Mason (founder of SuperFeast) in China with a wild red reishi, notice how it's sort of a heart shape?
Used for thousands of years and arguably the most revered tonic herb in the east, reishi has been used to overcome insomnia, cholesterol issues, asthma, anxiety, stress and to lengthen life. Wow.
While the physiological benefits of incorporating this beautiful adaptogen into your life are endless, it's the lesser tangible effects that are really getting us wild at the moment. And by wild, we mean zen AF. Reishi is a powerful Shen tonic and is often lovingly referred to as the mushie of spiritual potentiation.
If you're new to Traditional Chinese healing philosophies and lore, then the notion of Shen would be an unknown. We suggest tuning into this excellent podcast episode which provide a rad overview :)
Shen is one the Three Treasures, along with Qi and Jing. While reishi tones all Three Treasures, it is predominately a Shen tonic; it's heart heavy. Let it be known, by toning allThree Treasures, it starts to become apparent pretty darn quick how magical this mushie is.
These treasures basically govern health, both physically and spiritually:
Jing: essence, foundational, from birth
Qi: energy, breath, attitude, day-to-day
Shen: spirit, awareness, mental health, your shiny-ness, the heart houses your Shen
Each Treasure is intricately involved with the other, so a strong Shen does have a certain dependance on a foundational Jing and Qi; each Treasure supports the other.
We'll tell you why!
Your Shen is your spirit coming forth, allowing you to have a balanced interpretation of the world, a strong personal evolution, the ability to healthily explore and release your emotions and the opportunity to grow your innate wisdom. Translated as our 'higher consciousness', Shen allows the beautiful virtues of acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness come forth. As Ron Teeguarden says:
- Shen is the spark of divinity with each human being -
The ancient Taoists refer to Shen as the most refined level of energetics in the universe. Like you need more reasons to cultivate and nurture your Shen, see below:
Now you want to develop and cultivate your Shen. Think about it for a sec.
Do you want to react to external stimuli from your head / gut? Be quick to judge? Be reactive, jumpy? Nah, we didn't think so.
In today's landscape, this sympathetic nervous system dominance is relatively normal day-to-day. Adrenaline and all the consequences are constantly flooding the body. And here's a disclaimer: normal and common, does not mean healthy! This chronic flight or fight response (we've spoken about it here) leads to exhaustion and tapped out kidneys and Jing. The body perceives threat at every turn. We all been there friend. But, by toning your Shen, by creating a healthy framework for a healthy Shen, you can begin to intuit and perceive your environment from your heart space. Trust us, it's a much nicer, safer, more enjoyable place to be :)
It could be a feeling that Western living has sort of pacified you. Maybe you're feeling a little dull. You're a little less shiny. More possible signs:
On this last point, egotistically-drive behaviours (we're talking constantly seeking external pleasures, anger, fear, greed, materialism, selfishness, and so forth) push your Shen into hiding. Literally. Your Shen will retreat, withdraw and **hide**. It don't want no part in all that rubbish.
Rebalancing your outlook, practicing gratitude and giving, getting back to nature, finding harmony and a consistent personal practice (check out our epic article to help you cultivate your own practice) will go a long way to building up your Shen, as will incorporating Superfeast Reishi into your day-to-day.
Just. get. it. in. We're serious. A day with reishi, is a goooooood day. Mason, founder of SuperFeast personally loves reishi at nighttime, a bit like that lone soldier who guards every nighttime; he's solid, stable and always there for you. Our favourite nighttime tonic is the Sleepy Reishi, check it out here and it is truly lovely to have a beautiful tonic herb practice to take you into your wind-down at night. BUT, don't pigeon-hole reishi into nighttime only. Reishi can be used at any time of the day to increase your spiritual radiance. Isn't that a gorgeous term, spiritual radiance? We've got plenty of recipes here for you if you need some more ideas (try typing reishi in the search box).
Reishi pairs *particularly* well with meditation. So the next time you head to the meditation cushion, try sipping your reishi elixir beforehand and allow the magical wisdom of the mushroom guide you through.
And before we finish up singing the absolute praises of one of our fave tonic herbs ever, we will leave you with this lovely passage, written by Zhuang Zi (a famous Chinese sage):
We highly HIGHLY recommend getting onto reishi. Whether you are new to adaptogens, or a long-time lover, this gorgeous mushroom will provide you with profound benefits. You cannot go wrong with the queen. Want to dive deeper into reishi, then head over to our reishi podcast episode, it is a ripper.
A quick Google search will enlighten you to the fact that the word ‘nootropic’ was initially coined in 1972 by a Romanian psychologist and chemist, Corneliu E. Giurgea. The man responsible for synthesising Piracetam, the world's first cognition enhancing pharmaceutical drug. Derived from the Greek wordsnoos (mind) andtropos (bend or turn), nootropic translates to “acting on the mind”. This definition gives us a clear insight into how these substances work within the body.