Six Remarkable Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders are a group of chronic conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own healthy cells and tissues. These disorders can cause a wide range of symptoms and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. In Canada, May is awareness month for a number of these diseases, including ankylosing spondylitis, Celiac disease, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. World Spodyloarthritis Day is May 4, World Lupus Day is May 10, World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day is May 19, and World Multiple Sclerosis Day is May 30th.

In addition to pharmaceuticals, dietary changes, or therapeutic treatments, one natural remedy gaining popularity to help balance the immune system’s response is reishi mushrooms. In this article, we will delve into the remarkable benefits of reishi mushrooms for autoimmune disorders.

  1. Immune System Regulation
    The immune system plays a vital role in defending the body against harmful invaders. In the case of autoimmune disorders, however, the immune system turns against the body’s own cells. While some people already recognize that reishi mushrooms help boost immune function, their bioactive compounds also help calm and regulate the immune system’s response. These polysaccharides and other compounds have immunomodulatory effects, meaning they can tone down an overactive immune response. By restoring balance to the immune system, reishi mushrooms may help reduce the severity of autoimmune symptoms.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
    In many autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammation is a significant contributor to the progression of the disease and its associated symptoms. Reishi mushrooms are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They contain compounds known as triterpenoids, ganoderic acids in particular, as well as polysaccharides that can inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules in the body. By reducing inflammation, reishi mushrooms may alleviate symptoms and slow down the disease’s progression.
  3. Immune Cell Activation
    While those with an autoimmune disease must be careful about taking things that stimulate the immune system, those same people, especially when taking immunosuppressants, are left immunocompromised and more susceptible to getting sick. Because herbs like reishi are immunomodulators, regulating the immune response rather than simply boosting or suppressing, they may be suitable options. Of course, because every person’s case if specific, it’s important to discuss this with a qualified health professional.
  4. Antioxidant Powerhouse
    Oxidative stress, characterized by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, is a common feature of autoimmune disorders. This oxidative stress can lead to cellular damage and worsen the disease’s progression. Reishi mushrooms contain potent antioxidants, such as triterpenes and polyphenols, which help neutralize free radicals and protect cells from damage. By reducing oxidative stress, reishi mushrooms may play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of autoimmune disorders.
  5. Stress Management and Mental Wellbeing
    Living with an autoimmune disorder can be incredibly stressful, both physically and mentally. Stress can worsen symptoms and contribute to disease flares. Reishi mushrooms have adaptogenic properties, meaning they can help the body adapt to stressors, thus promoting overall wellbeing. Research suggests that reishi mushrooms can reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and calm the mind, and it’s partially for this reason that reishi has long been revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). By managing stress levels and supporting mental health, reishi mushrooms can indirectly contribute to better management of autoimmune disorders.
  6. Potential Anti-Cancer Effects
    Autoimmune disorders are known to increase the risk of certain types of cancer. While more research is needed in the context of autoimmune disorders specifically, reishi mushrooms have been found to inhibit tumour growth, activate immune cells against cancer cells, and enhance the body’s natural defense mechanisms. These properties make reishi mushrooms a valuable addition to the treatment of autoimmune disorders, potentially addressing both the autoimmune components and the associated cancer risks.

The Bottom Line

Reishi mushrooms hold remarkable benefits for individuals with autoimmune disorders. From immune system regulation and anti-inflammatory effects to immune cell activation, antioxidant properties, stress reduction, and potential anti-cancer effects, reishi mushrooms offer a multifaceted approach to managing these complex conditions. It is important to note, however, that reishi mushrooms should not replace medical treatments recommended by healthcare professionals and that patients should let their healthcare providers know about all the supplements or remedies they are taking.

With ongoing research exploring the benefits of reishi mushrooms, there is much optimism that these natural remedies will continue to provide relief and improve the lives of those suffering from autoimmune disorders. Incorporating reishi mushrooms into a comprehensive wellness approach may offer individuals new possibilities for managing their condition and enhancing their overall wellbeing.

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Eri Mayuzumi and the Power of Giving Back

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements and contributions of women to society. It is a day to honour and appreciate women’s accomplishments and the ongoing fight for equality.

