Use Reishi to Calm Your Nervous System

by Dr. Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM

October 23, 2017

Stress is blamed for nearly everything, but it doesn’t necessarily deserve all the bad rap it gets. In fact, normal amounts of stress helps us deal with the demands of everyday life and sometimes even saves our lives. In the short run, that’s a good thing, right? We may need to be able to jump out of the way of a fast moving vehicle or respond quickly when we notice a bear on the path in front of us. Long-standing and chronic stress, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

There’s no getting around it—if you are breathing, you’ve experienced stress. Tough situations at home and at work are going to happen. And when they do, your body is going to respond to them. Stress hormones are released into the bloodstream, causing heartbeat and breathing rates to kick up a notch, all in preparation for helping you meet the challenge head on. The problem is that these hormones also result in your blood being diverted away from the thinking/planning/organizing part of your brain and away from your digestive system, your immune system, your reproductive system, and every part of your body not essential for your current immediate survival.

Ideally, once the stressful episode is over, your body gets the green light for everything to return to normal. However, serious life events like divorce, death of a loved one, and physical illness can cause stress levels to skyrocket and stick around. What’s more, it doesn’t even need to be one major incident that causes chronic stress. It could also be unremitting deadlines, incessant daily demands, and unrelenting negative news headlines that also wreak havoc on your health and your well-being.

Control Your Stress Before It Controls You

Over time, stress can create a host of serious conditions, including insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, obesity, a lower pain threshold, and immune system dysfunction, to name just a few health issues. What’s more, poorly managed stress can even age your cells at a faster rate! So, it pretty easy to see why learning how to properly manage chronic stress is so important.

Not enough hours in the day? Bills keep piling up? Stress has a way a creeping up on you. No matter how overwhelmed you may feel, there are a number of things you can do to help rein in your stress, such as eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising daily, trying some relaxation techniques, properly managing your time, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine.

And, one more step that many don’t know about is taking Japanese red reishi mushroom.

Stress Management and Reishi Mushroom

Red reishi mushroom (or Ling Zhi) might be relatively unknown in Western cultures. However, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners have been prescribing this miraculous mushroom for thousands of years. Though it has many health benefits, TCM classifies reishi in the category of herbs that "Calm Spirit" because of its ability to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, treat insomnia, and help manage stress.

Reishi mushrooms are jam-packed with polysaccharides and triterpenes, bioactive compounds that help boost the body’s ability to adapt to stress. In Western terms, herbs that fit this profile are called adaptogens. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, a high quality Japanese red reishi supplement may be your saving grace, helping bring balance and calm energy back to your life.

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others.

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