How I Combat Stress with a Mushroom

I felt an incredible change in my body lately, it reacted completely differently when confronted with a very stressful event.

I’m not the type that externalises my anxieties. I close up, it ferments inside of me and my body reacts in a variety of ways that others notice. My under-eyes start getting dark circles and to “dig-in”, my brain is all over the place and I can’t focus on anything productive. Basically, my cortisol levels (the hormone your body releases to combat stress) were all over the place, it wasn’t pretty and all I felt like doing was burying my head in the sand and hoping it’ll pass.

This time around, I felt as though I was coping, my body didn’t externalise in the same way and I felt almost unusually calm. Welcome to the amazing world of adaptogens, a unique class of healing plants and fungi that help restore, balance and protect your body. Adaptogens don’t have any specific action, they help your body respond to environmental stress and normalise your physiological functions. (source)

There are many references online about a variety of plants such as Ashwagandha, Astragalus… etc… but I decided to focus on medicinal mushrooms, especially Chaga which I started using daily around 3 months ago.

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) growing on a Birch tree

I’ve been looking for various high impact products and I’ve rarely come across such a potent one as Chaga. I’m talking about Siberian wild Chaga which is full of antioxidants and grows on birch trees in the extreme weather of that region. Growing in such an extreme environment contributes greatly to Chaga’s adaptogenic abilities.

Some other effects I’ve noticed from my daily 1–2 cups of Chaga:

  • Immediate effects: an energy boost similar to caffeine but without the jitters or the crash thereafter.
  • After about 2 weeks: I noticed my nails were growing much faster. I have to admit this was an effect that was a bit unusual for me. Chaga is known as a beauty mushroom as it contains high levels of melanin which contribute to hair and nail health but also anti-aging of the skin.
  • After a few weeks: as mentioned above, my body’s reaction to stress was completely different and very welcome. The usual anxiety wasn’t there, I managed to focus in a much more productive way to fix the issues that I was facing and I felt like I could weigh my options much more clearly which enabled me to take a better decision.

Overall, I feel great and all it took was to sprinkle some Chaga powder over hot water in the morning. I do enjoy the taste of coffee and since Chaga is relatively neutral I sprinkle a bit on my coffee to reduce the acidity, stop the jitters and the after-crash.

When are you going to try Chaga? Why not try the wild, freeze-dried powder provided by Otzibrew, a company I co-founded to make sure we source the highest quality available, Wild Siberia, and keep it as bioactive as possible by freeze drying instead of spray drying (which heats the product to 150ºC and kills a lot of the nutrients). More on that in a next post!

Help yourself defeat stress! I did!