Lion’s Mane - A Comprehensive Guide
What do a mushroom and a lion have in common? They both have a Mane!
Lion’s Mane is an amazing fungus that has become the topic of medical research. But what exactly is Lion’s Mane? Here you will find a guide that answers that question and more!
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane is a medicinal mushroom that belongs to the tooth fungus group. As the name implies, these fungi resemble tiny white lion manes. They achieve this appearance by growing in single clumps of hanging spines.
In the wild, Lion’s Mane grows on dead or alive hardwood trees in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Other names for Lion’s Mane include:
- Hericium erinaceus (the scientific name)
- Mountain-priest mushroom
- Bearded tooth fungus
Did you know that both words in ‘Hericium Erinaceus’ mean ‘hedgehog’ in Latin? Now you know why the German name is ‘Igel-Stachelbart’ (‘hedgehog goatee’).
The History of Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane mushrooms have a long history as both a culinary delight and traditional medicine. Specifically, these fungi play a vital role in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
In TCM, Lion’s Mane is believed to have various benefits, including strengthening the spleen, nourishing the gut, and curing cancer. Besides treating ailments, these fungi can promote good digestion, general vigour, and strength.
Spiritually, they could also treat Qi deficiency that manifests as insomnia, general weakness, and hypodynamia.
Despite its long-standing reputation in TCM, Lion’s Mane is only recently under the scientific community’s microscope. Current research has shown promising results regarding these fungi’s medicinal properties.
The research can be divided into two main categories: brain and body.
This category encompasses all Lion’s Mane research that focuses on its effects on your brain.
Studies have been conducted on using these fungi as an alternative treatment method for depression. A 2018 study’s results showed that Lion’s Mane produces antidepressant-like qualities in lab mice.
Meanwhile, a 2019 study found that mood disorder (e.g. depression) symptoms improved in obese patients when consuming these mushrooms. These improvements lasted 8 weeks after the end of the trial.
Besides depression, researchers have looked into Lion’s Mane and cognitive function. An early Japanese study from 2008 found that these mushrooms improved mild cognitive impairment in 50–80-year-old Japanese men and women.
Researchers have studied how Lion’s Mane could slow, or potentially stop, the decline caused by neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s.
One 2006 study’s results showed that these fungi protect against endoplasmic reticulum cell death caused by stress. This type of cell death is known to lead to neurodegenerative diseases.
Another 2008 study found that these mushrooms promote nerve growth factor (NGF) depending on the extract’s concentration. NGF could be used to help repair the neuron damage caused by neurodegenerative diseases.
Although both studies are on the older side, they prove that further research should be conducted into the connection between Lion’s Mane and these diseases.
This category encompasses everything else related to your body.
A 2014 study focused on Lion’s Mane’s antioxidant properties and how it can help heart health. The researchers determined that these fungi could prevent the stress-induced oxidation that leads to cardiovascular complications.
In a 2017 study, researchers extracted a protein from Lion’s Mane to test its effect on the immune system. They found that this protein could be used for immunotherapy in gastrointestinal diseases and for regulating a person’s gut microbiota.
Two different studies, one in 2013 and another in 2020, found that Lion’s Mane has hypoglycemic properties. These properties can lower blood sugar levels, which is especially helpful for diabetic people.
Lion’s Mane’s effect on cancer is less conclusive, but there have been a few promising tests. A 2013 study showed that these fungi may inhibit the spread of cancer cells from one organ to another. Although they only tested cell migration from the colon to the lungs, it's a good starting point.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Now you may be wondering what exactly Lion’s Mane can do for you? Although scientific research mainly focuses on these fungi and various illnesses, there are still some everyday benefits of consuming these mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane is now classified as a nootropic. In other words, these fungi can boost your brainpower. Pretty neat, right?
Besides enhancing your mental abilities, these mushrooms may also help support your mental well-being. This can be particularly useful if you have anxiety or depression.
How to Use
You can buy Lion’s Mane mushrooms in many forms. If you'd like to cook them, you can purchase them whole. However, we don’t recommend eating them raw as they become bitter about being eaten.
Lion’s Mane supplements can come in the following forms:
- Liquid (aka tinctures)
When buying supplements, the doses can vary between powder, extracts, and capsules. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about how these supplements will benefit you.
At Doseology, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are an essential ingredient in some of our products. Each of the following products uses these fungi in a unique and synergistic blend:
Wake is a mushroom tincture that is made to energise you in the mornings and boost your brainpower.
This blend’s medicinal ingredients include Lion’s Mane, yerba mate, and vitamin B6 and B12.
Elevate is also a mushroom tincture, but this one focuses on lifting your mental well-being and mood.
This blend’s medicinal ingredients include Lion’s Mane, ginger, and vitamin B3.
Think is our mushroom powder that combines the powers of multiple medicinal mushrooms into one.
This blend’s medicinal ingredients include Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Shiitake, Chaga, Yerba Mate, Rhodiola, and Choline.
Defend (only available in the US) is our mushroom capsule that combines the power of ten adaptogenic super shrooms into one immune-boosting mushroom complex.
This blend’s medicinal ingredients include Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Royal Sun Agaricus, White Button, Black Fungus.
Now you know exactly what Lion’s Mane is and why it's a topic of interest today. Are you interested in trying some? Take a look at some of our products and see for yourself why people love Lion’s Mane so much!