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

Featured

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.

Five Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for PTSD

Featured

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.

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.

The Environment, Reishi, and Our Health

The environment is something that we hear a lot about, particularly the negative impacts on our world and on our health. We all need clean air and water, uncontaminated food, and a safe place to live. However, pollution, overuse or improper use of chemicals, climate change, and poor agricultural practices have led to disease and poorer health outcomes. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key ways in which the environment can affect our health on what you can do to help protect yourself.

The Environment Problem

Air Pollution

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds WHO guideline limits for air pollutants. Sometimes air pollution is so bad that it is visible as a grey or yellow smog or haze, but it can also be invisible to the naked eye. Causes of air pollution include exhaust from motor vehicles, industrial facilities, household combustion devices (gas or coal-burning devices like heaters and stoves), and fires.

Both indoor and outdoor air pollution can have serious consequences for our health, causing respiratory problems like asthma and lung cancer. It can also lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, allergies, and environmental illness.

Water Pollution

If you’ve ever had an iced drink on vacation that resulted in a prolonged stay in your hotel’s bathroom, you know that contaminated water can have negative health consequences. However, water pollution from chemicals is another major environmental issue. While we recognize the importance of clean water to our survival, we pollute our waters with agricultural, industrial, and municipal wastes, including with toxic chemicals that cannot be broken down.

Water pollution can result in the transmission of diseases such as cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid, polio, and dysentery. Water contaminated by high levels of lead, fluoride, arsenic, or other chemicals can also lead to skin issues, neurological disorders, and an increased risk of cancer.

Climate Change

Climate change is causing a wide range of environmental problems, including more frequent and severe weather events and rising sea levels. These changes can have a significant impact on our health, including an increased risk of heat stroke, respiratory problems, and the spread of infectious diseases.

Pesticides and Chemicals

Pesticides and other chemicals used in agriculture and industry can also have a negative impact on our health. Exposure to these substances can cause a range of health problems, including cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders.

Mushrooms as an Environmental Solution to the Earth

Mushrooms, including reishi mushrooms, are not only beneficial for human health but also for the health of the planet. Mycoremediation is a process by which the enzymes in mushrooms can help break down and decompose contaminants, resulting in cleaner soil and water.

Reishi mushrooms are also an important part of the ecosystem and can help to with biodiversity. By promoting the growth of healthy trees and plants, reishi mushrooms can also help to support other species that depend on them for survival.

Reishi Mushrooms Can Help Protect Us from the Harmful Effects on Our Health

Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, reishi mushrooms are called ling zhi—translated as “divine mushroom”—because of their ability to help restore health for a wide range of health issues.

Support the Immune System

One of the primary ways in which reishi mushrooms can protect us from the harmful effects of the environment is by supporting our immune system. Reishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which are complex sugars that signal an appropriate response of the immune system. By causing our immune system to jump up its response, reishi mushrooms can help us fight off diseases that may be caused by exposure to pathogens, pollutants, and toxins in the environment.

Because the immune system can also overreact, such as is the case with allergies and autoimmune disorders, we also want something that can help calm or “modulate” an immune response. Luckily, reishi mushroom’s beta-glucans can also do this because these compounds are “immunomodulators.”

Reduce Inflammation

Reishi mushrooms also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect us from the harmful effects of inflammation caused by exposure to environmental toxins. Chronic inflammation is linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. By reducing inflammation, reishi mushrooms can help protect us from these health problems.

Protect the Liver

The liver is responsible for hundreds of activities, including detoxifying the body and removing harmful substances from our system. However, exposure to environmental toxins can overload the liver and cause damage. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to help protect the liver from damage caused by toxins, which can help us stay healthy in a polluted world.

Fight Cancer

Reishi mushrooms contain compounds called triterpenes, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. These compounds can help protect us from some of the harmful effects of environmental pollutants that can increase our risk of developing cancer.

Choose Reishi

By supporting your immune system, reducing inflammation, protecting the liver, and fighting cancer, reishi mushrooms can help you stay healthy. Incorporating reishi mushrooms into your supplement routine may be a great way to support your overall health and help protect yourself from the harmful effects of the environment.

Can Reishi help treat Chronic Disease Syndromes?

May 12th has been designated as the Day for International Awareness of Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases. But what does this mean? It’s clear that we need a day to promote awareness around these oft debilitating conditions that can take years to diagnose. These diseases include Fibromyalgia (FM), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

The date of May 12th was chosen because it was Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Florence became a nurse in the mid-1800s, and she is considered the founder of modern nursing. She is thought to have suffered from ME/CFS, though of course that was not recognized at the time.

Because these syndromes have many things in common and they can be difficult to diagnose, these diseases have sometimes been categorized together under the heading of Chronic Disease Syndrome (CDS).

What Is Chronic Disease Syndrome?

Chronic Disease Syndrome is characterized by long-term, often progressive symptoms that are not easy to diagnose. Many of the symptoms of CDS are shared with other conditions, which can make it difficult for a doctor to pinpoint the cause. Because there are currently no specific blood tests or imaging tools (Xray, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, etc.) that can be used to diagnose these conditions, diagnosis comes from a thorough assessment that analyzes the timing of onset, history of illness, details of symptoms, and more, while ruling out other known diseases and conditions.

