Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stress and Ganoderma lucidum

Stress and Ganoderma lucidum

Discover How Ganoderma lucidum May Help With Stress

Until I started learning about the Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), I never realized there was a link between stress and our health.

The more I thought and learned about this relationship, the more I believe it to be true and research seems to support this.

Psychologist Sheldon Cohen of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University tested the theory of weather or not unhappy individuals are at greater risk of disease. He divided 334 healthy volunteers into two groups:

One that described themselves as happy and relaxed.

One that described themselves as anxious and depressed.

The two groups were given nasal drops containing the common cold virus and Dr. Cohen and his associates observed the discoveries.

The "happy" group showed greater resistance to the cold virus and those that eventually did get sick showed fewer symptoms.

The "unhappy" group, even if they were not infected were still likely to report cold symptoms.

Researchers believe stress is responsible for as much as 80 percent of all illness and Dutch researchers found that people under stress have less than half the antibodies as calmer individuals. Which would help to explain the results of the above study that stress has a negative effect on the immune system and the body as a whole.

Before we talk about stress and Ganoderma lucidum, we should learn about what stress is and its potential effects on the body so you can identify stress when it happens and deal with it before it blooms into something big and hard to deal with.

What Is Stress?

Stress is viewed as a psychological problem with physical consequences.

It can be caused by other health problems so one does not always realize that they are under stress. And since prolonged stress can lead to many health problems, it is therefore important to know what it is so you can recognize it and deal with it.

In Phyllis A. Balch's book, Prescription For Herbal Healing, she defines stress as "a reaction to any event that upsets the body's balance."

The stress response was first developed to release energy very quickly in the body due to the threat of physical danger so one could get away (flight or fight response). So it can be good thing. But when we can't turn it off it begins to be a bad thing.

The stress response is first started by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. It releases a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into the blood. Once the ACTH makes its way to the kidneys, the adrenal glands located on the kidneys are signaled to convert cholesterol into cortisol.

Cortisol which was made from the adrenal glands on the kidneys stimulates the liver to release glucose to provide "quick energy". It also causes increases in the secretion of adrenaline, elevates blood pressure, raises heart rate, creates greater tension in the muscles, slows or stops digestion, stops the immune systems ability to cause inflammation due to tissue damage and helps the blood to clot more efficiently.

So Why Is the Stress Response Bad?

It is bad when the body can't turn off the stress cycle started by ACTH.

Normally cortisol is broken down when we sleep. Notice how good you feel after a good nights rest.

The increased production of adrenaline is responsible for many of stress's symptoms. Adrenaline causes the body to increase its metabolism which causes the body to excrete protein, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.

As a result of the increased metabolism there is an increase in the production of harmful free radicals, (for more information on Reishi's antioxidant properties click here.) and because adrenaline slows or stops digestion, prolonged stress can cause the body to be deficient in many nutrients.

In addition, blood continues to clot easily, constricting blood vessels which contributes to atherosclerosis.

If stress is unrelenting and chronic, the adrenal glands may begin to suffer.

All of this can come together to cause an adverse affect on the immune system and produce other symptoms like fatigue, headache, irritability, loss of appetite, memory loss, low self esteem, depression, teeth grinding, high blood pressure , shallow breathing, nervous twitches, lowered sex drive, insomnia , gastrointestinal problems, worsening allergies , and or aggravated skin disorders.

Ways to Reduce Stress

Here is a list of things that may help (some helped me during times of stress, including Ganoderma lucidum).

Do you know the source of your stress? If you can identify the triggers to your stress, this will make it much easier to develop strategies to manage it. For example, do you get stressed rushing around getting ready for work in the morning? Well, set the alarm 15min earlier and you will have the time, thus reducing or eliminating this stress trigger.

Remember, you are what you eat. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants that will scavenge free radicals. (Note: Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum contains powerful antioxidants .)

Avoid processed and fast foods that are not very good for you. As discussed earlier stress affects your digestive process.

Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine contributes to nervousness and insomnia.

Get regular exercise. Yoga is an excellent form of exercise that unites the body, mind, and spirit and has been proven to help relieve stress.

The Yoga Biomedical Trust survey charted the responses of 3,000 individuals with health ailments who were prescribed yoga as an alternative treatment. Some of the results are listed below.

* Of 1,142 cases with back pain, 98% claimed benefit.
* Of 838 individuals reporting anxiety, 94% claimed benefit.
* Of 542 individuals reporting insomnia, 82% reported benefits.

Learn to relax. Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person's physical, mental, and emotional states. It is very easy to learn and has been used to treat stress and manage pain with other conditions. Simply it is a great way to relax. Reishi, has been shown to act on the nervous system to bring about a calming effect.

Practice deep breathing. This is a tip that works very well in a stressful situation or simply a way to revitalize your system. I personally deep breathe for 10-15 minutes every morning to invigorate my body. To deep breathe is pretty simple. This is only one method though.

Slowly breathe in through your nose as deeply as you can and hold for a count of five.

Slowly breathe out through your mouth while placing your tongue at the back of your teeth and the roof of your mouth.

Repeat.

Monitor and change your self talk. Perhaps the most important conversations you have are the ones you have with your self. An excellent way to change your self talk is by the use of affirmations.

In the book Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain she tells how to use affirmations to positively enhance your life.

It seems that what we tell ourselves forms the basis of our reality and therefore influences our lives.

Simply saying to yourself "I enjoy relaxing and having fun!" or "I feel happy just being alive." can have dramatic effects. We have positive affirmations posted all through the house for us and the kids. Children seem to be especially receptive to affirmations.

Stress and Ganoderma

Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi). Reishi is known as an adaptogenic herb meaning it should normalize and regulate our systems which can protect you from stress while enhancing immune capabilities. Also:

1. There should be NO SIDE EFFECTS, even while consuming large quantities over a long period of time.

2. The benefits should not be restricted to a few organs or functions but should effect all cells of the body increasing their resistance to damaging influences.

3. There should be a normalizing effect on the whole body, meaning improving all conditions and not aggravating any existing ones.

Adaptogens are said to work by:

* Supporting the adrenal function
* Help the body utilize oxygen more efficiently
* Help eliminate toxins
* Supporting immune system function
* Regulation of biorhythms

All these things help the body adapt to all types of stress (physical, emotional, mental, environmental), calm the nervous system and normalize body functions. Adaptogens like Reishi should produce feelings of calm and relaxation.

Because of its adaptogenic and other beneficial properties like its powerful antioxidants , its beneficial effect on the immune system, and has the ability of inhibiting the central nervous system. Ganoderma lucidum may be just the thing to calm a persons nerves and provide support to a body under stress.

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