Reishi Mushroom for Anxiety | Does It Provide Relief?

Reishi Mushroom for Anxiety | Does It Provide Relief?

Stress, a plague of the modern world. With so many demands on our time these days, from working to raising children, caring for parents and seniors, to keeping up with a deluge of global information from myriad media sources, combined with our disconnection from our natural circadian rhythms thanks to electric power (it is early in the morning, it is dark outside, and my children are asleep as I type this, so I know what I am talking about firsthand!). But should you use reishi mushroom for anxiety?

Stress, at its most basic, is an outside influence causing reaction inside of us, whether it is physically, mentally, or emotionally, in order to maintain balance. Stress is usually thought of as a negative state, but it can be a positive one too! Planning a wedding or surprise birthday party for your loved one involves a certain amount of stress, which is usually more of a thrill than it is of debilitation.

Reishi Mushroom for Anxiety and Stress

The class of herbs that may support our ability to grow stronger under pressure are adaptogens, so called because they help us to adapt. One shining star which stands out in this category is red reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum “derma lucidum” refers to their glossy skin). Reishi has health benefits that are broad-ranging in effects, in addition to supporting our stress response.

Reishi seems also to be working on the HPA, improving the functioning of the adrenals themselves. This makes Reishi a wonderful herb to choose to help quiet the mind, reduce anxiety, promote sleep, ground and center us, and cultivate greater resistance to stress over time.

It is an antimicrobial for viruses, bacteria, and other fungi like candida. It is anti-inflammatory and supports the immune system, and it also promotes heart, liver, and kidney health. But reishi is focused on its ability to improve our ability to deal with life’s curve balls for this discussion.

Exercise stresses our muscles, joints, and cardiovascular systems to make us stronger, more flexible, and more durable. Most people are familiar with the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder, but there is also a lesser-known phenomenon called post-traumatic growth, wherein major stress (war, terrorism, imprisonment) is a catalyst for positive changes.

If we can recognize that stress is always going to be present, sometimes mild, sometimes disastrous, sometimes negative, sometimes positive, sometimes real, sometimes perceived, sometimes voluntary, and sometimes external, the physical and mental health strategy then becomes supporting our capacity to react to stress in our systems, so we are stronger and resilient in advance of the next event. The stress from physical activity becomes a positive when we give our bodies time to recover before we repeat an activity, while bad coaching may result in injuries rather than strength. Similarly, the goal is to help ourselves to gain the benefits from mental and emotional stress instead of being knocked down by it.

Adrenal Benefits and Support

Stress is perceived by the nervous system, and a signal is sent to the command centre of the brain (the hypothalamus), which, in turn, sends the message to the adrenal glands, stimulating release of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine (a.k.a. The targets of stress response modulation, thus, involve both the nervous system as well as the HPA, or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Helps Alleviate Insomnia

Reishi covers the bases on everything. It is a nerve tonic that relieves alarm signals from reaching your brain. In particular, reishi may relieve insomnia, especially if sleep problems stem from a busy mind that refuses to shut down. The same mind-agitation that impedes sleep at night causes anxiety in the wake hours, making reishi useful all day long.

But is it Safe?

This wonderful mushroom is considered quite safe.

Since reishi may enhance glucose levels and lower blood pressure, possible medication interactions are present with diabetes medications and/or with antihypertensive medications. There can be a dose-dependent effect of reishi on platelets, with lower doses (1.5g/d) having no effects on platelets, whereas higher doses (3g/d) can have an effect on platelets and coagulation.

It is always recommended that you discuss medications and supplements with a knowledgeable healthcare provider. Obviously, known allergies to mushrooms will make Reishi a poor choice, and there is some evidence that the Reishi spores can trigger skin sensitivities or respiratory allergies. Tinctures and capsules are both common methods of administration, and appropriate dosing would depend on how it is produced, how strong the end product is, and how much an individual needs.

One of the trickiest elements in treating someone who is under great stress, so much so they are suffering anxiety or sleep issues, or someone who has been enduring long-term stress and is now struggling with fatigue or “burnout,” is that adding a regimen of pills or supplements to their already-full plate can make things worse! Reishi powder is now appearing in drinks such as reishi coffee, reishi tea, and hot chocolate so that people can take one or two doses without changing too much about their existing routine.

So, whether you are feeling beaten down by life circumstances and need some help climbing out of the gutter, or heading into a new exciting phase in life and want to be at peak performance so that you are taking advantage of every opportunity to the fullest, or are in between and simply want to feel more relaxed and stress-free in general, reishi mushrooms are an awesome option! Not only does it help you to thrive instead of merely survive, it also boosts a lot of aspects of your mental and physical health simultaneously.

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

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