Mushrooms have played a significant role in traditional medicine and culinary practices for centuries, with numerous species known for their unique health benefits. Two such mushrooms that have gained prominence in recent years for their potential therapeutic properties are Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) and Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum). While both are fungi, they differ in appearance, taste, and, most importantly, their respective health benefits.
This blog aims to shed light on the differences between Lion's Mane and Reishi mushrooms while highlighting their specific advantages.
If you’re a fan of funghi - either as a foodie or a health hacker, you’ve probably heard of Lion’s Mane… and you might have heard of Reishi.
Both of these mushroom varieties have wonderous health-boosting properties, and they are fast becoming incredibly popular supplements. But what’s the difference?
Well, there are obvious differences in their taste and appearance. But most interestingly, they both offer a range of different health benefits, from cognitive enhancement to stress alleviation.
So the question is: is one better than the other? And should you be thinking about adding these marvellous mushrooms to your diet or supplementation?
In this blog, we’ll discuss the differences between Lion’s mane and Reishi mushrooms and decide if one is superior to the other!
Lion's Mane Mushroom: The Cognitive Wizard
Lion's Mane, also known as the "pom-pom mushroom," has earned a robust reputation in Asian medicine for its cognitive bolstering properties. It can be identified by its cascading white tendrils… but it's not the aesthetic allure but the potential health benefits that captivate the mind.
Lion’s Mane contains hericenones and erinacines. These are powerful compounds that affect your brain and nervous system and may even be able to repair damaged cells. Hericenones and erinacines are believed to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), which is essential for optimal brain health.
Clinical studies have shown that taking a Lion’s Mane supplement can improve your memory, mental clarity, and focus. Preclinical studies have shown that there can be improvements in ischemic stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and even depression. Is there anything this mighty mushroom can’t do?
Nervous System Nutrition
A series of studies have uncovered lion’s mane’s potential neuroprotective properties, making it an ally against neurodegenerative diseases. One study from 2009 took 50-80-year-old Japanese adults with mild cognitive impairment and found that after taking herinaceus tables 3 times a day for 16 weeks, the group showed clear improvements in their cognitive functions.
These important studies into the treatments of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s show that Lion’s Mane assists in nerve cell repair. And it can offer protection against oxidative stress that leads to further decline in brain health.
If you have gut issues, you know about it. It’s something that noticeably affects your daily life and can affect your sleep, too.
A lot of people aren’t aware that problems in the gut can equal problems in the brain. This connection is referred to as the gut/brain axis.
Lion’s Mane seems to champion gastrointestinal health in a profound way. Some studies on mice suggest it works by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, and at the same time, it inhibits harmful bacteria like Helicobacter pylori.
So it feeds the good bacteria and starves the bad bacteria, helping to keep a healthy, balanced ecosystem in your digestive system!
Improving your gut health will help with digestive discomfort, and it will also support your brain in the way of improved moods and less brain fog.
Putting Out Fires
Continuing in the gut department… there’s a key player that contributes to digestive discomfort, irregularity and disease. It’s called inflammation.
It’s believed that eating lion’s mane mushrooms may protect your intestines from inflammation and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. A study in patients with ulcerative colitis, published in March 2016 in PLoS One, found that those who took a supplement containing 14% Lion’s Mane extract reported improved symptoms and quality of life after just three weeks!
Reishi: The Mushroom Of Immortality
In contrast to Lion's Mane's ethereal appearance, Reishi mushrooms stand out with their glossy, reddish-brown hues and woody texture. Also known as the "mushroom of immortality" or the "lingzhi mushroom”, reishi has long been considered a symbol of health and longevity in traditional Chinese medicine.
Immune System Secrets
Reishi mushrooms are traditionally used to boost the immune system, supported by their rich content of beta-glucans and triterpenoids. These compounds can enhance the body’s immune response, making it more effective in fighting infections and diseases.
Studies have shown that reishi mushrooms may play a role in supporting the immune system against conditions such as asthma and even help reduce some cancers.
Less Stress, More Sleep
Reishi is often used to reduce stress and help with relaxation. It contains compounds that have demonstrated potential in regulating your body's stress response and improving your sleep quality. Studies on mice have shown that reishi promotes sleep through a pathway that depends on serotonin and gut microbiota.
So it’s a mighty mushroom that provides a healthy, natural alternative to medicines that reduce anxiety and help your sleep.
Up Your Energy And Endorphins
Reishi isn’t called the mushroom of immortality for nothing; it’s believed to have wonderous effects on reducing fatigue and depression. Even in people suffering from serious illness.
One study examined the effects of Reishi in 132 people with neurasthenia, a condition associated with aches, pains, dizziness, headaches, and irritability. The researchers found that reported levels of fatigue were reduced, and the patient's well-being was improved after 8 weeks of taking the reishi supplements
Another 2012 study on people with breast cancer found that taking Reishi powder reduced fatigue, anxiety, and depression and improved quality of life after just 4 weeks!
Cardio Health Hack
Some studies suggest that Reishi may play a role in sustaining cardiovascular health by modulating blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and improving circulation. This triple-action health hack creates a holistic approach to maintaining a healthy heart and may contribute to lowering your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Lion’s Mane Vs Reishi - The Differences
Nature unfailingly provides a treasure trove of health-enhancing elements, with mushrooms like Lion's Mane and Reishi standing as testaments to this bounty.
With ancient knowledge, anecdotal evidence and scientific studies, we’ve learned how the consumption and integration of these mushrooms into our dietary regimen may unlock pathways to enhanced mental and physical health.
It’s impossible to say if one mushroom is superior to the other, as both have unique characteristics and health benefits.
Lion's Mane is renowned for its potential to enhance cognitive function, support the nervous system, and improve digestive health. On the other hand, Reishi mushrooms are celebrated for their immune-boosting properties, stress-reduction abilities, and positive impact on cardiovascular health. Ultimately, both Lion's Mane and Reishi mushrooms showcase the fascinating world of natural remedies found in the realm of fungi, and both are proven to be beneficial to your overall health and well-being.
Whether you’re thinking of combining both of these fantastic funghi into your diet or you want to try supplementing, you should consider your source carefully. We offer high-quality, tried and tested Lion’s Mane capsules as a great way to start your journey to better health.