Reishi – Good for the immune system? article image

Reishi – Good for the immune system?

Reishi is a beautiful red-brown mushroom that is often called Lackticka in Swedish. The name Lackticka refers to the mushroom's characteristic lacquer-like surface on its fruiting body. In Latin it is called Ganoderma lucidum .

Where does Reishi grow?

Reishi occurs naturally in various parts of the world including Sweden, especially in forest environments. It often thrives on dead or decaying trees, especially hardwoods such as oaks and maples.

The Reishi mushroom can also be cultivated and it is in this way that they have succeeded in meeting the increased demand for Reishi, which is now often used in powder form and dietary supplements. When growing Reishi, substrate in the form of wood chips is often used together with various nutrients.

The cultivation process takes several months and requires both patience and monitoring for successful cultivation. If you want to grow Reishi at home, growing kits are available to buy!

Reishi nutritional content

The reishi mushroom contains various active compounds and nutrients that have been studied for their potential health benefits. Here are some of the main compounds commonly found in Reishi:


Reishi contains several different so-called polysaccharides such as beta-glucans. Polysaccharides are a group of complex carbohydrates important components of fungal cell walls and have been shown to have immunomodulating properties, i.e. influence on the immune system.


Triterpenes are a group of compounds found in Reishi and are thought to contribute to its potential health effects. These include ganoderins and lucidumol.


Reishi contains various peptides, which are short chains of amino acids. These peptides may have biological activity and have been studied for their potential health effects.


Mushrooms in general, including Reishi, contain proteins that contribute to its overall nutritional value.

Polysaccharide-peptide complex:

There are complex compounds in Reishi that are a combination of polysaccharides and peptides. These compounds are thought to be responsible for some of the health benefits attributed to the mushroom.

Vitamins and minerals:

Reishi also contains various minerals such as selenium, zinc and copper, as well as certain vitamins such as B vitamins.


Reishi also contains antioxidants of various kinds, including phenols and other compounds.

Long-term traditional use

The Reishi mushroom has a long history of use. In China and other East Asian countries, Reishi has been used in traditional Chinese health philosophy to support various health conditions. It has traditionally been used for its potential health benefits and is considered an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body adapt and cope with stress.

Reishi can also be used in cooking. In some Asian cuisines, the mushroom has been used in soups, stews, rice dishes, teas and drinks.

Does Reishi affect the immune system?

The Reishi mushroom ( Ganoderma lucidum ) has been studied for its properties that may have an impact on our immune system. There are several ways in which Reishi can affect the immune system:

Stimulation of the immune system:

Reishi contains bioactive compounds, especially polysaccharides, which have been shown to stimulate the body's immune system. These compounds can increase the activity of various types of cells in the immune system, including macrophages, natural killer cells, and T cells.

Increased production of cytokines:

Cytokines are proteins that act as signaling substances between cells in the immune system. Reishi has been shown to increase the production of important cytokines, such as interleukins and interferons, which can help improve the immune system's response.

Regulation of immune function:

Reishi is believed to have an immunoregulatory effect by balancing and modulating the activity of the immune system. This adaptogenic trait may be beneficial in promoting a healthy immune response.

Antioxidant activity:

Reishi is rich in antioxidants, including phenols and other compounds, which can help neutralize free radicals in the body. By reducing oxidative stress, Reishi can support a healthy function of the body's immune system.

Reishi - An adaptogenic mushroom

Reishi is classified as an adaptogen. Adaptogens is a collective name for plants and fungi containing certain bioactive substances that affect the body's ability to adapt to physical, chemical and biological stress. The name adaptogens comes from the English "to adapt", i.e. to adapt. Adaptogens normalize and optimize the body's functions to create balance, they do not stimulate a function to its upper limit. They therefore do not work in the same way as central stimulants, for example caffeine, which become less effective the more times you use them and which stimulate even when you are in balance.

Adaptogens have the same effect continuously without you having to successively increase the dose to get the same effect as at the beginning. They are also not addictive.

Some of the best known adaptogens are Ashwagandha, Rosehip, Russian Root, Schisandra and Reishi. To be called an adaptogen, there are certain criteria that the plant or mushroom must meet:

1. The effect must be general and broad, to the extent that resilience is improved against a wide range of stressors of a physical, chemical and biological nature.
2. They must have a normalizing, i.e. restorative, function.
3. Adaptogens must be harmless and have a broad therapeutic effect with minimal, or no, disturbance of the normal biological processes.