This year, we have an inspiring story to share, showcasing the remarkable work of Eri Mayuzumi, a third-generation reishi mushroom grower from Japan. Alongside her family’s legacy as cultivators of high-quality reishi, Eri dedicates her time to giving back to nature and supporting sustainable initiatives. Her work exemplifies the power of women in making positive change in the world.

Reishi Mushroom Legacy

Eri Mayuzumi’s family has a long and rich history as reishi mushroom growers, dating back to the 1930s. Reishi mushrooms—also known as Ganoderma lucidum (Latin), mannentake (Japanese), and ling zhi (Chinese)—have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their many health benefits.

Since childhood, Eri’s life revolved around reishi, and she passionately continues her family’s legacy, relying on natural wood-log cultivation to produce high-quality, safe, and reliable reishi products. With her expertise and dedication, Eri ensures that her family’s knowledge and the healing properties of reishi are shared with the world.

Giving Back to Nature

Aside from her family’s work with reishi, Eri Mayuzumi has a deep appreciation for the natural world and understands the importance of nurturing and protecting the environment. She believes in giving back to nature for providing the means for reishi to grow. Eri has actively involved herself in initiatives that support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations Member States. These goals include protecting, restoring, and promoting the sustainable use of ecosystems.

Volunteering for a Sustainable Future

As part of her commitment to the SDGs, Eri Mayuzumi volunteers her time in various initiatives that focus on environmental preservation. Alongside her daughter, Miki, Eri actively contributes to local groups in Gunma Prefecture in Japan. One of their key efforts involves cleaning the forest river, which not only helps maintain the ecosystem’s balance but also ensures the safety and well-being of wildlife.

Their work in protecting wildlife is an essential part of Eri’s vision for a sustainable future. By involving her daughter in these initiatives, she passes on her values and knowledge to the next generation, instilling a sense of responsibility and love for the environment.

Eri Mayuzumi’s story is a testament to the impact women continue to make in their communities and the world. Through her family’s reishi mushroom legacy and her dedication to giving back to nature, she exemplifies the values and spirit of International Women’s Day. Eri’s work as a grower and as an advocate for sustainability showcases the importance of preserving traditional knowledge and protecting our natural resources.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s honour the achievements of women like Eri and continue to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Reishi Mushrooms: Nurturing the Physical and Emotional Heart

Our heart, both physically and emotionally, plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing. It is not just the organ responsible for pumping blood but is also the centre of our emotions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the TCM Heart is king.

Taking care of our hearts is crucial, and one natural remedy with a long history that has gained popularity in recent years is reishi mushroom. Read on to learn how red reishi mushrooms, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, have been treasured in traditional can help nurture both the physical and emotional heart.

Physical Heart: Promoting Cardiovascular Health

One of the key benefits of red reishi mushrooms is their potential to support cardiovascular health. Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle is essential if you want to live a long and healthy life. Reishi mushrooms contain bioactive compounds called triterpenes, which have shown promising effects in reducing cholesterol levels and maintaining healthy blood pressure. High cholesterol and elevated blood pressure are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. Incorporating reishi mushrooms into your diet, whether through supplements or as an ingredient in food and beverages, may help in maintaining a healthy heart.

In addition to their cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure-controlling properties, reishi mushrooms also possess anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation in the body can contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Research has indicated that consuming reishi mushrooms may help reduce inflammation markers, ultimately protecting the heart from damage.

Oxidative stress is another factor that can negatively impact cardiovascular health. Reishi mushrooms contain antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and protect our cells from oxidative damage. By reducing oxidative stress, reishi mushrooms can contribute to a healthier heart.

Emotional Heart: Enhancing Emotional Well-being

While the concept of an emotional heart may seem abstract, it refers to our mental and emotional wellbeing. Our emotions can have a significant impact on our overall health, and finding ways to nourish our emotional heart is essential. Reishi mushrooms have adaptogenic properties, which means they can help restore balance and reduce stress in the body. Chronic stress can lead to various physical and mental health issues, including cardiovascular problems. By incorporating reishi mushrooms into your daily routine, you may experience reduced stress levels and improved overall emotional well-being.

Reishi mushrooms also stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in regulating mood and promoting feelings of happiness. Low serotonin levels are associated with conditions such as depression and anxiety. By naturally increasing serotonin levels, reishi mushrooms can potentially alleviate symptoms of these mental health disorders.

