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< class="article__title title reishi-vs-lions-mane-which-is-better-for-your-health"> Reishi Vs. Lion's Mane: Which Is Better For Your Health?>
Reishi Vs. Lion's Mane: Which Is Better For Your Health?
Oct 03, 22
Tags: Reishi
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Reishi Vs. Lion's Mane: Which Is Better For Your Health?

  • by Sony Sherpa
  • |
  • 21 min read

Two of the most well-known members of the medicinal mushroom family are Lion's mane mushroom and the Reishi mushroom. But what do these two superfood mushrooms have in common that make them a part of this incredible family? And what makes them stand out?

Both these mushrooms combat oxidative stress and inflammation. They also boost our immunity. Additionally, they help lower blood sugar, protect heart health, and fight cancer cells.

While these mushrooms share many similarities, each mushroom is unique in its ways. For example, Lion's mane mushroom is famous for boosting brain health, while Reishi is notorious for its adaptogenic properties.

Here we will explore Lion's mane mushroom vs. Reishi: the similarities and the differences. We will then answer some of your most frequently asked queries, like which one you should consider taking.

Let's get right to Lion's mane vs. Reishi, starting with the benefits shared by both these mushrooms!

Reishi Mushroom Vs. Lion's Mane: What Are The Similarities?

To help you better understand how the two medicinal mushrooms relate, we will compare all their similarities below: 

Habitat

Lion's mane mushroom, also known as Hericium Erinaceus, hou tou gu, or yamabushitake, is an edible medicinal mushroom that grows on trunks of hardwood trees like oak.

Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum is a saprophytic fungus found on the base of hardwoods such as oak, birch, beech, and alder trees.

Read More: Are there any Reishi mushroom look-alikes

Both mushrooms grow on dead or decaying trees. You may also find them growing from pieces of dead wood on the ground or decaying root systems.

Bioactive Components And Ingredients

Reishi and Lion's mane are medicinal mushrooms with high nutrients and vitamins. Both support the internal body systems. The fiber and potassium in these mushrooms may also contribute to cardiovascular health.

History Of Use

Ganoderma and Hericeum fungi are natural medicines used for centuries as herbal remedies to heal and soothe the body. Both mushrooms are frequently harvested for use in extracts and powdered fungal supplements.  They are best consumed with hot water.

Read More: Learn the Reishi mushroom taste to expect when consuming the mushroom. 

Similarities In Health Benefits

Lion's mane and Reishi share many health benefits that make them stand out. They improve the immune system, with the medicinal mushroom extracts reducing the risk of developing various health problems. 

Below, we will look at how different people using Lion's mane and Reishi in their diet or food benefit from these mushrooms. 

1. Heart Health Benefits

One of the reasons the demand for Lion's mane and Reishi is increasing in health food stores is that each mushroom supplement can fight the risk factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease. 

Lion's mane and Reishi mushrooms (1) help protect the health of our heart by lowering the levels of bad cholesterol (2) and increasing the levels of heart-friendly good cholesterol in the blood.

Read More: See all the health benefits of Reishi

2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects And Immune System Benefits

Anti-Inflammatory Effects and Immune System Benefits

Likewise, both mushrooms help fight infections (3) and have anti-inflammatory properties (4). Both mushrooms also carry antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage in the human body and reduce inflammation. 

The mushrooms boost the performance of white blood cells; this helps improve health and overall well-being while going through your daily activities. 

3. Diabetes Benefits

As the cases of diabetes increase in the United States—and other parts of the world—more people are looking for natural solutions that can prevent and treat diabetes. Luckily, research studies have confirmed Reishi and Lion's mane diabetes benefits

The polysaccharides isolated from the fruiting body of Reishi mushrooms have a blood sugar-lowering effect (5). Similarly, Lion's mane also reduces blood glucose levels by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme responsible for breaking down carbohydrates in the small gut. 

Various research studies have looked into the effectiveness of Lion's mane in treating diabetes.

A 2013 research study (6) analyzed the Hericium Erinaceus aqueous extract's antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects in experimental diabetic rats. In the research study, streptozotocin (STZ) (55 mg/kg Body Weight) was intraperitoneally administered to Wistar rats to develop diabetes. 

For 28 days, researchers administered Lion's Mane (100 and 200 mg/kg Body Weight). They evaluated how Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) affected the liver's oxidative stress markers and blood levels of glucose, insulin, and lipids. 

They measured the rats' body weights on days 0, 14, and 28. In streptozotocin (STZ) diabetic rats, the treatment with Lion's mane for 28 days caused a considerable drop in serum glucose levels and a significant increase in serum insulin levels. Treatment with Hericium Erinaceus also reduced lipid problems.

