Medicinal Mushrooms – Expert by Experience: Gabrielle Koster

From a night at the hospital to daily intakes of Chaga

One moment I was laying on the couch, reading a book and the next moment I turned into a little ball of pain. A deep pain. In the area of my stomach. So much pain that I could barely talk. When my boyfriend came home and found me in the bed, rolled up like a little ball of suffering, crying, he called the hospital immediately. They asked us to come straight away. They did some tests and found that the inflammation levels in my body were very high, so they decided to keep me in the hospital for a night and run some more tests the next morning. ‘It’s probably appendicitis,’ they said. ‘So we will remove your cecum first thing tomorrow’. It horrified me. I believe that in the cecum, there’s lot of bacteria stored so that when you, for example, lose all of the good bacteria in your intestine (because of antibiotics for example), your body will quickly restore the amount of good bacteria for optimal gut health. ‘I don’t think it’s appendicitis,’ I told the nurse. She laughed and said ‘I will bet you a bottle of wine!’ The next morning they did another round of tests and the levels of inflammation had dropped so much, that they decided it wasn’t appendicitis. As they didn’t really find what caused the huge inflammation in my body the night before, I was allowed to go home again. And no, I never saw that bottle of wine! But I felt my body needed help. Something was going on, for sure. After some online research, I stumbled upon Chaga mushrooms and it’s amazing health benefits. I immediately scored some Chaga powder and elixir and started taking it religiously. And then I learned about other mushrooms. Reishi, Lion’s Mane. I added them to my daily intake of herbs.

Regenerative and self-healing abilities of the body

They never found out what was happening with my body, even after doing follow up tests in the months afterwards. Except for that one peak of pain and exceptionally high inflammation levels, that one night. I felt like the Chaga had giving me exactly what my body needed: a little boost to start healing itself. I believe in the regenerative and self-healing abilities of the body, but I also believe we sometimes can use a little help. Don’t get me wrong: I also believe some disease is irreversible. But herbs or plant medicine can do a lot. To me, medicinal mushrooms are nature’s adaptogen-gift: I feel they help with the stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis (stability and balance within a cell or the body). 

I feel like exploring what we put into our bodies has definitely helped me improve my quality of life. I asked myself quite some years ago: what does our body need? I think our bodies are so clever at communicating with us, but when you’re craving sugar and the brain sees candy, it will prefer that over dates. Instead of asking myself, what I would like to eat, I started reading into what our bodies really need when it comes to nutrition. Vitamins, minerals, carbs, healthy fats, herbs. The works. It’s been four years since that night in the hospital, and my body isn’t always behaving the way it should. Or maybe it is, and some ‘issues’ are just part of life. But supporting my body’s health with the right nutrition and earths herbal gifts to human kind, I feel like my body has become a powerhouse. Capable of fighting, capable of healing.

gabrielle koster mush superfood

Gabrielle Koster is a freelance writer and editor and works and lives in Amsterdam. On her Instagram channel (@gabrielle_koster)  she shares her journey towards a more conscious life, filled with healthy (but not too healthy) nutrition, meditation, yoga, less plastic usage and sustainable purchases. 

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