What’s more, reishi mushrooms are often referred to as “holy spirit mushrooms” in TCM due to their impact on the mind and spirit. They are believed to have a calming effect and promote tranquillity, aiding in relaxation and promoting a sense of inner peace. By helping to cultivate a calm and serene emotional state, reishi mushrooms can help individuals navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.

Incorporating Reishi Mushrooms into Your Lifestyle

Now that we understand the potential benefits of reishi mushrooms for both the physical and emotional heart, let’s discuss how to incorporate them into your daily routine. The heart-healthy and calming compounds of reishi mushrooms taste bitter, so they aren’t the most delicious mushrooms to consume as food. That’s why it’s easiest to get their benefits by taking supplements. If you do opt to open a capsule to consume them in food, they mix best with foods that are already bitter tasting, like hot chocolate.

When choosing reishi mushroom products, it is important to ensure they are sourced from reputable suppliers and cultivated under suitable conditions. It’s also important to make sure that you’re getting the fruiting body (the stem and cap), not just the mycelium (root-like structure), as that’s where the triterpene compounds are found.

Reishi mushrooms offer a natural and holistic approach to nurturing both the physical and emotional heart. With their potential to support cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and combat oxidative stress, they can contribute to a healthier heart. Additionally, their adaptogenic properties and ability to enhance emotional wellbeing make them a valuable ally in promoting a balanced and serene mind. By incorporating reishi mushrooms into your lifestyle, you can take proactive steps towards nourishing your heart. What a perfect Valentine’s gift for yourself or someone you care about!

Reishi Mushrooms—Nature’s Secret to Achieving Your 2024 Health Goals

With the start of the new year, you may be among the many who have decided to prioritize your health and well being. Whether it’s boosting your immune system, reducing stress, getting better sleep, or losing excess weight, perhaps you’re looking for natural solutions to help you achieve your goals. One such solution that is gaining popularity is reishi mushrooms.

Reishi mushrooms, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, have been treasured in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. Once reserved for royalty, they are known as the “mushroom of immortality” due to their myriad of health benefits. Let’s explore how incorporating reishi mushrooms into your routine can help you achieve your New Year’s health goals.

Supporting Natural Immunity

With cold and flu season in full swing, it is essential to have a robust immune system. Reishi mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides and beta-glucans which have powerful immune-boosting properties. Consuming reishi mushrooms can help enhance the activity of white blood cells and strengthen the immune system, thus reducing the risk of infections.

At the same time, while we might be feeling the full effects of winter, spring really isn’t that far away. And that means allergy season. Working on balancing your immune response with what are called immunomodulators can help save you from constantly having to say, “It’s just allergies” every time you sneeze, sniffle, or cough your way through hayfever season. Reishi mushrooms are—you guessed it—immunomodulators, so starting them now and keeping them going is a good plan whether you’re fighting infections or calming an overreactive immune system.

Reducing Stress and Promoting Relaxation

In today’s fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become commonplace. Reishi mushrooms are adaptogens, meaning they help the body adapt to stressors. TCM has long classified reishi under the category of herbs that calm the nervous system. In fact, Taoist and Buddhist monks have also recognized the soothing effects of reishi, and they’ve used this mushroom to help them meditate. We now know that it’s the bioactive compounds found in reishi, like ganoderic acid and triterpenes found in the fruiting body (the stem and cap), that promote relaxation and help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

By incorporating reishi mushrooms into your routine, you may find you feel calmer and more balanced, making it easier to tackle your New Year’s health goals with a clear mind.

Enhancing Sleep Quality

Adequate sleep is crucial for overall health and well being. So, for those struggling to get a good night of sleep, sleeping pills or sedatives are a common solution. Unfortunately, they can leave you feeling drowsy the next day, and there’s the possibility of side effects and even addiction. Thankfully reishi mushrooms offer a natural way to help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality without being sedatives. This means they won’t “knock you out,” but by calming your mind, you may more easily find the sleep you’ve been searching for. By incorporating reishi mushrooms into your bedtime routine, you can experience deeper, more restorative sleep, leaving you refreshed and energized the next day. That’s a bonus because improved sleep can enhance your ability to stick to healthy habits.

