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Quality of Reishi Products- Do You Know What You Are Buying?

Many choices of reishi

In our market driven society, we are constantly faced with many options. This is a good thing in general, but the dilemma is to make the right decision. Unless you read and understand the fine prints, it may be difficult to remain objective among the marketing hypes. As far as reishi is concerned, its quality is determined by its purity as an end product. What is exactly in the brown powder capsule? If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, should you avoid it completely?

Our team spent some time surveying some of the most “visible brands” of reishi on the market and we are sharing the results of our research in layman’s terms.

Reishi Product #1: This reishi product shows up very often when you google “reishi” and the brand includes many other excipients. Ingredients:

  • Mycelium Reishi

  • Brown Rice

  • Pullulan

Mycelium Reishi by definition, the mycelium of reishi is essentially its root system that looks like a cobweb similar to any plants you find in nature. Most products based on Mycelium are not grown on wood logs

Mycelium growing in flask

but rather in laboratory flasks using a different species of Ganoderma. Because of the artificial environment, this plant could not grow to a full mature fruit body form. Instead, the mycelia will grow similar to a germinating seed and then cultivated. The mycelium has not proven to possess the equivalent nutrients of the fruit body of a fully grown red reishi. The main driver for such approach is the inability to properly grow Ganoderma Lucidum in most parts of the world for commercial purposes. Growing traditional red reishi is expensive and takes a long time. The average time from germination to full grown reishi takes 9 months to a year.

Whenever you see mycelium type reishi, you will probably find brown rice or “grain” along with it. This is because the mycelium is grown in brown rice so the end result is essentially a brown rice product with some traces of Ganoderma mycelium. They are usually freeze dried and ground into powder which make them very affordable but extremely low potency..

Pullulan is a film former and binder popular in the production of breath strips, but it also appears as an ingredient in cosmetics and beauty products because of its solubility in water, and adhesive properties. It is an excipient used in the production of some reishi products to bind the powder for ease of manufacturing.

If you choose a mycelium based reishi, you are essentially buying an expensive brown rice or grains byproduct with very limited benefits.

Reishi Product #2: There are many reishi products based on a so called “Full Spectrum”. If you google it, there isn’t much valuable information on full spectrum reishi. Rather, you find many reishi products claiming to be full spectrum. If you google images of full spectrum reishi, you actually don’t even find an image directly related to a full spectrum reishi.

Mycelium growing in a solution

Simply put, if you compare red reishi to an apple, the fruit body of the reishi is the apple itself. Full spectrum is the whole ecosystem of where the apple became an apple. In other words, the apple tree, its roots, the soil around it, barks, branches and its leaves. All of these makes Full Spectrum apples, instead of just… apples. By the time the end product is encapsulated, the amount of the apple fruit itself is insignificant. Full spectrum reishi, also known as biomass reishi, is grown in laboratory under artificially managed environment very similar to mycelium based reishi. The type of the Ganoderma used is a special specie that can only grow in this type of environment.

You choose a full spectrum reishi if you are convinced the peripheral elements (the tree, branches, roots, soil, barks and leaves as in the case of apples) are more beneficial than the apple itself.

Reishi Product #3: The main ingredient found in this reishi product is called Ophiocordyceps Sinensis, which is a caterpillar fungus. Not sure why the vendor call its product reishi. Enough said.

Reishi Product #4: Excipients galore. We usually find 1 or 2 excipients in a reishi product: However, this one has:

  • L-leucine

  • Starch

  • Rice

  • Star anise

  • Peppermint extract

  • Licorice root extract

  • Stevia Extract

The Starch and Rice is an indication of a mycelium or Full Spectrum product. The other questionable fillers seem to pair well with some type of cake mix product. Not sure what effects they have on a Reishi Product.

Reishi Product #5: The “can’t” promounced word is finally on this #5 reishi product

  • Carrageenan

  • Potassium chloride – is a binding agent

  • Millet – is a Starch used primarily for mycelium and Full Spectrum based reishi.

Per Wikipedia, Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Their main application is in dairy and meat products, due to their strong binding to food proteins. Although used on many food products for many years, it recently gathered a lot of attention to its potential negative health effect.

Reishi Product #6: Well known brand with quite a few pharmaceutical strength excipients

  • Microcrystalline cellulose – wood pulp used as anti-caking agent

  • Magnesium stearate – a type of acid with lubricating properties.

  • Silica – a type of sand or quartz.

Many of these additives are used to maximize the manufacturing process, but they are just not appealing. This really defies the purpose of claiming the product to be organic. An additive free manufacturing will cost more due to the waste of the raw reishi material from the more complex encapsulating and bottling process.

Takeaways: When choosing a quality reishi product, it is important to pay attention to the details and bypass the marketing hypes. There are a few areas worth considering.

  1. Excipients: many times, these fillers will occupy a substantial portion of the final product. A 500mg. capsule may only have 60% or less of the beneficial reishi content. No excipient is best.

  2. The base reishi content: choose the apple, the apple tree roots, or the ecosystem that constitutes the growth of the apple. For centuries, fruit bodies of reishi have proven to be the most beneficial part of the plant. Hot water extraction still remains the best method to extract the key nutrients.

  3. Total % beta glucans Polysaccharides: this will determine its core concentration and a major factor for the quality of the product.

Full grown mature reishi fruit body

Reishi Essence doesn’t believe in cutting corners. Pro Formula and Ganoprime Reishi offer 100% hot water extracted reishi with NO fillers, excipients or additives. It may cost more for us to manufacture them, but quality is our number 1 goal.

Additionally, we only use mature red reishi fruit body in our products. It takes more time to grow them but we believe the end product will be much more authentic, potent and beneficial to your health.

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