Today's episode is dedicated to talking all about our favourite mushroom; the queen, reishi. Known as the "Mushroom of Immortality" and the mushroom of spiritual potential, this herb truly is a wonder and a gift to our health. Mason is joined by naturopath and friend Dan Sipple (clinical naturopath @the.functional.naturopath) to discuss the lore, history, clinical use and wide range of benefits of this ancient herb. Mason shares his experience with this famous herb and why he is so passionate about dropping reishi-bombs on everyone he meets. Dan shares his clinical and personal experiences with a range of different patients and how reishi has helped their healing journeys.
We will discuss:
- Reishi for sleep.
- Reishi and pregnancy.
- Autoimmunity and Reishi.
- How to use Reishi for candida.
- Reishi and the nervous system.
- How reishi calms the Shen (spirit).
- Whether children can take Reishi.
- How to take this magical mushie.
- How to ensure your reishi is quality.
- The compounds that make reishi adaptogenic.
- Reishi for balancing emotions and calming the mind.
Who is Dan Sipple?
Dan is a also known as The Functional Naturopath who uses cutting-edge evidence-based medicine. Experienced in modalities such as herbal nutritional medicine, with a strong focus on environmental health and longevity, Dan has a wealth of knowledge in root-dysfunction health.
Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?
Check Out The Transcript Here:
Mason: Hello, everybody. It's awesome to be back here with you. Very special podcast today. We are doing a herb review, a living, podcast monograph of reishi mushrooms. When I asked you all what were some of the key topics, what are the top things you want me to cover in this podcast, one of them was doing a deep dive into individual herbs and reishi was the one requested most. I was going to just do this solo, but then I had the idea to invite a friend of mine, Dan Sipple, who is also known as the Functional Naturopath. He practices down in Mollymook.
We've known each other for many years now, from right at the beginning, when I started first bringing tonic herbs into the SuperFeast line in the Northern Beaches when I was doing markets in Sydney. I've had so many incredible conversations with this guy about adaptogens and tonic herbs over the years. It's been very interesting for me because his mind is that of first of all, someone who's gone through years and years of illness after having coming down in his late teens to Epstein-Barr virus, glandular fever, just watching his health decline and basically getting chronically ill, eventually getting diagnosed with celiac disease and then from there, going into the modern medical approach, getting antibiotics, hitting, smashing his immune system, then becoming susceptible to basically every pathogen and infection possible and then having to rebuild that system from the bottom up.
Since then, he's learned a lot from me for his own healing. I like practitioners ... Not that we have to go through those kinds of initiations, but it's always nice talking to a practitioner that's got that much empathy for patients and people when they've gone through something really hectic like that with their health. He's gone and become a naturopath, currently practicing, and he really has an understanding, a next-level understanding of the body. He's dove into the research and understands the application of these tonics clinically, but he's a practitioner that I really respect in the sense that he understands how clinically we use those tonic herbs and then it bridges into long-term usage of these herbs so people can keep themselves healthy.
I'm going to invite Dan in the future, as well, to keep on tackling these individual herb podcasts and maybe even tackle a couple of other big issues, say, like candida and gut health because sometimes it gets lonely in the podcast booth and I like inviting someone in to nerd out with me and jam with me, so enjoy this beautiful podcast where we get into reishi mushroom, all its magic, all the research, all the law so you can get a deeper relationship with this incredible mushroom of immortality.
Mason: Hey, everybody and hey, Dan. How are you, man?
Dan Sipple: I'm good, well, and yourself?
Mason: Very good. Everyone, Dan is really good friend of mine. When we do special interviews like this today or special episodes, I should say, like we do today where we're going to go through and dice up a particular herb and do a, basically, living conversational monograph on it, sharing all the experiences and the ins and outs of a particular herb and today, it's reishi mushroom, I'm going to be inviting Dan along with me. Dan is a practicing naturopath, the Functional Naturopath over on Instagram. We've known each other for seven or eight years, as we were just reminiscing on. We've talked about tonic herbalism a lot. I like to fly off with the fairies about it a lot more. My focus is heavily long-term. We cross over in the usage longterm of herbs, but Dan is practicing and has been looking at tonic herbs, medicinal mushrooms, and adaptogens from a practitioners perspective, which I really value. Welcome, bro.
Dan Sipple: Thank you. Pleasure to be here, mate.
Mason: Where are you?
Dan Sipple: I am three hours south of Sydney in a place called Mollymook on the coast and been down here for about, oh, almost close to a year now practicing and seeing all lots of fanciful conditions and different sorts of lovely people. Yeah, it's a beautiful, beautiful area.
Mason: Beautiful. I love it down there. I'm going to have to come and visit you soon. You're going to have to come back up to Byron soon because it's pumping up here, as well. We're going into reishi mushroom. How long have you been taking and diving into reishi?
Dan Sipple: Good question. I think reishi was probably one of the first medicinal mushrooms I started to play around with and it would've been around that time where you and I first linked up at the good old French Forest markets and yeah, it was definitely the free source that I was introduced at that time with reishi. I think I was doing a couple of others around the time, maybe some cat's claw and oh, yeah, I've heard of it. I kind of read a bit about reishi and, perhaps, that being a really good one to start with and to just get into your body and a nice kind of gentle introduction to the medicinal mushrooms and so yeah, it started off with reishi. Then like a lot of people do, you weave your way into the other mushrooms, the chagas and etc., maitakes and cordyceps, etc., but still smash my daily reishi tonic every morning. That's kept up.
Mason: Nice one. It's an interesting one to be getting onto because herbalism, as you know, is normally something you've always got your herbs around and you're always smashing your garlic when you're getting sick, etc., etc., but for so many people, reishi is that bridge. When they get onto this herb for the first time, you know you're going to be doing something longterm, which is so different to the narrative in herbalism normally. I find it so interesting how that wave just broke over the last couple of decades in the West and reishi was the herb really like leading the charge more than any other herb.
You hear people get onto sometimes chaga, yeah. Pau d'Arco is another one that comes up a lot, as you were just doing, the Amazonian bark, but reishi, more than any other, is this one that cracks that clinical perception that a lot of people have around herbalism. They need to wait until they get sick. It's more of like people are called to it. I know I was. I was technically sick. I did have a big bout of candida running through my body back in 2009, 2010 when I started getting onto these herbs and reishi and chaga in tandem, but really reishi first was the first herb that I got onto.
I didn't really feel that there was anything wrong with me. I was very excited about my health and so the real call to action I had was it's always difficult for me to make this not sound wanky and I want to really tell people I wasn't particularly out there tripping out on a spiritual bandwagon at a time, but I just had this really deep, cellular calling to explore my longevity. It wasn't that there was a symptom of that not being present, but I could definitely feel that I didn't have the presence of a lifestyle and a herbal repertoire that was really satiating my desire to have a nice, long, healthy life. I didn't know that at the time, but it was that curiosity I had gone to reishi and first of all, it was that combo with chaga that was able to get the candida down, so I think we can tick that one off the list. Let's just dive quickly into that clinically and what you see. You happy to dive in and we'll just bounce all over the place?
Dan Sipple: Yes.
Mason: There's a huge conversation around candida, gut function. Maybe we won't go into the ins and out, although maybe we can do another podcast just about candida in the gut. I think that'd be fun in showing how the medicinal mushrooms are applicable in healing, but basically, immune deficiency, gut lining permeability were my two manifestations and so I had fungus coming out of my arms and I had it pretty heavy exhaustion. Getting my immune system back online was one of the keys. I did many other things and many gut restoration practices and foods and hydration, just basically getting sunlight into my body, etc, but getting onto reishi and chaga hard and getting my immune system out of a place of deficiency was the number one thing to get my body out of having a fungus. It's a cosmic giggle that I used a fungus primarily to do it. What's your clinical take, first of all, because I know FODMAPs, that guy that wrote The pH Miracle that had never heard of reishi mushroom when he was saying to people, if you have cancer and candida, don't ever have a mushroom.
