Cordyceps vs. Reishi Mushrooms

Let's Get Ready to Rumble Between these Two Popular Fungi.

There is a wide variety of herbal supplements available and it can be difficult to know which is best.  The topic of this article is Cordyceps vs. Reishi Mushrooms. Both Cordyceps and Reishi Mushrooms are used to promote healthy living using non-traditional herbal supplements.

This article gives a brief description of each mushroom.  I explain the benefits and side effects of both Cordyceps and Reishi Mushrooms and provide insight into the different products that are available for each.  This comparison is meant to aid consumers in making the best decision when choosing between Cordyceps and Reishi Mushrooms.

Reishi Mushrooms

The Reishi Mushroom, (Ganoderma lucidum) is a fungus that grows on dead and dying trees in China and Japan. These Asian cultures have used Reishi Mushrooms for medicinal purposes for over 4,000 years. The mushroom has often been called, “The Mushroom of Immortality.”

Benefits and Uses

Today, Reishi Mushrooms are used as a supplement to boost the immune system. Specifically, there is increased attention to its effects on boosting the immune system to fight HIV and Aids.  The mushroom protects against influenza, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also prevents the growth of cancerous tumors and increases the bodies resistance.  To find more benefits of the Reishi Mushroom, read this article

Side Effects

The side effects that some people may experience after taking the Reishi Mushroom include a possible allergic reaction, which could be accompanied by dryness of the mouth, throat or nasal passages. There could be some stomach upset, itchiness, nosebleed or bloody stool. This supplemental mushroom is a blood thinner. When taken orally, in powder form, for more than a month there may be toxic effects on the liver.


There are several products available to those who want to supplement with Reishi Mushrooms.  Products can be found in grocery stores, vitamin shops or directly from manufactures like, “Hokkaido Reishi Japan.”  Each product offers its own benefits. Choosing the right product depends on personal preferences.  Now for the more adventurous, this post explains how you can harvest and dry your own Reishi mushrooms. 

The capsule form is used primarily as a nutritional supplement to boost the immune system.  It can help with trouble sleeping and prevent high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Taking a capsule offers time release bonus which can help with sensitive stomachs.

Reishi Mushroom powder is used as a supplement to promote balance and decrease stress.  It can be mixed into soup, smoothies, coffee or teas to mask the bitter taste of the mushrooms.  The body absorbs powder quickly, so the effects and benefits of the Reishi Mushroom will happen quickly.  The powder also offers flexibility in dosing by allowing you to make your own adjustments (take more or less).

Reishi Mushroom Elixirs and Tinctures best help promote healthy sleep cycles and aid in reducing stress.  The liquid accompanying the Reishi Mushroom is sweetened. The elixir may also contain alcohol.  Using this product allows you to avoid the unpleasant taste of the mushrooms. Reishi Mushroom Elixirs are often taken in one dose, usually before sleep.

Reishi Mushroom coffee has many benefits including better sleep, liver and heart support, and increased energy.  Combining the mushroom with roasted coffee beans and other natural ingredients has a positive effect on the body’s overall health.  This coffee has all the benefits of regular coffee, but in addition offers the therapeutic assets of the mushrooms.  It contains less caffeine while being higher in nutrients.  Reishi coffee is a great source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium.  It contains high levels of antioxidants to help fight aging.  Additionally, Reishi coffee detoxifies the liver and kidneys by helping your body flush out toxins.


Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), also known as Cs-4 is a black, blade-shaped fungus.  It is a parasite that grows on moth caterpillars.  Cordyceps are found in the mountain regions in China, more specifically on the Tibetan Plateau.  Natural cordyceps are difficult to collect so most supplements are grown in a laboratory. 

Benefits and Uses

According to, “Traditionally, cordyceps has been used in the elderly population to improve weakness, impotence, and fatigue associated with aging.”  Cordyceps has also been used to help with kidney disorders.  Studies among elderly patients with long-term renal failure showed improved renal function.  There is a history of traditional medicinal use in heart disease as well.

Although, there is no reliable scientific proof to support use, Cordyceps has also been linked with lung support and preventing liver problems.  According to WebMD, “Cordyceps may improve immunity by stimulation cells and specific chemicals in the immune system.”  This in effect, helps fight the growth of cancer cells and shrinks cancerous tumors, especially with lung and skin cancer.

There are several animal studies currently underway to discover the effects of Cordyceps on Diabetes, hepatic function, physical performance, raspatory effects and sexual dysfunction.  There is very little evidence that Cordyceps has a direct effect on any of these conditions.  However, in combination with other treatments it does support improvement.

Side Effects

Cordyceps is possibly safe for most people when taken correctly for a short period of time.  There are some reports of lead poisoning in individuals who took Cordyceps.  More commonly, there are some serious side effects for those with “Auto-immune diseases” and blood disorders.  Individuals with conditions such as Multiple Sucraloses, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other conditions should not use Cordyceps. 