Supporting Healthy Weight Loss

Weight loss is often one of the top New Year’s resolutions. Reishi mushrooms can be a valuable addition to your weight loss journey. You’re likely less inclined to feel the need to overindulge in your comfort foods like chocolate bars, chips, pastries, or cheese-laden meals if you feel less stressed, and reishi—as mentioned above—can support that.

Because you may also find it easier to get a restful, restorative sleep, resulting in more energy to exercise, get active, and tackle your New Year’s to-do tasks. It’s also important to note that poor sleep has been associated with weight gain, as it appears to contribute to a slower metabolism.

Additionally, reishi mushrooms possess anti-inflammatory properties that help regulate insulin levels and improve metabolic functioning, potentially aiding in weight management.

Reishi mushrooms are a natural powerhouse that offer an array of health benefits and can play a significant role in helping you meet your New Year’s health goals, so here’s to a year filled with health, vitality, and success!

Reishi: Your shield against Cold and Flu Season

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Cold and flu season is back! When you can’t afford to get sick, it becomes crucial to explore ways to strengthen your immune system and enhance your natural defence mechanisms. Because viruses and bacteria are living organisms, they mutate, finding new ways to attack our bodies and multiply. This is one of the key reasons why we can win the battles, but not the war against colds and flus.

Thankfully, our immune systems are also adaptable, and we have many natural remedies we can turn to. Reishi mushroom (scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum) emerges as a powerful ally in supporting our immune system response and combating viruses.

Understanding Reishi’s Immune Response Properties

Reishi is a type of fungi that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Known as the “mushroom of immortality,” reishi was once reserved for royalty as it is highly valued for its many health benefits.

As a mushroom, reishi is neither a plant nor an animal. It is part of a kingdom called fungi, and like plants and animals, it too must defend itself against disease and injury. Because of this, it contains many nutrients and bioactive compounds—including polysaccharides and triterpenes—and fortunately for us, we can ingest these compounds for our own health benefits. The polysaccharides in reishi have been found able to modulate immune function. This means that reishi helps increase our immune response when the body is under attack by a virus or bacteria, but it also helps calm an overactive immune response, such as is the case with autoimmunity and allergies.

The triterpenes, such as ganoderic acid (unique to reishi), have a wide range of effects useful to our bodies, including supporting lung, heart, liver, and kidney health, as well as calming our nervous systems.

Supporting the Immune System

One of the main reasons reishi mushroom is celebrated for its health benefits is its ability to boost our body’s defense mechanisms against illness and infections. Research suggests that consuming reishi supplements or extracts can help strengthen this vital system, making it more efficient in fighting off harmful pathogens.

Studies have shown that reishi mushroom extracts can increase the activity of natural killer cells (NK cells) and macrophages, which are key components of the immune system. These cells play a crucial role in identifying and destroying foreign particles, including viruses. By enhancing the activity of these immune cells, reishi helps bolster our body’s defense against infections.

  1. Modulating Immune Function
    Reishi acts as an immunomodulator, meaning it helps regulate and balance the immune system. By regulating immune responses, reishi helps stimulate white blood cell productions as well as preventing excessive inflammation or an overactive immune system, which can be detrimental to our health.
  2. Antiviral Activity
    Studies have shown that reishi possesses antiviral properties, making it an effective natural agent against a variety of viral infections. Compounds in reishi have been found to inhibit viral replication and prevent the spread of viruses within the body. This antiviral activity makes reishi an excellent ally in defending against common and new viral infections.
  3. Immune System Support
    Reishi contains polysaccharides that have immune-boosting effects. These polysaccharides help increase the production of cytokines, which are signalling molecules that regulate immune responses. By stimulating the production of cytokines, reishi can enhance the immune system’s ability to recognize and attack foreign invaders, such as viruses.

Incorporate Reishi into Your Daily Routine

Reishi supplements are widely available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and powdered extracts. When choosing a supplement, ensure it is derived from high-quality reishi mushrooms that have been allowed to mature and are free from contaminants. So that you don’t miss out on the various triterpenes and ganoderic acid, make sure you get the fruiting body (stem and cap) and not just the mycelium (root-like structure) of the reishi mushroom.