Dan Sipple: Yes. Yes.
Mason: What's your take? Would you use it, not use it?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, look, that's going to come up a lot. I definitely do see a lot of candida, in practice and that yeast overgrowth and fungal presence along with usually a plethora of other stealth infections. Just getting people's heads around that is a big thing to start with in that they understand they've got a candida or they've been told they've got a fungal overgrowth. Then here you are as practitioner saying, "I'm going to bring you a medicinal fungus," and the first thing is like, "What do you mean you're going to give me a fungus when I've got a fungal problem?" I come across that all the time.
Essentially, if we look at how that fungus behaves in the wild in the sense that it conquers more pathogenic fungus in the wild and explain that to people and it's like we're going to do the same thing in your body. I think getting people to understand that and to understand that the reason that they've ended up this way, they've got this stealth pathogen load, is the fact that their immune system and their immune weaponry was dysfunctional in the first place and so it's like yeah, sure, we're going to tackle the pathogenic issue, yeah. At the same time, though, we're going to restore a deep kind of reservoir of immunological weaponry to make sure that this doesn't happen because there's different arms of immunity, which is what I explain to a lot of people. You've got to think of it like you've got different grades of troops in battle.
If there was ever any particular herb that just upgrades that whole army and brings it all into balance, reining in the guys that are too crazy, as well as turning up the guys that are deficient and just bringing in that nice balance it's reishi. It is definitely the whole class of medicinal mushrooms together, 100%, but I just really feel that reishi is, perhaps, the best one to bring into someone's life and constitution initially. Then when we can see the white blood cells coming up, we've got some traction happening, then it's good to play around with the other ones, bring the cordyceps in to really tonify the genius and some of that kidney primordial energy and the chagas and whatnot, but initially reishi, I find, is the best one to start off with.
Mason: Yeah, especially if there are all these fungal issues. Everyone, we're going to be nerding out and getting very excited about reishi. It's not a silver bullet. I remember listening to some shows or YouTube videos or something or reading Ron Teeguarden's chapter on reishi mushroom and just going oh, my God. Everyone in the world has to be on this herb. Then you'd read the next chapter and you'd do it about the next herb and the next herb.
Funny enough, as I say, reishi is still the herb that I think if I could get everyone on one herb it would still be reishi mushroom. I'm kind of like I'm really looking at that saying I had when I first found reishi and started bringing into SuperFeast. My whole intention was to start dropping reishi bombs all over the world. That had a lot to do with the fact of what it did in being a nervine and then from that, you start looking at why it's considered a Shen tonic and a spiritual tonic, why it was called the mushroom of spiritual potentiation, yada, yada, yada.
I'm going to go into some classifications, but that's something, everyone, we're going to be diving into today is the classifications of reishi mushroom in the Western system. I just named a couple. It's immune modulating. It's a nervine, so on and so forth. It's immune stimulating. We're going to be looking at the immune pathways that it works along. I'm going to be looking at the classifications that the Taoists threw down about it and also, just right now, I want to dive in and just share a little bit of practical stuff about this mushroom. Once we move through that, I really want to dive into the blood, like what you were just talking about in the white blood cell count and then start looking at it as like a Qi tonic and a blood builder because it's something that just doesn't get spoken about enough.
I'm getting all excited. There's too many places to go. Reishi mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum, it is an incredible mushroom that grows here in Australia. It grows down where you are. It grows where I am, where I'm at. Ganoderma lucidum doesn't grow as much in the Americas. You're going to see other types of Ganoderma, like Ganoderma tsugae, which is similar, just possibly without the stalk and a little bit thicker, but this badass red reishi we're talking about especially prolific in through Scandinavia, through Europe, and through Asia, where I just was, found a couple of red reishis as I was going along, found a couple of red reishis on Taoist mountains. It was the Taoists there that really captured this herb in usage medically in materia medicas. We see Shennong write about reishi.
Actually, there are several types of reishi, six types of reishi, which I believe included, like didn't include all Ganodermas. A lot of you will hear of the six colors of reishi. Red reishi is the one we're talking about today, Ganoderma lucidum. However, you're going to see when they're talking about reishi in the green sense, most likely they're talking about turkey tails or also talking about maitakes listed in those six. Ganoderma applanatum is another of the white and, as well, black we've got the sinensis, Ganoderma sinensis. Something similar in that sense is what we're going to be talking about when you look at the black reishi. The red reishi is what Shennong in that original materia medica in 200 BC. Remember, this is just the first time it was recorded. There's at least 4000 years of use within folk medicine within the Taoist system and, of course, it's going to go back much further than that.
What he's captured is that this is the most revealing, potent herb that he has to recommend and that was about ginseng. It was about all of them. There's reasons for that because this herb is such a bridge. That's what's laid down originally in that classification that here's a herb that is going to be able to tone jing and when you look at this mushroom, it's got a nice, varnished look and so you're going to have a bit of a nice, flat, red disk that is, I guess, like a nice, big, curved love heart as it starts to curl in on itself at the top.
If you took that and put at the back, if you snapped it off at the stalk, another thing with red reishi in China is linghzi. That is, you're going to be able to definitely see a defined stalk, a nice, dark stalk coming off as it grows off wood. Then on that disk, you're going to see a white underside that'll brown up as you dry that up and you get that I believe it's ergosterol transmutated and soaking up all that Vitamin D. You're going to find that it's got a nice varnished look on that top. The colour is going to go from anywhere from orange to black, even with Ganoderma lucidum, but red is generally what we're going to be looking for. Lucidum actually means shiny or brilliant.
We're going to see it growing on trees. Generally, if it's going to be getting up there into an oak in the Oriental regions and generally, it's going to start degenerating that tree. These are generalizations. It's not that one that really lives symbiotically like chaga does with birch on a living birch. Generally, you're going to find it on a bit of dead wood, especially dead oak. In Japan, plum trees is normally where you find it, where it continues to elude the Japanese. They say you're only going to find one of these spirit mushrooms on every like 100,000 plum trees. Then I believe it's maple that it's growing on over in the Americas. It's a mushroom. It's going to do whatever the hell it wants, but it's got patterns and so this varnished look is something that Taoist herbalists and shamans were getting excited about for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.
It has many many names. Linghzi literally means spirit plant, also means the mushroom or the plant of immortality, mushroom of immortality, the 10,000 year mushroom. In Japan, they call it the phantom mushroom. What we are really looking at here is a herb that tones Jing, as I was starting to allude to before, tones Qi, and tones Shen. Now, people often get confused by this and maybe you can talk a little bit to this in your clinical knowledge. People will say, "Okay, so if reishi tones Jing, is that the only jing herb that I need?" In a sense, it could be, if you're perfectly balanced and you need to just be taking one herb. Sometimes people are going to pick. It's generally going to be reishi or schisandra is going to be the only tonic herb that they're going to be taking because it is so well-rounded. In the beginning, if you are absolutely exhausted, that's when we bring in Jing herbs or a JING blend, rather than something like reishi. Yes, it tones Jing. Yes, it tones Qi. Yes, it tones Shen. It's going to be more potent on the Qi blood and shen spirit, emotional consciousness side of things. What's your take there clinically?
