- Mushrooms are taking the wellness space by storm.
- Reishi mushrooms, in particular, are known to boost the immune system, help heart health and ease mental health issues.
- I tried taking reishi mushrooms for a month to ease my stress and anxiety — this is what I noticed.
There is are nutritional wonders available in mushrooms. If you’re involved in the wellness space, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard about the potential benefits of mushrooms and, specifically, the reishi mushroom.
Mushrooms, the spore-bearing fruity body of a fungus, can be found worldwide and they typically grow above ground or on a food source. With over 14,000 species of mushrooms in existence, some are more well-known than others. It’s no wonder that mushrooms are sought after for their various health benefits.
What’s all the buzz around mushrooms?
Mushrooms, as a whole, have been used for centuries for medicine, culinary purposes and especially as natural remedies. But lately, mushrooms such as reishi, lion’s mane, and the Chaga variety have been rising up in the wellness world. As the New York Times put it, mushrooms might just be the future of wellness.
- Reishi mushrooms are known to boost the immune system. Studies have shown that reishi is linked to affecting genes in white blood cells, which are critical to the function of our immune systems.
- The fungus is also known to have anti-cancer properties. Often, cancer patients will take reishi mushroom during treatment, as a way to fight off cancer cells. While studies are still being done, it is believed that the reishi mushroom could aid in the death of cancer cells in the body.
- There may be potential benefits of the mushroom to our heart health, blood sugar control and the enhancement of antioxidants in the body.
- Lastly, the mushroom has been known to aid in fighting off depression and fatigue.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been looking for ways to ease my own depression, fatigue and anxieties with natural, healthy alternatives. The reishi mushroom — which comes in powder form, in an oil form and even in specialty coffee and tea — seemed like a great option to try out.
I tried taking reishi mushroom for an entire month to help ease my depression, fatigue and anxiety. This is what I noticed.
My experience taking reishi mushroom for an entire month
Week 1 and 2
After deciding to take reishi mushrooms, I decided to try two forms: powder and oil. In the first week, I picked up the bottle of oil and tasted a drop. Without anything else, the oil itself is slightly bitter and hard to swallow.
I also tried the Reishi 415 powder from Real Mushrooms, which I found to be less bitter than the pure oil, and found I liked it more. In addition, I found the 5 Defenders Mushroom Blend from Real Mushrooms which contains reishi to also be a good resource. The first thing I noticed about both of the products I tried was how easy and versatile they both were. They can both be added to a smoothie, put in your morning cup of joe for a good mushroom coffee and I even tried adding my daily dose to meals I regularly eat: avocado toast, soup, and sauces.
While I didn’t notice an immediate effect on my mental health in the first week, I did notice that I enjoyed the ritual of trying the reishi mushroom in new ways. I looked forward to taking it and it gave me a healthy, new way of thinking about my morning routine. It wasn’t until the second week that I noticed a slight boost in my energy, that carried on throughout the day until it was time to wind down for bed.
After experimenting with ways to take my daily dose of reishi mushroom, I came upon two ways that I liked taking it best: in my coffee and in my smoothie. If you don’t mind a bit of an earthy taste, you probably won’t mind this. Starting the day off like this felt easy.
When it comes to taking anything to help with mental health, I think it takes time to notice a difference. I went into this experiment knowing this. But as I said before, in week two I began noticing a bit of pep in my step, and excitement about my day that wasn’t there before. I did notice a significant lift in my mood, in the morning. This only increased by week three and further into week four.
By week four, I felt more optimistic and proud of myself for doing something healthy and different. While it didn’t seem like a magic fix — as others might lead you to believe about mushrooms — I did notice small, significant changes in my mood, lower levels of anxiety and the ability to focus throughout my day.
Overall, I’d say that my experience taking reishi was fulfilling, fun (yes, really!) and also impactful. Contributing my success to my initial mindset going in, I was open to the possibilities and paid close attention to how my body reacted.
If you’re thinking of trying reishi yourself, or any other mushroom in the form of a supplement, you can use a powder like the Real Mushrooms 100% Organic Reishi Powder in capsules or a powder form. If you are on a budget and want a capsule version of Reishi, Double Wood also offers a great Reishi supplement. There is a wide range of mushroom supplements that include Coryceps, Lion’s Mane, Tremella, and more that can be easily explored.
With the potential for a boosted immune system and better mental health, what’s not to love about Reishi? It’s an easy, no-brainer add to your daily routine that can actually be beneficial. See for yourself.