As you may have guessed, this blog post is dedicated to the mighty mushroom. Mushrooms? Are we talking about the fungus things that grow on tree stumps and decaying roots? Yes, yes we are. Up until last spring I really had no idea how amazing they are. I liked them on my pizza and in fettuccine, but beyond that, I was clueless.
Turns out, these crazy fungi (not to be confused with a crazy and fun guy) are beyond amazing and have so many cool properties that it would be near impossible for me to cover them all. Let's just call this mushrooms 101 (for you and me). After all, I'm still at the beginning of my journey in exploring these things, and we don't have a ton of time to delve in too deeply.
Now in particular I am going to cover the properties of the Red Reishi or Lingzhi or ganoderma mushroom. I'm sure you are familiar with at least one of those names. Traditionally, the Lingzhi mushroom was grown in China and was reserved for royalty. It was referred to as "The Mushroom of Longevity". Those are some pretty big shoes to fill! Why would a fungus be so revered? As it turns out, traditional wisdom wins again.
First off, the Lingzhi mushroom is one of the things found in nature that is adaptogenic. As the term implies, that means it is able to adapt to what the particular body needs. According to Wikipedia, "Adaptogens or adaptogenic substances, compounds, herbs or practices refer to the pharmacological concept whereby administration results in stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis, an example being by decreased cellular sensitivity to stress". Seeing that we are all very different with different stressors acting on us, something that can adapt to our individual needs sounds pretty great.
The good news doesn't stop there. In addition, the Lingzhi mushroom is also an immunomodulator. Like adaptogenic stubstances, immunomodulation is specific to the individual. While one person might need their immune system to down regulate such as someone suffering from allergies (an over stimulation of the immune system), another person might need their immune system to up regulate such as someone suffering with a cold or something more serious. It's hard to believe that a little red mushroom can do so much, but 2000 years of use in Chinese history says it can.
If you are wondering about studies done using the Lingzhi mushroom and particular ailments, the answer is yes. Although I won't cite them here, if you visit PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/) and type in Ganoderma Lucidum and then the particular condition you are curious about, you will most likely find a few studies to puruse.
The next thing you'll wonder is where can I get some? Truth be told, you can find it available in multiple places and in multiple items; tea, coffee, capsules, powders. Like you, I am a discriminating consumer. I want to know that I am getting what is promised to me so that I can expect to reap the benefits I've researched. Because of its vast array of benefits, the market is saturated with a multitude of products that claim to be the best. Honestly most supplements out there aren't worth the bottle in which the come. At the best they might have neutral effects, and at the worst they can even be detrimental to your health.
Now I am not a medical professional in any sense of the word, so I keep things pretty simple. I do my research, I ask the various medical professionals in my life for input, I research more, and more, and probably more, and then most of the time I do nothing and make cookies. Ok not really, but my brain does get very full with all of the conflicting info out there. Fortunately in this case, I was directed to look at a specific company, their practices, the products. I was thoroughly impressed by all I read. Without getting into too many specifics, I will say that the various mushroom food and drink products from Alphay are top notch. They have taken the time to research the optimal way to grow, harvest, and procure from a variety of medicinal mushrooms. They are a direct marketing company that has their ducks in a row and quality products that I feel great sharing and using myself.
The first things I tried were the tea and coffee. Back in the spring I broke myself of the daily coffee habit. Boy, that was difficult. Talk about depressing. For several days I had this sinking feeling that it was coffee that made me the super fun person I thought that I was; that my whole personality wasn't even mine, but just the effect of a caffeine boost. It was a dark time, that week or so of withdrawal. Thank goodness for bacon. It was really all I had to look forward to in the morning. Anyways! That's a whole other blog post. Suffice it to say that I haven't gone back, but I have been able to drink the mushroom coffee with no issue and no "day after coffee hangover" that I used to get from regular coffee. With 50% organic arabica coffee and 50% mushrooms, I feel pretty good about drinking it. I've also made my way through the supplements. My favorites are Nourish Your Lungs (we use during allergy season), Balance, and Calm (both used at 4pm almost daily, because, you know 4pm). Now that I've experimented around a bit, I want to follow the Five Elements Seasonal Calendar, a chart that aligns seasons with organ function.
Again, even as the most novice mushroom appreciator, this post could get very long if I covered every aspect that I feel I should. I know you have other things to do today, and so do I. There is a cup of mushroom coffee and a chocolate bar with my name on it just waiting for me in the next room. Until next time, cheers! And hey, if you feel like giving any of the Alphay products a try, click here!