Food for Racing Thoughts — This Mushroom Can Reduce Stress & More
Just when we thought fungi couldn’t get more fascinating, we learned about poria. Not only does poria activate brain chemicals to calm down your stress response and improve mood, it also can decrease stress eating and promote heart and gut health.
It won’t make you see rainbows, but poria is still a pretty magic mushroom.
Why We Love Poria
- Most herbal medicines have at least some side effects. It’s to be expected from most ingredients with powerful properties. But not poria. This fabulous fungus has no known side effects.
- Ready for a fungus anatomy lesson? You may see poria referred to as poria sclerotium. This sounds like a latin species name, but sclerotium actually refers to a part of the fungus. It’s a tightly-packed cluster of mycelium, which are little fungus threads. You know that white spiderwebby stuff you sometimes see when digging in the garden? That’s also mycelium, just unraveled. The more you know, right?
Women’s Stress Relief - Traditional Chinese Medicine uses mood supplements with poria to reduce occasional symptoms of depression and anxiety, and clinical research agrees. Poria is shown to increase dopamine and serotonin, important brain chemicals that contribute to feelings of well-being and calm. There’s also evidence that poria can decrease inflammation around the brain, which may be a factor in depression.
It’s important to note that women over 40 are the #1 target market for prescription antidepressants and SSRIs. After all, women’s stress relief is a big deal! Still, many women find that herbal women’s stress supplements and a nutritional approach to stress is a great first line of defense. Herbs can even help fill in gaps from a prescription.
May Reduce Stress Eating - It turns out that stress eating isn’t a uniquely human behavior — other animals instinctively respond to stress by seeking sugary foods, too! Researchers tested poria’s ability to reduce stress and stop stress eating on rats, and found that the rats they gave poria stopped binging sugar, even with stressful stimuli. This is good evidence that poria may reduce stress eating, and is part of why we included it in our Stave the Crave herbal chai.
Heart Health - Traditional Chinese Medicine was first to pick up on poria for heart health and blood sugar control, but current science supports this traditional knowledge. Poria may help with insulin resistance, which helps your body process sugar so that it doesn’t all wind up in your blood. This helps with blood sugar levels and even hormone balance. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is full of antioxidants, which help prevent arterial hardening and heart disease.
Gut Health - The world is waking up to the importance of gut health, and poria is here to help. Research shows that poria can help strengthen the intestinal barrier to reduce leaky gut, bowel disease and even help reduce gluten sensitivity. Bread lovers, rejoice!
Poria has been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine under the name Fu Ling for at least 2000 years. It has been used for:
- Depression & anxiety
- Managing diabetes
- As a diuretic
- A sedative
- Preventing memory loss
- Fighting insomnia
- Tumor reduction
About the Fungus:
Poria’s full latin name is poria cocos because it resembles a coconut growing underground, with a crusty brown exterior and a whitish interior.
Poria is also sometimes called China root (though it’s not technically a root at all), Fu ling and tuckahoe.
It is mainly cultivated in China and Japan, but it can also grow under pine trees across North America and the world.
Found In (Wile Products)
- Stave the Crave herbal drink mix
Things to Know About Poria:
Poria has no known side effects or precautions. Still, it’s always a good idea to chat with your physician before starting an herbal treatment, just in case.
- Huang, Huai-Syuan, Hsin-Yu Wu, Wan-Ting Chang, Yu-En Lin, Yun-Ju Huang, Kuan-Hung Lu, Yun-Sheng Lu, Mei-Hsing Chen, and Lee-Yan Sheen. “The Antidepressive and Anxiolytic Effects of Formula Consisted of Poria Cocos and Cordyceps Militaris Waster Medium Extract in Unpredictable Chronic Mild Stress Animal Model.” Current Developments in Nutrition 4 (June 1, 2020): nzaa057_028. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzaa057_028.
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This article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one medical consultation with a professional. Wile, Inc researches and shares information and advice from our own research and advisors. We encourage every woman to research, ask questions and speak to a trusted health care professional to make her own best decisions.