A man writes in to ask about reishi mushrooms, having heard that they offer a wide range of health benefits. He wants to know if there are any drawbacks to taking them. What are reader experiences with reishi mushrooms? These are used in a much-advertised coffee substitute, so you might want to try that if you're a java junkie. Its positive effects come from its ingredients: beta-glucan polysaccharides and triterpenes. The extract stimulates macrophages, which have a defensive function. It also increases the antioxidant levels. So it is a valuable mushroom for anyone fighting cancer or AIDs, or for anyone looking to bolster the immune system. One reader has been using them several times a week for about 12 years, at one time taking four cups of this as tea four times a day for cancer (now in remission). In fact, there is an authoritative report on reishi mushrooms from Cancer Research UK, describing the current research. You will also find information on the Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital website, and on many Traditional Chinese Medicine websites (where it is known as Lingzhi or Ganoderma Lucidum in the Chinese literature). It's a widely used herb for disorders such as asthma, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, allergies, hypertension and stress, though often combined with other herbs. Product quality is important as adulteration and misrepresentation is a problem. Try natural selections tea by Funghi Perfecti (you can find this online). You may want to be careful of interactions with certain pharmaceuticals (which you probably shouldn't be taking anyway).