This white and shaggy looking fungus has a whole heap of benefits that you may have not been aware of! In this article, we will be exploring a few of the benefits one can gain from supplementing lions mane mushroom. By now, many of us know that medicinal mushroom benefits vary, which is why I would like to cover this one specific medicinal mushroom.
Let’s jump right in!
What is Lions Mane Mushroom?
Lions mane mushroom, also referred to as hericium erinaceus, is a naturally occurring edible mushroom that belongs to the tooth fungus group. This medicinal mushroom is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. You can identify this unique fungi species by its long dangling white spins, often occurring on hardwoods. This is a non-psychoactive mushroom, meaning it will not result in any ‘high’.
Its body can be harvested and extracted for multiple purposes such as cooking and supplementation. When eaten, its taste can be compared to certain seafoods, such as crab or lobster. Sometimes this taste can be detected even when taking a capsule of its extracts!
Lions Mane Mushroom Benefits
Although the benefits of lions mane mushroom have found a place in traditional medicine for most of its usage history, it is rather new to the western world. So far, there isn’t tons of concrete evidence backing the benefits of this medicinal mushroom. However, the usage of it for centuries combined with the promising studies done thus far suggest a hopeful future for the science of this mushroom. With these topics, it is always important to maintain an open mind. Let’s look at the benefits of lions mane mushroom, shall we?
Lions mane mushroom may:
1. Support memory & focus
This medicinal mushroom can work as a powerful tool in regards to brain function. Lions mane mushroom helps stimulate nerve growth factor (NFG) production. This is a neuropeptide that can help maintain neurons, which are the cells you can thank when it comes to helping your brain process and transmit information! This will promote a high function brain which, in return, will support memory and focus. Some even claim that this supplement has resulted in boosted creativity levels! This could possibly be due to a higher functioning brain.
2. Reduce inflammation
Thanks to the few studies done so far, it is suggested that lions mane mushroom can reduce inflammation. In one specific study, rats were given high doses of lions mane mushroom extracts immediately after a stroke. They found an astonishing 44% reduction in inflammation in the area of the brain that was damaged from the stroke! Again, this study was done on rats and not humans. However, it does suggest promising aspects for humans suffering from inflammation.
3. Boost immune system
Although this area of research is still developing, we can take a look at the studies we have conducted so far. Another animal study showed us that lions mane mushroom can boost immunity by increasing activity in the intestinal immune system. This can help the body protect itself from pathogens that enter the gut via the nose or mouth. Additionally, another study involving mice found that supplementing lions mane mushroom extracts daily almost quadrupled the lifespan of mice that had been injected with lethal doses of salmonella bacteria!
4. Protect against Alzheimer’s disease
A study into lions mane mushroom found that this medicinal mushroom hosts two very special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells. These two cells are called hericenones and erinacines, hence the scientific name of this mushroom. Animal studies have detected that lions mane mushroom may help fight against Alzheimer’s disease, which is a brain disease that causes progressive memory loss. Extracts of this mushroom have been shown to reduce systems of memory loss in mice and even prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques. This neuronal damage is what accumulates in the brain of those suffering from Alzheimer’s. This suggested it can not only treat Alzheimer’s but possibly prevent it as well!
5. Relieve symptoms of depression & anxiety
The hippocampus is a region of the brain that is responsible for processing memories and emotional responses. Studies done on animals found that lions mane mushroom extracts can help regenerate brain cells and improve function(s) in the hippocampus! It is believed by researchers that improving the function of the hippocampus may significantly decrease symptoms of both depression and anxiety in an individual. Since we know that lions mane mushroom extracts can improve functions in the hippocampus in mice, we can estimate it would do the same for humans!
Lions mane mushroom improves cognitive function, which is why it is considered a nootropic. Not only that, but it is good for the mind, body, and soul. Although this mushroom is new to the science community, we can already see its bright future in holistic medicine. As time goes on, we will conduct further studies and accumulate more concrete evidence of the benefits of lions mane mushroom. This will improve its applications and optimize its use! This is only the beginning for this little shaggy mushroom!