How Reishi Mushrooms can help with the Back-to-School Transition

As summer fades away each year, it’s time for students of all ages to return to school. However, this transition can be challenging and stressful. Whether you are a student or a parent helping your child, addressing the stress and lack of energy that come with this time of year is crucial. Fortunately, red reishi mushrooms can help the entire family, offering up a host of health benefits to get you through this school season.

Red reishi mushrooms are known as the “mushroom of immortality,” and they have been used for their medicinal properties for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Reishi have been found to contain powerful active compounds that provide a wide range of health benefits for the human body, and they offer specific benefits when it comes to managing the challenges of returning to school.

Managing Stress

Returning to school can be stressful for both students and parents. Stress can manifest in different ways, including depression, poor concentration, anxiety, difficulty with coping, digestive issues, or changes in appetite.

Reishi mushrooms are an excellent choice for managing stress, as they are adaptogenic herbs. This, in part, means they are neither sedatives, nor stimulants, but they can help the body manage a wide range of stressors. Red reishi contains compounds, such as ganoderic acid, that help to regulate and reduce stress while promoting relaxation. Reishi mushrooms increase the production of calming neurochemicals, which leads to a significant reduction in anxiety levels and cognitive disturbances.

And one of its primary uses in TCM has been for calming the nervous system. For centuries, both Buddhist and Daoist monks have used reishi to support their meditation practices. Using reishi mushrooms in a supplement form can effectively reduce stress levels and promote feelings of calmness, making the back-to-school transition much easier.

Improving Sleep

Getting enough sleep is critical for students returning to school. Sufficient restful sleep is essential to concentration, focus, learning new material, and retaining and recalling information quickly. Sleep is also needed to help reduce stress and support the immune system. Because the change from summer routine to a school schedule can lead to sleep disturbances and insomnia, incorporating reishi mushrooms is an effective way to make this transition.

The active compounds in reishi mushrooms will help balance the body’s hormones, leading to better quality sleep. Research has demonstrated that reishi mushroom extracts improve sleep quality by reducing the time needed to fall asleep, increasing the amount of slow-wave sleep, and reducing the frequency of waking up during the night. Using a reishi supplement before bed can lead to a more restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.

Supporting the Immune System

Students often spend long hours in the classroom. This close and enclosed exposure to many others means more potential for contact with viruses and bacteria. Returning to school can expose students to a variety of infections, so ensuring optimal immune system function is paramount.

Reishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans that help to stimulate the immune system to respond when needed, promoting defensive action against harmful pathogens. Beta-glucans are immune system modulators. This means that the immune system will increase white blood cell production when under attack but calm the overly sensitive immune response for those with allergies and autoimmune disorders.

Taking red reishi supplements daily may help reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of colds and flus by supporting a healthy immune response.

Feeling More Energized

While feeling tired or needing caffeine has become a society norm, it’s not normal. Feeling drained and low on energy can make it difficult for students to focus, leading to poor academic performance. If students have been able to sleep in more often during the summer months, then the return to early morning school schedules may exacerbate feelings of fatigue.

Reishi mushrooms are recognized in TCM as Qi tonics. This means they can help boost energy levels, but they are not stimulants and won’t leave you feeling jittery. They do this in part by regulating cortisol, one of the body’s stress hormones. When cortisol levels are too high, it can lead to fatigue, mental fog, and irritability. Additionally, when stress is chronic and cortisol levels remain elevated for too long, you may experience adrenal fatigue.

Reishi mushrooms contain triterpenes, which have been found to support and strengthen the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for producing cortisol and other hormones that regulate energy, mood, and mental clarity. Supporting healthy adrenal gland function with reishi mushroom supplements will help to mitigate fatigue and promote energy.

How to Take Reishi

Reishi mushrooms have a hard, chitinous shell, meaning they are not easily cooked and consumed like some of their fellow mushrooms. Additionally, the triterpene compounds are very bitter in flavour, so capsule supplements are the easiest way to be consistent with daily reishi intake.

Because high-quality reishi is key if you want health benefits that you’ll notice, look for capsules that include the fruiting body (the stem and cap that you would identify as looking like a mushroom). The fruiting body contains the triterpene compounds needed for calming the nervous system, supporting feelings of calm energy, and for helping with the health of the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands.