Dan Sipple: Yeah. I'd have to definitely agree with that. I find with a lot of people, particularly with people that I see that are dealing with really, really nasty stealth infections that have been there for a long time, that's when your really ideally as a practitioner want to bring in the reishi, but want to really bring in some nice Yin Jing herbs at the same time, so your he shou wu, your rehmannias, cordyceps, yes and no depending on the constitution, who they were before they got sick, too, so that's the other thing that I like to get a really good story on the person sitting in front of me of how their constitution was throughout life leading up to when they first went down and from there, you can get a really good understanding of what combination of herbs is going to best suit that person.
Yes, there's definitely times when you just literally start with the reishi knowing that it is going to hit on all three treasures and that that's all that person may be able to handle at that time. You want to just give them a good three, four months just working on that reishi to level things out. That's when at that point, you can reevaluate. You can say, "How are you feeling?" "Oh, good. My energy's come back. I can't feel my morning sore throats. I'm back at the gym doing a little bit of light exercise," blah, blah, blah. That's when you can really then go in with the more Jing, affiliated tonic, so your cordyceps, dear antler in some cases, etc.
Mason: Yeah, and especially when you're dealing with stealth pathogens and infection. I think that's a really important one for people to realize. If you're going to be going into the mushy world or the tonic herbal world, reishi is a real safe place if you don't want to be rocking the boat in a gnarly way. It's like an extreme example, like if you have a Lyme infection, Lyme co-infection, you don't necessarily want to be coming and bringing back so much Jing so quickly to the body that the body is going to start throwing out that infection and hurting like crazy.
Dan Sipple: Exactly. Yeah.
Mason: Then again, it's same with reishi. It's nothing to sneeze at. When you have stealth infection, we are recommending that maybe this is a good point to get into, but then you start slow. I know there's a number of different types of reishi out there, like types you can use clinically, like our extract powder where you're more like creating your own dose. I know from my point of view, I'd be getting people half teaspoon at every point to start on that as a dose and then get up nice and quick.
I just want to cover again the classification within the Chinese system, slightly warming herb, as you can imagine, because it's such a hot medicine, such as shen medicine. I just always I haven't found with one of these herbs, like with the tonics, I can't ... Again and again there is a paranoia in the traditional Chinese medical practitioner realm of going if there's a slightly warm condition, you can't give anything that the pharmacopeia says is warm or classifies as warm. I completely agree. I agree in times of like influenza, when there's extreme heat symptoms and you've got a lot of energy moving up from the liver and blocking in through the head and you've got a fever and you put something like garlic in there that's a traditional remedy for a cold and you're just going to exacerbate it.
With tonics, with medicinal mushrooms, I agree people need to be aware if you're chronically dry, maybe don't have schisandra. If you are absolutely chronically constitutionally hot, maybe you're going to find reishi isn't going to be your medicine to begin with, but that has been so seldom, so seldom for me. It just hasn't ever come up as an issue. I think this is what people don't realize is when you get into tonic herbalism and more long form of use of medicinal mushrooms, you haven't fractured it down to a treatment that's treating particular symptoms and so you are going to have other lifestyle factors and if you're switched on and if you're getting onto herbs like reishi preventatively, you are switched on and you are already going to be taking other measures like hydration, possibly like other herbs and diet that are going to manage your constitutional temperature and keep you not boiling over and why it's possible to have a heating herb despite the fact that you feel quite hot. What's your take on that?
Dan Sipple: Yes. I couldn't agree more. That's something that I remember through my training years when I was doing my uni degree. I would always hit up the practitioners that had been in practice a long time and had done a lot of TCM and Western herbal medicine and start to ask them because it's like yeah, although we've got this sort of textbook that's telling us that we can't do this in this condition and yada, yada, how has that translated for them in practice and what have they found? I can now honestly say the vast majority of naturos I would always run that past would say, "You know what? Yes, we use that as a guide. We honor that tradition, but we don't often see that and when we have thrown a mix together that's had maybe a warming herb within it, in an acute scenario, we've never seen it manifest as a negative kind of result. If anything, it's always been complementary.
As I say, it's definitely good to honour that wisdom and that code, but at the same time, I haven't really seen it be problematic in clinical practice, not that at the same time I'm trying to instigate it. I'm still very conscious of that that we want to go and get the really heating tonics when someone does come down with an acute nasty condition. Having said that, a lot of the people I see, they're people that have these really low grade, chronic, nasty stealth infections that have been going on for a long time. Often in those people, it ends up going into an autoimmune type manifestation, as well.
Then you've got not a tricky scenario, but you've got this kind of situation where it's like hey, you want to stimulate the immune weaponry to come back online. At the same time, you don't want to over exacerbate those rogue cells that are confused and that are attacking, supposedly, soft tissue, so it's like as a clinician, what do you then do? That's where I really get excited because medicinal mushrooms do both at the same time, essentially, so they're going to raise the parts of the immune system that are deficient and they're going to just come in and really down regulate those individual we call them inflammatory, so I'd say the parts of the immune system which are rogue and are attacking the body mistakenly, so we get this nice balance.
I think that's so valuable when you compare that to, say, a pharmaceutical intervention in an autoimmune-type case that's just going to shut down the immune system globally and hope that they catch the rogue cells in the process. It's like that's almost ridiculous. We're wiping out the whole arm of immunity and it's like the person gets a symptomatic reduction, but what about leaving that person open to opportunistic infections going forward from there. In fact, they probably developed this autoimmune condition as a result of having a stealth infection in the first place. Yeah, I just come back to that fact that mushrooms are just that perfect balancing agent where they really can satisfy both those extremes.
Mason: Wow. Well, let's dive into that. Firstly, from your experience, could you just quickly explain to folks because I just went in there talking about hot conditions and hot illnesses and diseases or hot constitutions. Could you quickly just share your two cents on what that actually is in practical terms and then let's dive into autoimmunity again.
Dan Sipple: Yeah. Sure. A heat condition we usually associate with an acute infection, so where someone's struggling to mount an efficient response to a stimuli, so obviously in this case an infection. We're typically seeing symptoms of sweating, joint pain, nausea, fatigue, lots and lots of inflammation and heat in the body, so there is, perhaps, a concern that if you further stimulate that response of the immune system that that response then becomes more exacerbated, but as you were saying, the reality of that happening is very, very rare. I just do not see that sequence. I just don't see it.
Mason: It's interesting because I know you've gone and everybody, we will keep on coming back to reishi. We'll make this a mega-long interview, if we have to, but Dan and I haven't talked for a while about these kinds of things, so we're going going to go on all these different tangents, so just strap on and drink your reishi tonic and enjoy. I think one of the things that does happen is it becomes very difficult. There's a reason why materia medicas weren't like the primary choice in the longterm student-teacher relationships were established because it's like this is the rule and this is when it bends into a multidimensional reality of situational and personal situation. Then all of a sudden, every rule gets broken, but in the end, you see the rule stays the same if you just change your worldview and actually got into that empathetic enough to get into that person's shoes, into your patient's world or the populations' world. Hope that made sense, everybody, but I know that's something because we talked when you were at Endeavour, is that right?
Dan Sipple: Yeah.
Mason: I have a lot of friends that went to Endeavour, really good things to say about it, really good education. That's my sincere opinion. However, it is always, as every type of Western education that has blocked into a four-year period has a certain like and then go clinical and then go off your pop and then go and heal people and tell people what you've been told is uniformly true, even though you haven't spent years and years and years embodying the nuances of that and really sitting there with someone, with a practitioner who has experience candidly who can explain to you the nuances of, say, something like reishi mushroom, but just coming back to the reishi used. Not a silver bullet, but just we're talking about it today so that's why we're come back here.
