Which Is Better for You: Chaga or Reishi?
The Chaga mushroom vs. Reishi mushroom debate is one many health-conscious people struggle with when considering their benefits. The fact is, these mushroom supplements are very similar but significantly different.
While Chaga is known for its anti-oxidant and gut-supporting properties, Reishi calms the mind, enhances digestive function, and promotes overall well-being.
As you can see, deciding between the Chaga and Reishi mushrooms may be pretty challenging, hence the need to put each one under the proverbial mushroom scope and decide which is the better choice.
This article will review each of these medicinal mushrooms, their health benefits, similarities, and differences to help you decide which is best in terms of health-boosting mushroom-power.
What Are Chaga Mushrooms?
Chaga mushrooms are hard mushrooms that originate from Russia and Siberia.
This fungus leads a leisurely parasitic lifestyle, feeding off the beautiful Birch trees in very cold climates. In order for Chaga to have nutraceutical properties, it needs to grow on live Birch trees and be exposed to cold, dry weather.
Chaga that is grown industrially can potentially contain heavy metals and pesticides. The easiest way to ensure your Chaga is nutritional and free from harmful chemicals is to purchase your mushroom products from reputable health food stores.
Traditionally used to treat issues relating to the stomach, digestive tract, and heart, the Chaga mushroom also has roots in ancient Chinese medicine and is quite rare.
Western culture has also recognized the benefits these fungi have on the immune and gastrointestinal systems and their potency as powerful antioxidants for the human body.
The Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms
Chaga mushrooms are well known for their powerful antioxidant properties. Even more potent than turmeric or acai berries, these medicinal mushrooms provide the body with the following benefits:
Pro-oxidants (soy, plant oils, bacterial and viral infections) increase free radicals, which cause an imbalance in the body, leading to disease, fatigue, and other health issues. Chaga mushroom extract boosts immune function, thus counteracting any imbalances while protecting the body’s cells and DNA.
Free radicals can cause cell death and accelerate the physical aging process. As a result, the body suffers from cellular degeneration, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. On the contrary, Chaga slows the aging of cells and reduces physical signs of aging.
- Reduces Inflammation
Filled with anti-inflammatory properties, Chaga mushrooms reduce the inflammation associated with headaches, anxiety, liver disease, and gastrointestinal issues.
- Potential anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties
Chaga mushrooms were used for cancer prevention in ancient Russian and Polish medicine. Over the last decade, research suggests that Chaga extracts may even restrict the growth of colon cancer cells.
- Youthful skin and enhanced gut health
Chaga is high in zinc and melanin; both are required for good skin, a healthy immune system, and reproductive health.
In terms of Vroom power, Chaga vs. Reishi is a strong contender for first place.
Chaga is rich in vitamins B, D, and iron. Therefore, it provides the body with a natural energy boost. Unlike coffee, Chaga is not a stimulant, but it can aid in feeling more alert and increase energy levels naturally.
What Are Reishi Mushrooms?
Reishi mushroom extract, scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a powerful adaptogenic herb that has been used to treat stress, reduce fatigue, and boost the body’s immune response.
As one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms around, its bitter taste and woody texture are synonymous with traditional medicines as far back as the Han Dynasty. That’s more than two thousand years of mushi goodness, aka herbal medicine.
When comparing Reishi to Chaga, we see that unlike its energy-boosting competitor, Chaga, the Reishi mushroom is known for its relaxing properties. It’s the fungi chill pill of traditional Chinese medicine.
The Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms
Amongst their many health benefits, the powerful effects of Reishi mushroom extracts provide you with excellent immune system support.
In addition to helping you cope with stressful situations, reishi mushrooms help the body fight bacteria, infectious diseases, and cancer by promoting the production of white blood cells.
- Cancer-fighting properties
Reishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans and triterpenes that have anti-cancer properties. It’s also excellent for supporting recovering breast cancer survivors or those undergoing cancer treatment as it’s filled with glucan polysaccharides that help boost immunity, reduce fatigue, and improve their quality of life.
- Reduces anxiety
The shroom power of the Reishi mushroom helps to reduce stress and calm an overactive nervous system.