For adults, Mikei offers an easy one-a-day concentrated dose capsule, but it’s safe to take more than one on days when more than one is needed or as directed by a healthcare provider. Take it with something high in vitamin C for better absorption of reishi’s medicinal compounds.

For kids who can’t swallow capsules, consider opening the reishi capsule and adding a bit of it to their food. Because high-quality fruiting body reishi is very bitter in flavour, chocolate (hot chocolate, chocolate milk, chocolate pudding), smoothies, and shakes make for a good hiding place. I’ve also found it hides well in no-bake protein balls made with dates.

Ultimately, reishi mushrooms are a great addition to any back-to-school routine. From managing stress and improving sleep to supporting the immune system and boosting energy levels, red reishi mushrooms can make the transition back to school much easier. Make the most of your or your kids’ time at school by starting with a solid foundation of health and energy with reishi mushrooms.

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution and Lose Weight with Reishi

New Year’s resolutions have a bad reputation for being tough to keep, and weight loss is one of the most common (and high failure) resolutions. So, if you’re already feeling disappointed in your attempts to start to lose weight this year, don’t let that discourage you because we’re here to keep you motivated and on track to accomplish your weight-loss goals this year.

Why is excess weight hard to lose?

There are many reasons why loss of excess weight can be so difficult. Like most health issues, there can be a combination of nature (genetics) and nurture (lifestyle) issues contributing to health challenges. Some of the more common medical reasons for weight gain include insulin resistance (poor blood sugar metabolism) and diabetes, dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria) and other digestive disorders, hypothyroidism, depression, and hormonal imbalance and menopause.

Further to that, chronic stress can cause too much cortisol production. Made by the adrenal glands, cortisol is a steroid hormone that can increase appetite and the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, causing weight gain, particularly around the middle. Insufficient sleep time, including that caused by simply not allotting enough time for rest, insomnia, and sleep apnea can also contribute to weight gain.

Reishi can support healthy weight loss

Wild mushrooms called “lingzhi” in China and “reishi” in Japan are found growing on dead trees in forests throughout the world. But herbologists have been cultivating this incredible mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) for over 2000 years because of its medicinal properties. Used to treat everything from asthma to heart palpitations, this mushroom has also been found to have anti-diabetic compounds.

In a study published by MDPI, a publisher of peer-reviewed open access journals, a team of researchers found that extracts from reishi mushroom can reduce obesity in mice. Mice fed a diet that included Ganoderma lucidum were found to have a better ability to metabolize glucose, had less accumulation of fat in the liver, and had smaller fat cells, all of which resulted in weight loss.

Another group of researchers investigated reishi’s ability to help with preventing obesity associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and imbalance in the gut bacteria. They found that a water extract of reishi mushroom helped reduce body weight, inflammation, and insulin-resistance. At least part of the reason was that reishi helped restore the gut’s microbiome—a healthy foundation of good bacteria in the digestive system.

Because chronic stress and sleep disorders can also contribute to weight gain and make it harder to lose excess weight, anything that can help manage these issues can assist with reaching a healthy weight. Reishi is most recognized for its adaptogenic properties, helping the body to better deal with stressors, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is classified as an herb that helps to calm the mind.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get healthier, in addition to watching what you eat, exercising regularly, and sleeping soundly, supplementing with reishi mushroom can help reach your health goals for 2022 and beyond.

Will Reishi Keep Me Awake?

Who doesn’t want a great night’s sleep? We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, and that is what keeps us healthy throughout the day! On average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per day. This is the time during which important processes happen, including detoxification, tissue repair, new cell production, and healthy cognitive processing.

Missing restorative sleep can result in more susceptibility to infection, poorer recovery from injury, and increased risk of illness and disease. It can also mean that we make more mistakes, perform worse at our work, and respond badly to challenging situations and people. We all know how much more difficult it is to take the high ground when we are exhausted.

With busy schedules and endless to-do lists, it is harder than ever to truly recharge your batteries. Despite your best intentions, you might end up staying up later than anticipated. Worse yet, you lie there wide-eyed, unable to sleep despite the fact that you are exhausted. “Tired but wired” seems ever more common.

