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What's the Difference Between Red Reishi & Reishi Mushrooms

What's the Difference Between Red Reishi & Reishi?

Reishi mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms that have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for their potential health benefits. Also known as Ganoderma lucidum, reishi mushrooms are known for their immune-boosting properties and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and stress-reducing effects. 

In this blog post, we will explore the potential health benefits of reishi mushrooms and discuss the different forms in which they can be consumed. We will also provide tips for sourcing high-quality reishi mushrooms and offer guidance on where to buy them. 

Whether you want to improve your immune function, reduce inflammation, or promote relaxation and stress reduction, reishi mushrooms may be a beneficial addition to your daily routine.

Keep reading to learn more!

What Is Reishi?

Reishi is a mushroom used in traditional medicine for centuries, mainly in Asian countries. Reishi mushrooms are known for their potential health benefits, which include boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, improving cardiovascular health, and promoting overall wellness. 

Reishi mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, triterpenes, and antioxidants, which are believed to be responsible for their health-promoting effects. We’ll discuss those in depth later in this blog.

Red Reishi vs. Reishi

When it comes to reishi mushrooms, there are two main varieties: red reishi and reishi. While both types of reishi mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for their medicinal properties, they differ slightly in appearance, taste, and potential health benefits.


Red Reishi and Reishi are the same mushrooms, with the difference being the stage of maturity at which they are harvested. Red Reishi is the mature form of the mushroom, while Reishi is harvested in its younger, more immature stage. As a result, Red Reishi tends to have a darker, reddish-brown color and a harder, wood-like texture, while Reishi has a lighter, more orange-brown color and a softer, more pliable texture. It's important to note that there are many species of Reishi mushrooms, each with a unique appearance and characteristics. Therefore, it's important to consult with an expert or use a reliable identification guide when attempting to identify Reishi mushrooms in the wild.

Growing Conditions:

Ideal growing conditions are the same for both Red Reishi and Reishi. They prefer to grow on dead or dying hardwood trees, including oak, elm, beech, and maple. Some species prefer conifers, particularly hemlock. Reishi mushrooms should be grown between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit at 85-90% humidity. 

Nutritional Profile:

Reishi mushrooms are a nutritious food, offering a range of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. Reishi mushrooms are a good source of fiber, protein, and several vitamins and minerals, including copper, potassium, and zinc. Reishi mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants, which protect the body against free radicals.

Chemical Composition

Reishi mushrooms have a complex chemical composition, containing various bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides, triterpenes, and antioxidants. 


Polysaccharides are one of the most studied components of reishi mushrooms. Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrate molecules made up of long chains of monosaccharides (simple sugars) linked together by glycosidic bonds. 

Polysaccharides are found in many natural sources, including plants, fungi, and animals, and play important roles in biological processes such as energy storage, cell structure, and cell signaling.

Polysaccharides are categorized based on the type of monosaccharide they contain. Polysaccharides can also have different structures, such as linear or branched chains, and can have varying degrees of complexity and molecular weight.

In the context of reishi mushrooms, polysaccharides are one of the most studied components and are believed to contribute to the immunomodulatory effects of the mushroom. 

Reishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans, a polysaccharide that has been shown to stimulate the immune system by activating immune cells such as macrophages and natural killer cells.


Reishi mushrooms contain various bioactive compounds, including triterpenes, a class of organic compounds widely distributed in nature. Triterpenes are synthesized from isoprene units and have a basic structure consisting of six isoprene units. Reishi mushrooms contain over 100 triterpenes, including ganoderic acids and lucidenic acids.

Ganoderic acids are triterpenes that have been shown to have various biological activities, including anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects.

Reishi mushrooms also contain sterols, proteins, nucleosides, and nucleotides. 


Sterols, also known as steroid alcohols, are a class of organic compounds that play important roles in the physiology of eukaryotic organisms. They have a characteristic structure consisting of four fused rings and are widely distributed in animal and plant lipids. 

Reishi mushrooms contain several sterols, including ergosterol, ergosterol peroxide, and ganoderic acid. Ergosterol is a precursor to vitamin D2, ergosterol peroxide has anti-inflammatory effects, and ganoderic acid has anti-tumor effects. 


Reishi mushrooms are a rich source of various proteins, including lectins, enzymes, and polysaccharide-protein complexes. 

Lectins are proteins that bind to specific carbohydrate molecules and have various biological activities, including immunomodulatory and anti-tumor effects. Reishi contains Ganoderma lucidum lectin (GLL) and recombinant GLL (rGLL).

Enzymes catalyze biochemical reactions and play important roles in various metabolic processes. Reishi contains laccase, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

Polysaccharide-protein complexes are macromolecules consisting of polysaccharides and proteins. Beta-glucans are a popular example and are found in reishi mushrooms.


Nucleosides are organic molecules that serve as the building blocks of nucleotides, which are the monomers that comprise DNA and RNA. A nucleoside consists of a nitrogenous base (either a purine or pyrimidine) attached to a pentose sugar (either ribose or deoxyribose). Nucleosides differ from nucleotides in that they do not contain phosphate groups.

Nucleosides have a variety of uses in biology and medicine. They can be used as antiviral and anticancer agents and in research as probes for studying nucleic acid structure and function. Additionally, nucleosides can be used to synthesize nucleotides and nucleic acids.