In a world where viral infections pose an ever-growing threat, supporting your immune system becomes paramount. It is important to remember to do so by maintaining overall health through a balanced lifestyle, good nutrition, and regular exercise. In addition, reishi, with its immune-enhancing properties, serves as an invaluable natural ally in our battle against viruses. By incorporating reishi supplements into your daily routine, you can strengthen your immune response and fortify your body’s defences.

LISTEN NOW: Have you heard about Red Reishi?

Featured

Reishi has been used as a medicinal mushroom in China, Japan, and other Asian countries for over 2000 years. The fruiting body is kidney-shaped with a wavy undersurface. There are about 80 different types of reishi that have been identified. For this episode Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM, sits down with Kuko Health* to talk about the benefits of the superfood, red reishi.

EP. 23/ WHAT IS THIS SUPER FOOD, RED REISHI?

*Kuko Health is a self-proclaimed Traditional Chinese Medicine enthusiast. Visit her website and join her on her health journey to uncover the truths behind this century old practice.

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.

The Healing Power of Reishi: A Natural Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injury. That sounds like something life threatening, and it certainly can be. But almost everyone knows someone who has sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) because one of the most common types of TBI is known as a concussion. Though our understanding about the brain is still very limited, we are learning and our recommendations for managing a concussion have changed over the decades.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries

Whenever someone sustains an injury to their head, such as being hit by a ball, falling, or getting in a car accident, it’s always important to assess whether a traumatic brain injury (TBI) has occurred. TBIs can even happen when there is no actual impact on the head, such as with whiplash, because the brain can hit the inside of the skull with sudden, severe, and jarring force.

How do you know if you’ve suffered a TBI? If you’ve sustained a blow or jarring force to the head, it’s important to get checked out and pay attention to symptoms over the next few days. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea or vomiting, confusion, problems concentrating, forgetfulness or memory loss, double vision or blurred vision, sensitivity to light or sound, dizziness, balance problems, ringing in the ears, light-headedness, changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, or changes in mood. Whether someone has lost consciousness or not after a TBI doesn’t necessarily indicate the severity of a concussion, but repeated TBIs do appear to have increasing effects.

What to Do After a TBI—Active Rehabilitation

While we used to recommend lying down in a dark room and practicing complete rest until the symptoms go away, we’ve learned that active rehabilitation is a better route to take. Because the initial stages of a TBI cause inflammation, it is helpful wait to return to exercise for three to five days after the injury, depending on the severity of your injury and symptoms.

Exercise

Then, a gradual return of no-impact exercise will help speed up recovery. This means activities like stationary bike, elliptical machine, or low-impact calisthenics workout (e.g., squats, knee raises, lunges, shoulder tap planks) to raise the heartrate, but not running or impact sports. Note the use of the word “gradual return.” If you get dizzy or experience pain or other troubling symptom while doing this, then try different activities, go easier, or do your exercises in short intervals.

Cognitive Challenges

Right after your exercise, challenge your brain with a bit of reading, a crossword, memory games, or other non-screen cognitive activity. Because exercise causes a release in neurochemicals like brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), you’ll experience more cognitive benefits after physical exercise. Again, take breaks as you need.

Calm Your Nervous System

Because a TBI can stimulate a prolonged stress response, practicing ways to calm the nervous system can be key to healing. Meditation, breathwork, soothing music, and relaxed visualization are all examples of ways to promote a feeling of calm. While many think that watching tv, scrolling through social media, reading online articles, and playing games on the phone are relaxing, it’s best to avoid or limit time on backlit screens such as televisions, computers, tablets, and smart phones.

The Power of Reishi Mushroom

Reishi, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a medicinal mushroom widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It has been revered for centuries for its potent healing properties.

Neuroprotective Effects and Reduced Inflammation

Reishi mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds like triterpenes and polysaccharides that exhibit potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. These properties help reduce inflammation and prevent further damage to the brain following an injury.

Promoting Brain Health and Regeneration

Reishi mushrooms also have the potential to promote brain health and regeneration. They contain compounds that may stimulate the production of nerve growth factors, supporting the growth and regeneration of brain cells. This rejuvenation process can aid in the recovery from traumatic brain injuries and facilitate the restoration of normal brain functions.

Enhancing Cognitive Function

Another interesting property of reishi is its potential to enhance cognitive function and improve memory and learning. This effect can be particularly advantageous for individuals recovering from traumatic brain injuries, as it may speed up the cognitive healing process.

