Lion’s Mane vs. Reishi – From Ancient Medicine to Modern Wellness

Lion’s Mane vs. Reishi – From Ancient Medicine to Modern Wellness

Medicinal mushrooms have long been a cornerstone in the health and wellness sector. Lion’s Mane and Reishi stand out among these as two of the most potent. But how do they differ, and which one aligns with your health objectives? Our mission is to offer clarity, allowing you to make choices that align with your wellness goals.

Historical Background: Ancient Roots of Wellness

Both Lion’s Mane and Reishi have deep roots in traditional medicine, tracing back centuries. Lion’s Mane was often associated with mental clarity in ancient Chinese medicine, while Reishi, dubbed the “Mushroom of Immortality,” was believed to promote longevity and overall health.

Nutritional Profile

  • Lion’s Mane: This mushroom boasts hericenones and erinacines, compounds linked to brain health and nerve growth.
  • Reishi: Rich in triterpenoids, peptides, and polysaccharides, Reishi is known for its potential in boosting overall well-being.

Health Benefits: Where They Shine

Cognitive Function with Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is not just a fascinatingly shaggy mushroom; it’s a powerhouse for the brain. Renowned for its potential to guard neurons and enhance cognitive abilities, various studies suggest its positive impact on memory, focus, and even mood.

Immune System Support with Reishi

Seeking a robust immune system? Look no further than Reishi. Research indicates that this mushroom may elevate white blood cell activity, fortifying the body’s defenses against pathogens.

Adaptogenic Properties of Reishi

In today’s fast-paced world, managing stress is essential. Reishi’s adaptogenic traits could be your ally. By aiding the body in balancing its response to external stressors, Reishi ensures you remain at your peak, regardless of life’s challenges.

Side Effects and Considerations

While Lion’s Mane and Reishi are generally considered safe, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects.

Lion’s Mane Side Effects:

  • Some users have reported itching, which might be due to an increase in nerve growth factor.
  • Mild digestive upset is possible, especially when consumed in large quantities.

Reishi Side Effects:

  • Dryness in the mouth, throat, and nasal areas.
  • Stomach upset, including diarrhea.
  • A drop in blood pressure, so those on hypertension medication should monitor levels closely.


  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their healthcare providers before adding these mushrooms to their regimen.
  • Those on blood-thinning medications or preparing for surgery should be cautious, as Reishi can increase bleeding risk.

How to Incorporate Lion’s Mane and Reishi into Your Diet

Harnessing the benefits of these mushrooms is simpler than you might think.

  1. Supplements: Capsules and tablets are the most straightforward way to get a consistent dose. They’re especially useful for those who aren’t fond of the mushrooms’ flavors.
  2. Teas: Steeping dried Lion’s Mane or Reishi in hot water creates a soothing beverage. You can sweeten it with honey or add other herbs for enhanced flavor.
  3. Whole Food Form: Add sliced Lion’s Mane to your favorite dishes – it has a seafood-like taste, making it a great addition to stir-fries and soups. Reishi, being more woody, is less commonly eaten but can be used to make broths.

Reputable Sources: When seeking high-quality products, it’s paramount to choose brands with a transparent sourcing and production process. Brands like “Mushroom Wisdom,” “Host Defense,” and “Four Sigmatic” have garnered trust in the wellness community for their Lion’s Mane and Reishi offerings. Remember, always opt for organic products when possible and ensure the absence of fillers or additives.

Dosage Recommendations

When it comes to Lion’s Mane and Reishi, the ideal dosage can vary based on individual needs, the form of consumption, and the potency of the product. Here are general recommendations to guide you:

Lion’s Mane:

  • Starting Dose: 500 mg per day.
  • Standard Dose: 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily, typically divided into two or three doses.
  • Maximum Dose: While higher doses up to 5,000 mg daily have been studied, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before exceeding standard recommendations.


  • Starting Dose: 250 mg per day.
  • Standard Dose: 500 to 1,500 mg daily.
  • Maximum Dose: Dosages up to 2,000 mg daily have been used in studies, but it’s essential to monitor for any side effects and seek professional guidance.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and individual needs may vary. Always start with the lowest effective dose and adjust based on your body’s response.


  1. Blood Thinners: Both mushrooms can potentially enhance the effects of anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, increasing bleeding risks.
  2. Diabetes Medications: Reishi, in particular, may lower blood sugar, which could amplify the effects of diabetes medications.
  3. Hypertension Drugs: As Reishi might lower blood pressure, it could interact with antihypertensive medications.
  4. Immunosuppressants: Since Reishi can stimulate the immune system, it might reduce the effectiveness of medications that decrease immune system activity.

It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before combining these mushrooms with any medication, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

Storage and Shelf-life

Maintaining the potency of Lion’s Mane and Reishi is all about proper storage. Here’s how to ensure their longevity:

Whole Mushrooms:

  • Store in a cool, dry place, preferably in a paper bag inside the refrigerator. This prevents moisture accumulation and keeps them fresh.
  • Shelf-life: Fresh Lion’s Mane and Reishi can last up to 7-10 days in the fridge. If dried, they can last up to a year when stored correctly.

Supplements (Capsules/Tablets):

  • Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. A cupboard or pantry is ideal.
  • Ensure the container is tightly sealed to prevent moisture entry.
  • Shelf-life: Most supplements have a shelf-life of 1-2 years, but always check the expiration date on the label.