Other interesting mushrooms

Reishi is a very interesting mushroom, but there are also more worth mentioning. Many mushrooms contain compounds and substances that are similar to each other but with slightly different functions, which means that it can be an advantage to eat a combination of different mushrooms. Below are some other health mushrooms that often appear together with Reishi.

Lion's mane

Lion's mane ( Hericium erinaceus) , called Hedgehog mushroom in Swedish, is a mushroom that, just like Reishi, contains active compounds in the form of polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. It is classified as a nootropic. Nootropics is a term used to describe substances that can potentially improve cognitive functions, including memory, concentration, focus, learning and creativity, without having significant side effects. Read more about Lion's mane here .


Chaga ( Inonotus obliquus ), called Spräckticka in Swedish, is a fungus that grows on the bark of certain trees, especially birches, and it has long been used in traditional health philosophies in some cultures. Chaga has a distinctive appearance with a black, charcoal-like surface and looks like a gnarled growth on the trees. Chaga occurs naturally in cold climate zones such as northern parts of Europe (including Sweden), Asia and North America.

Chaga contains several active compounds including polysaccharides, triterpenes, phenols, betulin, betulinic acid and antioxidants. Chaga is known for its high ORAC value, which is the "antioxidant measure". ORAC stands for "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity" and is measured on 100 grams of food. ORAC corresponds to the strength that a substance has to neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative stress in the body. Chaga has an ORAC value of between 60,000–360,000. This can be compared with, for example, Swedish blueberries, which have a value of between 4,500–6,500.

Chaga is usually eaten in the form of a dried powder that can be used as a tea or in a smoothie, but it is also available as an extract in capsules or tablets.


Shiitake ( Lentinula edodes ), called Ekmussling in Swedish, is a popular edible mushroom that originates from eastern Asia and has become popular worldwide both for its distinctive taste and potential health benefits. Shiitake is not only good to eat, but also contains active substances such as polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The mushrooms Cordyceps and Maitake are also interesting and often occur together with the above mushrooms. Read more about Cordyceps and Maitake here .

Frequently asked questions and answers about Reishi:

What dosage is good if you want to try Reishi in food supplements?

Answer: There is no stated dose that suits everyone for all purposes, but a common dose in dietary supplements is 500 mg of extract per day if the product only contains Reishi. If taking a multi-ingredient supplement, Reishi may make up a smaller portion. In Elexir Mushroom Complex with Reishi, we have for example mixed with Lion's mane, Chaga and Shiitake.

Can Reishi help with different types of diseases?

Answer: Reishi is not a drug or medicinal preparation. If you suffer from illness and want to try Reishi, you should consult your doctor first.

Has Reishi been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine in Asia?

Answer: Yes, it is true that reishi (and many other mushrooms) are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine.

What are the active substances in Reishi called?

Answer: There are several active substances in Reishi ( Ganoderma lucidum) , including a group of substances called polysaccharides. There are many different types of polysaccharides such as beta-glucans. Reishi also contains triterpenes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Elexir Pharma has two different supplements that contain mushrooms, what makes them different?

Answer: We have developed two different mushroom complexes. One is called Mushroom Complex with Reishi and is developed to support the immune system. It contains Reishi, Lion's mane, Chaga and Shiitake. The second product is called Mushroom Complex with Lion's mane and is developed for focus, memory and concentration. It contains Lion's mane, cordyceps, maitake and the plant extract Bacopa monnieri. Mushrooms can be a way to support the body in a natural way.

How to take Reishi?

Answer: As a dietary supplement, you can take Reishi in different ways. It is available as a powder, capsule or tablet but can also be eaten as edible mushrooms. Some products contain extracts while others have pure powder.

Is there much research being done on Reishi?

Answer: Reishi has proven to be very interesting for research. Many studies have been done on Reishi (also known as Larvvamp) and more studies will probably be done in the future, both on Reishi but also on other mushrooms with a focus on their interesting nutritional content. They have in common that they contain compounds that seem to be able to affect the body in different ways.

Can Reishi have side effects?

Answer: Reishi ( Ganoderma lucidum ) is considered safe for most people when consumed as food and supplements. If you take medication or suffer from an illness, it is always good to consult your doctor before using food supplements.