A friend and I spotted this giant Reishi on a walk through the rainforest here on Haida Gwaii.
I knew what mushroom it was immediately.
It’s always tempting to take home special finds you come across on the beach or in the forest.
I always tell myself I will learn about them and use them accordingly!
They end up sitting on a shelf.
This time was different.
“Mr. Hemlock tree, can I take this mushroom if I PROMISE to do something special with it?”
I decided that if the mushroom easily was separated from the tree, that it was okay for me to take.
I remembered what my Haida friend, Verne taught me.
I pulled some tobacco from my pocket and sprinkled it on the tree, as an offering.
I put my hands on either side of the huge mushroom, said “thank you” and gave a small tug.
The mushroom was now in my arms.
I hugged it against my chest.
A feeling of “oh no, what if I don’t do something with the mushroom, I just made a promise” creeped into my mind.
I have been applying myself and now know the feeling of pride that comes with accomplishing something you set out to.
I WILL do something special to honour this Reishi.
I got it home and started to research the mushroom.
Turns out Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) or Ling Zhi in Chinese, which translates to “spiritual potency mushroom” is known as the mushroom of immortality! Immortal in the way that, we leave our legacy behind, as Reishi mushroom is said to help you fufill your destiny. The mushroom promotes longevity by strengthening the immune system and preventing many diseases.
I’ve have had Reishi tea and felt this would be easy enough for a mushroom beginner to learn how to make.
I messaged Verne, who has lived on Haida Gwaii for most of his life, to confirm this was in fact Reishi.
He guided me through the process of slicing and drying.
Slicing the mushroom was very tough.
I sent him photos of the process.
“You need to slice them thinner.”
“You can do it.”
I sliced them thin and lay them to dry.
Most of the pieces went moldy, due to being waterlogged.
The smaller pieces dried perfectly!
I put some chunks in boiling water.
I knew this medicine was VERY strong.
My lips and throat felt tingly.
Verne messaged me, “Everything is stronger on Haida Gwaii!”
RI put a few chunks in the coffee grinder to see what would happen.
The reishi got all fluffy!
Perfect to pinch into my coffee or tea.
I posted the mushroom on Instagram as a “guess what this is!”
I got a response from a girl in Arizona who knew all about reishi and would love to get her hands on some Reishi that I had found wild, on Haida Gwaii.
I purchased some bags and will be sending it off in the mail, tomorrow.
Feeling like a medicine woman and having fun!
PS – I have since, gone out looking for more Reishi. It is late in the season, I did not find any. I did though find Red Belted Polypore, which is also medicinal! Have sliced them up (just as tough to cut this mushroom!) and am waiting for them to dry!