It seems as though I am getting to know California through its thrift stores and farmers markets. What I’ve realized through all the yummy market foods, my new funky sweater collection, and all these new folk tapes (thank you Santa Rosa thrift stores), is that there are some pretty rad folks up here. I’m into it.
This past week at the Sebastopol Farmers Market I must have talked to the wonderful man at the mushroom booth for…quite a while. I chatted with him about my love for reishi mushrooms, and he told me how to create a highly potent tonic. The tonic has only three ingredients: reishi mushrooms, dates, and ginger. He warned me repeatedly that in eastern traditions eating dates are known to make women very fertile, so you’ve been warned.
Though I can’t speak on behalf of the fertile date claim, I do know that reishi mushrooms are incredible medicine. I’ve been using them in my home apothecary for about a year now. Reishi mushrooms have been used in the folk medicine of China and Japan for about 2,000 years, and some say longer. In the past, reishi was only found growing wild on old plum trees. It was only a few decades ago that people discovered ways to cultivate them. Reishi has long been documented for its help with degenerative conditions, and for promoting longevity. I have been using reishi acutely for allergy season and more long term for boosting my vitality.
For this batch I added in some turkey tail mushrooms that my neighbor Fern wild crafted. I figured a few more shrooms can’t hurt, right? I decided to put in five dates, one for each direction and one for the center. And as I got the water going, I sang love into the brew.
1 big pot, with a lid
1 thumb of ginger, sliced
5 dates (or more for sweetness)
1 handful of sliced reishi mushrooms
Bring the water to a boil and then bring it down to low. Allow the brew to cook overnight. Make sure to keep the lid on it overnight, and you can always use a crockpot instead.
This slow cook method allows all the medicine to be extracted from the mushrooms. It’s very important for mushrooms to be heated to extract the medicine, and traditional preparation corroborates this.
The brew should be a bit bitter, but this will do your body good. I like to drink about a quart of medicinal teas or tonics a day. I carry them around in a big mason jars, but a nice thermos would be ideal.
*When I can’t find a local mushroom source I order from Mushroom Harvest. Their reishi has always been excellent.
With a whole lotta love + magic,