Calms the Nervous System

TCM classifies reishi mushrooms as a substance that “Calms the Spirit/Mind,” and this is one of its key benefits when used to address a traumatic brain injury. A TBI can create dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), leading to prolonged symptoms from the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system. All the symptoms listed above that are often associated with TBIs can be caused by this dysregulation.

Reishi mushrooms have been used by Taoist monks for centuries to help them move into the rest-and-digest parasympathetic nervous system state for meditative practice and centred calmness. Today we recognize reishi mushrooms as being adaptogenic, meaning they can help the body adapt to a wide variety of stressors, returning the body to a balanced state known as homeostasis.

Nature Provides

Traumatic brain injuries can be life-altering, but nature provides us with incredible resources for healing. Reishi mushrooms, with their neuroprotective effects and ability to support brain health, offer promise as a natural treatment option for TBIs. While further research is needed, considering reishi as part of a holistic approach to recovery can have significant benefits.

Reishi Mushrooms for Oral Health

Did you know that the health of your mouth can both reflect and affect your overall health? Your mouth is, obviously, an entry point to your body, and regular care such as tooth brushing and flossing can help keep bad bacteria from causing cavities and gum disease as well as cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

However, even with regular oral hygiene, some diseases and medications can contribute to infection and inflammation in the mouth. As a result, taking care of your whole body and your immune system are key to preventing dental issues. Fortunately, there is a friendly fungus out there that can help enhance your immune system and your oral health.

Reishi mushrooms can help strengthen your body as a whole, as well as improve your oral health.

Disease and Medications Can Affect Oral Health

Diabetes, some cancers, chronic infections, and autoimmune disorders like HIV/AIDS, Sjogren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis can increase inflammation and lower the body’s resistance to infection, increasing the risk for gingivitis, periodontitis, and cavities. Osteoporosis can also cause periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Acid reflux or gastroesophageal disease (GERD), if poorly treated or missed (as in “silent reflux”), can weaken the teeth, as the acid erodes the protective enamel.

Saliva is important to wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by bacteria that are in the mouth. That’s why medications—including antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, and some painkillers and antidepressants—that reduce salivary flow can negatively affect oral health.

Poor Oral Health Increases Risk of Other Diseases

Whenever my dogs have had health checkups, their vet always checks their teeth. Why? Because my dogs can’t easily tell anyone what they are feeling, and dental health can indicate other health issues. While we can tell our healthcare providers what’s going on with us, our mouths can also provide visual (and scent) information.

Studies have shown that those with periodontal disease are at an increased risk for coronary heart disease and are more likely to suffer a stroke. This is thought to be due to an accumulation of bad bacteria in the mouth contributing to artery-clogging plaques and inflammation within the lining of the heart and heart valves (endocarditis).

Since we can inhale micro-organisms through the mouth, if they reach the lower respiratory tract, they can worsen and promote bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema. These bacterial infections, if they become severe, can also increase blood sugar levels, making diabetes more difficult to manage. And, as if that weren’t enough, it may also contribute to issues with pregnancy, impact sleep, and be a factor in behavioural and developmental problems in children.

Reishi Mushrooms for Oral Health

For good oral health, we want to address oxidative damage, inflammation, and infections. Reishi mushrooms are powerful medicinal mushrooms that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides and triterpenes, which are, amongst other things, powerful antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage, one of the foundation elements that contributes to chronic inflammation, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.

Reishi mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, which have been shown to help establish a healthy immune response, while also promoting healthy cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health. We want our immune systems to respond quickly and appropriately to the bad bacteria that can be found to accumulate in our mouths. But we also want our immune response to be moderated so that it doesn’t overreact in an autoimmune dysfunction. And, while you might think that all you have to do is use antibacterial mouthwashes, remember that you also have good bacteria in your mouth that these rinses will destroy.

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, taking Japanese reishi mushrooms can help you treat or avoid the infection and chronic inflammation that are primary components for problems associated with oral health. These powerful mushrooms promote a better immune response, fight infection, and manage inflammation to help you avoid the need for urgent dental visits. A bonus benefit of reishi include that it can help calm your nervous system, so you can attend those important regular dental checkups, even if they scare you.

If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your smile, reishi mushrooms could be just what the dentist ordered!