You had to go really looking for that information and I don't feel like students really feel or they sometimes might not have the teachers that are really going to be as candid with them unless you know exactly how to ask. I know a lot of teachers in institutions feel like they're going to get in trouble if they go outside of the curriculum and oh, gosh, yes, my experience, I know that you can use a herb like reishi if there's an autoimmune condition or a hot condition and I know that and yet, my sovereign self gets a little bit worried. What if I recommend it and what if something happens and oh, no, what if something happens and I'm liable and all that shit starts creeping in, which all of a sudden, we hit this massive glass ceiling.
A lot of the reasons why I personally didn't go and become a practitioner yet, but also one of the reasons why I like asking you so many questions over the years and I feel like you've really been going and pestering your lecturers a lot and getting a lot of answers and as you said, somewhat just went and got sessions. It sounded like you quickly interned with someone to break all those institutional rules that you had, very good foundations, but it's a master education system that can create the foundation of rules and then have ensconced in it your ability to not get dogmatically sucked in and learn how to break it while still not going existential and remaining within your foundations. You seem to have gone and done that for yourself, which I admire. Hope that made sense, everybody. Is there anything you want to throw into that?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, no, I think you put that well. I myself have an autoimmune condition. I was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 19 and so that one for me, it was a personal sort of quest for me to work out what experience there was on clinicians' behalves using tonic herbs and even going further, mate, and looking at stuff like echinacea, which we know is touted as more strictly an immune stimulant. I wanted to know if that had ever been used in autoimmune disease. That's what I became obsessed with and even for something like that, everyone I spoke to and the clinical experience was that that was even immune modulating and was able to intelligently go in and weave their way into someone's system and work out was rogue, bring that down, and then nourish up the stuff that was deficient. I'm like if echinacea does that, I've got no worries about reishi mushroom. You know what I mean?
Mason: Yeah. Let's go into the ins and outs of how it actually does it within the immune system when there's an autoimmune condition. Tell us about the mighty reishi immune modulator.
Dan Sipple: Yeah, sure. Obviously, well, not obviously, with immune cells, cells of the immune system originate from the bone marrow. They travel up through the thymus gland where they mature. Then from the thymus gland, they then get told what they're basically what their role is going to be and so we have different, I guess, subtypes of what we call T-helper cells, so we have Th1. Then we have a class of Th2. We have the T regulatory cells, like the cells that oversee all those armies and calm them all down and bring them into balance. Then we have the really harsh, kind of heavy hitters, which are the Th17.
Just briefly, Th1, that's your infectious ability to mount and resolve infections. Th2 we usually associate with that of parasites and allergies. T regulatory cells are kind of the balancers of those armies. They come in and just kind of level out the playing field. Then we have Th17, which is more of a new class of immune system cells, which are more pro-inflammatory. That's that class we see in autoimmune disease that have gone awry, so it's more the Th17 cells we know now, whereas back in the day, we used to think it was strictly the seesaw balance of Th1 and Th2 and if you had an autoimmune disease, the Th1 was ridiculously high and your Th2 was low, so it's like a seesaw, right? We know with allergies and parasites it's the opposite. The Th2 side is often too high. The Th1 is really deficient. That simplistic seesaw theory is now considered a thing of the past because we discovered that no, it's actually the Th17 cells which have gone awry in autoimmune disease and they're confused and attacking soft tissue and whatnot.
Once I discovered that and was able to remove myself from the Th1, Th2 confusion which a lot of people with an autoimmune disease will read about because in the blogosphere, there's still ridiculous amounts of information about that and lots of misinformation about that I found as a clinician. A lot of what I do in practice is reeducate people about that. I think it helps them feel a lot better because there's this consensus that oh, I have an autoimmune disease. That means my Th1 side is too high. I don't want to take a Th1 stimulant herb because it's going to make it worse. You know what I mean? That concept was just and I was even there for years myself. That was the information you had at the time.
We know now that these botanicals, man, they're just so much more intelligent than that. You can't just say that a herb goes into someone's body and then it stimulates that pathway and that's all it does and it's going to make someone worse if that pathway is already high, ridiculous. What we know now is with a lot of modern research is that reishi mushroom, and no joke, it literally pulls down Th17 cells, which are the rogue class of autoimmune cells. Yes, someone with an autoimmune disease does still have them, but in autoimmune disease, like I say, they're too high. It pulls them down. It stimulates T regulatory cell function. They're the guys that kind of just check out everything and level the playing field. It does amplify the anti-infectious component of the immune system, which is what you want. You want that.
Like I say, there's a massive fear around that for so long that I find that people outside, over 90% of the time, someone with an autoimmune disease ends up that way because they've had this stealth infection going on for so long that it's like you want your Th1 cell weapon because you've got an underlying stealth pathogen likely the root cause of your autoimmune disease. You know what I mean? We bring that down, it's likely that we're going to see the autoimmune symptoms come down, too. Yeah, so I kind of went on a rant there, but hopefully, that answers the question a little bit and brings some.
Mason: Yeah, it does. Have you used it in particular, like you mentioned celiac. You're using it for autoimmune conditions of like so your gut, of the thyroid. Where do you see it being effective most?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, look, I'll be honest and say I haven't seen every class of autoimmune disease come in and been given medicinal mushrooms in every single autoimmune disease. There's so many out there. The typical ones I see are definitely Hashimoto's thyroiditis. We see lupus. We see joint connective tissue autoimmune disease. I've used reishi in all those conditions. Lots of autoimmune gut conditions and it's like yeah, reishi could be used, but when it's a gut condition, you may go to other herbs in that context. Obviously, it's still very much about treating the person in front of you and looking at what that particular person needs and not giving the one herb to everyone. I can say that if you're trying to bring about balance to an immune system, regardless, reishi mushroom is, in my opinion, one of the best and one of the safest.
Mason: For me, it was interesting because back when it was at the markets where I got my initiation into reishi. I always was very humble about where these herbs would be used and where they wouldn't be used. In the beginning, obviously, I just didn't have the education that I did now. I've had people come up with and of course I've had the extreme immune deficiencies and I'd be very happy. I knew enough about reishi mushroom to be getting people onto that when they have a deficiency of an immune system. The amount of people that would come up with autoimmune conditions and they'd walk up and I'd have a little reishi sitting there and they'd walk up and be like, "Oh, what's this? Maybe I'll be getting onto that."
Even I was still a little bit in that, and I think rightfully so, in that. I was just a little bit on their tiptoes about no, it is a bit of an immune stimulant. That's what it says in the materia medicas, in the modern materia medicas, that's an immune stimulant, and so I'd be like no, no, no, maybe it's not the best one. Maybe it's not the one for you and I'd talk people off it. I just couldn't talk people off it, whether it was Hashimoto's or rheumatoid arthritis or whatever was going on, but gut issues included.
Whether it was candida issues, whether it was ulcers in the gut, whether it was celiac, I'd love to pair up with lion's mane, if there's anything going on with the gut, and since tremella, as well, just been so soothing for the medicinal mushrooms. That's just for the medicinal mushrooms, of course. I like my fresh aloe vera and other things. I'm sure there's a plethora of things we could talk about to heal the gut, but I couldn't talk them off it and I'd just be like just start slow with me if you are going to be getting onto reishi mushroom.
To this day, I haven't had a negative effect. I think we've spoken about the fact that the worst that's happened is nothing, which is fair enough, as well, but this herb might not be your medicine in treatment. Not to say that it might not ... If you're vibing it, go for it. There's always going to be something there. If it's just your mind telling you you heard this and your mind's telling you you heard this and your mind's telling you I need to go and take that herb because I need to try everything, might be a little less effective, but you might've lucked out and found a herb that's going to do a lot of good for you. It can't hurt. It definitely can't, especially if you start nice and low in dose and go up from there.
