A few months ago we published 3 key points for choosing good reishi, indicating the characteristics that quality reishi must have. In this new article we will focus on other 3 key points, but this time, we will give the details that characterize low quality reishis. By combining the information of the two articles, we will be quite sure to have good reishi in our hands.
1- Be careful with floral smells
The reishi on the left, packaged in Spain, has a very pronounced "floral complex" smell. This aroma is not natural to reishi. The one on the right is reishi from MundoReishi. See the color difference too.
The natural reishi aroma is not fresh and floral. This aroma is present in reishis that have previously undergone a extraction process: the producers have extracted the most valuable active substances, in order to sell them separately, and what they sell at a very cheap price are the remains of the extraction, to which aromas are incorporated simulating the natural aroma of the mushroom, since it has been lost in the process. These aromas are usually too floral. Because of reishi’s bitterness, caffeine is often added, which also provides an "energizing" activity in the organism.
This adulteration is also present in some teas in the market1.
The previous "reishi" under a microscope at 100X magnification. The cells of the mushroom are perfectly visible, but they will be "empty" of active principles.
2- Coffee flavours and/or very roasted aromas, reishi degraded
It will indicate that the product is deteriorated by excess heat during the grinding or drying processes. If, besides, it has gray or blackish tones, the possibilities increase enormously.
The reishi on the left, encapsulated in Spain, was badly damaged in the drying and grinding processes: it has burnt smell and toasted colors and flavors. It will have hundreds of active molecules damaged, losing its quality. The one on the right is MundoReishi's reishi, with the natural color after a cold grinding and drying.
3- Chicken broth smell and/or flavour: adulteration of reishi
Reishi that smells like chicken broth will most likely be adulterated. Reishi has no umami smell or taste! This aroma is produced by glutamic acid salts, such as monosodium glutamate, which is naturally present in most edible mushrooms: boletuses, fairy ring mushrooms, champignon mushrooms... but is residual in reishi. Discard any reishi that presents this smell.
This reishi from another supplier smells and tastes like chicken broth. Under a microscope (next picture) no more than 5% of fungus hyphae is seen (it is adulterated in more than 95%). The exterior color has been quite accomplished, perhaps a little clearer than an authentic reishi. The texture looks very heterogeneous.
The previous "reishi" seen under a microscope at 100X magnification. There are hardly filaments of mushroom (compare with the above microphotography). It is likely to be adulterated with cereal fiber (oat?), as it is stained red with Congo red (which dyes betaglucans).
Do the test yourself: Select two brands from the market, a "cheap" brand and another expensive brand, with almost total security they will smell and taste different. This happens because you are before different products, and therefore, with different properties.
If you’ve liked it, read our previous article: 3 key points for choosing good reishi.
1- Tejero, J. , Gayoso, S. , Caro, I. , Cordoba-Diaz, D. , Mateo, J. , Basterrechea, J. , Girbés, T. and Jiménez, P. (2014) Comparative Analysis of the Antioxidant and Free-Radical Scavenging Activities of Different Water-Soluble Extracts of Green, Black and Oolong Tea Samples. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5, 2157-2166.