Lion's Mane Mushroom: The Benefits And Possibilities

Lion's Mane Mushroom: The Benefits And Possibilities

25th Apr 2015

Lion’s mane, also known as hericium erinaceus, is a powerful medicinal mushroom which has long been used throughout Asia for its wide spectrum of health-enhancing properties. Not your typical mushroom-and-cap fungi, lion’s mane has white or cream-coloured dangling spines which have earned it the nickname of the pom pom mushroom. Lion’s mane is native to parts of Europe, Asia and North America, where it thrives on decaying hardwood trees.

The precious polypore is rich in nutritional compounds, and it fast becoming a must-have supplement for health-conscious people of all ages.  

What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Lion’s mane has been treasured for thousands of years; In Japan, it is called yamabushitake after the Yamabushi sect of Buddhist monks. The monks use this highly-prized mushroom to create a tonic tea that helps to enhance their focus during meditation. Modern science backs up these claims, as lion’s mane is able to promote the natural growth of nerve cells and improve brain functioning.

This species of mushroom is a culinary delicacy, and its chewy texture and delicate taste have made it a popular replacement for meat in Chinese vegetarian and vegan dishes.

It’s also commonly prescribed by Chinese Traditional Medicine practitioners to treat digestive and nervous system disorders. It is said that lion’s mane will give you ‘nerves of steel and the memory of a lion’.

Why is Lion’s Mane Mushroom Attracting Interest?

Lion’s Mane mushroom is valued for its likely anti-inflammatory and antibacterial capabilities. However, it is even more greatly valued for its possible neurological effects and regenerative properties. There is evidence that the Lion’s Mane mushroom has neuroprotective effects, and this finding has encouraged the further growth and development of studies.

Lion’s Mane mushroom has been found to contain two new types of Nerve Growth Factors. Nerve Growth Factors are molecules which encourage neuron differentiation and re-myelination. The Nerve Growth Factors found are called “hericenones” and “erinacines”. Nerve Growth Factors are proteins. They are needed for the transmission of information to the brain, which is vital to the organ’s proper functioning. 

These effects of Lion’s Mane mushroom mean that it may have the potential to have a positive effect on the maintenance and restoration of memory capacity, cognitive function and in the fight against neurodegenerative disease. It is even hoped that Lion’s Mane mushroom may one day be proven to be an effective natural treatment for conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and muscular dystrophy.

Lion’s Mane neurological effects may be broader than aiding generation of neurons, as it may also help in mood stability and regulation, and thus helping alleviate anxiety and depression. While there has not yet been absolute scientific proof of lion’s mane’s brain benefits, the data that has so far been collected provides a lot of reason for hope.

The presence of Nerve Growth Factors in Lion’s Mane mushroom was first discovered in 1991, by a researcher called Dr. Kawagishi. They were found in Japanese samples of the mushroom. Since then, it has been proven scientifically that the Nerve Growth Factors found in Lion’s Mane mushroom, erinacines and hericenones, encourage the regeneration of neurons. In 2009, there was a study carried out in Japan that demonstrated Lion’s Mane mushroom’s benefit for people with mild impairments of cognitive function. Another Japanese study of Lion’s Mane mushroom has found that eating Lion’s Mane may ease anxiety and depression.

Unfortunately, Lion’s Mane mushroom is not yet available in many regular grocery stores. However, there are special kits available for purchase, which allow you to grow Lion’s Mane mushrooms at home. Also, a number of health food stores sell Lion’s Mane supplements.

How To Use Lion's Mane Mushroom

Cooking the raw mushroom can lead to a reduction in the nutrients that are present, so a raw and highly concentrated extract powder is the best way to go when taking the mushroom for its nutritional benefits.

Powdered extracts are ready to be used, so you can simply add half to one teaspoon of the powder to warm water and then stir to make a healing tonic tea. Its mild and delicate taste means that you can add it to smoothies, juices, and other foods for a nutritious kick without an overpowering flavour.

World famous mycologist, Paul Stamets, says that lion’s mane may be the first ever ‘smart mushroom’, as it can support cognitive function, focus, memory and even creativity. It’s numerous therapeutic benefits have certainly earned it the right to be in any pantry.

We carefully transform ten pounds of the highest quality lion’s mane mushroom into one pound of fine pure powder, so you have ten times to the potency in each and every serving. We also offer a potent medicinal mushroom complex which contains the 10:1 lion’s mane extract powder along with seven other superstars from the fungi kingdom.lity

check out our Lion's Mane Mushroom extract here.






[5] Rogers, Robert: The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America