  1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that was first named in 1988, but we still don’t know that much about it. When, in the mid 1980s, there were two large outbreaks of mystery illness in New York and Nevada that resembled mononeucleosis, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated, couldn’t find a cause, and gave it a name—CFS.

    This syndrome remains difficult to diagnose, but the severe and chronic fatigue must have lasted for at least six months, other conditions must be ruled out, and at least four defined symptoms must be present, including from the list of muscle pain and weakness, headaches, insomnia, tender lymph nodes, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, depression, mood swings, light sensitivity, and more.

  2. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

    Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a term that has been around in various forms for decades but remains poorly understood and highly unrecognized. It is a chronic and complex disease that affects the brain and nervous system. Myalgia means muscle aches and pains, while encephalomyelitis refers to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. ME causes severe exhaustion, as well as problems with thinking and memory. ME can also make it hard to do simple things like stand up or walk around. Additionally, some people have trouble talking because they’re too tired to form words properly.

    People who have ME experience extreme fatigue—more than just feeling tired after an activity or task—and this fatigue can last for weeks at a time without any relief from rest or sleep. Other symptoms include dizziness when standing up quickly, muscle pain, difficulty concentrating, headaches, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and sensitivity to light and noise.

    Because it can be difficult to distinguish between the two, ME and CFS are often combined to a diagnosis of ME/CFS.

  3. Fibromyalgia (FM)

    Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome that can affect people of all ages, though it more commonly affects women and often starts in middle age. It is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and cognitive issues. The cause of FM isn’t well understood but it may be related to abnormalities in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).People with FM often feel tenderness to touch where even light pressure can cause pain. The diagnosis used to include having to describe at least 11 of 18 listed “tender points,” but now diagnosis includes having widespread pain for at least three months and that other conditions have been ruled out.

  4. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

    Also known as Chemical Sensitivity (CS), Chemical Intolerance (CI), and Idiopathic Environmental Illness (IEI), Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a condition that is widely debated in the medical community. The symptoms are varied, but can include headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, memory loss, confusion, rashes, and asthma.

    We are well aware that we are heavily exposed to a wide variety of chemicals, and some chemicals and substances are highly recognized as being harmful to our health, including asbestos, lead, mercury, arsenic, tobacco smoke, and PCBs. But some people appear to be more sensitive to lower levels of environmental chemicals, and they can experience severe symptoms, especially when exposed to things with a high degree of synthetic and scented additives like perfumes, cleaning products, body care products, plastics, new carpets and furniture, and pesticides.

A Common Thread

While each of these syndromes has its own system of acquiring a diagnosis, they share many symptoms, are all difficult to diagnose, and sufferers of these conditions are often told its “all in your head.” More recently, it seems that Long COVID can also be added to this list of chronic, debilitating syndromes.

Personalized care that calms the nervous system, supports a healthy immune response, and strengthens organ function is key to address Chronic Disease Syndrome.

Managing Chronic Disease Syndrome (CDS)

While conventional medicine can offer pharmaceuticals to try to manage symptoms, there are many key things you can do to improve your condition. It should come as no surprise that the first things you can do are to make healthy lifestyle choices.

  • Get enough sleep. Sleep allows your body to rest and recuperate, which can help you feel better during the day. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try being consistent with a wind-down routine like taking a warm bath before bedtime, reading, doing some gentle stretches, listening to relaxing music, meditating, or practicing breath work. You may also want to speak with your healthcare provider about natural remedies to help improve sleep quality and quantity.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eating the right foods can help manage Chronic Disease Syndrome. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will provide you with the nutrients you need to maintain good health. Make sure to also include enough high-quality proteins and good fats. Good bacteria found in fermented foods (or probiotic supplements) are also important to maintain a healthy immune response.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for some form of physical activity every day. This depends on your ability, as fatigue and pain can make everything challenging. Activity can be divided up into short segments through the day, rather than done in one block of time. For some this will mean gentle stretches and joint mobility. For others it will mean walking a block or doing a household chore like dusting. As your health improves, this might mean upgrading to walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator or riding your bike instead of driving your car. The important thing is that you do what you can for movement activities, make it important, and do your best not to get discouraged. Physical activity also helps reduce stress levels which can help treat CDS as well.

How Reishi Mushrooms Can Help Treat Chronic Disease Syndromes

While there is currently little known about these chronic disease syndromes, one way that people have found success managing their symptoms is to take reishi mushroom supplements.

Reishi mushroom is an adaptogenic herb. That means it can help with a wide range of symptoms caused by stressors to the body, returning the body to a state of homeostasis, or balance. As a Qi tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi can address symptoms of fatigue. It also supports the liver and kidneys, organs key to removing toxins from the body.

Perhaps even more importantly, reishi is classified as an herb to calm the nervous system and modulate the immune system. Since one aspect that seems common to all these chronic disease syndromes is a hypersensitive, hyper-reactive response by the nervous system, calming the nervous system without causing drowsiness can help CDS sufferers find relief. Additionally, because it is suspected that a potential cause of some of these conditions may be a chronic, lingering viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection that disrupts immune function, a remedy that supports the immune system is also thought to be helpful. But you don’t want to just stimulate a strong immune response because there are aspects of CDS that seem to act like autoimmune issues. So, a modulated response like that offered by reishi’s polysaccharide and triterpene compounds is ideal.

If you suffer from one of these chronic disease syndromes, Japanese red reishi supplements may help you on your journey to wellness.