The Healing Mushroom Therapy Guide (Part 2): Reishi, ‘The Mushroom of Immortality’ and Lion’s Mane for Enhanced Mental Performance
Reishi and Lion’s Mane benefits are ‘kind of a big deal.’
Mushrooms, such as Reishi and Lion’s Mane, are mind-body medicinal fungi that are taking over alternative medicine. Mushrooms heal and transform your cells, relax your central nervous system, improve hormonal imbalances, enhance cognitive abilities and relieve allergies and chronic fatigue. Mushrooms contain anti-cancerous, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and contain liver protective properties. These are just some of the benefits that a small variety of mushrooms contain. In The Healing Mushroom Therapy Guide I, I go into detail about Chaga and Cordyceps. In this article, I focus on Reishi and Lion’s Mane.
Every type of mushroom has a unique super-healing ability. Reishi has the extraordinary ability to calm the central nervous system so that you can relax. Lion’s Mane enhances your cognitive functioning and mental performance. These mushrooms can enhance your creativity, attention and thought processes like a cup of coffee without the jitters or acidity (yes, there is such thing as mushroom coffee and other potent mushroom elixirs).
Let’s dive further into some of the best-selling mushrooms, Reishi and Lion’s Mane, rich in polysaccharides and beta-glucans, (which are the primary active immune-enhancing constituents).
The reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), is a Traditional Chinese Medicine fungus that has been used for its various healing abilities for thousands of years, and is a true “superfood.” Also known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, these mushrooms are strongly anti-inflammatory and tied to longevity, better immune function, and mental clarity. Over the past several decades, scientific research has intensified and focused on analyzing the hundreds of unique bio-active compounds found in the medicinal Reishi mushroom, and new healing compounds are revealed every year.
Western medicine focuses on the “cure” after the disease has occurred, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on human observation of sickness as a “whole” and illness prevention by sustaining the right balance within the body through proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation. Reishi is an important adaptogenic herb in TCM in helping the body maintain this balance and also restore the balance in totality.
Reishi Extends Life Span, Kills Cancer
Reishi has a been described as a combination of spiritual vigor and elixir of immortality where it’s tied to success, well-being, divine power, and longevity and life-extending abilities. As an example of growing science supporting Reishi, researchers using laboratory mice have detailed life span extension of 9% to more than 20% —the equivalent of 7 to nearly 16 years in human cycles. No wonder they are called the “Mushroom of Immortality.” Reishi has been found to specifically targets cancer cells and increases cellular proliferation in regards to breast and prostate cancers. Reishi is a successful alternative therapy as a dietary supplement for tumors and other cancers.
Improves Hormonal Balance, Eliminates Free Radicals
Reishi mushroom is used for boosting the immune system and works as an “immune modulator,” to restore hormonal balance, bring the body back to homeostasis and regulate the activity of the immune system. Also, reishi eliminates hydroxyl free radicals that hurt our cellular health by attacking DNA, cell proteins and cell membranes that disrupt homeostasis.
Restores the Lungs, Improves Allergies, and Increases Bone Marrow
Reishi mushrooms decrease viral infections such as the flu (influenza), swine flu, and avian flu by inducing interferon production. Reishi also helps repair and relieve lung conditions including asthma and bronchitis and contains a preventative effect, inducing regeneration of bronchial epithelium. Preliminary studies indicated that ganoderic acids help alleviate common allergies by inhibiting histamine release, improve oxygen utilization. Triterpenes are found in reishi and are bitter, and the bitterness can determine the level of the triterpene content contained in a product. Reishi enhances bone marrow nucleated cell proliferation, which sustains healthy bones.
Improves Heart, Liver, Kidney Health and Reduces Pain
Reishi can improve heart disease and contributing conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, kidney disease, and liver disease. Reishi has been found to reduce pain in individuals suffering from herpes zoster infection, otherwise known as shingles, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Reishi extracts were found to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor, which in turn supports the rapid development of healthy neurons and enhances their mitochondrial function.
Reishi’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Both of these diseases are driven by oxidative stress and inflammation.
