If you want to add more years to your life (and more life to your years), taking mushrooms could help. No, we don’t mean those kinds of ‘shrooms (although no judgment if you like those).
We’re talking about a medicinal mushroom blowing up in natural health circles, called Reishi.
They won’t have you tripping out, but reishi mushrooms have a magic of their own.
Reishi mushrooms – known by the scientific name Ganoderma lucidum – are edible fungi native to east Asia.
Known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, they’ve been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years.
Traditional healers believe these red-capped mushrooms help the body cope with stress and maintain a state of balance. That’s how they got the nickname “the king of mushrooms.”
Researchers have found hundreds of bioactive compounds in reishi mushrooms.
One of these is beta-glucan, a soluble fiber in the mushroom’s cell wall with immune-modulating properties.
Reishi also contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer compounds like triterpenes and polysaccharides.
I’m going to level with you. Reishi probably isn’t the panacea for focus, stress resilience, and mood that mushroom companies swear it is.
That said, the studies are encouraging, and there are companies doing mushrooms right.
The lion’s share of the research around reishi mushrooms focuses on supporting immunity. Particularly for people with cancer.
A polysaccharide extract from reishi may boost the activity of white blood cells like lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells in cancer patients. These cells make up the immune system’s surveillance team. They travel around looking for suspicious cells to munch (think of them as packmen).
Unfortunately, immune cells become compromised due to aging, stress, and other lifestyle factors. That’s why reishi extract is getting so much attention. It may even shrink precancerous tumors and kill certain cancer cells!
A lot of the research has been in animal and cell studies, so this isn’t an endorsement to use it as a first-line therapy. But it’s worth a look as an adjunct to conventional treatments.
Even if you aren’t sick, reish may support your immune system when you’re burning the candle at both ends.
(For more info on reishi mushrooms, skip to the FAQ section at the end of the article)
Over the last couple of decades, medicinal mushroom farming has, well, mushroomed. But it’s crucial to pick manufacturers who value quality and know what they’re doing.
Here are our top picks for the best reishi mushroom supplements on the market (and you better believe every product is tested for purity and potency).
*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
Price: $34.95 for 45 servings – $69.95 for 90 servings
Real Mushrooms have been in the ‘shroom biz for more than 40 years. They know their stuff.
One of their Reishi Mushroom Capsules provides 500 mg of pure reishi extract in an 8:1 ratio.
You can tell it’s the real deal by the concentration of beta-glucans and triterpenes in each serving – more than 15% and 4%, respectively. And they are third-party tested to confirm this.
Real Mushrooms only uses certified organic mushrooms cultivated in China. You may raise your eyebrows at the words “made in China.” But Real Mushrooms believe the purest mushrooms are cultivated in their native mountainous habitat, far from industrial areas.
Real Mushrooms is probably our favorite medicinal mushroom brand (and we’ve seen a lot). It’s hard to beat this quality at this price.
Price: $34.95 for 45 servings
Real Mushrooms also have a powder option with the same high-quality, organic reishi extract.
Each ½ teaspoon serving provides 1000 mg of non-GMO, certified organic reishi extract.
Real Mushrooms use third-party testing to ensure the high levels of beta-glucans in every product. They’re also Certified-Kosher, gluten-free, and vegan. No fillers, no binders, no grains, no BS.
Reishi powder isn’t the tastiest. But proponents swear by adding it to smoothies, shakes, and coffee.
Real Mushrooms D2Z is the same trusted brand with the same high-quality reishi extract.
The reishi dose is lower than the pure reishi capsules (at 215 mg per cap), but more than 25% of that is pure beta-glucans. You also get 215 mg of Chaga mushroom extract standardized for 8% beta-glucans.
The added 2000 IU of (vegan-friendly) vitamin D2 and 30 mg of pure zinc make this our top pick for immunity.
Micro Ingredients supplies premier, single-ingredient nutrient powders at great prices. All their products are USDA organic and free from fillers, additives, preservatives, binders, or anything artificial.
1 scoop of their reishi mushroom powder provides 1000 mg of reishi extract. The “100:1 ratio” claim, though, is unsubstantiated.
You can add it to smoothies and coffee. Or make your own medicinal mushroom capsules.
Price: $19.95 for 300 Capsules
Double Wood Supplements Reishi Capsules contain 500 mg of reishi extract in a 4:1 ratio (made using the fruiting body and mycelium roots).
This product is a good value. If you take 2-4 capsules daily, you’re paying between 13 to 26 cents per day.
Each batch is third-party tested, and you can request the certificate of analysis from their website. However, they don’t disclose the percentage of beta-glucans present.
