The Incredible Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for Your Animal Companion

Many of us consider the animals we share our homes with as part of our family, and we are always on the lookout for ways to improve their health and well-being. One natural supplement that has gained popularity in recent years is reishi mushrooms. Reishi mushrooms, also known as ling zhi mushrooms, have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years due to their numerous health benefits. These amazing mushrooms are not only good for humans but also for our beloved animals.

With Adopt a Shelter Pet Day on April 30th, National Pet Day on April 11th, and International Search and Rescue Dog Day on April 28th, this month is all about pets. So, what better time to discuss all the amazing benefits of reishi mushrooms for your furry, feathered, whiskered, or scaled friends.

1. Boosts the Immune System

Just like humans, animals benefit from a strong immune system. Reishi mushrooms are known for their immune-boosting properties, thanks to their high content of polysaccharides and beta-glucans. These compounds have been found to stimulate the production and activity of immune cells, enhancing their ability to fight off infections and diseases. By adding reishi mushrooms to your pet’s diet, you are giving their immune system a powerful ally.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or illness, but chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of health problems. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making them ideal for animals suffering from conditions such as arthritis or allergies. By reducing inflammation, reishi mushrooms can help alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance your animal companion’s overall quality of life.

3. Supports Respiratory Health

Respiratory issues such as asthma and bronchitis can also occur in animals, especially those with allergies or congenital conditions, or in older age. Reishi mushrooms have long been used in TCM to treat coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

4. Enhances Liver Function

The liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying the body and removing harmful substances. Reishi mushrooms have been found to support liver health and enhance its function. Studies have shown that reishi mushrooms can help protect the liver from toxins and oxidative stress, as well as improve liver enzyme levels.

5. Calming and Stress-Relieving Properties

Animals, just like humans, can experience stress and anxiety. Whether it’s separation anxiety, noise phobia, travelling-induced stress, or post-traumatic stress disorder (yes, animals can experience PTSD too), reishi mushrooms can help calm and soothe their nervous system. These mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that have been shown to have a calming effect on the central nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. So, if your animal companion gets anxious during thunderstorms or trips to the vet, reishi mushrooms might just be the solution.

6. Provides Antioxidant Protection

Antioxidants play a crucial role in neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body, preventing oxidative damage to cells and tissues. Reishi mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, including triterpenoids and phenolic compounds, which have been found to have strong free-radical scavenging activity. By adding reishi mushrooms to your animal companion’s diet, you are providing them with a natural source of antioxidants, which can help protect against age-related diseases and promote longevity.

Reishi Supplements

Reishi mushrooms truly are a remarkable natural supplement for both humans and animals. From boosting the immune system to supporting liver function and providing antioxidant protection, the benefits of reishi mushrooms are vast and impressive. However, it’s important to note that it may be important to talk with your veterinarian to determine dose, particularly if your animal companion is on medications.

How do you give reishi to an animal? Note that the flavour of a high-quality reishi supplement will be bitter, so you might hide the capsule in a treat if your animal is a gulper and won’t likely chew it. Otherwise, it’s best to hide the powder in some other food that they love. While taking your reishi supplement for your own wellness, why not share the health with the animals you share your home and your heart with?

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!

Ten Tips for Healthy Aging as We Wind Down Another Calendar Year

As the year comes to a close, it is a great time to reflect on our health and well-being. Aging is a natural process that we all go through, and it’s important to make conscious efforts to promote healthy aging because while most of us like the idea of having more time to do the things we love and want to do, we also want to feel good while we do that.

While there is no magic pill or secret spell, we can look to the Blue Zones of the world—areas where a higher than usual percentage of the population lives over 100 years—for health tips.

