The wellness industry is flooded with superfood mushrooms. This unique subset of edible fungus doesn’t just taste nice but is also packed with vitamins and nutrients. Reishi and Chaga are amongst the most popular medicinal mushrooms that have been lauded for their numerous benefits.
Touted as the king and queen of medicinal mushrooms, Chaga and Reishi share a lot of similarities yet are poles apart. Now, if you are looking to try out these incredible mushrooms, you might want to get a head start on Reishi vs Chaga.
Many people also ask, are Reishi and Chaga the same thing? In this detailed guide, we will take a deeper look at the reishi mushroom vs Chaga. We will help you find out the similarities and differences between Chaga and Reishi mushrooms. What's more, you will know when and how to use Chaga and reishi mushrooms for their health benefits and treatment of various health conditions.
What Are Reishi And Chaga?
Reishi, also known as Ganoderma lucidum or Lingzhi, is a bitter-tasting fungus that grows on dry or decaying tree trunks and logs. It is soft, flat, and cork-like in its fresh state and can be consumed raw or in the form of supplements, mushroom extracts, and other products. Reishi mushroom contains(1) polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and triterpenes (ganoderic acids) which are structurally similar to steroids.
Chaga is irregular and cracked brown-black fungus that grows slowly over years to decades. The mushroom resembles burnt charcoal appearing as a black lump on birch trees, oak, cherry, and alder trees. Chaga mushroom is nutritionally dense and contains health-supporting compounds like amino acids, calcium, zinc, potassium, Vitamin B, and D along with beta-glucans.
When it comes to the Chaga vs reishi discussion, one way to compare the two is through their appearance. From the above Chaga reishi definition, it is easy to see that in their natural habitats, the two mushrooms look very different.
Another way to compare Chaga vs reishi mushroom is through the vital nutrients they carry. For example, Chaga does carry some compounds that are not present in Reishi.
To better understand how these two mushrooms differ, we will take a deeper look at the benefits of Chaga and reishi.
Reishi Vs Chaga: The Benefits Of The Two Superfood Titans
Reishi mushroom is called the mushroom of immortality due to its numerous benefits. Thousands of years of its use and numerous studies have shown that reishi builds a stronger immune system(2) and helps destroy foreign particles in the body. It also down-regulates(3) the overactive immune system, thus helping in allergic conditions and autoimmune diseases.
Regular use of the reishi mushroom is associated with a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol levels—this eliminates the risk of lifestyle disease. There is also scientific evidence of theanti-cancer benefits(4) of the mushroom. Lingzhi is also beneficial in liver and stomach injuries(5). The mushroom also helps the body in other ways—these ways include:
- Accelerates the healing of gastric ulcers
- Protects the liver from the deleterious effects of chemical substances.
- Reishi also aids in improving sleep quality(6).
Chaga mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, is the king of medicinal mushrooms. Adding Chaga to your diet improves your body system health in various ways—this is because of antioxidants and other compounds. The mushroom is an antioxidant powerhouse that scavenges the free radicals in the body. This means that in a reishi vs Chaga antioxidant comparison, Chaga will always win.
Chaga is known to have the highest(7) Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity (ORAC) score ever found in any natural food. The higher the ORAC score, the more free radicals it can destroy. This property of Chaga helps it to fight against oxidative stress(8). Hence, regular consumption ofChaga mushroom helps with radiant and youthful skin,hair, and nails.
Chaga mushroom has also been shown to kill cancer cells. It also fights(9) against Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The extracts of the mushroom promote lipid metabolism(10) and provide relief for colitis(11). It also helps in reducing inflammation(12) of the pancreas.
Chaga Vs Reishi: How Are They Similar? What Are The Differences?
Reishi and Chaga are similar in many aspects; however, they are not the same thing. Both the mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Both the mushrooms have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They kill bacteria and lower blood cholesterol levels. Chaga and Reishi are also known to support the functions of the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain. Both Reishi and Chaga are adaptogen mushrooms. They help the body to resist and adapt to stress.
One of the key differences between the mushrooms is their place of origin. Reishi mushrooms are native to the Asian continent, typically on the humid Chinese coast. Chaga mushrooms are found in the cold climate of Siberia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Finland, Alaska, Canada, and North America.
The mushrooms are also noted for their specific benefits. Reishi mushrooms can balance the central nervous system. It can contribute to faster recovery from exercise(13) and improve the quality of sleep. The antioxidant property of the mushroom helps in clearing the metabolites of the exercise which leads to exhaustion and soreness. Reishi also improves circulation and increases muscle endurance(14). This makes Reishi an ideal pre and post-workout supplement.
Both the mushrooms modulate the immune system. Reishi, however, contains higher levels of beta-glucans and polysaccharides as compared to Chaga. It enhances and stimulates the immune system better than Chaga and is a better option for boosting the immune system.
Chaga and Reishi, both have potent anti-tumor activity. While Chaga has been shown to kill tumors of the brain, skin (malignant melanoma), colon, and ovaries, Reishi is powerful against tumors of the white blood cells, prostate, lungs, soft tissues, ovary, breast, bladder, and colon.
Can I Take Chaga And Reishi Together?
After going through the differences and similarities between Reishi and Chaga, you may want to know whether consuming Chaga and reishi tea together is a good idea. What's more, you may want to know whether reishi and Chaga mushroom powder are a good combination.
The effects of these mushrooms are more powerful when they are taken together. The mushrooms have synergistic effects when used together. This causes the beneficial compounds to support each other inside the body.
Chaga mushroom boosts energy and eliminates fatigue, while Reishi helps in relaxation. The opposite nature of Reishi Chaga can seem like a strange combination. But the Chaga Reishi blend balances each other out. A Chaga Reishi mushroom tea gives just the perfect amount of energy boost without the jitteriness which is balanced out by the calming and soothing effects of Reishi.
The combination of the mushrooms also protects you from stress. The high antioxidant(15) concentration of both the mushrooms reduces cellular stress, improves the functions of the immune system, and decreases the overall risks of diseases.
All these reasons make the Reishi Chaga combination a perfect dynamic duo.
How Can I Take Chaga and Reishi?
You can take both mushrooms in coffee and tea, depending on your most preferred drink. Alternatively, you can use the two mushrooms to prepare meals from scratch.
If you have never prepared a meal with reishi or Chaga, you do not have to worry. Online, you can find a large number of Chaga and Reishi recipes that you can use to prepare a nice meal for yourself.
Reishi and Chaga are immensely popular in the superfood mushroom world. These mushrooms are distinct but share overlapping properties. Both the mushrooms support immune functions, combat stress, and free radicals, and halt abnormal cellular proliferation.
While one mushroom is deliciously bitter, Chaga has an earthy flavor like tree bark. You can choose either Chaga or Reishi depending upon your taste and desired benefits. Combining the two mushrooms is another great option to reap the benefits of both the king and queen of medicinal mushrooms.
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