Mushroom Learning Center: Lion's Mane

Posted by Larry Norris on

The Lion's Mane mushroom or Hericium Erinaceus is a fungus that grows naturally on old or dead trees such as oak. The mushroom's appearance is a globe-shaped white fungus with long and shaggy spines. The fungus can be found in many regions throughout the world, including the mountainous areas of Asia. The mushroom has served as medicine in East Asia by supporting overall health and longevity for thousands of years. 

Lion’s Mane can be taken in various supplement forms or cooked and eaten when fresh. The taste and texture have been compared to lobster or crab. These medicinal mushrooms contain a chemical component known as polysaccharides which have been shown to be beneficial to the heart, brain, and body. As a natural superfood, Lion's Mane mushrooms fight cancer, build the immune system, aid digestion, and boost cell turnover. 

This article looks at how the lion's mane mushroom offers health benefits and how you can incorporate it into your day-to-day regimen. 

But first, let's look into some of the basic facts about the mushroom:

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What is Lion's Mane?A photo of Lion's Mane Mushrooms.

Scientifically, the Lion's Mane mushroom is known as Hericium Erinaceus. Other names referring to Lion's Mane include hedgehog mushroom, pom pom mushroom, Japanese Yamabushitake, and the bearded tooth. 

All of the weird names above give you a better idea of how the mushroom looks. The mushroom's fruiting body (the part above the ground) is stingy, white, and doesn't resemble any other mushroom. 

Additionally, Lion's Mane thrives on trees such as oak and beech during fall and summer. It's native to Europe, Asia, and North America. And while the mushroom is edible and delicious, you're not likely to find it in the grocery store due to its shortened shelf life. 

How Does It Work?

Hericium Erinaceus improves the function and development of nerves. It also protects the nerves from damage. In the long run, this helps keep off conditions such as memory loss and Parkinson's disease. Hericium Erinaceus also protects the mucous membrane in your stomach, which as a result, improves gastritis symptoms.

Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits (Health Benefits)

Hericium Erinaceus helps with the following benefits:

Oxidation and Inflammation (Antioxidant)

Inflammation leads to medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases, heart diseases, and diabetes. Therefore, antioxidants fight both oxidation and inflammation in the body. A study in 2012 showed that Lion's Mane ranked fourth in antioxidant activity. 

Cancer

Antioxidant properties in Hericium Erinaceus may help in preventing or treating cancer. A vitro study shows that Lion's Mane extracts have the potential of fighting off leukemia.

Depression and Anxiety

Extracts from Lion's Mane medicinal mushrooms may help treat depression and anxiety. In a study in 2015, there were minimal depressive behaviors for mice that consumed Lion Mane's extracts. Thus, researchers suggest that it could be due to the Hericium Erinaceus anti-inflammatory effects. 

Immune Support

Research performed on mice showed that Hericium Erinaceus has the chance to boost intestinal immunity. So, the mushrooms are likely to enhance your immunity, partly by preventing oxidation and reducing inflammation. 

Cognitive Function

The Hericium Erinaceus extract may boost cognitive function, but there's the only evidence in tested animals. In a particular study, the Lion's Mane dietary supplements gave mice better object and memory recognition, improving their overall cognitive function. 

Diabetes

One of the ways of managing diabetes is by controlling your blood sugar levels. A study shows that blood sugar levels in diabetic rats went down after the Hericium Erinaceus treatment in four weeks. 

Where to Buy Lion's Mane Mushroom

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You can find Hericium Erinaceus or Lion's Mane online in the form of lion's Mane capsules, tablets, capsules, and liquid form or jellies. 

There's a wide variety of Lion's Mane mushroom jellies and other products, so we advise you to adequately research the company and product. 

Possible Side Effects of Lion's Mane

Lion's Mane appears safe when used in moderate quantities, and its use is rampant in most Asian countries. Animal studies didn't show any adverse effects even in high doses. 

What to Look For When Buying Lion's Mane Supplements

For the best quality Hericium Erinaceus, always check labels to confirm that the product is organic and certified to be of the highest quality. Accordingly, the end product should contain low starch levels and high beta-glucan levels. 

Also, the tinctures and powders must undergo analytical testing, and there's a guarantee for beneficial compounds. Additionally, the product should contain non-GMO ingredients, and there should be a purity commitment from the manufacturer. 

The best way to know you're buying authentic products is to buy from a trusted company. 

Want to Grow your Own Lion’s Mane Mushrooms? Learn More Here!

Dosage and Preparation

If you wish to incorporate Lion’s Mane Mushrooms into your diet, you must cook it until the outer layer becomes crispy. Otherwise, you can find supplements online in the form of:

Eating Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion's Mane mushrooms are safe to be eaten raw. You can cook fresh Lion’s Mane mushrooms or take dried Lion’s Mane as a powder or capsule supplement. As mentioned above, many describe the flavor of Lion's mane to be “seafood-like,” often comparing it to crab or lobster.

FAQs

What is Hericium Erinaceus Used For?

There are chances that Hericium Erinaceus may help improve the function and development of nerves. In addition, it also protects nerves from damage. Therefore, it helps prevent particular conditions like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, memory loss, or anxiety. Furthermore, Hericium Erinaceus protects the stomach's mucous membrane.

What Ingredients are in Lion's Mane?

Lion's Mane contains compounds such as Hericenones and Erinacines. The two compounds are known to induce the NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) by crossing the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, NGF as a peptide produced by the body is critical for nerve cell survival, maintenance, and growth. 

Does Lion's Mane Get You High?

No, Lion's Mane isn't psychoactive and doesn't get you high. However, it's a great supplement that improves your everyday cognition.

How Long Does it Take for Lions Mane to Work?

It takes Lion's Mane around two weeks to work. Like other medicinal mushrooms or herbal supplements, it takes some time for the beneficial health effects to kick into your system. It'll take around two weeks for you to notice any changes on most occasions. 

Does Lion's Mane Give You Energy?

Lion's Mane has antioxidants that act as a catalyst to energy production in the body. Accordingly, the Lion's Mane mushrooms increase the health of cells by getting rid of unstable molecules from energy-creating cells. 

What are the Negative Effects of Lion's Mane?

One of the adverse effects of Lion's Mane is that it might cause an allergic reaction. There are documented cases of people experiencing breathing difficulties or skin rashes after consuming Lion's Mane mushrooms. Therefore, it's prudent to avoid Lion's Mane if you have any known mushroom allergies. 

The Bottom Line

Lion's Mane mushrooms and their extracts have significant health benefits. These benefits include helping repair nerve damage, reducing anxiety symptoms, and protecting you against dementia. 

In addition, Lion's Mane mushrooms can boost your immunity, works as an antioxidant, and is a potent anti-inflammatory. Also, it's known to reduce risks of animal diabetes, ulcers, cancer, and heart disease.

It's, therefore, safe for people to enjoy Lion's Mane as a food option. Alternatively, if you wish to take Mane mushroom powder or any other supplement, consult the doctor first. 

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