Lion’s Mane is also known as hericium erinaceus. This medicinal mushroom induces a large number of modulatory effects on human physiology ranging from improving cognitive function to strengthening the immune system.
This fungi grows wild in North America, Asia and Europe. It is also commonly added to many nootropic supplements dues to its brain boosting ability. Its use however goes back hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It is used as a tonic to support overall health and longevity.
This mushroom is rich in some physiologically important components, especially β-glucan polysaccharides, which are responsible for anti-cancer, immuno-modulating, hypolipidemic, antioxidant and neuro-protective activities of this mushroom. H. erinaceus has also been reported to have anti-microbial, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, wound healing properties among other therapeutic potentials.
Science Backed Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom
One study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry lists the benefits by stating lion’s mane mushroom is “antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, anti-fatigue, antihypertensive, anti-hyperlipodemic, anti-senescence [anti-aging], cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective, and improves anxiety, cognitive function, and depression.”
- Strengthens Memory, Focus and Concentration. Lions mane is a potent brain food due to its ability to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production. NGF is a neuropeptide which helps to maintain neurons, which are responsible for helping your brain to process and transmit information.
- Increased Energy. Lions mane is rich with antioxidants which help to support cellular health. It also promotes increased glycogen which in turn promotes energy production. Lions mane also reduces lactic acid in the blood which can increase after an extensive workout.
- Insulin Sensitivity-Consuming lions mane mushrooms through diet or supplementation may improve insulin sensitivity.
- Improved Gut Health-The natural antibiotic properties of Lions mane can help to protect against harmful bacteria such as H. pylori, as well as reducing inflammation in the GI tract.
- Alzheimer’s– Lion’s mane stimulates the growth of new neural pathways in the brain. This is a powerful implication for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even neuropathy of different kinds
- Protection from Environmental Toxins-Lions mane protects the brain from degeneration from numerous environmental toxins, drugs and from inflammation.
- Supports Immune System-Along with its antimicrobial effects, recent findings show that lions mane supports the immune system by its positive effects on gut microbiome.
- Anti-inflammatory– Studies show Lions mane ability to reduce inflammation through several different mechanisms such as: reducing nitric oxide, oxidative stress, prostaglandins ,and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
- Heart health-Lions mane helps to balance cholesterol levels as well as improving circulation. This promising animal study shows its potential to reduce total cholesterol as well as LDL and triglycerides.
- Cancer Fighter-Numerous studies show the ability of Lions mane to inhibit numerous cancer cells such as; breast, colon, gastric, liver, leukemia and lung.
Adding Lion’s Mane to Your Diet
You can enjoy Lions mane mushroom as you would any other mushroom, simply sauté them in butter and enjoy them with any meal. It goes well with quinoa or brown rice.
Alternately they can be sliced into half inch thick “steaks” and cooked on a dry pan for about 5 minutes on each side. Once they have browned, add in a little olive oil and seasoning and cook till golden brown.
Lions mane is also available in capsule, tincture, powder and tablet form.
Lions mane can be found online and in health food stores