Adaptogens are a trendy topic in the wellness space — but what are they, and why should we care? For thousands of years, ancient wisdom traditions, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), have considered adaptogenic mushrooms as being both foods to establish optimal health and as potent elixirs to treat sickness. Known to be rich in antioxidants, enhance immune function, support brain health, manage blood sugar levels, and improve energy and stamina, adaptogenic mushrooms can serve as powerful plant allies to help reduce any stressors on the body.
We could all benefit from expanding the knowledge of alternative medicine, including the many healing uses of adaptogenic mushrooms. The wisdom of ancient, holistic traditions offers a broader perspective of wellness, focusing less on synthetically extracted psychopharmacology in exchange for bringing mental, physical, and spiritual health into balance. As current scientific research reveals, the known compounds found in medicinal mushrooms include the following healing functions: Antibiotic, Anti-parasitic, Anti-tumor, Immunomodulating, Antioxidant, Cardiovascular, Antiviral, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Detoxification, Antidiabetic.
Based on the many benefits of adaptogenic mushrooms, people are now beginning to recognize the importance of incorporating holistic practices into their everyday lives. There is so much to know about when it comes to the world of adaptogens; however, this article focuses on a few main adaptogenic mushrooms to help get you started.
Lion’s Mane: Lion’s Mane is one adaptogenic mushroom that may support neurological and cognitive function. Also recognized as “The Smart Mushroom,” Lion’s Mane is for anyone who seeks added mental focus and clarity; many Buddhist monks use it in tea to enhance their concentration during meditation. Lion’s Mane might also help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Thus, it serves as an alternative or complement to more traditional mental health treatments (often with fewer side effects). With that said, always use proper judgment in deciding what treatment protocol is suitable for you — including when to consult with a physician.
Chaga: Often referred to as “Third Eye Activator,” chaga is another miraculous adaptogenic mushroom. Studies reveal its potential to slow the growth of cancer cells — with one study reporting that the use of Chaga “resulted in a 60% reduction in tumor size.” Chaga is also rich in antioxidants, which points to how it could help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cordyceps: Cordyceps are full of amino acids, which are essential building blocks of protein that can aid in digestion, repair body tissue, make hormones (like neurotransmitters), and build immunity. Although most people would likely benefit from incorporating Cordyceps into their daily wellness, it is especially beneficial for those who wish to improve their athletic performance or looking to decrease their levels of oxidative stress. As someone who works in the mental health field, my love for Cordyceps began when I first read studies on how they might help reduce anxiety (which makes sense – given that anxiety is also linked to greater inflammation levels in the body).
Reishi: Often referred to as either “The King of Mushrooms” or “The Mushroom of Immortality,” Reishi is a superstar adaptogen. Many use it for its powerful immune-boosting and antiviral effects, and clinical trials have even shown that it may significantly reduce symptoms of depression. Given the promising research, those who desire a more holistic way to prevent and treat mood disorders may benefit from Reishi (and thus want to consult with their physician regarding this possibility).
Wellness is your birthright and communing with nature helps connect you to this truth. Adaptogenic mushrooms are one of nature’s greatest gifts – one that allows you to soothe the senses just enough to slow down and acknowledge your innate power to create a new reality. Until you can effectively liberate yourself from the chronic patterns of response that keep you stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of stress and dis-ease, you may continue to experience the thread of dramas that ensnare you. The key to all you wish to cultivate in this life — whether in your health journey or otherwise — hinges upon your conscious awareness of any deep-seated emotional patterns that no longer serve you.
Ultimately, to expand and enhance your reality and build a solid foundation of wellness, it can be helpful to work with a licensed practitioner where you get a roadmap that includes holistic healing methods. Learning to live more in tune with nature is a powerful way to enhance wellness; it allows you to manifest your highest, most radiant self. And, as the many health benefits of adaptogenic mushrooms reveal — just one tiny shift can create massive benefits over time, so the time to begin is now.