Reishi serves as a radioactive shield against unwanted cellular distortion and change due to X-rays and use of other damaging radiation, such as cell phones and Wi-Fi. A study published in Cell Journal concluded that “there should be a major concern regarding the time-dependent exposure of whole-body to the higher frequencies of Wi-Fi networks existing in the vicinity of our living places.” And another study states that Wi-Fi damages cells. Therefore, proper nutrition and preventative measures need to be taken to protect our cells since they are the building blocks of sustaining a healthy life.
The Lion’s Mane mushroom (also known as Hericium Erinaceus, Yamabushitake or Satyr’s Beard) is one of the Earth’s most powerful supplements for the brain. There is evidence that can permanently enhance brain function as well as protect the brain and even promote neurogenesis.
Lion’s Mane is a Traditional Chinese Medicine mushroom that can enhance overall cognitive function and linked to the production of NGF or Nerve Growth Factor. Lion’s Mane is considered a highly recognized nootropic as ancient physicians used it to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Lion’s Mane has been used for centuries as a restorative tonic and health treatment and is native to China, Japan, North America and Europe.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Neuroprotective Capabilities and Enhanced Mental Performance
Lion’s Mane enhances cognition by increasing the amount of Nerve Growth Factor or NGF in the brain (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF is another). Nerve Growth Factor plays a critical role in reducing inflammation, encouraging neural growth, and improving overall brain health, cognitive function, depression, autoimmunity, histamine intolerance, disease, pain, and cancer.
NGF is a neurotrophin, a protein that is essential for the growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of neurons. Though it is secreted in the brain and is crucial to optimal brain function, there is evidence that NGF is circulated through the entire body and is essential for maintaining a stable internal environment in response to changes in external conditions, such as stress, negative emotions, and other harmful environmental stimuli. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is one of a group of small protein like molecules that are responsible for the development of new neurons, and for the health and maintenance of mature ones. NGF promotes growth and helps repair myelin sheath, the coating around the axons. Lion’s Mane encourages and regulates myelin development in a considerably accelerated rate.
Lion’s Mane helps improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and treatment of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Many patients have used Lion’s Mane in alleviating mental apathy (also known as neurasthenia) and cognitive impairment. Apathy is a lack of drive to fulfill or lack of interest of life activities, feeling, emotion, and concern regarding others. Older adults with mild cognitive impairment were given 250 mg powdered Lion’s Mane three times a day for 16 weeks versus a placebo. The lion’s mane group scored significantly higher on the cognitive function scale compared with placebo, with no adverse effects.
Improved Memory and Mood
Lion’s Mane enhances mood by reducing levels of anxiety and depression and improve our ability to concentrate. Lion’s Mane increases cognitive approaches such as reasoning. Lion’s Mane consumption was seen to improve brain power scores in elderly Japanese men and women who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI can involve problems with creativity, memory, language, thinking, and judgment.
Lion’s Mane Protects the Gut, Digestive Functions, and Liver
Lion’s mane has been shown to improve digestive function and give relief from gastritis. It enables the stomach and liver to function properly and protects the liver. It is effective at treating chronic gastric inflammation, duodenal ulcers, and peptic ulcers. The polysaccharide component of Lion’s Mane has been shown to decrease the size of the peptic ulcers. Lion’s mane also protects the gastric mucosa by preventing the reduction of antioxidant enzymes which protect the gastric mucosa.
Improves Chronic Fatigue
The supplementation of Lion’s Mane has improved the energy levels and reduced chronic fatigue drastically. It also increased the tissue glycogen content and antioxidant enzyme content which help to reduce fatigue.
Lion’s Main is a source of at least 32 bioactive compounds and is a rich source of minerals such as Selenium, Zinc, Iron, and Potassium. All of the primary amino acids are present along with a variety of polypeptides and polysaccharides. Lion’s Mane is a viable plant-based source of vitamin B12, which supports clarity, focus, and concentration, and reduces brain fog.
To find out more, check out my first mushroom article, The Healing Mushroom Therapy Guide I. Visit my friends over at Four Sigmatic and check out their mushroom elixirs and their awesome Mushroom Academy.
Mushrooms may interact with pharmaceutical medications so please read side effects and dosage requirements and/or contact your doctor. Reference Link: http://www.livestrong.com/article/403273-side-effects-of-the-chaga-mushroom/
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