Everything You Need to Know About Lion's Mane Mushroom
7 minute read
Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus / Hóu Tóu Gūhas) has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years due to its healing and medicinal properties. More recently, the nootropic potential of this functional mushroom makes it a unique and sought-after mushroom in the modern world. Here is all you need to know about Lion's Mane Mushroom and it's amazing health benefits.
Meet the Mushroom: Lion's Mane
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) takes its unique name from the white, shaggy clusters of strands which fall from the mushroom’s fruiting body as it grows - looking unsurprisingly like a Lion's mane!
Lion's Mane mushroom has been used in Chinese and Japanese medicine for thousands of years. Originally praised for its healing effect on the stomach and digestive system, we now know that Lion’s Mane’s most impressive impact is on the mind.
How Do I Use Lion's Mane Mushroom?
This mushroom is a favourite in Asian cooking due to its meaty texture and savoury umami flavour. It can also be eaten raw or dried and used as a tea – but it’s hard to get hold of fresh or dried Lion’s Mane in the UK. So, Lion's Mane is usually enjoyed as a powdered extract or in supplement form.
Where does Lion's Mane mushroom come from?
We source our Lion's Mane mushroom extract from a small Organic farm in China. China is currently the only place in the world where you can get Organic mushrooms derived from real fruiting bodies, as opposed to grain based substrates.
To extract the best possible potency from Lion's Mane, we use a hot water extraction technique. This allows us to harness the maximum goodness from the fresh mushroom.
Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom
Lions' Mane Mushroom has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It has been used as an ingredient in teas and tinctures to treat common ailments and also as a proactive tonic for overall health.
In the modern world, Lion's Mane is praised for its high nutrient potency which provides a number of health benefits. Let's explore.
1. Lion's Mane improves cognitive performance
Lion's Mane is renowned for its nootropic (cognitive enhancing) impact on the brain, which distinguishes it from other medicinal mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane is perhaps best known for its brain-enhancing nootropic activity. Its powerful bioactive ingredients have been shown to enhance a whole spectrum of cognitive functions such as focus, concentration, creativity and memory.
It supports brain health by promoting neuronal growth and protecting nerve fibres from damage. This synergistic effect has been shown to boost cognitive performance, helping the brain to function at its best and most efficient, as well as improving creativity and imagination.
The brain-enhancing effects of Lion’s Mane have also been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, which is often how neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia develop.
2. Lion's Mane Mushroom helps to support brain health
Lion’s Mane actively promotes brain health by stimulating the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) proteins. These prevent existing neurons from damage and also stimulate the growth of new cells.
The NGF-stimulating action of Lion’s Mane can help to mitigate mild cognitive impairment and even reverse damage caused by neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Research has also shown that the effect of Lion’s Mane on neuronal growth and repair could be used to help speed recovery from nervous system injuries such as a stroke.
Lion’s Mane has sparked interest in the medical community thanks to numerous studies which have demonstrated its powerful impact on brain health. In fact, preclinical studies have recommended that Lion’s Mane extract could be easily added to meals to provide symptomatic relief for patients with neurological conditions.
3. May help to manage anxiety and depression symptoms
Lion’s Mane extract can help to alleviate the milder symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that Lion’s Mane works in the brain to modulate neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin – the “feel good chemicals” which are released when we feel happiness.
This can help to restore the chemical imbalance which often underlies anxiety and depression, as well as many other mental health conditions.
4. Supports immune function
The Lion's Mane mushroom contains immune supporting beta-glucans which help to active immune cells and stimulate our innate immune response.
Lion's Mane also contains compounds called hericenones and erinacines, which stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) as mentioned earlier. NGF has many potent biological activities, most notably promoting neuronal growth and preventing neuronal death. These are important activities of the immune system which protect the brain.
Finally, as a potent source of antioxidants, Lion's Mane has been shown to have a protective effect against oxidative stress and damage at a cellular level.
5. Anti-inflammatory properties
Lion's Mane mushroom has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Paired with its powerful immune boosting action and high antioxidant activity, studies have shown that Lion's Mane supplements can help to lower metabolic risk factors associated with obesity, as well as being an effective treatment for ulcers and high cholesterol.
Side Effects of Lion's Mane Mushroom
As a relatively new food supplement, Lion's Mane supplements aren't as well-known as other supplements which have became household names over the decades. So, it is understandable that there will be some natural curiosity about the possible adverse effects of Lion's Mane.
Like most medicinal mushrooms, Lion's Mane mushroom is vastly under-researched and there are few blind placebo clinical trials to evidence the possible adverse effects of Lion's Mane.
As a natural superfood (as opposed to a medication or synthetic supplement), Lion's Mane is rarely reported to have any known side effects. However, like all foods it is possible to have an intolerance to Lion's Mane or experience mild symptoms if it does not agree with you.
Overall, the studies and research exploring the health benefits of Lion's Mane support that it is a safe nutritional supplement with potential for use in healthcare - pending further clinical trials.
Of course, for those with existing medical conditions or taking medications we would always advise seeking medical advice before introducing new foods or dietary supplements.
Rheal Superfoods Lion's Mane Mushroom Blends 🌱
Lion’s Mane is the ultimate brain-boosting mushroom. From protecting the brain from damage to helping us concentrate and focus, Lion’s Mane really is an amazing natural nootropic.
This magical mushroom can help you to banish brain fog, avoid distraction and maximise your productivity by unlocking your brain’s full potential.
Lion's Mane Enhances Cognitive Performance - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924982/
Lion's Mane Reduces the Risk of Cognitive Impairment - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924982/
Nerve Growth Factor & Lion's Mane - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15175980/
Lion's Mane and Neuronal Growth - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26853959/
Lion's Mane and Neurological Conditions - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239/
Neurotransmitters and Lion's Mane - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29364170/
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Lion's Mane - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25529054/
Hericenones and Erinacenes - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21501201003735556
The neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects of psychotropic agents - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804881/
The anti-inflammatory effects of Lion's Mane mushroom - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26559695/