Medications or supplements containing Cordyceps may cause the immune system to become more active.  This could enhance the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. 

If the patient suffers from blood disorders, they should also avoid Cordyceps. It could slow blood clotting.  This could increase the risk of bleeding during surgery and use of Cordyceps should be stopped two weeks before surgery.
Less severe effects include GI discomfort, diarrhea, dry mouth and nausea. 


Most Cordyceps products are used a supplement to boost the immune system and improve energy.  The products include capsules, tinctures, and powders.

Cordyceps capsules offer an easy and convenient way to take this natural supplement.  Dosages range from 750 mg to 2500 mg, once to twice a day. Capsules are easy to store and transport.

Cordyceps also comes in powder form.  Dosages range from 1 – 4 tsp daily mixed into a juice, smoothie or other flavored drink or liquid like soup.  Cordyceps powder absorbs quickly in your system and offer fast results.  According to Organic Mushroom Nutrition, “Cordyceps optimizes oxygen uptake and delivery to increase vitality and endurance.”  Cordyceps powder is used as a supplement to increase energy and cardio vascular system.

There are also Cordyceps Tincture Extracts.  This supplement is used for immune support and increased energy.  You can use it directly with drops under the tongue or mixed into a liquid, such as water, warm tea, coffee or smoothies. Dosages are usually 1mL taken 1 – 3 drops, 1 – 3 times per day.

Fermented tea is another Cordyceps product.  The tea is made from powdered Cordyceps.  It is used as an energy supplement to boost stamina and endurance. It is suggested that 3g are taken once a day.

Cordyceps vs. Reishi


The availability of each supplement appears to be the same.  Both can be found in health food stores and directly from the manufacturer.  Cordyceps, however, is usually not purchased in its pure form.  This rare specimen grows only on the backs of certain caterpillars.  This fungus is difficult to collect and therefore, very expensive.  The Reishi Mushroom is much easier to find and grow on the trunks of dead and dying trees.  Because of the availability of Reishi Mushrooms the cost is relatively inexpensive.

Who Has More Products?

The Reishi Mushroom has many more available products than Cordyceps.  There are capsules, powders, elixirs, tinctures and coffee.  Reishi Mushrooms are very bitter in taste and often not used in cooking, but some individuals have discovered ways to mask the bitterness to make the mushroom edible.

Cordyceps products include capsules, powders, tinctures and teas.  Cordyceps is not used in cooking.  Most Cordyceps taken are developed in a laboratory, because the actual fungus is so rare and found only on the Tibetan Plateau.

Which One Provides More Benefits?

Both Cordyceps and Reishi Mushrooms offer several benefits.  Each are used to boost the immune system and increase energy.  Both herbal supplements also fight against aging.  Each are linked to cancer prevention through shrinking cancerous tumors.

Reishi Mushrooms offer protection against influenza, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Cordyceps gives limited protection on only possibly, the liver and kidneys.  Those that suffer with several ailments would consider Reishi Mushrooms to have a wider range of health benefits when compared to Cordyceps.  In fact, most of Cordyceps influences are being tested and not yet in regular use.  Cordyceps, is used to strengthen immunity and there is some use in renal health, but these beneficial effects are limited. 

Which One Produces Milder Side Effects?

The side effects of each fungus are vastly different.  Reishi Mushrooms have less severe reported side effects.  These effects center around possible allergies instead of life-threatening possibilities.  Cordyceps, although safe for most, is reported to have extremely harmful effects on those with Auto-immune diseases.  It also effects blood clotting that could result in very serious threats to those who are undergoing surgery.  Most of the side effects associated with Reishi Mushrooms are minimal when compared to the effects of Cordyceps. 


After researching both Cordyceps and Reishi Mushrooms the popularity is very similar.  The cost is relatively alike too unless you purchase Cordyceps in its pure form.  Then it is very expensive and therefore, purchased less often.  Reishi Mushrooms in their pure form are readily available with the benefit of being grown easily in nature and manufactures.

When examining the uses of each supplement it’s found that the demographics purchasing these items are similar in that those who seek increased energy and boosts to their immune systems can use either product.  People that buy Reishi Mushrooms are those that suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.  People buying Cordyceps include athletes and those looking for physical vitality.  People who are Diabetic or have Auto-immune diseases would be better with Reishi Mushrooms and avoid purchasing Cordyceps.


There are both benefits and side effects when taking either Reishi Mushrooms or Cordyceps.  The multiple aspects researched on both fungi give consumers many things to consider.  It is important to pay close attention to the side effects of both to determine a possible allergic reaction or severe life-threatening conditions.  Choose a Reishi product or a Cordyceps product that will best suit your lifestyle and consider prices that will fit your budget.  Cordyceps vs. Reishi Mushrooms is a comparison worth exploring if you are interested in taking an immune boosting and energy enhancing supplement.  I hope this article on Cordyceps vs. Reishi Mushrooms provides helpful information and we welcome any helpful comments