Which is Better? Reishi and Chaga

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Reishi and Chaga are two common mushrooms that are associated with healthy living and are often used as a beneficial supplement. There are many attributes that Chaga and Reishi share, but there are some major differences as well. So, which is better? Reishi or Chaga? This comparison will give you a better understanding of the differences between the two and help you determine which mushroom is right for your daily health routines.


The most obvious similarity between Chaga and Reishi is that they are usually prepared as a tea. Steeping the dry mushrooms releases the water soluble compounds that are so useful to our bodies. It is difficult to tell the difference between the two teas based on appearance. However, the mushrooms themselves look very different.


Chaga appears as a burnt looking chunk, growing primarily on birch trees. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, it is not likely that you would identify this growth as a mushroom. Reishi looks much more like a traditional mushroom with a stem and cap, but no gills. This mushroom typically grows on dead or dying hemlock. Mushroom Collecting points out that woodpeckers often create the right type of environment for Reishi and are perhaps even a carrier of the spore. Reishi can be rare and difficult to find in the wild, so commercial growers cultivate Reishi.

Traditional Folk Medicine

Both Chaga and Reishi have been used in traditional folk medicine. Chaga was used in traditional Russian and Eastern European medicine. Chaga is prevalent in these regions. It grows on birch trees in northern climates. Chinese traditional medicine employed Reishi as far back as 2,000 years! Ling Zhi is another common name for Reishi in Chinese traditions.

Promoting Balanced Health

The two mushrooms are known for regulating the body, helping to promote balance. The components in Reishi associated with healthy benefits are Beta-D-Glucans and triterpenes. Chaga has high concentrations of betulinic acid and superoxide dismutase. These components interact with our bodies to produce stabilizing and health promoting benefits. In addition to healthy benefits,  many people experience boosts in energy and mood when they drink Chaga and Reishi tea.

Which is Better? Reishi or Chaga

Chaga and Reishi are different but it is impossible to proclaim one as better than the other. They have different components and unique specific outcomes, but both are beneficial to overall health. It would be a healthy routine to include Chaga and Reishi tea in your daily routine, or a mixture of both. As always, it is important to consult a doctor before including mushrooms in your daily routines, particularly if you have an existing health condition or are taking medication.

Long Traditions

Mushrooms have a long tradition of promoting health and well-being. It is very difficult to conclude that one is better than another. However, they can have different outcomes. Discover which mushroom tea is best for you and start including in your daily health maintenance routines.


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Photo: “Reishi mushroom discovery” by sashimomura