Untreated, anxiety can reduce the quality of your life, keeping you away from social experiences, diminishing your sleep quality, and tanking your productivity. While most anxiety patients are used to pharmaceutical drugs, you can adopt holistic anxiety treatment in the form of functional mushrooms.
Mushrooms like Lion's Mane, Reishi, Chaga, and Cordyceps address the root cause of anxiety instead of treating the symptoms like most pharmaceutical drugs do. Lion's Mane, for example, boosts your happy hormones and doubles as an adaptogen that helps your body adapt to day-to-day stressors that often cause anxiety.
In this article, you will discover how the bioactive substances in these edible mushrooms remedy anxiety. Moreover, we will answer common questions often asked by people new to using mushrooms to fight anxiety.
4 Best Adaptogenic Mushrooms and How They Cure Anxiety
1. Lion's Mane Benefits For Anxiety
Lion's Mane, or Hericium Erinaceus, is a mushroom most well-known for its ability to act as a brain tonic and provide mental health benefits. In fighting anxiety, Lion's Mane helps by promoting hippocampal neurogenesis, boosting your happy hormones, and fighting inflammation.
Lion's Mane Promotes Neurogenesis
One study involving 30 female participants(3) confirmed that consuming Lion's mane mushrooms might lessen mental health disorders like anxiety and depression by enhancing NGF production.
Read More: Learn how Lion's Mane neurogenesis benefits promote NGF and BDNF production to alleviate anxiety.
Lion's Mane Boosts Happy Hormones
Research suggests that anxiety and other mood disorders are linked to low serotonin and dopamine. A 2018 study(4) confirmed that Lion's Mane reduces anxiety by increasing these happy hormones in the adult brain.
Read More: Planning to add Lion's Mane to boost your happy hormones and fight anxiety? See the best Lion's mane dosage.
Lion's Mane Fights Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can lead to changes in neurotransmitters and cytokines, which are involved in regulating mood and anxiety. Additionally, chronic inflammation has been linked to structural changes in the brain, such as loss of brain volume and changes in brain connectivity, which can contribute to anxiety and other mental health conditions.
A research study conducted in 2015(5) confirmed Lion's Mane's effectiveness in fighting inflammation.
Read More: See our detailed guide on how Lion's Mane fights anxiety.
2. Reishi Anti-anxiety Benefits
Ganoderma lucidum or Reishi is a natural adaptogen mushroom that can support the body and its overall resistance to stress. In addition to fighting stress, Reishi soothes the central nervous system, improves sleep quality, and boosts serotonin production to fight anxiety.
Reishi Fights Stress
Reishi compounds—polysaccharides and triterpenoids—reduce stress and improve(6) emotional disturbance, fatigue, and irritability symptoms. One clinical trial(7) demonstrated Reishi's effectiveness in fighting stress and anxiety in mice, proving it could boost a sense of well-being.
Read More: See all the health benefits of Reishi mushroom.
Reishi Soothes the Central Nervous System
Reishi extract has demonstrated(8) a sedative effect on the central nervous system, with researchers noticing that mice who received reishi extract displayed less anxious behaviors than mice who didn't. This further suggests that an ideal dose of the mushroom can also help people fight other mental health disorders linked with anxiety, including depression.
Reishi Improves Sleep Quality
Anxiety and sleep are interdependent, where anxiety can make it difficult to sleep, and sleep deprivation can affect emotions and increase anxiety.
Reishi has GABAergic activity(9), which controls sleep. Therefore, Reishi mushrooms can encourage deeper sleep, reducing anxiety and stress.
Read More: See how Reishi improves sleep quality.
Reishi Promotes Serotonin Production
People with anxiety disorders often have lower serotonin levels in the brain. On the other hand, some medications used to treat anxiety, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Reishi mushrooms may affect a pathway connected to serotonin and gut bacteria (10), increasing serotonin production to fight anxiety.
3. Chaga as a Remedy for Anxiety
While most people are familiar with the physical health benefits of Chaga mushrooms, not many know that they can also use Chaga to fight anxiety. Chaga mushrooms restore balance in the body, fight fatigue, and boost immunity to eliminate anxiety.
Chaga Restores Balance in the Body
Chaga is an adaptogen that balances stress hormones like cortisol to combat mental health conditions like stress, keeping them from causing anxiety. Chaga mushroom supplements also improve adrenal function, which regulates the adaptive stress response.
