Reishi mushroom is a wood-decay fungus, which wide use for medicinal purposes has spread in the past decades from the Far East, where it has been consumed for centuries. It is very rare in nature, therefore was highly appreciated before it was possible to cultivate the mushroom and only members of the royal court could afford it. Due to its wide range of medicinal properties, it is also called the ‘mushroom of immortality’ and is still ranked at the very top of traditional Chinese medicine. Reishi mushroom is mostly appreciated for its anti-stress effects, for containing compounds with anti-tumour activity, for stimulating the immune system, lowering the cholesterol level, protecting against allergies and bronchitis, calming the stomach, etc.
The mushroom is considered inedible due to its solid texture and bitterness, however, it is suitable for making an invigorating tea with the above-mentioned medicinal properties. Moreover, medications and food supplements are also prepared from reishi mushroom.
Besides its medicinal properties, hard reishi mushroom also has a very attractive appearance and is rather resistant to the environment compared to the mushrooms of a softer texture. In nature, it mostly grows on stumps of deciduous trees in areas with a mild climate, however it is extremely rare to find. Therefore, picking of wild reishi mushrooms would be time consuming and often unsuccessful and besides threatens its existence in nature.
As an alternative, reishi mushroom cultivation kits have been used for a couple of decades now. Using these kits, a large quantity of mushrooms can be easily grown just by cutting off the top of the substrate bag and placing it in a warm spot with a high relative humidity and indirect light (Picture 1).
Instead of removing the top of the bag, another possibility is to cut several X-shaped slits on the side of the bag touching the substrate, through which the mushrooms grow (Picture 2).
The kit thus prepared is then placed in a moderately humid room with a temperature of 15-30°C, protected from direct sunlight. Over the kit a plastic sheet should be fastened; instead, the substrate surface can be frequently sprayed with water or covered with a clean and damp moss (Picture 3). In case there is no suitable growing space available during the winter, the kit can be stored in a slightly humid place at about 2-10°C and is being sprayed again when it warms up.
Eventually, mushroom antlers appear and develop into full-sized mushrooms in a few months, depending on the temperature. Mature mushrooms can then be picked, dried, grinded and prepared as a refreshing tea or left to dry and be used for decoration purposes.
Illustrated instructions are included in each kit.
Mushroom cultivation using this kit is suitable for complete beginners!