Powdered extracts and capsules: Because the scientific literature indicates that whole mushrooms are especially active antitumor agents and immune-system enhancers, I recommend taking dried and powdered mushrooms by the teaspoon, either in a cup of ginger tea or sprinkled into soup or on stir-fry and rice. Mushrooms that are too tough and fibrous to powder can be sliced thinly and dried for use in teas and tinctures.
Softer and thinner mushrooms can be easily powdered and put into capsules. A size 00 capsule holds about 400 mg of powdered mushroom. For mild to moderate immune-system support, I recommend taking two capsules morning and evening and, for specific immune-suppressed conditions, two to three capsules three times daily.
Teas and soups: Teas of medicinal mushrooms should be simmered for 40 minutes to an hour, or until they are dark and taste strong. You may add one part ginger to every eight parts mushrooms and one part licorice to every sixteen parts mushrooms to mask any bitterness.
To make a soup, begin with the mushroom tea, to which you may add broccoli, carrots, potatoes, beets, greens, garlic, onions, and/or a little seaweed. Thicken it with a little barley. Fish, chicken, or a little red meat can be added. Simmer for about fifteen minutes. Drink 1 to 3 cups of the soup a day. Tender, fleshy fungi, such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms, can be eaten with enthusiasm, but push fibrous chunks of reishi aside--the essence has already permeated the broth, and they are far too tough to chew, even after boiling.
Christopher Hobbs is a member of the Herbs for Health Editorial Advisory Board. He is author of Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, and Culture (Botanica Press, 1995) and many other books. He is a fourth-generation herbalist and botanist with more than twenty years of experience.
See Medicinal Mushrooms I