A research study in 2020 (7) analyzed the impact of Lion's mane mushroom supplement on diabetes treatment. The researchers concluded that H. Erinaceus (Lion's mane) could treat diabetes and metabolic diseases 

Studies have also confirmed Reishi's effectiveness in treating diabetes. 

Read More: Learn about the Reishi diabetes benefits.

One research study conducted in 2019 (8) verified that reishi mushroom supplements could treat diabetes and insulin resistance. 

A different research study in 2015 (9) determined that polysaccharides, proteoglycans, proteins, and triterpenoids are just a few of Reishi's physiologically active components that have hypoglycemic (ability to lower blood glucose levels) effects. The study also noted that reishi polysaccharides exhibit a hypoglycemic effect by raising plasma insulin levels and lowering plasma sugar levels in mice.

The research studies mentioned above clearly indicate that you can rely on Lion's mane and reishi mushrooms to help you with diabetes treatment. In addition, the studies confirm that both reishi mushrooms and Lion's mane mushrooms operate similarly—they boost insulin levels to control blood sugar levels. 

4. Sleep Benefits

Insomnia is a growing concern for different people in various corners of the world. Multiple studies show (10) that insomnia's prevalence sits between 10% and 30% and is as high as 50% to 60% in some parts of the world. Taking Reishi or Lion's mane before bed can boost sleep quality and aid in the fight against insomnia. 

The beneficial compounds in Lion's mane reishi prevent insomnia, helping individuals enjoy more fulfilling sleep. Both mushrooms have sleep-promoting neurotransmitters that promote sufficient and healthy sleep. In addition, studies have shown that Reishi's triterpenes and beta-d-glucans can calm the nerves and provide a sedative quality that can aid in encouraging peaceful sleep. 

A research study conducted in 2020 (11) analyzed how Reishi improves sleep quality. In the 2020 study, the researchers concluded that Reishi induces sleep in mice via a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-related route. In addition, the study confirmed that the mushroom effectively reduces the time people take to fall asleep and increases the number of hours people spend asleep per night. 

A second research study conducted a year later, in 2021 (12), analyzed the effectiveness of Ganoderma Lucidum (reishi mushroom) in boosting sleep quality. The researchers determined that through intricate central-peripheral multi-level interaction networks, Ganoderma reduces insomnia. The study concluded that Ganoderma might be an adjunctive treatment for insomnia-related issues.

In addition to the research studies seeking to understand the reishi sleep benefits, other studies have analyzed Lion's mane's effectiveness in fighting insomnia. Lion's mane mushrooms promote better sleep quality (13) by reducing anxiety, irritability, and fatigue.

A research study conducted in 2019 (14) investigated how Lion's mane extract improves sleep disorders in people suffering from obesity. The researchers concluded that oral Hericium Erinaceus supplementation during eight weeks reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. In addition, supplementing with Hericium Erinaceus improved the quality of nocturnal sleep and mood disorders of a depressive-anxious nature.

The fact that both Lion's mane and Reishi have insomnia and sleep quality improvement as their medicinal benefits shows that they share many similarities. 

5. Depression And Anxiety Benefits

Depression and Anxiety Benefits

 

Lion's mane and Reishi improve brain health. Part of their brain health benefits come from improving mental clarity, with Lion's mane and reishi supplements promoting memory and cognitive health. 

However, we cannot forget that the two mushrooms contain adaptogens that help the body adapt to stressful situations, reducing the risk of depression. Furthermore, research studies have confirmed Lion's mane depression benefits

One research study (15)  analyzed the effects of Lion's mane on depression and anxiety. The researchers divided the test subjects into two groups—one group took placebo cookies while the other took cookies containing Lion's mane mushrooms. The test period was four weeks. 

At the end of the four weeks, the findings implied a distinct pathway from Hericium Erinaceus Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)-enhancing activity that aided in treating anxiety and depression. This suggested that Lion's mane intake may lessen depression and anxiety.

Another research study conducted in 2022 (16) analyzed the impact of Lion's mane extract and Chlorella on depression in mice. The researchers determined that compared to the control group, which used a placebo, the group taking Lion's mane extract and Chlorella had better results regarding fighting depression. 

The researchers concluded that animal depressive behavior might be improved by medium and high doses of Chlorella and Lion's mane mushroom extract, which may one day make antidepressant pharmaceuticals.

Yet another research study was conducted in 2021 (17) to analyze the effectiveness of Lion's mane in treating depression. The findings indicated that mice subjected to 14 days of restraint stress responded better to 4 weeks of Lion's mane treatment for depressive-like behaviors. 

