Reishi mushroom, Ganoderma tsugae, bears potent medicine from the dark, rich coves of our Appalachian forests. Upon the towering skeletons of our lost forest elders, Hemlock (Tsugae canadensis), Reishi thrives...transmuting the most immense loss into new life. Medicinally, Reishi offers us humans a powerful gift - decreasing inflammation, restoring and balancing the immune system, strengthening the liver, supporting the heart, and encouraging healing from a wide range of illnesses. The Chinese species has been revered for thousands of years for its spiritual potency and ability to brighten consciousness and balance emotional states. Reishi is also known in China as the "mushroom of immortality" for its far reaching health benefits. Some dispute whether our local species provides the same medicinal benefits as its Chinese relative. However, when I come across our Ganoderma tsugae in the forest, I find its medicinal potency palpable and powerful presence unmistakable. Taken internally through strong tea or tincture, I feel an incredible boost of vitality and sustained energy and have found it effective in supporting my immune response to a wide range of illness. And so, today I give thanks for the abundance of brilliant medicine flourishing free in our forests...and for the reminder that even what appears to be the most devastating of losses can make way for potent gifts of health, vitality and rebirth.