1. Stay Active and Exercise Regularly

Physical activity is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially as we age. You may have been active in sports, going to the gym, attending dance classes, or other such thing when you were younger, but many of us drop these activities when we get older. Sometimes that’s because we’re too busy. Sometimes it’s because of pain, fatigue, or other health condition. However, that’s when exercise becomes even more essential. Staying active is not just about getting our bodies looking fit. It also helps to strengthen bones, improve cardiovascular health, help prevent falls and injuries, maintain balanced hormone levels, improve digestion, and boost mental well-being.

Those in Blue Zones tend to have regular activities that cause them to move naturally. In other words, they don’t necessarily go to the gym, but they do house and yard work without mechanical or chemical conveniences. I’m not suggesting you start churning your own butter, but maybe you can take the stairs instead of the elevator or pull weeds by hand instead of using weed-killer sprays.

2. Follow a Balanced and Nutritious Diet

It’s no surprise and you’ve heard it time and time again: a well-balanced diet is crucial for healthy aging. I’ll keep it straight forward here as another reminder because it’s easy to let these simple things slide. Unless you’re following a restrictive diet, you’ll generally want to include a variety of clean, whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit your consumption of sugary and processed foods. And stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

The diets in each of the Blue Zones are different but share similar aspects such as focusing on what’s locally, seasonally available, and eating whole, fresh foods that are mostly plant based. They tend to eat legumes, nuts, and seeds, having meat only on occasion, and including seafood. Another aspect of their longevity is not overeating. Instead, there’s an idea of stopping eating when you’re no longer hungry, not when you’re full.

3. Prioritize Good Sleep Habits

Quality sleep is essential for our overall health. Aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Establishing a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at consistent times may help this, as can creating a soothing sleep environment, limiting screen time before bed, and avoiding caffeine and meals close to bedtime.

Your sleep time is when your body is doing much of its repair and restore work, so if you have sleep issues, speak to someone who can help you get the rest you need.

4. Socialize and Stay Mentally Active

Engaging in social activities and maintaining a strong support network can have a significant impact on healthy aging. Spend time with loved ones, join clubs or community groups, or consider volunteering. Additionally, challenge your brain by pursuing activities that stimulate mental agility, such as reading, puzzles, learning new skills, or playing board games.

A sense of belonging showed up as a key element for Blue Zone centenarians. Faith-based communities came up for a large number of these individuals, as did staying connected and close to family. Social circles were also key, and Okinawans create “moais” which are groups of five friends who commit to support each other for life. These are the people they can depend upon and who can depend upon them.

5. Manage Stress Levels

Chronic stress can take a toll on our health and well-being. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques (e.g., meditation or deep breathing exercises), engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, or seeking support from mental health professionals or support groups.

Blue Zones aren’t immune to stress. Residents in those areas also have ways to manage their stress, including taking time to remember ancestors, taking a nap, praying, and connecting with friends.

6. Have a Purpose

Why do you get up in the morning? What drives you to move forward? What do you look forward to doing? How are you participating in life around you? This is your “ikigai” (Japanese), “plan de vida” (Spanish), and “raison d’être” (French), and having this gives you up to an extra seven years of life expectancy.

This isn’t just your job title, though your work may be part of your purpose. For example, I’m doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, but my purpose and drive are to be of service and to help people learn about how they can better their health. I could still have this purpose even when (if) I retire eventually.

7. Stay Mindful of Medication and Health Check-ups

Regularly review your medications with your healthcare provider to ensure they are necessary and don’t interact with each other. Address health issues when they first arise to detect and prevent potential health concerns before they become serious.

If you have access to regular check-ups, screenings, and health assessments, even when you’re not feeling bad, do them. This includes seeing natural healthcare professionals, getting dental care, and getting screenings like eye exams, Pap tests, checking for breast lumps, and prostate checks.

8. Practice Good Skin Care

In addition to affecting how old you appear to be, taking care of your skin is essential for healthy aging. Protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding excessive exposure to UV rays. Keep your skin moisturized and maintain a skincare routine that suits your skin type.