That was definitely my experience in finding people who the three people that came and found reishi mushroom, maybe four, people who had autoimmune conditions, people that had extreme immune deficiencies and the extreme manifestation with people that had low white blood cell counts, people going through treatments for particular illness and having to get white blood cell transplants every couple of weeks and then just bottoming out and using reishi mushroom. That obviously wasn't happening every time.
That was just an extreme example, but people who did have low white blood cell counts using reishi and a bunch of other things, blood building diet and lifestyle to build themselves back up, very effective in that sense. People who are spiritual seekers, people who felt that they were being pacified in the Western world and now are wanting to dive deeper into themselves, understand themselves will go into it is a Shen tonic, and then moms, also moms who are just wanting to get the family healthy mom. They are the four people that those days the markets that would be getting onto it.
I still will talk about it as a Shen tonic, but while we're on the topic, I just want to bring to light the fact that in the Taoist classification, warming, bitter, liver, lung, heart, kidney, which, when considering that it's a Jing, Qi, Shen tonic, toning all three treasures, the fact that it's going in such a beautiful way to those four organ systems and doing a lot of toning is magic. Just as many herbs will be toning many organs, yet have their focus, I find it's definitely top heavy. Heart would probably be that center channel that I see reishi toning and performing most of its magic. However, nothing to sneeze at when it comes to what it does for lung for folks dealing with asthma. Then that combination of allergies between the lung and then the liver being hepatoprotective. Been used heavily for hepatitis for thousands of years, as well. Just want to throw that one in there.
Mason: In helping the body tone its histamine response and dealing with allergies, I've seldom seen a longterm usage of a herb do better treatment wise. I'm very confident with it because it's one of those things that's been used and has been spoken about with such reverence and such certainty for so many thousands of years and what it can do for viral infection of the liver, for liver disease, for allergies, extreme allergies, both seasonal and constitutional. Obviously, the prior is much easier to treat with a herb like reishi. Constitutional shifts take time and dedication, and then asthma. Have you dove into that at all? What I've just seen time and time again it's been very useful, so you're going to have like 20% of the time, it's like that whoa, like that's an effective treatment, 80% of the time been very useful. What's your take there?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, 100%, there and look, a lot of the things that I do in addition to the stealth infections and the autoimmune disease is allergies. That's more so I've talked about the different T-helper cell subtypes with Th17 and T1 and whatnot being associated with autoimmune disease, but we know with allergies, it's the Th2 arm that is supposedly too high and that's having an exacerbated response. That's where I do find that reishi mushroom in particular is really, really effective is in bringing down that arm of immunity and balancing that with the T1 and so if we think about that seesaw, we want that to be nice and flat and in allergies, it's like it's tipped on its side and the Th2 cells are too rogue.
We're having too much of that allergic response, sneezing, histamine, dermatological stuff, and so again, bringing that balance back to the immune system, there's no better herb, in my opinion. Sure, we're going to pair it up with other herbs to complement that, but there's just so much good data and empirical data, so there's empirical data on allergies and there's really good modern data on bringing down the allergenic part of the immune system with beta glucans from reishi mushrooms. Yeah, absolutely use it just as much as I would in immune deficiency as I would with immune exacerbations and allergies and autoimmune, for sure.
Mason: And so we're looking at those ganodermic acids, those unique beta glucans, which is, again, I'm going to allude to the fact is why ... It's one of those things that at the markets, I remember there were people coming and going and superfoods coming and going and just like it is today in the health market in this shit storm of products and things we have coming out. Time and time again feedback that people would have for me is just like they'd go and try a bunch of things, but if things got real or their intentions got really strong or if they were sick, they'd come and see me and they'd come back to the herbs and the mushies.
That's what I see now and that's kind of where I sit in terms of having a business like SuperFeast that makes these herbs available to the lay person as I am and been able to use it in the diet longterm. I can't muck around in their effectiveness and so when we're looking at those compounds that we're talking about that allow that immune modulation to occur when it comes to deficiency of immune system, overactive immune system, allergies, asthma, so on and so forth, asthma to a less extent has been hit by these compounds, but still, it's an effective herb for it. This is why I keep on reiterating to people why I can't muck around with and showing them that the ganodermic acids, the beta glucans, polyphenols, and the immune regulators like the triterpenes are in their most holistic form in a form that is in resonance with the energetics of nature and that is why I grow them on oak primarily and why I do disagree with growing on grain.
I just want to throw out there everybody and one of the reasons for that is because these things like these polysaccharides that we're talking about and then you break down the unique polysaccharides and we see that it's beta glucans in which medicinal mushrooms are dripping in that allows all this immune modulation to occur, but then you break it down, it's the ganodermic acids within the reishi specifically. If you're growing on grain, you're going to get false readings and they're going to be able to say, "Look, we got 30% polysaccharides," and a lot of the time, that polysaccharide is going to be from the cereal or grain that it's grown on. Growing herbs on other mediums like coffee, I think, is good ecologically. I think it's good for colonary mushrooms, but when you are looking for the results of longevity, which is kind of the primary intention of what Shennong, why Shennong and the ancient Taoist shaman said that it was such a great herb because you take this for a long time and it'll lighten your body, lighten your spirit, balance your emotions and your psyche so that you can have a nice, long, healthy life and your wisdom can pour forth.
Then at the same time, if you have that other intention of using this herb to longterm overcome some of these issues, immunological issues, you need it grown on wood and you need it grown for me, primarily, the only viable crop that still gets it grown in enough of a wild state, Di Tao is that a lot of you know that sourcing philosophy that I have, growing in where I just was visiting like last week, I was in Darby Mountain seeing where the reishi was grown on wild oak and again, just everything that we've talked about is just reiterated for me further why I always have to be sourcing like this and not mucking around because people have some pretty gnarly intentions and some of you might not know that.
Some of you might think that it's just a fun, trendy mushroom and it is very fun, but no, a lot of people have some pretty extreme immune deficiencies that they're looking to this mushroom to help them with and a lot of the time, it can. Not every time, not a silver bullet, but it can be an absolute game changer for people and if people in those situations with extreme symptoms of overactive immune system or deficient immune system, if they're going to be taking action, if they hear about reishi and they're going to be taking action, you don't know how many actions you have in you at those times when you're really ill and so it's why I have this same intention now as SuperFeast said did all those days back in the markets when I'd be talking to the moms that have Hashimoto's and talking to the moms that had these families that would be going down sick with the flu for three weeks in the middle of winter and it's just like it's not on and that's why I got to make my reishi better. I just wanted to throw that out there, man.
Just before we dive a little bit more into the Shen and then maybe into the usage of reishi and what it does for the nervous system and helping us calm and sleep deeply even, can you just talk about the heart toning, cardiovascular effects, what your view is on it being considered an actual blood tonic in Taoism and then I might cover the Qi tonic aspect a little bit.
Dan Sipple: Yeah, definitely. The first thing I'll say about cardiovascular conditions is I strongly suspect that a lot of the positive results we see in cardiovascular disease with reishi mushroom I suspect is not happening directly through its contact with the cardiovascular system, if that makes sense, but by its nervous system effects and by the liver.
Mason: Please tell me more.
Dan Sipple: Having said that, there is definitely a lot of data coming out in a Western sense about the cardiovascular protective effects of reishi mushroom, particularly with regard to its strong antioxidant capacity, its ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels, which is what we term the bad cholesterol.
Mason: It's an amazing cholesterol regulator. I kind of always forget about it and it's like the most marketable thing about reishi. I guess do you want to touch on that, your thinking of importance of bad and good cholesterol? Obviously, it's important, but I think the health thing is kind of like snapped out of its stupor about thinking that cholesterol is the ultimate evil, right?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, absolutely. I'm happy when I reflect and see that army of people coming forward now just totally turning the tide on that old '90s mindset of cholesterol being bad and people actually go into it knowing that you need that molecule for your hormones.