Reishi mushrooms contain uridine, guanosine, adenosine, and cytidine, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and immunomodulatory effects. 


Nucleotides are the building blocks of nucleic acids, which are the genetic material of living organisms. 

A nucleotide consists of three components: a nitrogenous base (either a purine or pyrimidine), a pentose sugar (either ribose or deoxyribose), and one or more phosphate groups. The nitrogenous base and sugar form the nucleoside, and the phosphate group(s) are attached to the 5' carbon of the sugar.

Nucleotides have several important functions in biology. They are the monomers that comprise DNA and RNA, the two types of nucleic acids. 

In DNA, nucleotides are arranged in a double helix, with the nitrogenous bases hydrogen bonding to form base pairs (adenine with thymine and guanine with cytosine). In RNA, nucleotides are arranged in a single strand, and uracil replaces thymine as a complementary base to adenine.

Reishi mushrooms contain guanine and adenine. 

Medicinal Uses

Reishi mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for their medicinal properties. In recent years, scientific studies have shown their potential health benefits.

  1. Immune system support: Reishi mushrooms have immunomodulatory effects, allowing them to help regulate the immune system. They enhance the activity of immune cells like T cells and natural killer cells, helping the body to fight infections and diseases.

  2. Anti-cancer properties: Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides and triterpenes that have anti-tumor effects in vitro and animal studies. They inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells and enhance the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

  3. Anti-inflammatory effects: Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharide and triterpenoid compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects. This can reduce bodily inflammation, which can help alleviate conditions like arthritis and asthma.

  4. Cardiovascular health: Reishi mushrooms have cardiovascular benefits like reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of blood clots.

  5. Liver health: Reishi mushrooms have hepatoprotective effects, allowing them to protect the liver from damage. They reduce liver enzyme levels in people with liver disease.    

Side Effects

Reishi mushrooms are generally considered safe for most people when consumed in food or supplement form. However, some people may experience side effects.

  1. Upset stomach: Some people may experience digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, or bloating when consuming reishi mushrooms.

  2. Allergic reactions: Reishi mushrooms may cause allergic reactions in some people, particularly those allergic to other mushrooms.

  3. Bleeding disorders: Reishi mushrooms may increase the risk of bleeding, especially in people with bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications.

  4. Low blood pressure: Reishi mushrooms may lower blood pressure, which could be a concern for people with low blood pressure or those taking medications to lower their blood pressure.

  5. Interactions with medications: Reishi mushrooms may interact with certain medications, including blood-thinning medications and immunosuppressants.

It is important to note that the safety of reishi mushrooms during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established, so it is recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women avoid consuming them.

Availability and Sourcing

Reishi mushrooms can be found at health food stores, online retailers, and specialty shops. When sourcing reishi mushrooms, it is important to choose high-quality products to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Here are some tips for sourcing high-quality reishi mushrooms:

  1. Look for organic: Choose reishi mushrooms that are certified organic to ensure that they have been grown without the use of harmful pesticides or other chemicals.

  2. Check the source: Reishi mushrooms are often grown in China, but not all Chinese-grown mushrooms are created equal. Look for mushrooms produced in a clean environment and harvested at the right time to ensure their quality.

  3. Choose extracts: Reishi mushroom extracts are a popular way to consume this superfood, as they are more concentrated than other forms. Look for extracts made using a dual extraction process, which helps extract both the water-soluble and alcohol-soluble compounds in the mushroom.

  4. Read reviews: Before purchasing reishi mushrooms, read reviews from other customers to understand their quality and effectiveness.

When it comes to where to buy reishi mushrooms, there are several options available. Health food stores and specialty shops often carry reishi mushrooms in various forms, including capsules, extracts, and teas. 

Online retailers also offer a wide selection of reishi mushroom products. When purchasing online, be sure to choose a reputable seller with good reviews to ensure the quality of the product.

Different Types of Reishi Mushrooms That You Can Take

Reishi mushrooms can be consumed in various forms, including capsules, extracts, powders, and teas. Each form has its benefits and drawbacks, and the best form to take may depend on individual preferences and health goals. Here are some of the most common forms of reishi supplements and their potential benefits:

  1. Capsules: Reishi capsules are a convenient way to consume the mushroom, as they are easy to take and can be easily incorporated into a daily supplement routine. Reishi capsules may provide immune-boosting benefits and have been shown to reduce inflammation.

  2. Extracts: Reishi extracts are a concentrated form of the mushroom and are often used to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Reishi extracts may also provide immune-boosting benefits and have been shown to reduce fatigue and improve sleep quality.

  3. Powders: Reishi powders can be added to smoothies, teas, and other beverages for a convenient way to consume the mushroom. Reishi powders may provide immune-boosting benefits and have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve liver function.

  4. Teas: Reishi teas are a traditional way to consume the mushroom and may provide immune-boosting benefits, as well as promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Get Your Reishi Mushroom Supplements From Avodah Wellness

As you can see, there’s a long list of benefits that come with taking reishi mushrooms. If you’re looking for a high-quality mushroom supplement that contains reishi, you’ve come to the right place. 

Avodah Wellness produces high-quality mushroom supplements to support your overall health and well-being. Our supplements are made with only the highest-quality ingredients, so you get all the good stuff and nothing else. 

Shop our supplement line today, and let us know if you have any questions about our products. We’ll be happy to help you find the perfect supplement for your needs. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today with your new favorite supplements!