Our bodies need sleep to work properly. So, if you have heard that mushrooms can improve your energy but worry that they might interfere with your sleep pattern, fret not. Mushroom supplements have played a critical role in the support of natural sleep cycles for centuries. Truth be told, medicinal mushrooms have a long list of benefits, including increased energy, longer life, and improved immune function.

Read on to learn why reishi is the perfect nighttime elixir to help you sleep like a baby and bring balancing energy to your mind and body.

Nature’s answer to a better night’s sleep

While many of us think that a substance can either be stimulating or sedating, but not both, welcome to the world of adaptogens. Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body find homeostasis, a self-regulating process that maintains internal conditions necessary for survival.

Reishi mushrooms can help provide of a feeling of energy during your waking hours, while their active compounds can assist in sleep when it’s bedtime, helping you recharge and rejuvenate and be better prepared for another full day. Unlike prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills or even some natural sleep remedies, reishi mushrooms won’t cause you to feel drowsy the next day.

For hundreds of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has classified reishi mushrooms—called “ling zhi”—under the category of “calm the mind” herbs. Though the stressors of centuries or even decades ago may be quite different than today, we are wired for survival and have always had to deal with stresses, whether from illness and disease or worries about potential issues in the days to come. In TCM, it is the fruiting body (stem and cap) that is used to soothe the nervous system, creating a feeling of calm. It’s thus important to make sure that you choose a reishi supplement that includes the fruiting body and not just the mycelium. The medicinal mushroom compounds will not only improve tranquility, but also support healthy liver, heart, and kidney function, helping you deal with the body’s physical stresses, providing a better night’s sleep.

Modern day research has found the reishi mushroom to have promising results as a sedative. In an animal study, supplementation with reishi demonstrated that the mushroom increased the duration of sleep in rats.

How to use reishi mushrooms for optimal sleep

In TCM, herbal formulas are generally prescribed by someone skilled in assessing an individual’s constitution and current health situation. A variety of chosen herbs are mixed together and taken for a specified duration of time. It is rare that individual herbs are recommended.

Reishi mushroom is unique in this regard. Because of its adaptogenic properties, safety, and wide range of applications, it may be recommended to take on its own. If you suffer with insomnia, or simply want to enhance your sleep routine, reishi mushroom supplements should be taken every evening before bedtime. As a mushroom with sleep-enhancing properties, it can help you maintain your natural biorhythm. You will fall into a deeper sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Simply add the reishi mushroom supplement to your favourite drink or recipe or consume it in capsule form.

How Reishi can Help with Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints that patients don’t tell their doctors about. Many think that it’s just “a sign of aging” or “part of living in the modern world.” Others reason that there’s nothing their doctors can do about it anyway, perhaps because it’s been dismissed in the past. But fatigue can have real and sometimes serious negative impacts on your life.

A symptom of many ailments, fatigue can also cause its own cascade of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, including compromised immune function, slowed healing, headaches, dizziness, poor judgement and mental functioning, slow reaction time, body pain, irritability, depression, and susceptibility to a wide range of diseases.

If you’re tired of being tired, read on to learn more about how to manage and reduce fatigue using Japanese red reishi mushrooms, also known as the “mushroom of immortality.”

Not enough sleep

When patients tell me they are often tired, the most sensible questions for me to ask first are about their sleep.

  • How many hours of sleep are you getting daily, on average?
  • Do you have problems falling asleep? What about staying asleep?
  • Do you have a regular sleep schedule?
  • Do you wake up still tired?

Though we’ve all been there with an occasional sleepless night, tossing and turning in bed, prolonged insomnia and chronic tiredness can have a negative impact on your health and your wellbeing, including making you a dangerous driver, apt to emotional outbursts, and prone to self-isolation.

If you have insomnia, check out these things you can do to help you get better sleep: “Why Aren’t You Sleeping?” In addition to working on sleep hygiene, Japanese red reishi mushrooms have been shown to help calm and relax the mind enough to promote a restful sleep.

If you are falling to prey late nights (into early morning) of internet browsing, YouTube trance-inducing video watching, and “next episode” tv streaming, it’s time to break those habits that are preventing you from getting enough sleep and being your best self.

