Using Medicinal Mushrooms to Manage Anxiety

Mar 31, 2024 | Health & Wellbeing, Natural Remedies, Anxiety and Depression

In our fast-paced modern world, anxiety has become increasingly prevalent, affecting almost every client I see to a smaller or greater extent. While there are many medical approaches to managing anxiety, my clients often prefer a natural alternative. We look at behaviours and practices that can relieve anxiety, and also examine our food, eliminating some and adding in others.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the therapeutic properties of medicinal mushrooms. These remarkable fungi have been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda.

Among these fantastic fungi, Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Cordyceps stand out for their potential to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and support emotional well-being.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum):

Reishi, revered in traditional medicine as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” contains bioactive compounds that modulate the body’s stress response system, making it an effective adaptogen.

Research suggests that Reishi may help reduce anxiety by promoting relaxation and enhancing mood. It regulates neurotransmitter levels, particularly serotonin and dopamine, and has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the nervous system, reducing anxiety.

Furthermore, Reishi’s adaptogenic properties enable it to support overall resilience to stress, helping you better cope with anxiety triggers and challenges in daily life. 

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus):

Lion’s Mane, “The Smart Mushroom”, not only nourishes the mind but also holds promise for easing anxiety and promoting emotional well-being. This mushroom contains compounds that support brain health and neuroplasticity which in turn influences mood regulation.

Studies have shown that Lion’s Mane may stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein crucial for the growth and maintenance of neurons. By enhancing neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity, Lion’s Mane may help mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, contributing to a calmer nervous system.

Lion’s Mane’s cognitive-enhancing effects can also indirectly alleviate anxiety by improving cognitive function and promoting mental clarity. 

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis):

Cordyceps, renowned for its energising and revitalising properties, also holds promise as a natural remedy for anxiety. Studies have shown that Cordyceps may improve the body’s response to stress by regulating cortisol levels and modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. By promoting a balanced stress response, Cordyceps can help individuals better manage anxiety triggers and reduce the impact of chronic stress on mental health.

This mushroom’s ability to enhance energy metabolism and oxygen utilization can indirectly influence mood and emotional well-being. Improved breathing can promote relaxation and alleviate the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shortness of breath and chest tightness.

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

In conclusion, medicinal mushrooms offer a natural and holistic approach to managing anxiety, providing relief for both the mind and body. Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Cordyceps each bring unique therapeutic properties that can help you find tranquility amidst life’s challenges. Whether incorporated into daily supplements, teas, or culinary creations, these mushrooms offer a gentle yet powerful ally in the journey towards emotional well-being. 

There are many options for the purchase of medicinal mushrooms on the market right now. You can buy them pre-mixed into blends which is usually more expensive, but possibly more palatable. I personally buy each dried mushroom separately from a place such as Austral Herbs, and then create my own blends. My morning brew contains 1 tsp each of Reishi, Lions Mane and Cordyceps, with some cacao in hot soy milk.

As with any natural remedy, remember the results are not immediate, but come as a reward of consistency over time. Also, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before integrating medicinal mushrooms into your wellness routine, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.