Chaga Fights Fatigue
Traditional Chinese medicine, Chaga mushroom, has been proven to have an anti-fatigue effect(11) on the body. By fighting fatigue, the mushroom can improve mental capacity even in stressful situations, providing a therapeutic potential in people with anxiety and improving overall mood.
Read More: Interested in using Chaga to fight anxiety-related fatigue? See the best Chaga mushroom dosage.
Chaga Boosts Immunity
Chronic stress, a common symptom of anxiety, can suppress the immune system and increase feelings of anxiety and worry. Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and nutrients, Chaga is well-known for its ability to enhance immune health.
4. Benefits of Using Cordyceps as Remedy for Anxiety
Cordyceps is another interesting functional mushroom that boasts multiple anti-anxiety benefits. Cordyceps boost energy levels, fight inflammation and improve neural pathways to eliminate anxiety.
Cordyceps Boosts Your Energy Levels
Fatigue is a common side effect of long periods of extreme stress and often leads to anxiety. By making Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the central energy-carrying molecule—more available(12), cordyceps boosts our energy levels.
Recent research(13) has indicated that maintaining healthy ATP levels and cellular energy is essential for controlling and preventing stress and anxiety.
Read More: Read our detailed guide on how cordyceps boost energy levels.
Cordyceps Fights Inflammation
Uncontrolled inflammation carries many adverse effects, including anxiety and stress. Research studies, however, have confirmed that cordyceps mushroom(14) supports a healthy inflammatory response, thereby fighting inflammation-related anxiety.
Cordyceps Improves Stress-Related Neural Pathways
Animal studies imply that cordyceps may influence the brain's stress-related neural pathways. For example, a 2021 study(15) showed that rats given cordyceps didn't exhibit abnormal behavior after exposure to stress.
Studies have also shown that(16) Cordyceps may affect significant protein targets and their signaling pathways, promoting mood stability.
Read More: Did you know two Cordyceps species exist? Read our detailed guide on Cordyceps Sinensis vs. Militaris.
Mushrooms for Anxiety Video
FAQs About Best Mushrooms For Anxiety
What Are Other Anxiety Treatment Options Apart from Mushrooms?
Solutions in the "class b" category of anxiety cures or remedies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (psychotherapy) and mindfulness meditation, are well known. Moreover, some prefer to use Class C medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, to manage their anxiety symptoms.
However, while these solutions can help manage anxiety, it is infrequent for them to address the root cause of anxiety as functional mushrooms do.
What Are The Side Effects Of Using Mushrooms to Cure Anxiety?
Functional mushrooms rarely cause side effects and when they do, you can expect these to be minor. The most common side effects include gas and nausea, which often resolve quickly. Taking the proper dosage for each mushroom can help you avoid these side effects.
However, we advise staying clear of functional mushrooms or seeking a doctor's guidance if you take any prescription meds. This can help you avoid interactions that could cause significant side effects. In addition, if you are allergic to mushrooms, talk to your doctor before using mushrooms to cure anxiety.
Read More: Learn about Lion's mane drug interactions.
What Are The Best Ways To Take Functional Mushrooms to Relieve Anxiety?
You can consume medicinal mushrooms in capsules, tea, powder, extract, tincture, and syrup. Capsules are convenient and easy to swallow, and you can make tea by brewing medicinal mushrooms. In addition, you can add mushroom powder to your food or drinks.
Extracts are concentrated forms of medicinal mushrooms and are taken in liquid form, often added to drinks or smoothies. Tinctures are liquid extracts taken by placing a few drops under the tongue. Syrups are also available and can be added to drinks or food.
How Long Does It Take For Mushrooms To Work For Anxiety?
The time it takes for mushrooms to work for anxiety varies from person to person. It depends on several factors, such as the type of mushroom, the method of consumption, and the individual's metabolism and body weight.
Some people may experience a noticeable difference in their anxiety levels within 30 minutes to an hour after consuming mushrooms, while others may need to take them for several days or weeks before experiencing significant results.
It's important to remember that the effects of mushrooms can vary widely based on the type, quality, and dosage of the mushrooms, the individual's physical and mental state, and other health conditions they may have. Therefore, consider consulting a healthcare professional before using mushrooms to fight anxiety.
What Are The Best Times Of Day To Take Anxiety Relief Mushrooms?
The best time to take medicinal mushrooms can vary depending on the individual:
- Morning:Taking medicinal mushrooms in the morning can help boost energy levels and improve focus, reducing anxiety throughout the day.
