If you know anything about medicinal mushrooms, you are probably impressed by what you’ve heard. Depending on the type of mushroom, they can do anything from protect against Alzheimer’s disease to relieve anxiety to boost your immunity to support and enhance cancer therapy. Two of these incredible mushrooms are lion’s mane and reishi.
What are the similarities and differences between these mushrooms, what conditions do they treat, and which one should you consider taking? We’ll answer these questions and more as we compare lion’s mane vs. reishi mushrooms.
What You'll Learn Today
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is a highly distinctive type of mushroom. It has no lookalikes, toxic or otherwise: it appears as a large, white, shaggy ball.
Lion’s mane mushrooms grow in the wild on dead and decaying wood, sometimes high up on trunks of trees and other times on the ground, on fallen logs or pieces of rotting bark. They can also be cultivated at home and are a popular choice for those wanting to grow their own mushrooms.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are edible and medicinal. They are frequently harvested for use in extracts and powdered mushroom supplements as well as a variety of recipes.
These mushrooms have a flavor reminiscent of seafood, with many people comparing their taste and texture to that of crab or lobster.
Lion’s mane is known for its effect on cognitive health. It stimulates overall nervous system function by promoting nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain.
Some of its health benefits include improving memory and concentration, relieving anxiety and depression, and even protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Check out this video to learn more about lion’s mane mushrooms:
What is Reishi?
Reishi is another type of “superfood” mushroom known for its many health benefits. It is typically yellow or orange to red in appearance, and it grows in circular fan-shaped patterns from dead and decaying trees, especially oaks.
Reishi mushrooms are both edible and medicinal, though they are more often used for their health benefits than eaten for pleasure. They are considered to have a bitter, unpleasant taste and a tough, woody texture.
That said, they are one of the most common components in medicinal mushroom extracts and powders. Reishi mushrooms come with a host of medicinal benefits.
Their most common medicinal use is to improve immune system function. Reishi mushrooms appear to have a beneficial effect on white blood cells–increasing their activity, promoting the effects of natural killer cells, and reducing inflammatory pathways.
These effects can not only boost your natural defenses against colds, flu, and other viruses, but may also support traditional therapies in those who are battling various types of cancer.
Check out this video to learn more about reishi mushrooms:
Lion’s Mane Vs. Reishi: Similarities and Differences
Lion’s mane and reishi are rarely confused for each other, but they are both commonly found in mushroom supplements. If you’re just learning about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, you may be curious to find out more about these specific types, comparing and contrasting them against each other.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences of lion’s mane and Reishi mushrooms.
- Both mushrooms: This is probably an obvious one, but if you’re simply judging by sight, you may find it difficult to recognize because lion’s mane and reishi don’t look alike at all. Nevertheless, there are many different types of mushrooms that have many different appearances, and both lion’s mane and reishi are two of these mushroom types.
- Both medicinal: As mentioned in the above sections, both lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms are edible and are used medicinally. Both provide a host of health benefits without causing the psychedelic effects that some other types of mushrooms are known for.
- Both grow on dead wood: Both lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms can be found growing in hardwood forests and wooded areas, growing on dead or decaying trees. You may also find them growing from pieces of dead wood on the ground or from decaying root systems.
- Scientific name: As you might imagine, these two very different mushrooms belong to scientific families. Lion’s mane has the scientific name Hericium erinaceus, while reishi has the scientific name Ganoderma lucidum.
- Appearance: Reishi mushrooms are red to orange to yellow, flat, and fan-shaped, while lion’s mane mushrooms are more globular in appearance, shaggy, and white. They are extremely different in appearance and it’s easy to think that the unique-looking lion’s mane isn’t even a mushroom at all.
- Usage: Reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms are both medicinal but are used for very different purposes. Reishi mushrooms are immune-boosting and may have some supportive effects against cancer, while lion’s mane mushrooms improve brain, nerve, and overall cognitive function.
Lion’s Mane Vs. Reishi: Which is Better For Health?
By now, you’ve undoubtedly gathered that both lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms are excellent for promoting health and treating a variety of medical conditions. So, you may be wondering: which one is better?
The short answer is, it depends.
If you’re prone to getting a lot of colds or other seasonal viruses, then reishi is probably going to be the better choice for you. You can find a variety of reishi supplements and extracts online or at your local health food store.
If you’re struggling with memory, focus, anxiety, or other mental or cognitive issues, then you’ll want to choose lion’s mane. It can also be found in supplement form online and at health food stores, but you can also grow or harvest it fresh and add it to your daily diet.
So, both reishi and lion’s mane are good health-promoting mushrooms. One type of mushroom is not necessarily “better” than the other because they are both used to treat different types of conditions.
The medicinal mushroom that is right for you will depend on what you’re trying to treat.
If you’re still not sure which mushroom supplement to try, or if you’re concerned about adding a new supplement to your regimen, it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor first. Medicinal mushrooms of any kind may have a negative effect if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, suffer from high blood pressure, or have other underlying health conditions, so always check with your doctor in these cases.
Lion’s mane and reishi are both excellent medicinal mushrooms that can improve health and treat various conditions. Both of these mushrooms can be found growing in the wild, and you can also find them in many different powdered supplements and extracts online and at health food stores.