Mason: So good.
Dan Sipple: Yeah. A lot of people recognize that and not to say that you go spastic on the ghees and the coconut oil. All things in balance, of course, but just that intention and people having that education now knowing that it's like if you wipe out your cholesterol, you are going to severely feel the effects of low hormone production. It's a fact. You need cholesterol molecule. You need that to make pregnenolone to down those specific pathways, whether you're a female or male.
Mason: Just actually on that because it's one of the things I don't always push reishi as an endocrine tonic or definitely as a tonic necessarily that's going to be working directly on those hormones and sex hormones and creating those healthy foundations, but it's another one of those indirect things, I guess. If you're toning nervous system, if you're toning the ... I guess nervous system is where it lies in reishi, but if you're bringing an adaptogen like reishi in and bringing that adaptation back, the stress is going to be coming down and then you look at what it does for regulating the cholesterol, you're naturally going to get more of an in alignment symphony of hormones. I mean Tahnee swears that and He Shou Wu, that combination was the last thing that our endocrine system needed to kick over the line and really start getting some rhythm back. I just wanted to throw that in there, as well.
Dan Sipple: Definitely. That's a nice segue, I think, into the fact that you would see it so much, I've seen it so much and we've seen it with our beautiful wives is taking reishi and you probably get that all the time. Can I take this throughout pregnancy and leading up to pregnancy? From what you and I have seen, it's not only yes, but you're doing yourself such a good service by doing that. Then it's like can my baby take reishi? It's like yes. I think I was mentioning the other day, I still every morning get my little boy Keanu on a reishi tonic. It's the first thing we do. It's in his tea every single day.
Yeah, I just think that's a good one to bring to the folks that are listening that may be concerned about pregnancy and what it's going to do to the body and it's just such a good, gentle balancer. That's how we really have to start thinking about reishi is that it's just going to balance. Whether you're excess or deficient, it's going to bring you back to balance. I think, like you said, it's not a silver bullet. Of course, there's no herb that's a silver bullet and everyone is individual, but the conditions we're seeing today are conditions of imbalance. We're seeing circadian rhythm imbalance. We're seeing stress hormone imbalance. We're seeing nervous system imbalance. We're seeing sexual dysfunction. We're seeing immune balance and so again, if there is one herb that ticks off so many of those areas, it would be reishi.
Mason: I hear you, man. Building blood, what do you reckon?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I often pair it up with folks that bottomed out with iron. Not that it contains any iron, per se, but you often see when you start bringing those red blood cells back into production and seeing everything level out, you want to pair that up with reishi, as well as the other beautiful herbs we have in TCM to build blood.
Mason: That's one that always surprises me, as well, with reishi mushroom. It's hard because when you're working with tonic herbs, you get excited about all of them and you always want to have like oh, try a little of this and try this one and try this one. Reishi is one of those ones it's kind of my girl. I like it to be there in any protocol, kind of why I like sitting there as a lone soldier at nighttime, in the nighttime tonic. Personally, I do like reishi at night. This morning, I had reishi in my chai with some cordyceps and chaga. I like having it in the morning, as well, but making it like a nighttime tonic because there's room for your tonic herbal practice at night.
For a lot of people, most of their jings and their chaga is in their mushy mixes and their nootropics are going in in the morning tonic. Nighttime, in a nice, nighttime chamomile nightcap, it sits there alone and it means reishi's going to kind of generally always be in there. I try and push it as much as possible. It's even better one that you don't feel like you have to have every day because then it becomes sustainable to be doing over years and decades ideally. I'd like to see that happening for all the reasons we've been talking about, but especially it being considered a Shen tonic.
There's a couple of reasons why I think it's the primary Shen tonic. A Shen tonic in Taoism, as I know you're aware of, but I might just allude to it just for some people that aren't coming in consistently and nerding out with us, it's kind of more considered that aspect of our body that is our spirit, but not your soul. I want to just kind of talk about this a little bit because the aspects of our soul, we will talk about them in future podcasts, the Hun and Po, but the Shen is your spirit coming forth, especially from your ability to have a nice balance interpretation, usage, evolution, absorbing, releasing of your emotions.
You've got a nice, healthy, mature symphony of hormones correlated to emotions running through your body. Now, when you can process those emotions, what you find is your mind is going to be able to come into closer consortium with your physical body. Now, when your mind and your consciousness are grounded, not running amok, in consortium with your body and then starting to tie in with the natural world around you, when you can actually be present and watch the world around you, you become less of an asshole and more of a productive, growing, evolving human because you have emotions that are useful to yourself and the people around you or you've got control of them, so you're not leaking those emotions all over everyone around you and, at the same time, you're in your own beautiful boundary, to an extent, where you are learning how to respect the fact that you are part of an ecosystem and that it's not all about you. You can almost contain your consciousness and then use it to the best of your ability for yourself and those around you. Now, that's Shen.
Now, reishi is considered the top shen tonic in all of Taoist herbalism, so quite important. It's like it's why Shennong had it as the most revered herb and why it's being recommended more than any other herb by tonic herbalists around the world, more than any other, especially if you're the Taoist system. Anyway, so why is that? Let's have a little bit of a bounce back and forth about why it's going to be the number one Shen tonic.
Now, first of all, I'm going to pause because so we're pausing here. You guys are about to ... I've nearly been going an hour, so I'm going to end this one and then I'm going to start another one, so we're going to jump straight back on. You ready? Three, two, one. May reishi have mercy on our soul.
Mason: First reason that you see this herb being so incredible as a shen tonic is because if the body is stressed and not in a place of balance, we've been alluding to how much it can bring the body back into balance. What you're going to find is that stress is going to take you out of your Shen and your spirit is essentially not going to have the capacity to emerge from the heart, heart being the home of Shen, and also to live in that cavity of the heart. How do I put it? I know it can be a little bit conceptual, but at the same time, we see this playing out again and again and again in terms of when you get the body out of stress, over the years, you become less of an asshole and you get to balance your emotions you have more time and space to work through anger, fear, whatever it is.
We see that reishi is an immune modulator. It gets into the body whether it's a parasite or viral load, especially a fungal load I also see it being very effective in helping the body to sort that out not from a treatment level, but from a constitutional level, constitutional immunological level so that the body can get on top of it and eliminate that stress. Love that. Then getting into the bone marrow, one of the ways that it's doing that, getting into the bone marrow and helping to actually lift your capacity to produce and hold a white blood cell count. Amazing. That's going to take a lot of stress off the body because you're not subconsciously walking around with your fingers crossed hoping you don't get sick. Again, it's not a silver bullet, but that's something I'm sure you can see like a calm come over patients.
One thing I like about the way that you practice is that you're there to treat, work with them, be empathetic, get the readings from their body so that they can start to take the reins of their own health and their own life back. Then when you start giving them a pat on the bum on the way out, you ensure that they're ideally taking the reins themselves and one of the things that's necessary I think we've spoken about quite a lot, as well, is people feeling, like really having the perception of wow, I've been taking action and my immune system's been coming back online. It's not like I'm feeling my seesawing T cells. It's not like I'm feeling phagocytosis happening, although you might be. It's not about that. It's about feeling the sovereignty of the immune system come back thanks to your actions and it's why it's so important to not be with a practitioner that has their head up their own ass and thinks that it's their ego that's doing the healing. At the same time, that's healing systems that attribute the healing to the drug that is a herb and not working with the energy of that herb going in and restoring what the body naturally has and has the right to have. That's going to take a lot of stress off the body.