9. Add Reishi Mushrooms to your Diet

When it comes to promoting healthy aging, incorporating reishi mushrooms into your routine can be a valuable addition. These miracle mushrooms have been shown to have various health benefits that can support healthy aging. They contain bioactive compounds, such as triterpenoids and polysaccharides, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulating properties. These compounds may help protect against age-related diseases, boost the immune system, calm the nervous system, and promote overall well-being.

10. Stay Positive and Embrace Aging

Finally, maintaining a positive outlook on aging is essential. Embrace the wisdom and experience that come with growing older. Develop a positive mindset and focus on the aspects of life that bring you joy and fulfillment. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people who uplift and inspire you.

By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can ensure that you age gracefully while prioritizing your health and well-being. Embrace this transition into a new year and focus on living your best and healthiest life possible!

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?

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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.

Five Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for PTSD

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs for some people who’ve experienced or witnessed a dangerous, intensely shocking, or terrifying event, and it is often associated with symptoms like anxiety, depression, problems concentrating, and insomnia. Usually beginning within a few months of the traumatic event, to meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis, symptoms must occur for over a month and be severe enough to interfere with daily life activities, work, or relationships.

While traditional treatments for PTSD often include pharmaceutical medications and counselling, many people also turn to natural remedies, such as reishi mushrooms, to help manage their symptoms. Reishi mushrooms have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and because of their numerous health benefits, they were once reserved for royalty.

Reishi mushrooms are recognized in the modern world as adaptogenic herbs, meaning they help the body to adapt to stressors, whether physical, emotional, or mental. For thousands of years, TCM has classified reishi, known as ling zhi, under the heading of Calm the Spirit. In other words, while reishi has a lot of health benefits, its main function is helping to calm the nervous system.

1. Reduced anxiety and stress

One of the most significant benefits of reishi mushrooms for individuals with PTSD is their ability to reduce anxiety and stress. Reishi mushrooms’ adaptogenic compounds help the body adapt to stress and promote a sense of calmness. Regular consumption of these mushrooms can help lower cortisol levels—one of the hormones related to chronic stress—and alleviate symptoms of anxiety commonly associated with PTSD.

2. Improved sleep quality

Many individuals with PTSD experience sleep disturbances, including insomnia and nightmares. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to have a positive impact on sleep quality and duration. The compounds found in reishi mushrooms help regulate the sleep cycle, promoting deeper and more restful sleep. By improving sleep quality, reishi mushrooms can help individuals with PTSD feel more rested and energized during the day. A bonus about reishi’s use for improving sleep is that it is not a sedative, meaning it won’t make you feel drowsy during the daytime.

3. Enhanced mood and emotional well-being

PTSD often leads to mood swings, irritability, and feelings of depression. Reishi mushrooms contain compounds called triterpenoids in their stem and cap—so make sure the supplement you choose is “fruiting body” or “whole mushroom”—that can help regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These play a vital role in mood regulation. Using reishi mushrooms can help stabilize mood, reduce irritability, and enhance overall emotional wellbeing.

4. Supported immune system

PTSD can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses and infections. Reishi mushrooms are renowned for their immune-supporting properties. They contain polysaccharides and beta-glucans that stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off pathogens and boosting overall immunity. By incorporating reishi mushrooms into a regular routine, individuals with PTSD can strengthen their immune system response and improve their overall health.

5. Support for cognitive function

Individuals with PTSD often experience difficulty with memory, concentration, and cognitive function. Reishi mushrooms have been found to have neuroprotective properties. Because of their ability to help calm the nervous system, they can also help with improving higher cognitive functions like focus, planning, and organizing by moving the nervous system out of fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system) into a calm state (parasympathetic nervous system).

Reishi mushrooms offer numerous benefits, including reducing anxiety and stress, improving sleep quality, and promoting emotional wellbeing for individuals living with PTSD. While counselling is likely still key and pharmaceuticals may still be included, incorporating reishi mushrooms into your regime can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.