How does Reishi work?

Red reishi mushroom is one of the most extensively studied herbs in the world. Thanks to over four decades of research and hundreds of clinical studies, research shows that red reishi is an incredibly bioactive natural substance. Its therapeutic benefits are mainly attributed to its polysaccharide and triterpene compounds.

Red reishi contains hundreds of polysaccharides and triterpene compounds. Research has demonstrated that polysaccharides can both amplify and modulate immune responses—thereby supporting and balancing the immune system.

Triterpenes have been shown to have adaptogenic effects that lower blood pressure, promote mood regulation, and ease allergies and inflammation. Various studies have also shown that red reishi supports endocrine function and hormonal balance.


Among red reishi’s most notable and bioactive triterpene compounds are triterpenes. Many of the benefits of the red reishi mushroom are attributed to the variety of oil-soluble compounds, ganoderic, and lucidenic acids it produces. Reishi’s triterpenes have been found to possess anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-histaminic, antioxidant, hypotensive, and sedative properties. (1-2)

Triterpenes also contribute to the bitter taste of red reishi. Only the fruiting body, which includes the cap and stem, contain these bitter triterpenes.

Polysaccharides (Beta-Glucans)

Polysaccharide compounds are present in all medicinal mushrooms. Various studies have shown that polysaccharides (healthy sugars) are capable of enhancing and activating the immune system. (3) Among the most powerful immune agents ever discovered are these complex natural sugars. Approximately 200 polysaccharides are present in red reishi.

Polysaccharides latch onto specific receptor sites in the immune system, which stimulate their healing capabilities and engage the immune response. Red reishi is loaded with beta-glucans, the most common and well-studied polysaccharide.