September 15, 2023
Lion’s Mane: Nature’s Brain Booster
Improve focus and memory with Lion's Mane, nature's brain booster! Learn how to support cognitive health and more with this dynamic nootropic.
Native to North America, Europe, China and Japan, Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is one of nature's most dynamic brain foods. Historically known as an edible mushroom, it is easily identified by its white, cascading spines that resemble the mane of a lion. This nootropic mushroom has a rich history of traditional use, along with scientific research to back up its health claims.
Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care practitioner before adding any new herbs to your wellness routine.
More recently, Lion’s Mane has been a trending functional mushroom and superfood. Because of its ability to support mental clarity, it falls into a class of brain-boosters called nootropics.
Nootropics are natural compounds that enhance brain and cognitive function. They unlock creativity, sharpen focus, enhance productivity, and banish brain fog. Traditional healing systems have been singing the praises of this mushroom for thousands of years.
In Chinese folklore, it is said that consuming Lion’s Mane mushroom promotes “nerves of steel and the memory of a lion.” Hericium erinaceus has a long history of therapeutic use in Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine. In TCM, Lion’s Mane is used to nourish the gut, fortify the spleen, and treat chronic immune deficiencies. Practitioners also use it to restore vigor to patients experiencing “qi deficiency,” or lack of life force.
The Benefits of Lion's Mane
Recent studies have concluded that consistent use of Lion’s Mane can help with mental focus, productivity, and mood. This mushroom even shows promise as a treatment for degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Lion’s Mane has received special attention for its ability to support nerve regeneration. It stimulates the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a protein that helps maintain healthy neurons (1). NGF plays an essential role in maintaining neurological health, homeostasis, and the immune system.
There have been several studies done using Lion's Mane to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Results vary but show compelling evidence that supports improved myelination of nerve fibers. Results also show suppression of the inflammatory process responsible for brain damage (2).
Research suggests that Lion’s Mane has significant anxiety and depression reducing effects. One study had thirty women take either a Lion’s Mane cookie or placebo cookie for 4 weeks. Those taking Lion’s Mane showed lower scores on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and improved sleep quality on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (3).
Lion’s Mane fruiting body extracts have been shown to be effective for treating stomach ulcers (4). They may also prevent ulcers from developing by inhibiting the growth of H. Pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage (5).
How to Add Lion's Mane to Your Routine
Lion’s Mane can support us in living more peacefully, creatively, and productively! We have three different forms of mushroom support for you to choose from.
Curious to Learn More?
Watch the recording of our most recent webinar: Medicinal Mushrooms for Everyday Wellness. Our Co-Founder, Yarrow Willard (Cl.H) provides a deep dive into the many benefits of these funtional fungi and how to add them to your daily routine.
1. Lai, Puei-Lene, Murali Naidu, Vikineswary Sabaratnam, Kah-Hui Wong, Rosie Pamela David, Umah Rani Kuppusamy, Noorlidah Abdullah, and Sri Nurestri Malek. “Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion's Mane Medicinal MUSHROOM, Hericium Erinaceus (Higher BASIDIOMYCETES) from Malaysia.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 15, no. 6 (2013): 539–54. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30.
2. Wong, Kah-Hui, Murali Naidu, Rosie Pamela David, Robiah Bakar, and Vikineswary Sabaratnam. “Neuroregenerative Potential of Lion's MANE MUSHROOM, Hericium Erinaceus (Bull.: FR.) Pers. (Higher Basidiomycetes), in the Treatment of Peripheral Nerve INJURY (REVIEW).” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 14, no. 5 (2012): 427–46. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v14.i5.10.
3. Nagano, Mayumi, Kuniyoshi Shimizu, Ryuichiro Kondo, Chickako Hayashi, Daigo Sato, Katsuyuki Kitagawa, and Koichiro Ohnuki. “Reduction of Depression and Anxiety by 4 Weeks Hericium Erinaceus Intake.” Biomedical Research 31, no. 4 (2010): 231–37. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.31.231.
4. Abdulla MA, Noor SM, Sabaratnam V, Abdullah N, Wong KH, Ali HM (2008) Effect of culinary medicinal lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) on ethanol induced gastric ulcers in rats. Int J Med Mushrooms 10:325–330
5. Jiang, S., Wang, S., Sun, Y., & Zhang, Q. (2014). Medicinal properties of Hericium erinaceus and its potential to formulate novel mushroom-based pharmaceuticals. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology,98 (18), 7661-7670. doi:10.1007/s00253-014-5955-5
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