Learn the Difference Between Chaga and Reishi, and Make the Right Choice for You

If you are jumping aboard the mushroom train and hearing about different types of mushrooms and products, you might be asking yourself about the difference between Chaga and Reishi, and how to choose between them. These mushrooms have both become big names in the blooming mushroom community. With Chaga coffee readily available in packets, and Reishi tinctures and powders in health food stores, how do you choose what’s right for you? In this article, you’ll learn the difference between Chaga and Reishi, so you can make an informed choice.

What is the Difference Between Chaga and Reishi? 

Studies show that both Chaga and Reishi contain immunomodulating, antioxidant, liver-protective, detoxifying and antitumor properties. The difference between Chaga and Reishi relates to many factors: source, taste, texture, some traditional use, and other health benefits. 

Chaga Mushroom 101

A key difference between Chaga and Reishi is where these mushrooms come from. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) grows mainly on birch trees, as well as alder and elm trees in Siberia, Poland, Russia, and throughout North America, particularly Canada, as hard, dark black, burnt-looking conks. They can grow as big as a human head, and typically develop a symbiotic relationship with the tree, ultimately becoming part of it and its root system. Traditionally, Chaga has been used in Russian folk remedies for stomach problems and immunity, including cancers, ulcers, and gastritis. In Western Siberia, Chaga was used as a cleansing agent—both internally for the organs, and externally as a wash.

Studies show that Chaga contains anti-retroviral properties, supporting against RNA viruses. These viruses insert a DNA copy of their genome into the host cell in order to replicate. An important example of Chaga disrupting the assembly of this DNA is in HIV. Betulinic acid, primarily growing in the bark of white birch, is a triterpenoid which possesses these properties and contains anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory constituents. 

Studies suggest that Chaga is useful in the treatment of some cancers, if used long-term. Russian clinicians report that this mushroom supports appetite and pain management in cancer patients. 

While Chaga has been called the ‘King of Mushrooms,’ it is important to note that it is only found on about one in 20,000 birch trees. Finding a source that is harvesting ethically and also contributing to this mushroom’s growth and production is important! While Chaga has amazing health benefits, it may be important to limit its use to pertinent situations. This is why we only use Chaga in blends at Mushroom Revival, and do not sell simples. 

Reishi Mushroom 101

Red Reishi’s Latin name is Ganoderma lucidum. ‘Gan’ means shiny, ‘derm’ means skin, and ‘lucindum’ means brilliant, which pays homage to its shiny, preserved look. This mushroom can be found as six different colors and species in dense, humid coastal parts of China, frequently infecting hardwoods, typically oak trees, and sometimes on decaying stumps of chestnut and other broad-leafed trees.

Taoist priests in first century C.E. included the mushroom in magic concoctions that granted longevity and immortality. In folklore, Japan, where Reishi is found growing on plum trees, was discovered when the emperor of the Chin dynasty sent ships East in search of this amazing mushroom!

Red Reishi is typically known for its bitter taste. This is caused by terpenoid constituents, which support an anti-inflammatory response. This mushroom supports the cardiovascular system and is an adaptogen. Reishi can be sedative short-term, but long-term builds energy and increases stamina. Notably, Reishi’s triterpenes inhibit the release of histamine, thus preventing allergic reactions and inflammation with oleic acid. As an antihistamine, Reishi provides a relaxing effect to asthmatic symptoms.

Reishi has been shown to have many other outstanding health benefits including supporting altitude sickness, potent antioxidant properties and protection from radiation, to name a few! Click here to explore our blog for more Reishi info

Experience the Properties of Chaga and Reishi in Products from Mushroom Revival

So there you have it: Reishi and Chaga are two wonderful mushrooms with overlapping, but also distinct medicinal properties. Now that you have learned the difference between Chaga and Reishi, explore our products! At Mushroom Revival, we make a Mush 10 powder and tincture that combines Reishi and Chaga with 8 other powerful medicinal mushrooms. Our simple Reishi tincture is potent with a delicious bitter chocolatey flavor. Spread the word, follow our insta and become a part of the myco-family at Mushroom Revival!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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  1. Medicinal Mushrooms – Ancient Remedies for Modern Ailments, Halpern & Miller
  2. Medicinal Mushrooms – An Exploration of Tradition, Healing & Culture
  3. https://unitedplantsavers.org/the-two-sides-of-chaga/

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