Now, getting the liver protected is, I think, another huge reason why this herb, reishi mushroom, is considered one of the most Shen nourishing, spiritual herbs going on because basically, if you don't have the leader of your army, your organ army protected and vulnerable, at any time, you could have the absolute leader of metabolic function taken out at any time and that's generally what does happen. We get clogged up. We start losing our capacity for our general or artist or composer or whatever archetype you want to put into the liver to actually do the symphony thing when it comes to our hormonal circadian rhythm. I feel like that's one of the reasons why it's so incredible.
Nervous system. Nervous system and what it does actually for the neural cells of the heart. Of course, the entire nervous system, when you start bringing more adaptability to this area of the body, you ... I like talking about nervous system because everyone knows what it's like to be tweaked within their nervous system. Everyone knows what it's like to be nervous and on edge. Everyone knows what it's like to smash a couple of coffees too many and feel like they're just strung out and on edge and they feel all right, man. I feel like I'm under threat here. They're in the sympathetic nervous system. It's so visceral.
When you have a herb that doesn't just come in like chamomile I love, but you do like a nice, good boil of chamomile, which is useful at night sometimes when you're tweaked out. It becomes a sedative. You're basically like all right, nervous system, drag you whether you like it or not, get here and get parasympathetic and just sedate and sleep. Awesome sometimes, but reishi not so much like that, more a nervine, more an adaptogen nourisher of the nervous system, which is going to bring your capacity based on the environment that you're in, being able to bring that more and more into balance. It's the neural cell toning that I find really interesting and the cardiovascular toning because as we're talking about with Shen and one of the reasons and this is going to lead to sleep, is going to lead to anxiety, is going to lead to mental issues because that's probably clinically, not that I'm a clinician, but say for an extreme symptom, anxiety is probably the number one reason why people take reishi mushroom. It's interesting to look at why that would be, made that practical.
One of the reasons I always come back to is the heart. You tone the heart. Now, we're talking about capital H Heart, which is the whole organ system, Heart organ system within the Chinese Taoist system. Then we're also talking about little H, actual physical heart, 50% or more being neural cells, and you tap into the nervous system, you start seeing that the heart physical organ is such a huge part of the nervous system in perceiving what's going on in your surroundings, perceiving emotions that other people are having, perceiving the weather, perceiving social situations, where you are at in life. If you are able to ground down and actually know it's that feeling when you have a breath, you're calm, and all of a sudden, you perceive what your peripheral nervous system and I've learnt this heavily through Stephen Harrod Buhner. I'll put his book in the show notes, wonderful earth poet, wonderful science herb nerd.
He shares a lot about the fact that the heart is that perceptive organ. The peripheral nervous system is going to be taking all this electromagnetic information through the body and feed that up to the heart and if you are grounded and if you are in your Shen, this is where the reishi mushroom starts coming in and nourishing your capacity to be here. Your heart will perceive all this information, send that up through an unmediated line up to the brain and that big top down to the end there that is thinking all the time. Now, this might be a quite ... After I finish this point, this might be a good time for us to talk about the vagus nerve. I think I had a friend once call it ... I had a beautiful word for toning the vagus nerve that he completely made up, but it sounded so poetic. I have to go back and look. It was like something in the realm of vaginal toning. It wasn't, because that obviously means something else, but it was like a really deep, guttural, vagus and nervy word. Anyway, I'll have to come up with that.
Dan Sipple: Let me know, yeah.
Mason: I'll let you know. Sends up that information to the brain because the heart doesn't speak English to really decipher what we perceived and the world around us. Then if your heart is somewhere comfortable for your Shen to live, for your intelligence to live, if it's nice and calm and if you have balanced emotions, your shen is going to be sitting around the fire of your heart nice and calmly in that nice ecosystem. Then it will send that ciphered information down from the brain, back to the heart for action to take place.
Thus, when you are unsettled, when you are stressed, when you have stress hormones going through your body, your HPA axis is going to be running amok. When your HPA axis is running amok because you're too stressed, you are not going to be able to have realistic reactions to the world around you. You're going to be running off held emotions and memories, probably based in fear or general survival that live in the amygdala. This is going to be playing like a projector in your brain. You're not going to be able to get these electromagnetic signals coming in through your heart, allowing your heart to do its thing, so you're atrophying an aspect of your nervous system and then what happens is all that information just bypasses the heart or you don't be still and you're not still enough to feel that there's some interpretation going on and just goes straight to the mind and the mind's just taking action based on past experiences, passed on future predictions, and that might be coming from places of probably fear, probably trying to dominate, probably trying to not be dominated, so on and so forth, all the beautiful virtues that we see playing out in the Western world.
Because reishi mushroom in many ways tones all those functions, it allows that physiological electromagnetic and photon-based aspects and pathways and it's kind of like a living ecosystem in itself enabling us to do that because it tones all those aspects and helps us, not a silver bullet, but helps us get back into a place of balance so we can perceive more and that we can do all those things I was saying, like I was talking about. That's why I was saying Shen tonic. That's why it's a herb that was used in conjunction with meditation because meditation heavily does these things. Walks through nature, walkabout, watching the trees, watching the water, watching the waves, all of these things help tone ongoingly these functions within the body and this is why I like dropping reishi bombs as much as possible. Sometimes people have been so deficient.
As you know, we've seen over the years we've talked about it a lot that the reishi phenomena that again, not every time, but some people are lucky enough to have like ... I was like this with He Shou Wu when I first tried it. It was phenomenal. It just smashed me and I couldn't help but feel it. A lot of people feel reishi, especially if they have high amounts of anxiety, if they have high amounts of fear playing out in their world, or high amounts of spiritual suppression or high amounts of evening news. Am I right?
Just like get onto reishi mushroom and chamomile tea and bang, crack, and all of a sudden feel and come back. I don't know if you have this in clinic, but I had it coming to the markets years ago and people call us up and write on Instagram going, "I don't know what that is. I don't know what's in that herb or that mushroom, but I'm feeling me. I'm feeling liberated," not about immune system, although that always comes up, as well, but that's not the top thing that people talk about. They're like, "I'm feeling calmer. I feel like I'm being myself more. I feel like my soul is aligning." This is one that's fresh in my mind because someone wrote it to me the other day. They're like, "I know this is going to sound really weird, but I just feel like I'm more aligned with my soul and more purposeful." Even physiologically, it's not that woo-woo to be saying that anymore. I don't know. How does it play out clinically for you?
Dan Sipple: Yeah. You're bang on what you're saying. If I had to summarise that I'd say when people get into those hectic stress responses and they bloody become trained to respond that way and they get locked into that, I like to explain it like that. People's physiological response to external stimuli can sometimes just get locked and it bloody stays in that response because it's got them out of trouble perhaps one time in the past when it's been really gnarly and it's kept them there, so that vagus nerve response, that gut-brain axis, that HPA axis response, so hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis being too excessive and pushing out all this adrenaline and glutamate and norepinephrine and whatnot.
The reishi and the idea of toning shen is, I say to people, it kind of gets you back in a mode where you're responding not from your brain, not from your gut, but that organ in between those things, the heart. That's where you want your external stimuli to ... You want to respond from that to external stimuli, basically. I think people get locked into a mode where they're in that sympathetic dominance, if we have to put it down to a Western perspective where they are just punching out massive amounts of adrenaline and glutamate in that fight or flight survival mode eventually until they get tapped out.
If we have to then look at it in a sense of bringing balance back to the nervous system, we have to use tonics that's going to act on that vagus nerve. It's imperative. Yes, there's definitely exercises you can do to tap into vagus nerve. There's dietary and lifestyle stuff. There's locking in the circadian rhythms. You definitely do all that, but again, coming back to a botanical source that is going to be really specific to that it's going to be something like reishi because we know it just brings balance back to all those organs that play a role in the stress response.
