Reishi Mushrooms for Brain Health, Memory and Focus

Last Updated on March 24, 2023

Mushrooms are not only a great source of protein, but they’re also packed with nutrients that can promote brain health. One type of mushroom that has particularly powerful brain-boosting benefits is the Reishi mushroom.

There are many benefits to maintaining a healthy brain. These include improved mental health, increased cognitive abilities, and a decreased risk of developing dementia and other age-related cognitive decline.

Poor brain health is associated with a number of risks. These include an increased risk of developing dementia, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Poor brain health is also associated with an increased risk of developing physical health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 55 million people live with dementia all over the globe. Even worse, this number is expected to rise to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050.
Likewise, depression is also fairly common globally, with an estimated 3.8% of the population affected, including 5.0% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years.

According to large population-based surveys, up to 33.7% of the population is affected by an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.

reishi mushroom

Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to improve memory and cognitive function. Recent studies found that reishi mushrooms may help to improve brain function, and improve memory and focus. The active compound in reishi mushrooms, called ganoderic acid, helps to protect neurons and improve blood flow to the brain. This helps to improve cognitive function and memory.

The benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for brain health

Anti- Depressant effects

Ganoderma lucidum mushroom seems to be able to improve depressive symptoms, based on the results of this 2017 research from Karachi, Pakistan.

The ethanol extract of Reishi mushroom was given orally to mice at a dose of 20 mg/kg, 75 mg/kg, and 130 mg/kg body weight. The effects of the mushroom were compared to the anti-depressant fluoxetine (at a dose of 20mg/kg). The mice were subjected to a forced swimming test and several parameters were assessed. The study concluded that Reishi mushroom extract has anti-depressant activity in mice.

In another similar study performed on animals, the anti-depressant effect of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides was evaluated. Researchers found that an injection of the mushroom polysaccharides led to a robust and rapid antidepressant effect after 60 min. What’s more, this antidepressant effect remained after 5 days of treatment. This study identified Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides as a new and rapid antidepressant with clinical potential.

brain health

Anxiolytic properties

Triterpenoids isolated from Reishi mushrooms were found to improve separation anxiety and depression-like behavior in mice, according to a study published in 2022.  Male and female pups were separated from their mothers for four hours per day for 21 days. The extracts of the mushroom were injected inside the belly once daily for three weeks.

Results showed that the anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in both male and female mice, triggered by maternal separation, disappeared after the treatment with Ganoderma mushroom. Researchers suggest that triterpenoids in Reishi can be a promising candidate for treating psychiatric disorders induced by early life stress.

May delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The role of alcohol extracts from Reishi mushroom in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease was evaluated in a 2019 study. Age-related changes in methylation are responsible for the occurrence and development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and researchers explored how modulating this may be an effective strategy to delay the progression of the disease.

Results showed that Reishi extracts could improve learning and memory function as well as ameliorate brain atrophy, a key feature of Alzheimer’s. The study concluded that alcohol extracts from Reishi, including lucidone A and ganoderic acid, are the main extracts involved in delaying AD progression.

The benefits of Reishi mushrooms on focus, memory and cognitive function

A study from Delhi, India aimed to investigate the memory-enhancing potential of aqueous extract of Ganoderma lucidum. Rats with deranged memory, brain damage, and swelling were given Reishi mushroom, which resulted in the prevention of these changes. Notably, the mushroom extract also improved levels of neurotransmitters like catecholamines, serotonin, and glutamate. Researchers concluded that Reishi mushroom extract plays a protective role in memory impairment.

In another study, hot water extract of Reishi mushroom at a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight was fed to rats with Alzheimer’s disease. The memory and learning abilities of the animals were assessed using specific tests. 

The rats fed with Ganoderma showed improvements in memory and learning abilities. Reishi mushroom may have aided in restoring the memory and learning abilities of rats with Alzheimer’s by maintaining the structure and function of nerve cells.

Is Reishi mushroom a nootropic supplement?

Nootropics are a class of cognitive-enhancing drugs that are used to improve memory, focus, and attention. Many nootropics have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, which makes them beneficial for brain health.

While Reishi mushrooms are not technically classified as a nootropic, the active ingredient Ganoderic acid can help protect neurons and improve blood flow to the brain, which can result in improvement in cognitive function and memory. Because of this they are often considered to have brain-boosting benefits.

Who are the best producers of Reishi supplements for brain health?

If choosing to improve cognitive function with Reishi supplements, its important to choose a high quality supplement. Our team of fungi enthusiasts and experts specialising in mycology, agronomy, environmental science, neuroscience, molecular biology, and general health have studied the medicinal market and identified the highest quality Reishi supplements available in different countries.

For our Aussie readers, please read our guide on the highest quality Reishi powders on the Australian market.

For our readers in the States, check out our guide on the highest quality Reishi supplements in the United States

For our readers in Canada, check out our guide on the highest quality Reishi supplements in Canada.


If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your brain health and cognitive function, you may consider adding reishi mushrooms to your holistic health program – in conjunction with proper exercise, movement and nutrition.. You can find reishi mushroom supplements  in most health food stores or online.

Please consult with your doctor before aiming to treat any serious illnesses with Reishi mushrooms. 

You may also be interested in reading about: Reishi Mushrooms and sleep


  • Dr. Sony Sherpa has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the Guangzhou Medical University and has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine and contributes to many health articles around the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms.

World Mushroom Society is a collective of fungi enthusiasts and health advocates, sharing information, research, studies, and identifying top producers of high quality medicinal mushroom supplements.


The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information found here is not meant as a substitute for, or alternative to, information from your doctor for ongoing medical treatment you currently receive. If unsure, please consult with your doctor before using medicinal mushrooms. Any content related to cancer should not be considered as prescriptive medical advice and should not be a substitute for any cancer treatment, unless advised by your doctor first. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by TGA and FDA-approved research. If you are pregnant or on prescription drugs that thin the blood, consult with your medical professional before using medicinal mushrooms.
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