- Mid-day:For those who experience anxiety during the day, taking medicinal mushrooms around lunchtime can provide a calming effect and help to ease anxiety symptoms.
- Evening: For those who experience anxiety in the evenings, taking medicinal mushrooms before bed can help promote relaxation and a better night's sleep.
Also, you may want to consider the type of mushroom you are consuming. For example, you can use reishi mushrooms and Lion's Mane in the evening because they support restful sleep. However, consuming Cordyceps after dark is not always a good idea as the mushroom can negatively impact your sleep.
Read More: See how taking Lion's Mane before bed improves sleep quality.
Which Mushroom Is Good For Mental Health?
Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improves memory and concentration and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. Because of its ability to improve overall mental health and brain function, Lion's Mane has often been labeled a natural brain tonic.
Other mushrooms that improve brain health and fight psychiatric disorders include Reishi, Chaga, and shiitake. Reishi Mushroom is known for its calming and stress-relieving properties. Chaga Mushroom is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to affect anxiety, depression, and stress positively. Shiitake Mushrooms contain compounds shown to improve mood and cognitive function.
Read More:Learn more about the best mushrooms for mental health.
Do Psychedelic and Magic Mushrooms Reduce Anxiety?
Yes, magic and psychedelic mushrooms can treat anxiety and depression. However, these mushrooms often carry side effects that make them less preferred than medicinal mushroom supplements.
Magic mushrooms (often called shrooms or psilocybin mushrooms)—for example, truffles—contain a compound known as psilocybin. This psilocybin compound is known to cause hallucinations, making people trip and see things that do not exist. In addition to making people trip and causing hallucinations, shrooms can induce altered states of consciousness and a distorted perception of reality. These adverse effects are why most people want to stay clear of shrooms and other psychedelics.
The legal or illegal status of magic mushrooms like truffles is still a topic of discussion. However, we are sure that psilocybin is a class A drug, meaning it is illegal, fits in the category of controlled substances, and carries a high risk of misuse and addiction. Therefore, before using mushrooms that cause hallucinations (for example, truffles) to treat anxiety, talk to a healthcare professional.
Lion's Mane, Reishi, Chaga, and Cordyceps fight anxiety by improving neurotransmitters, fighting fatigue and inflammation, and helping your body adapt to stressful conditions. These mushrooms also improve your sleep and boost the levels of happy hormones in the brain.
Each natural functional mushroom outlined above has its unique way of fighting anxiety and mild stressors. If you are in possession of all of these mushrooms that often grow in the wild, you may want to use them together to enjoy maximum benefits. However, only combine these mushrooms after getting the go-ahead from your doctor to avoid side effects.
Have you used mushrooms for anxiety relief before? Which mushrooms did you use? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!
- Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8643634/
- Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its small bioactive compounds promote oligodendrocyte maturation with an increase in myelin basic protein, (2)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-85972-2
- Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20834180/
- Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice, (4)https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/19/2/341
- The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lion's Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in a Coculture System of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264 Macrophages, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26559695/
- A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study of a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract in neurasthenia, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15857210/
- Evaluation of Antianxiety Potential of Four Ganoderma (Agaricomycetes) Species from India in Mice, (7)https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,07a0495239bddf76,09cface64fd6cf48.html
- CNS anti-depressant, anxiolytic and analgesic effects of Ganoderma applanatum (mushroom) along with ligand-receptor binding screening provide new insights: Multi-disciplinary approaches, (8)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405580821001564?via%3Dihub
- Extract of Ganoderma lucidum potentiates pentobarbital-induced sleep via a GABAergic mechanism, (9)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S009130570700086X?via%3Dihub
- Ganoderma lucidum promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway in mice, (10)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-92913-6
- Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity, (11)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/
- Enhancement of ATP generation capacity, antioxidant activity and immunomodulatory activities by Chinese Yang and Yin tonifying herbs, (12)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1847515/
- Multi-omics analysis identifies mitochondrial pathways associated with anxiety-related behavior, (13)https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1008358#sec018
- Anti-inflammatory and related pharmacological activities of cultured mycelia and fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris, (14)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874104005148?via%3Dihub
- Antidepressant-like effects of water extract of Cordyceps militaris (Linn.) Link by modulation of ROCK2/PTEN/Akt signaling in an unpredictable chronic mild stress-induced animal model, (15)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874121004219?via%3Dihub
- Exploring the mechanisms of action of Cordyceps sinensis for the treatment of depression using network pharmacology and molecular docking, (16)https://atm.amegroups.com/article/view/91340/html