As we navigate our way through life, we’re often faced with stressful situations that make us anxious. Some people even suffer from extreme anxiety attacks that can be almost debilitating. Medication might be prescribed to help deal with this. But did you know that there is a natural way to help relieve your anxiety?
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. They were even used by the Ancient Egyptians for their physical and mental health benefits. The reason for this is that they are adaptogens. They naturally trigger the production of stress-altering hormones within the body and help us feel less anxious.
But which is the best mushroom for anxiety? Below, we’ll take a look at three of the most effective medicinal mushrooms you can use to help ease anxiety, putting both your mind and your body at rest.
Mushrooms That Help Ease Anxiety
Also known by its longer name of Ganoderma lucidum, Reishi contains a variety of active compounds. These are believed to have antioxidant and neuroprotective effects. This includes Polysaccharides, Beta-glucan, Triterpenes, and Lignin. These release endorphins, helping our bodies respond appropriately to stressful situations. As a result, the level of anxiety we feel can be dramatically reduced.
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When eaten, Lion’s Mane is believed to help reduce brain inflammation. This improves blood and oxygen flow through our circulatory systems. In turn, our mood is elevated and we’re able to focus more. But that’s not all! Lion’s Mane may also boost certain neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine. These are our body's “feel-good” neurotransmitters which, when we’re feeling anxious or depressed, we have difficulty synthesizing. Lion’s Mane is therefore potentially capable of helping to relieve anxiety by increasing our dopamine and serotonin levels.
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Cordyceps is good for many things, including anxiety. When we’re anxious, our heart rate and blood pressure are raised. The risk of developing heart-related issues is increased. Cordyceps is believed to help modulate the nervous system, stimulate the adrenal glands, and increase the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). In turn, our cardiovascular system and respiratory functions are improved, and any anxiety you’re feeling could be reduced in the process.
It is worth noting that each of the medicinal mushrooms we’ve listed above should be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. This includes a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and grains as well as plenty of exercise. If you’re suffering from anxiety, studies indicate that they might certainly help, but they won’t be that effective if you rely on them alone. In addition, if you have been prescribed anti-anxiety medication, make sure you speak with your doctor about adding medicinal mushrooms to your diet. Never replace your medications on your own.
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Is Reishi Good For Anxiety?
Yes, it is! In fact, it’s believed that Reishi is said to be one of the best mushrooms for helping manage and reduce anxiety. Reishi contains polypeptides that may boost endorphins including serotonin and dopamine.
The polypeptides found in Reishi may possess a peripheral anticholinergic and depressant effect on the central nervous system. The word “depressant” might seem confusing here, especially when we’re talking about managing anxiety. But it really just means “calm” in this instance.
By calming the nervous system, our brains are able to process situations properly. We’re able to manage the way we feel about stressful situations before our “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” instincts kick in. Put simply, we’re able to think in a more logical and adequately emotional way.
It is also believed that Reishi helps to relieve insomnia. One study found that Reishi increased total sleep time and non-rapid eye movement time. The more sleep we get, the less anxiety we feel as our focus, concentration, and mood are improved.
Other Benefits Of Reishi
The health benefits of Reishi extend beyond anxiety relief, though. It has also been shown to boost the activity of cancer-killing cells including T-cells, B-cells, tumour necrosis factor (TNF), and phagocytes.
Studies have also shown that Reishi has anti-inflammatory properties. These can protect the nerves and neurons in our brains from natural, age-related inflammation that leads to memory loss. This makes it a great medicinal mushroom for improving memory functionality in seniors. It could also potentially help anybody that suffers from memory problems. Reishi may be a useful tool for students who are struggling to memorize certain information ahead of an important test.
All of these things mean that while Reishi is one of the best medicinal mushrooms for helping relieve anxiety, it’s also a fantastic all-around health food that provides a ton of benefits.
Is Chaga Good For Anxiety?
Just like Reishi, Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a great medicinal mushroom for helping to relieve stress and manage anxiety more effectively. This is because it is an adaptogen that helps to naturally calm the nervous system, restore balance, and ultimately combat stress and anxiety.
While Chaga is good for anxiety, it could possess other health benefits as well. The first of these is as an immune system booster. This is because it is capable of promoting the formation of beneficial cytokines and stimulating white blood cells that we need to protect our bodies against harmful bacteria and viruses.
Chaga possesses a high antioxidant content which may help to protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. The most important of these is the antioxidant triterpene which studies show can play a role in killing cancer cells.
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Some of the nutrients you’ll find in the Chaga mushroom include B-vitamin complexes, vitamin D, potassium, rubidium, cesium, zinc, magnesium, and loads of other vitamins and minerals.
So, if you’re looking for a medicinal mushroom that can help reduce anxiety and that comes with a host of other health benefits, Chaga is a great option.