- Mood stabilizer
Their high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties help the body cope with stress and boost cognitive function and focus.
Their anti-allergy properties reduce the effects seen from the allergic reactions associated with hayfever and eczema.
Reishi mushrooms help balance and reduce the adverse effects of pro-oxidants that cause disease and accelerate aging.
Chaga vs. Reishi: Comparing Them Side By Side
Comparing Chaga and Reishi is best done by comparing their similarities, key differences, and health benefits.
- Excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Lowers cholesterol
- Provides support to the nervous system
- Prevent heart disease and support kidney, brain and liver function
- It supports the immune system
- Antibacterial, fights disease
While Chaga originates from the cold climates of Siberia and Poland and is found in limited quantities, the Reishi mushroom hails from the temperate climates of the northern hemisphere. Aside from their different homelands, these functional mushrooms have incredible health benefits and fascinating similarities.
One of the main differences between Chaga and Reishi mushrooms is their approach to energy.
When comparing Chaga to Reishi, we see that Chaga is the mushroom required to boost energy levels and immunity. In order to benefit from Chaga, the mushrooms must be steeped in hot water to extract their medicinal properties. As a result, the polysaccharides released from the mushroom’s cell walls by this hot water extraction can be digested by our bodies.
Reishi mushrooms provide equally potent health benefits by regulating blood sugar and relieving oxidative stress. They, too, can provide relief from fatigue, but the Reishi mushrooms’ ultimate superpower is the power of relaxation. Mushroom tea made from Reishi powder or dried mushrooms steeped in hot water can reduce anxiety and, as a result, promote sleep.
Which Mushroom Is Right for You?
Adaptogenic herbs such as Chaga and Reishi mushrooms are incredibly beneficial as stand-alone dietary supplements for supporting the body’s immune system. This can make it challenging to decide which one is best for you in terms of nutritional value.
Who says you have to choose between the Chaga vs Reishi mushroom? When combined, their health-boosting power is magnified. This is your veritable powerhouse of fungi power.
Combining these medicinal mushrooms provides the body with perfect balance. As a result, you can tap into a healthy combination of enhanced energy, increased serenity, and boosted health benefits.
As both are natural healers, they can help you regroup and adjust as and when you need them, depending on your requirements. For example, take Chaga in the morning for an energy-filled yet focused approach to the day.
Reishi is one of the best ways to aid relaxation as you step into slumber land.
The choice between Chaga and Reishi ultimately boils down to you and what your body needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Reishi Mushrooms Have Side Effects?
Medicinal mushroom extract from the Reishi mushroom has long been used to treat health issues such as stress and anxiety. They can also lower blood pressure and help regulate blood sugar. However, they may drop too low if Reishi is used in conjunction with other medications. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Do Chaga Mushrooms Have Side Effects?
Chaga lowers the body’s blood sugar levels. If taken alongside insulin or other sugar controlling medications, it can have adverse effects. It’s best to consult your doctor before taking dietary supplements if you have an existing medical condition.
Chaga vs Reishi For Better Immunity?
The Reishi mushroom is full of immunity-stimulating beta-glucans. They also have a higher level of polysaccharides than Chaga mushrooms. This means they are better equipped to boost energy levels, enhance moods, and regulate blood sugar levels. The positive effect of polysaccharides on intestinal health can also work toward reducing the risk of colon cancer. Therefore, Reishi is better for the immune system.
Is Chaga a Good Coffee Substitute?
Yes, Chaga is rich in polysaccharides and vitamins that can promote long-term energy increases. Unlike coffee, it is not a stimulant, so it won’t provide an instant energy boost. Instead, it will provide a gradual release of energy throughout the day. Chaga is excellent for boosting natural energy levels.
Can Reishi Mushrooms Help Me Sleep?
Reishi mushrooms don’t work in the same way as sleeping tablets. This means they won’t make you sleepy. They promote deep sleep by reducing anxiety and depression, which are often the causes of insomnia. To benefit from Reishi mushrooms as a sleep aid, they should be taken every evening before bedtime.