Additional molecular analyses showed that the 4-week Lion's mane treatment increased the expression of several genes and proteins associated with neurogenesis. These include doublecortin, nestin, synaptophysin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and phosphorylated cAMP response element-binding protein (pCREB).

In the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, more bromodeoxyuridine-positive cells were seen, indicating increased neurogenesis. The study confirmed that Lion's mane effectively fights depression and achieves its results by promoting neurogenesis. 

Researchers have also investigated Reishi's depression benefits. For example, a research study conducted in 2015 (18) evaluated the depression benefits of Reishi mushrooms. The researchers confirmed that the mushroom is highly effective in fighting depression. 

These research studies show that Lion's mane and Reishi have anxiety and depression benefits. Therefore, people can leverage the two mushrooms' benefits to improve their life quality. 

6. Weight Loss Benefits

Research studies have confirmed the benefit of Reishi and Lion's mane on weight loss

Research studies on mice (19) show that Lion's mane mushrooms can improve fat metabolism. For example, one study found that (20) after 28 days of receiving daily dosages of Lion's mane extract and a high-fat diet, the rats' triglyceride levels were 27% lower, and their weight gain was 42% lower.

Studies have also proven the effectiveness of Reishi's weight loss benfits. For example, a 2015 research study (21) demonstrated that by altering the gut microbiota composition, Ganoderma Lucidum decreased obesity in mice.

7. Testosterone Benefits

Lion's mane and Reishi are beneficial in boosting the male sex hormone—testosterone. Various research studies have verified Lion's mane testosterone benefits

Research studies have shown that Lion's mane treats many conditions negatively impacting testosterone levels. For example, Lion's mane improves sleep quality and aids in treating diabetes. Conversely, poor sleep and high blood sugar levels lower testosterone levels in the body. 

Reishi testosterone benefits are also a result of the mushroom's effect on conditions that lower testosterone concentration in the body. Reishi also fights diabetes and improves sleep, helping the body produce more testosterone. 

8. Cancer Benefits

Both Lion's mane and Reishi mushrooms have cancer treatment benefits. Both mushrooms fight cancerous cells, inducing their death and preventing their mutation. 

Research studies have verified Lion's mane cancer benefits. For example, several research studies (22) have shown that when human cancer cells are treated with Lion's mane extract in a test tube, it accelerates their death. This works for various cancer cells, including those from the liver, colon, stomach, and blood.

Research studies have also verified that reishi tea can effectively treat cancer. Some of the chemicals in the mushroom increase the activity of natural killer cells. Natural killer cells combat infections and cancer.

These studies suggest that Lion's mane and Reishi effectively fight against different types of cancer. In addition, when the mushrooms are used with other cancer treatment options—including chemotherapy and radiotherapy—the mushrooms can help reduce the side effects of these cancer treatment methods. 

Read More: Learn about Lion's mane cancer benefits

9. Reishi & Lion's Mane Safety

Reishi and Lion's mane mushrooms are generally safe when consumed at the recommended dosages. Both mushrooms are, however, not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Despite the numerous health benefits, many scientific studies of Reishi and Lion's mane are animal-based. Therefore, both mushrooms require additional human studies.

Reishi Vs. Lion's Mane: What Sets Them Apart?

Reishi vs. Lion's mane: What Sets Them Apart?

Although Lion's mane and Reishi have numerous similarities, the two mushrooms differ. The following section will examine these differences. 

Their Appearance

Appearance-wise, Lion's mane and Reishi are highly distinctive and poles apart. These medicinal fungi are rarely confused with each other

Lion's mane is a large, white shaggy ball. Their cascading white spine, akin to a lion's mane, is a natural attraction on hardwood logs.

Read More: Are there any Lion's mane look-alikes?

On the other hand, the Reishi mushroom is typically yellow or orange to red, growing in circular fan-shaped patterns. It has a varnished kidney-shaped cap and is soft and cork-like. It lacks gills on the underside and instead releases fine yellow spores.

Their Taste

Lion's mane mushrooms have a flavor reminiscent of seafood, with many comparing their taste and texture to crab or lobster. This flavor is easy to understand if you have used Lion's mane mushroom recipes in your meals in the past. 

On the other hand, the Reishi mushroom taste is earthy and somewhat bitter. Therefore, it is not the most delicious mushroom you will ever taste.

Differences In Terms Of Their Health Benefits

Reishi Is Better At Fighting Cancer And Boosting Immunity

Reishi mushroom is commonly used to boost immunity and fight cancer cells. Although Lion's mane mushrooms can improve the immune system and have anticancer properties, Reishi is preferred.

Reishi extracts boost the function (23) of dendritic cells and promote the development of B and T lymphocytes. This property also contributes to its cancer-fighting abilities.

Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushrooms Are Better For Brain Health

Lion's mane is popularly known as a "brain tonic" as it works as a powerful brain booster. It best improves brain, nerve, and overall cognitive function. Hericenones and Erinacines, two bioactive compounds isolated from this fuzzy-looking mushroom, stimulate Nerve Growth Factors' production.

NGF are specialized proteins that help neurons in the brain increase, grow, and survive. It also boosts the production (24) of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which has similar functions. 

Because of its many health benefits in producing NGF and BDNF, Lion's mane mushroom boosts the nervous system's performance. However, while Reishi may have some beneficial effects on the nervous system and nerve health, its effects are slightly less pronounced than those of Hericium Erinaceus. 

Read More: See the best mushrooms for brain health

Take Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom In The Morning And Reishi At Night

The best time to consume Lion's mane mushrooms is with your morning coffee. Lion's mane reduces brain fog and keeps you focused throughout the day. 

Reishi is an optimal pre-bed-time drink, as it has a mildly sedative effect. Reishi aids in the balancing of the circadian rhythm or the internal clock, hence reducing the wake cycles at night. In addition to balancing the circadian rhythm, reishi extract powder helps relieve stress, promoting better sleep. 

FAQs

What Is Better, Lion's Mane Or Reishi?

Both Lion's mane and Reishi are health-boosting mushrooms. However, since they are both used to cure different conditions, one type of mushroom is not necessarily better.

Can You Take Lion's Mane Every Day?

Yes, you can take Lion's mane mushrooms daily. Daily and consistent use of Lion's mane guarantees maximum health benefits. 

Who Should Not Take Lion's Mane Mushroom?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take Lion's mane mushrooms. Those with mushroom allergies should also avoid it.

Read More: See how Reishi fights allergies.

Does Reishi Increase Testosterone?

Reishi mushrooms can increase or lower testosterone levels—Reishi balances hormone levels. Moreover, Reishi fights diseases and conditions that often reduce testosterone levels in the body, making it an ideal solution for people with low testosterone levels. 

However, studies have shown that Reishi can inhibit 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme known to mediate the reaction by converting testosterone to its active form.

Final Thoughts

Reishi and Lion's mane are two very different fungi from separate families that have a variety of beneficial impacts on your body. Each fungus differs fundamentally from the others and benefits your body in ways that can help you become healthier and more resilient to disease.

You can use the two mushrooms together as they complement each other and do not interact to produce adverse side effects. Use the mushrooms daily at an ideal dosage to derive maximum benefits. 

Have you combined Reishi and Lion's mane mushrooms in the past? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments.

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References

  1. Cholesterol-lowering properties of Ganoderma lucidum in vitro, ex vivo, and in hamsters and minipigs, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC385249/
  2. Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20622452/
  3.  Antiviral activities of various water and methanol soluble substances isolated from Ganoderma lucidum, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10624872/
  4. Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23735479/
  5. Isolation and hypoglycemic activity of ganoderans A and B, glycans of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3840903/
  6. Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/ 
  7. Characterization of α-glucosidase inhibitory constituents of the fruiting body of Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus), (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32738392/ 
  8. Mushrooms of the Genus Ganoderma Used to Treat Diabetes and Insulin Resistance, (8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891282/ 
  9. Anti-diabetic effects of Ganoderma lucidum, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25790910/ 
  10. Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353813/ 
  11. Ganoderma lucidum promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway in mice, (11)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-92913-6 
  12. Exploration of the anti-insomnia mechanism of Ganoderma by central-peripheral multi-level interaction network analysis, (12)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8555286/ 
  13. The effects of Hericium erinaceus (Amyloban® 3399) on sleep quality and subjective well-being among female undergraduate students: A pilot study, (13)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276152143 
  14. Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?, (14)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500611/ 
  15. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (15)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20834180/ 
  16. Potential antidepressant effects of a dietary supplement from the Chlorella and Lion's mane mushroom complex in aged SAMP8 mice, (16)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.977287/full
  17. Neurogenesis-dependent antidepressant-like activity of Hericium erinaceus in an animal model of depression, (17)https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13020-021-00546-8 
  18. Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice, (18)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25954905/ 
  19. Hypolipidaemic Effect of Hericium erinaceum Grown in Artemisia capillaris on Obese Rats, (19)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714447/ 
  20. Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet, (20)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20622452/ 
  21. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota, (21)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4557287/ 
  22. Anticancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers, (22)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24631140/ 
  23. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides: immunomodulation and potential anti-tumor activities, (23)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21213395/ 
  24. Neurotrophic isoindolinones from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus, (24)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33246107/
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