Other causes of fatigue

Even if you are clocking in enough bedtime hours, sleep apnea, shiftwork, and excessive alcohol consumption can all affect the restorative quality of your sleep.

Apart from sleep issues, other causes of fatigue include anemia, poor diet, digestive malabsorption issues, hypothyroidism, diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, pain, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, autoimmune disease, allergies, concussion, obesity, infection, stress, and even the medications that are used to treat some of these health issues.

The causes of fatigue are diverse and are often triggered by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological, and general wellbeing issues. While you source out the reason for your fatigue, here are some steps you can take to improve your energy.

  • Do your best to get enough restful, restorative sleep.
  • Limit your intake of sugar, alcohol and other intoxicants, caffeine, and processed foods.
  • Choose a variety of healthful, nutrient-rich foods.
  • Hydrate well.
  • Manage your stress with breathwork, meditation, time with loved ones, creative activities, or nature walks.
  • Include daily movement. I know you’re tired, but the right amount of exercise can actually improve your energy.

Treating fatigue with Japanese reishi mushrooms

Known as ling zhi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Japanese reishi has been used for centuries to boost health and wellbeing. This incredible herb has been shown to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, and treat insomnia.

Reishi mushrooms also support the immune system that would otherwise take a beating when you don’t get enough quality sleep.

Additionally, as a Qi and Blood* tonic with a reported action of “nourishing the Heart* and calming the spirit,” reishi mushroom can support energy, digestion, and respiration. It offers a non-stimulant way to feel more energized, so it can be taken at the start or end of your waking day.

Tired of being tired? With the fatigue-fighting benefits of Japanese red reishi mushrooms, you have a tool to help manage your stress, curb insomnia, and have more energy.

*Traditional Chinese Medicine defines organs as a whole system with a multitude of connections, not just a single physical organ.

Coping With the Daylight Saving Time

Like it or not, autumn is here. While it’s only an hour difference, the switch out of Daylight Saving Time can disrupt your daily routine and alter your body clock, affecting your mood, energy, and sleep patterns.

It’s particularly difficult for those who already have sleep issues, and for those with children or animals that don’t understand the change of time. And if you are not getting enough proper sleep, you can put your memory, productivity, emotional stability, and physical health at risk.

While there is much talk in some regions about doing away with Daylight Saving Time changes, for many of us, we still have to do this for at least another year.

Fortunately, there are some sleep-better tips you can do to ease yourself back to the fall time jump.

​Start preparing early

Believe it or not, even just one hour can wreak havoc on your sleep pattern if you are not prepared for it. Attempting to acclimate to the fall time change all at once can be tough for many people. A more effective plan? Ease into the fall time schedule by staying up a little later and getting up a bit later too for a few days prior to the new time change.

If you have young children, you may want to start this routine even a bit earlier, with gradual adjustments to the bedtime and waketime routine.

​Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Stimulants like alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your body’s internal clock, especially when you’re are trying to adjust to the time change. Caffeine can stay in your system for a long time, so stop with the caffeine at least four to six hours before you plan to wind down for bed. While you may think that alcohol can help you sleep, the truth is, that it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, resulting in a less restful and restorative sleep.

Instead, drink an herbal tea like chamomile. It will not only help you unwind after a long day, but also help you get a good night’s sleep.

​Get some exercise

The fall time change means earlier morning sun. So, why not make the most of it with some exercise? Getting the body moving early in the day causes your brain to release serotonin, a feel-good hormone that can help your body better adjust to the time change.

​Use Japanese reishi mushrooms

Known as ling zhi in Traditional Chinese Medicine (or “divine mushroom” for the English speakers), Japanese reishi mushrooms have been used for centuries as a super sleep aid. This incredible herb has been shown to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, and treat insomnia.

Though it sounds paradoxical, reishi can help you both relax enough to sink into a restful sleep and support your energy through the daytime. It is neither a sedative nor a stimulant.

And, it’s not just seasonal Daylight Saving Time changes that this can help. The same benefits apply for shift workers and time-zone-changing travelers.

Japanese reishi mushrooms also boost the immune system, helping you stay healthy when time changes can throw your body’s internal clock for a loop. Don’t let the fall time change get the better of you this year. With reishi to the rescue, you will be fully prepared for this annual autumn switch in time.