is easy to taste the bitterness of this part.
Read More:Planning to cook functional mushrooms? Start with these tasty Lion's mane mushroom recipes.
Additionally, be careful to use fresh Reishi sparingly while cooking. Following frequent consumption of dishes made with it, many people have reported experiencing digestive problems.
However, if you can maintain an ideal reishi mushroom dosage, you should find it easy to avoid the side effects of reishi mushrooms. You'll also see that this ingredient functions more like a herb than a spice. Therefore, you shouldn't give it much attention when cooking.
You can consume Reishi mushrooms in soup or tea. Alternatively, you can always take advantage of reishi supplements.
Read More: Learn how to use Reishi mushroom powder.
Reishi Mushroom Soups
Wolfberries are added to the soup to help cover Reishi's intense bitterness. Ginger is added to this dish to enhance flavor, with its potent ingredients also causing the skin's pores to open, which aids in the skin's ability to retain some moisture. It would help if you stayed warm after eating this soup.
Reishi mushroom tea is a very well-liked beverage in many countries. The simplest method to lock in all Reishi's benefits is in a cup of hot, steaming water. Although it may not be the most cooling dessert option, this beverage relieves many illnesses, including the flu and stomach trouble.
But What Does Reishi Mushroom Tea Taste Like?
Reishi tea tastes awful. You'll find yourself scooping it down your mouth while squeezing your face in distaste.
There is a technique to eliminate all of its flavors, though. To your liking, you may recreate the traditional Chinese dish by including sweeteners like honey or ginger cloves.
Read More: Learn more about Chaga mushroom tea.
Like other mushrooms, Reishi is also available as supplements, which are common in powder and capsules. You can always use mushroom capsules to enjoy the satisfying benefits of consuming Reishi without dealing with its bitter taste.
The capsules lock the powder inside them and only open when they are inside your stomach. Therefore, you enjoy the benefits without dealing with the Reishi mushroom taste.
Why Do People Take Reishi Even Though It's Bitter?
Adding Reishi mushrooms to your diet comes with many benefits. The mushroom powder's bioactive compounds—its adaptogen ingredients and beta-glucans—may not be as savory as you want, but they boost your immune system, preventing disease.
The main benefits of Reishi include the following:
1. Reishi Fights Depression
Reishi's bioactive ingredients will give you adaptogens that help you fight stress. Since stress is a precursor for depression, Reishi fights depression.
One 2021 study(2) analyzed how reishi extract could help people suffering from depression. Researchers identified a protein known as 28-kDa polysaccharide-peptide (PGL) from the Reishi mushroom spores with antidepressant-like properties.
This evidence suggests that if you are willing to brave through the reishi mushroom's bitter taste, you should be able to avoid depression.
2. Reishi Fights Anxiety
One of the reishi mushroom benefits you wouldn't want to miss out on by avoiding the mushroom product because of its taste is its ability to fight anxiety. The good news is that you can enjoy Reishi anxiety benefits irrespective of how you add this mushroom to your diet.
If you feel panicky before a presentation and do not want to deal with the mushroom's taste, you can take a reishi capsule to calm your nerves. Alternatively, you can add mushroom powder to your hot chocolate to mask the bitter taste.
3. Reishi Improves Sleep
While Reishi may be one of the bitter herbs, it has the potential to make your sleep sweet. Research studies have verified the Reishi sleep benefits.
One study(3) analyzed Reishi's powder impact on non-REM sleep.
The study determined that reishi mushroom extract dramatically boosted non-REM sleep and overall sleep duration without affecting slow-wave sleep. While researchers used animals (rats) as study subjects, the results indicate that taking reishi mushroom powder may benefit your sleep.
4. Reishi Mushroom Powder Will Boost Your Testosterone
In an age where men are experiencing a sharp decline in their testosterone levels, most men will prefer to ignore the taste of the reishi mushroom powder to bring their T-Levels back up.
Research studies have confirmed the Reishi testosterone benefits.
Researchers conducted one such study in 2018(4). The study demonstrated that the reishi extract improved the rats' mounting behavior and mate-finding abilities. Ejaculations and intromissions both increased significantly as well.
The considerable increase in anogenital sniffing and climbing in the rats treated with reishi mushroom extract suggested that they were more interested in female rats. Additionally, researchers found considerably higher serum testosterone levels in the therapy groups.