Cost Analysis

When diving into the world of Lion’s Mane and Reishi, the cost can be a significant factor. Here’s a breakdown:

Whole Mushrooms:

  • Lion’s Mane: Typically ranges from $20 to $40 per pound, depending on the region and season.
  • Reishi: Given its harder, woodier texture, it’s more commonly found in sliced or dried forms, costing between $5 to $15 per ounce.

Supplements (Capsules/Tablets):

  • Lion’s Mane: On average, a month’s supply can range from $15 to $30, based on brand and potency.
  • Reishi: A monthly supplement regimen can cost between $20 to $50.

Note: Prices can vary based on factors like organic certification, sourcing, and processing methods. It’s essential to balance cost with quality, ensuring you’re getting a product free from contaminants and fillers.

Environmental Impact: Cultivating with Care

The cultivation of mushrooms, including Lion’s Mane and Reishi, is generally considered sustainable. Here’s why:

  1. Low Resource Use: Mushrooms don’t require sunlight and can grow in controlled environments with minimal water.
  2. Upcycling: Many mushroom farms utilize agricultural byproducts, like wood chips or straw, as growth mediums.
  3. Fast Growth: Mushrooms have a rapid growth cycle, allowing for quick harvests.

However, there are concerns:

  • Wild Harvesting: Unsustainable wild collection can harm natural habitats. Always opt for products from cultivated sources.
  • Packaging: Some supplement brands use excessive or non-recyclable packaging. Look for eco-friendly packaging options.

Taste and Recipe Ideas

Lion’s Mane:

  • Flavor Profile: Often compared to seafood, particularly crab or lobster, it has a delicate taste with a slightly chewy texture.
  • Recipe Idea: Lion’s Mane ‘Crab’ Cakes: Mix finely chopped Lion’s Mane with breadcrumbs, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings. Form into patties and pan-fry until golden.


  • Flavor Profile: It has a bitter and woody taste, making it less suitable for direct culinary use but great for broths and teas.
  • Recipe Idea: Reishi Broth: Simmer dried Reishi slices with garlic, ginger, and vegetables. Strain the mushrooms before serving. This broth can be a base for soups or consumed as a warming beverage.


  1. How long will it take to see the effects of Lion’s Mane or Reishi?
    • The effects can vary from person to person. Some may notice benefits within a week, while others might need a couple of months. Consistency is key.
  2. Can I take both Lion’s Mane and Reishi together?
    • Yes, many individuals combine the two to harness the benefits of both. However, start with a lower dosage of each and monitor how your body reacts.
  3. Are there any allergies I should be aware of?
    • As with any supplement or food, there’s a possibility of allergic reactions. If you notice any adverse reactions like rashes or respiratory issues, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.
  4. Which is better for boosting immunity, Lion’s Mane or Reishi?
    • While both mushrooms offer immune system support, Reishi is particularly renowned for its potential in bolstering immunity.
  5. I’m on medication. Can I still consume these mushrooms?
    • If you’re on medication, especially blood thinners or hypertension drugs, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before adding Lion’s Mane or Reishi to your regimen.

Interactions with Other Supplements: Treading with Awareness

While Lion’s Mane and Reishi are often consumed for their array of benefits, it’s crucial to understand potential interactions with other supplements or herbs:

  1. Lion’s Mane:
    • St. John’s Wort: Both are believed to influence the brain’s serotonin levels. Taking them concurrently might amplify this effect, so caution is advised.
    • Ginkgo Biloba: Given that both supplements might influence cognitive function, combining them might lead to unpredictable effects.
  2. Reishi:
    • Turmeric/Curcumin: Both Reishi and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties. While this can be synergistic, it might also amplify the effect, especially if you’re on anti-inflammatory medications.
    • Ashwagandha: Given that both herbs have adaptogenic qualities, they might have cumulative effects on stress and cortisol levels.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider or nutritionist when mixing multiple supplements or herbs to ensure safe and effective use.

Scientific References 

  1. Mori, K., et al. (2009). Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 9(1), 1-6.
  2. Wachtel-Galor, S., et al. (2011). Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom. In Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Consumer’s Guide: Making Informed Choices

Navigating the world of supplements can be daunting. Here’s a guide to help you make the best choices:

  1. Third-Party Testing: Brands that undergo third-party testing show a commitment to purity and potency. Look for seals like “USP Verified” or “Labdoor Tested”.
  2. Organic Certification: Especially for products derived from nature, organic certifications ensure that you’re getting a product free from harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
  3. Full-Spectrum: This indicates that the product contains all the beneficial compounds of the mushroom, not just isolated components.
  4. Expiry Date: A clear indication of the product’s shelf-life ensures you consume it while it’s still potent.
  5. Avoid Fillers: Read the “Other Ingredients” section. Avoid products with unnecessary fillers or additives.

Lastly, remember: the most expensive product isn’t always the best. Look for transparency, quality certifications, and positive user reviews when making your decision.

Denise E. Stegall

Denise E. Stegall is the CEO and Curator of Healthy Living She has condensed 25 years of experience and study in nutrition, and cooking, including plant-based cooking, exercise, and coaching to help people enjoy happy and healthy lives. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Pennsylvania State University in Hotel, Restaurant, and Business Management with a focus on nutrition and has certifications in Health Coaching, Life Coaching, Nutrition, and Plant-Based Cooking. The Living Healthy List Method uses three pillars: Eat Real Food, Make Good Decisions, and Be Accountable.

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