Not satisfied? Double Wood has a money-back guarantee.
Price: $20.73 for 100 grams
Om take ‘shrooms seriously. They grow non-GMO, organic medicinal mushrooms on their indoor farm in California, according to FDA-certified Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
One teaspoon of this potent powder delivers 2,000 mg of certified organic reishi extract.
The mushrooms are cultivated on organic oats, eliminating the risk of heavy metal contamination. It also makes their powder milder and less bitter than others.
Price: from $12.96
Bulk Supplements Reishi Mushroom Extract comes in a convenient powder. Just ⅖ of a teaspoon provides 1000 mg of reishi extract with 30% active polysaccharides.
Whether you are looking for 100 grams (at a steal for $12.96) or 5 kgs of the stuff – Bulk Supplements has it.
While they use the fruiting body of the reishi in this powder, they don’t disclose whether it’s organically grown.
This product is for you if you prefer herbal tinctures. 1 ml of Nature’s Answer Reishi Tincture provides 1000 mg of pure reishi extract.
I like squirting a few drops in a glass of water. But if you don’t like the bitter taste, add it to tea, coffee, juice, a protein shake, or a smoothie.
It’s alcohol-free, making it ideal for tea-totalers (or anyone with an allergy). The Bio-Chelation® process eliminates any alcohol from the tincture without impacting the potency.
Price: $8.95 for 100 capsules
NOW Rei-Shi formula is a synergistic blend of two beta-glucan-rich medicinal mushrooms.
A serving of 2 capsules gives you:
It’s a great starter option for someone looking to dip their toe into the medicinal mushroom world.
NOW Foods has been making natural and organic health supplements since 1968. This family-owned business ensures quality at every step.
Price: $29.99 for 20 servings
Are you looking for something a little different?
Fresh Cap has developed a herbal elixir that helps you relax. Each sachet contains a blend of reishi extract, Chaga extract, magnesium chamomile, peppermint, l-theanine, passionflower, and monk fruit. It’s also non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo.
Just mix the contents of one sachet in 8-10 ounces of hot water, add a dash of honey and some coconut milk, and enjoy.
I think it’s pretty tasty – I’d describe the flavor as rich with a dash of peppermint.
This is a pricier option. However, they’ll give you 20% off if you subscribe.
We think these are the best reishi products available. But we want you to make the best decision for your lifestyle.
Here’s what we took into consideration when making our list.
The supplement industry isn’t FDA-regulated. You need to ensure reishi supplements contain enough active ingredients (like beta-glucans) and are grown responsibly.
Luckily, that’s what we do at RFS.
We’ve picked products made according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Plus, we prioritize companies who submit their products for third-party testing and use FDA-registered production facilities.
Unfortunately, unscrupulous manufacturers take shortcuts to save money. Many brands only use the mushroom’s root system (called the mycelium) because it’s cheap and fast to grow. But it’s less potent than the fruiting bodies that grow above ground.
We’ve listed reishi supplements containing the reishi fruiting body (where most of the bioactive compounds are found). Some supplements also contain mycelium, but it’s never the sole ingredient.
Organically grown mushrooms also get a boost, as do products free from fillers.
We’ve included supplements, powders, and tinctures so you can pick something that suits your lifestyle.
The products we chose make it easy to consume an effective-yet-safe dose of reishi extract (while allowing you to adjust it as needed).
We believe you shouldn’t need to bankrupt yourself to support your health.
While medicinal mushrooms can be pricey due to the cultivation and extraction processes, we looked for high-quality products that are also affordable.
One of the claims about medicinal mushrooms is that they give you boundless energy. Sadly, there’s no evidence to confirm this for reishi mushrooms.
But we don’t know if it has the same effect in other populations.
Reishi mushroom extract may play a role in managing metabolic syndrome (characterized by obesity, poor blood sugar management, and high cholesterol).
Compounds in reishi extract appear to reduce some of these markers, namely insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides.
However, there is conflicting research on the topic.
Boosting brain health and focus is another anecdotal benefit of reishi.
Polysaccharides from reishi support neurogenesis in mice. This is the creation of new, healthy neurons in the brain – something we all need to stay mentally flexible as we age.
That said, there aren’t human studies to confirm this. Until we know more, you might be better off using lion’s mane.
Reishi extract is safe and well tolerated by most people in doses up to 6 grams daily.
In some people, it may cause mild digestive symptoms. And its immune-enhancing properties mean it’s not advised for people on immune-suppressants.
Research on reishi mushrooms is still emerging. Speak to your doctor before supplementing if you have a chronic health condition.