5. Reishi Powder Prevents Hair Loss
Balding is a common condition among men. While it used to be one of the side effects of aging, today, more men are balding at a younger age. Luckily, hair loss prevention is one of the medicinal benefits of the elixir from China (reishi mushroom).
The functional reishi mushrooms prevent scalp inflammation and premature hair discoloration and reduce the risk of baldness in men.
Read More: Learn more about the Reishi hair loss benefits.
6. Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Fights Cancer
In an age where the risk of developing cancer is increasing daily, most people won't care about intense flavor regarding solutions that reduce the risk of developing cancer cells. Luckily, reishi mushroom—with its bitter taste—boasts anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.
Research studies have verified the Reishi cancer benefits. Various studies have shown that the medicinal properties of the alcohol extract of reishi mushroom reduce inflammation, a precursor for developing cancer. Moreover, the mushroom keeps the cancer cells from mutating or attaching to the blood and moving to other sections of the cancer patients' bodies.
7. Reishi Helps With Weight Loss
In a world where more people are becoming obese, the demand for products that can help with weight loss and obesity prevention is increasing. Luckily, Reishi helps with weight loss.
Obese people serious about shedding off the extra weight and keeping it off are not worried about the mushroom's taste—they are rather happy that it has benefits that can help them get back to their healthy body weight.
What's even better is that Reishi has diabetes benefits and heart health benefits. For example, higher body weight increases the risk of developing insulin resistance and a high blood sugar level.
Moreover, cholesterol that comes with higher body fat mass increases the risk of heart disease. Reishi reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease by lowering body weight.
8. Reishi Mushroom Supplement Fights Allergies
Allergies can be annoying. As spring arrives, many people are plagued by itching, sneezing, watery eyes, runny noses, and coughing. This is one of the reasons people take Reishi for allergies despite its bitter and unfriendly taste.
The raw and capsule form of reishi mushroom uses its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to fight body reactions that often cause allergy symptoms. This helps reduce the risk of dealing with allergies year-round.
9. Ganoderma Lucidum Benefits The Skin
AAD (the American Academy of Dermatology Association) notes(5) that about 25% of Americans (1 in 4 Americans or about 85 million Americans) have been affected by skin diseases at some point. Skin diseases lower a person's confidence and self-esteem.
Luckily, reishi skin benefits have been scientifically proven. The mushroom can help treat skin conditions like dry skin, aging, acne, and more. Furthermore, with the numerous ways one can use the mushroom, you won't have to worry about its bitter taste when using Reishi for the skin.
What Does Reishi Do For The Body?
Reishi mushroom can improve immunological function through its impact on white blood cells. Additionally, it appears to hold some promise for the treatment and prevention of cancer. According to some preliminary research, the Reishi mushroom may also lessen anxiety and depression while enhancing the quality of life in people with specific medical problems.
What Can You Not Take With Reishi?
Taking Reishi mushroom and medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. It may also slow blood clotting, and taking the mushroom with anti-clotting medicines may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Moreover, combining Reishi with anti-diabetic medications may cause hypoglycemia.
What Is Better, Lion's Mane Or Reishi?
Both Lion's Mane and Reishi are medicinal mushrooms with exceptional health-supporting properties. Speak with a healthcare provider to choose the one that is right for you.
Reishi mushroom taste is a little bitter and not easy on the palate. Use the white part of the mushroom in soups and teas to decrease the unpleasant flavor.
Even better, you can always use supplements that shield you from the bitter taste of the mushroom. For example, swallowing the reishi capsules ensures you do not deal with the bitter taste. Alternatively, when using the mushroom for your teas, you can always use sweeteners to mask the bitter taste.
Regardless, the deep, earthy taste hints at the powerful medicine reishi mushroom contain. Above, we have looked at why people still use Reishi despite its bitter taste.
Have you prepared a delicacy with Reishi in the past? How did you mask the mushroom's bitter taste? Please let us know in the comments.
- Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22593926/
- Antidepressant-like effect of Ganoderma lucidum spore polysaccharide-peptide mediated by upregulation of prefrontal cortex brain-derived neurotrophic factor, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34716786/
- Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22207209/
- Evaluation of aphrodisiac activity of ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum in male Wistar rats, (4)https://clinphytoscience.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40816-018-0086-7
- Burden of skin disease, (5)https://www.aad.org/member/clinical-quality/clinical-care/bsd