Mushrooms might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to herbal allergy control, but over the years they have become a staple of my regimen that I’ve come to depend on and enjoy.
Some mushrooms, like Reishi, are natural anti-inflammatories that help control allergy symptoms during flare-ups. But mushrooms’ real gift is their ability to address the root cause of all allergies– the immune system.
Allergies are expressions of the immune system’s response to threats, whether they are perceived or real. The stronger our immune system, the more capable it is of dealing with allergens, and the fewer allergy symptoms we experience. Inflammation, mucous, coughing, wheezing, itching, brain fog, and fatigue are linked to the relative strength or weakness of our immune system. A weakened or confused immune system can overreact to allergens or detect them when they aren’t there, causing a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms to become even more disruptive.
Mushrooms work at a cellular level to promote normal immune response and anti-aging resiliency. They have a unique ability to strengthen, normalize, and “reset” our immune system from the ground up, thus ensuring our ability to handle allergies, pathogens, and other stressors with ease.
Because humans and fungi share common ancestry, we are susceptible to the same pathogens and diseases, and we developed similar immune systems to counter them. Fungi are more vulnerable to illness than we are, so their immune systems became powerful enough to yield medicinal effects on our own. When we ingest mushrooms, we take advantage of their superior immune strength and use it to bolster our own systems.
In the words of Dr. James Duke, “All plants contain adaptogenic/tonic compounds, because plants have to contend with a good deal of stress themselves.” This expresses perfectly why mushrooms make such effective immune medicine for us. When it comes to deep, restorative, and long-lasting immune system modulation, mushrooms reign supreme.
Taking a mushroom supplement provides benefits far beyond allergy relief. A healthy, intelligent immune system can lead to a marked decrease in chronic inflammation, illnesses, muscle pain, joint stiffness, and the oxidative effects of chronic stress. Over time, mushrooms can increase cognitive ability, emotional resiliency, and improve the quality of sleep. The Cordyceps and Reishi mushrooms are officially classified as adaptogens, herbs that “help the human body adapt to stress, support normal metabolic processes, and restore balance.”
When it comes to choosing a mushroom capsule, my favorites are Host Defense Stamets 7 Daily Immune Support and New Chapter’s Life Shield Immune Support. Each blend is slightly different, but when in doubt you can use the “smell test” and see which one you like best. I encourage you to stop by the herb room and smell some of the powdered mushrooms, such as Reishi and Cordyceps, and see how your nose responds! You can also check out the chart below to compare and contrast each mushroom’s medicinal gifts.
A little goes a long way with mushrooms (most formulators suggest 1 capsule a day), but long-term consistency is the key to re-setting and re-building a healthy, vibrant, and intelligent immune system.