Reishi mushrooms are often used in traditional Chinese medicine, in which they are known as the 'Mushroom of Immortality.' They contain carbohydrates, fiber, amino acids, protein, steroids, triterpenes, lipids, alkaloids, polysaccharides, glucoside, coumarin glycoside, volatile oil, vitamin B2, ascorbic acid, calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, and germanium. Additionally, Reishi contain ganoderic acid, which is a free-radical scavenger. Its this antioxidant which makes Reishi mushroom tea so popular.
To use: A standard dose can be anywhere from 3 to 15 grams per day. Typically its closer to the lower end of the spectrum. If you have a gram scale its best to weigh the mushroom out. If you don't have access to a scale, then consider that 3 grams is about 1 heaping tablespoon of hand crushed pieces. The amount of hot water for 3 to 5 grams of mushroom will be about 4 to 5 cups. Add the pieces to boiling water, and reduce the heat to simmering. Steep for 2 hours. Drain, and allow to cool slightly.
Reishi might be a powerful antioxidant, but they don't taste very good at all. Try adding other herbs like licorice root, or ginger at the final stage of the steeping process. You can also sweeten with a bit of honey.
To extract in alcohol for tinctures: Break the mushroom into small pieces. Place in a glass jar, and cover with 100 proof vodka or Everclear so that the pieces fully float in the alcohol. Allow the alcohol to extract for 4 to 6 weeks, giving your bottle a shake one time per day. Strain off the alcohol, and you now have reishi mushroom extract!