Mason: Yeah. Oh, man, I'm so happy we've got reishi in our lives. I want to talk about the whole sleep thing because sometimes I want to allude to the fact that sometimes people take reishi and they've got a bit of a process to go through with this herb and so some people write to me sometimes and go, despite the fact that it's touted a little bit as a sleep tonic, people will people will go, "Is this a stimulant? I'm wired. I'm wired on this herb." If that's you, take it in the morning, lower the dose. As you can see, there's so many different pathways that we've spoken about, whether it's immunological, nervous system, heart-based, adrenal-based. We don't know what's going to be going on, but keep the dose low enough so you can continue to function, very important one, but then just keep it up. Keep on chipping away. You will find that that effect and some people find it awesome. They're like, "I never want this to end." Some people are like, "It's a bit much for me." That will pass. Generally, it's never really taken more than two weeks, I've found, for someone to pass that.
The other thing is when people are like, "I'm sleeping too much. I feel too restful." Basically, what's happening is you're feeling how you really feel generally. It's not a sedative. It's a nervine. You can take nervines. You can have a nervine. You can steep some chamomile in hot water in the morning and have that. It's not going to put you though sleep, right? The same with reishi mushroom. I'm just going to make that differentiation. Nervine for chamomile when it's been steeped in water and I've just infused the water versus what I was talking about earlier was boiling the chamomile and making a decoction. That turns it into more of a sedative. There's that you're going to get deeper botanicals out there because I know there'd be some switched on people that would've been like well, hang on. What's the difference there between those two things?
What I would say if you're sleeping too much and if you can't take the time to sleep, sometimes I can have full respect for that. I'm like I don't always have time with a business baby and a real baby and then a beautiful life to live. What I'd recommend is switching it to morning use because you still want it getting in there and soothing your nervous system and your heart and your adrenals and, obviously, the way that it's making you feel things and just gently being aware of how tired you maybe are. If you really can't be downregulating, just maybe just combine it with cordyceps. What would you say there? I'd combine it with a little bit of cayenne pepper or something like that that's got some kick. If it's having that kind of an effect on you where you're really sleepy, I wouldn't stop it. What would you all say?
Dan Sipple: I would agree. I would. Yeah. I remember you and I having a conversation years ago now back when I was living in the Blue Mountains about sometimes and this is the difference between a tonic herb and an ordinary herb that we use in Western medicine is that sometimes the tonic herb recognises what your body needs and will throw you into a state immediately knowing that your body needs that sometimes. I know some of the ginsengs had a historical reputation of that, so for the typical push, push, push person, the corporate person, the highly stressed out person, they sometimes get onto a tonic herb and it downs them and they're like what the hell? This isn't what I expected. Then over time, it has the flip side effect. It starts tonifying, starting to bring balance and energy back to them. They're like what happened? It's like no, it's doing what your body needs right now.
If it gave you a sedative type of action in the first instance, because that's what you needed. Your adrenal glands are fried. Your nervous system is fried. Perhaps getting people thinking about like that if they didn't have the initial reaction they thought they would have not to get deterred by that. That's a big thing, I think. Don't get deterred by that. Keep going with it. Like Mason said, tone the dosage down a bit. Do it in the morning. There's definitely a time you will get to, believe me, where you can do a big dose right before you go to bed and it's going to tonify your sleep.
Mason: Yeah. Well, and this is 80% of the time, 90, maybe like 95% of the time this is how I've got people using reishi now and how I'm using it primarily and I like it because in the beginning, a lot of people, it's like some people feel like they're tripping. Some people like they've taken a hallucinogen. Some people feel like they're astral traveling and so on and so forth. Eventually, it just smooths out and you're just getting a really nice, deep, supported sleep because your nervous system has what it needs and basically, your heart's toned and you're perceptive of your environment.
Now, with the sleep thing, reishi mushroom I kind of see as one of these herbs that I would be taking longterm for longevity, for bringing emotions into balance so you can bring mood into balance, but like the way that you go and do meditation or you do sleep, that is something you're going to continue to do for the rest of your life, ideally meditation. You don't have to do that one, but neither is effective sleep, really. People get away their whole lives having crappy sleeps, don't they? It's not like you're three weeks of doing meditation and then you're off the hook and you don't do that anymore.
Now, the reason that you're not off the hook is because it's fun to keep exploring your psyche and it's fun to keep on exploring your evolution. Reishi mushroom fits into that same mold and that is why I am so fond of it because it pairs so well with more of those Yin aspects of a longevity lifestyle of meditation and sleep, where if you get that trifecta of reishi mushroom, meditation, and sleep really working and you can use them to feed into each other in a little ritual at the end of the day, even at the start of the day. You wake up from your sleep. You can have your reishi, if that's when it works for you, and meditate there and go nice and deep in your meditation.
Do it your way. There's absolutely no rules when it comes to this herb. You are going to have unique energies. You are going to have a unique body, obviously, and you're going to go through different seasons. It's going to change and so be ready. Just the way you adjust your diet as you go through different stages of life, your usage of reishi will also change.
Anything that you want to share with our crew here? I just want to reiterate that yes, we did say reishi is beautiful during pregnancy. It's one of the herbs I do come out strongly and recommend, publicly recommend. It was one of Aya's first foods when she started showing an interest in food. We'd get a little dab of the reishi extract and just pop that in her mouth and we continued to do that just because these little babies need so much immunological protection and support in developing an immune system. That's getting on the front foot of getting their immune systems badass. Anything else you wanted to throw out there?
Dan Sipple: Yeah. Basically just that and the stuff we touched on a little earlier, which came up for me as I said for so long and that a lot of my patients being autoimmune and chronic infections and whatnot still throw at me and that's that I, as a clinician, have seen no adverse effects of using it in both hypo and hyper immune status because of its balancing action and more sort of on a clinical note, in Japan, we know that reishi has been approved for a long time as one of the first line treatments for a condition called myasthenia gravis, which might be one of the most brutal autoimmune diseases you can get. It attacks the facial nerves and reishi is a primary tonic in that Japanese system alongside pharmaceutical intervention. It's almost like what more proof do we need? There it is.
Mason: Yeah. We haven't really gone there and dropped the C word. I feel like we kind of alluded and I'm not going to really go there, but we were talking about extreme immune deficiencies. If you have that kind of immune deficiency, this might be something to look at to support the body, not as treatment, whether you're going down au naturel or with chemos and radios and that kind of thing. You might as well have the diet and herbal repertoire to support your body.
Dan Sipple: Absolutely.
Mason: You're down with that one? Have I made it blatantly obvious? People are going to read between these huge, two big lines I'm throwing down there. Bro, thanks so much for coming on. I'm looking forward to doing this again. I'll throw it out there to everyone here. What herb would you like us to go in a deep dive with next time? I will leave that with everyone, whether that's chaga, he shou wu, eucommia bark, schisandra, lion's mane. I bet you it's probably going to be lion's mane because it's so hot right now. Until that day, thanks for coming on and talking to me about reishi. I really appreciate you, as I have over the years, your perspectives and experience with it.
Dan Sipple: My pleasure. Love to do it again. Thank you.
Mason: Let's. See you again. Everybody, thank you so much for tuning in today. Now time to take that information round into your lifestyle so you can amplify your health to the next level. You can really help amplify the health of this podcast by going onto iTunes and subscribing and leaving us a review. It really helps us spread this information around tonic herbs, around sovereign help further out there to the community, so we can help more people experience the best out of this life. Thanks, guys. I'll speak to you next time.