Lion’s Mane Nerve Regeneration and Other Benefits

Lion's Mane Nerve Regeneration and Other Benefits

With its long shaggy spines that resemble the voluminous mane around a lion’s face, it’s no wonder that Hericium erinaceus is best known as lion’s mane mushroom. Used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to support brain function and neurological health, this edible mushroom has long been valued for its fierce medicinal properties.

Here at Health by Mushrooms, we generally don’t like to play favorites among the different mushrooms we write about, but we can’t help ourselves when it comes to lion’s mane mushroom. Not only is it one of the most spectacular-looking mushrooms you’ll ever see, but it’s also full of health benefits and loaded with flavor when cooked fresh. If you like crab or lobster meat, then you’ll love the sweet-savory taste and tear-apart texture of lion’s mane.

Brain Health and Lion’s Mane Nerve Regeneration

One of the most studied and important benefits of Lions Mane Mushroom is the effect on brain and cognitive functions, particularly in relation to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Scientists found that lions mane contains two specific compounds, hericenone and erinacine, that may help stimulate brain cell growth.

A 2016 report found that the lions mane mushroom and its extract not only reduced symptoms of memory loss in mice suffering from Alzheimers, but it also prevented the damage to neurons caused by some types of plaques. More importantly, studies showed that the “polysaccharides in the liquid extract of the lions mane mushroom may induce neuronal differentiation and contribute to the neuronal survival”. In other words, lion’s mane nerve regeneration, meaning the liquid extract of lions mane mushrooms contributes to the neuro-regenerative properties which may help heal the damage to brain!

Your nervous system sends signals between your brain, spinal cord, and the rest of your body.

One of the most groundbreaking discoveries regarding Lion Mane is that it actually induces neural growth factors, which repairs cells faster. A study in 2012 concluded that eating lions mane mushrooms could rebuild damaged cells in peripheral nervous injuries.

More Info On Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Also called Yamabushitake, Pom-Pom, Monkey Head, Bearded, or Hedgehog Mushroom, Lions Mane Mushroom is a species found in North America, Europe, and Asia, growing mostly on hardwood trees that are either rotting or dying. Expanding far beyond its traditional Chinese medicinal roots, lions mane is now commonly used as a natural nootropic (aka “smart drug”) by biohackers and people looking for a brain boost to improve productivity, creativity, and mental toughness. While further studies are needed regarding lions manes effects in humans, the studies in animals have been promising thus far. Read on for more information about how lions mane might benefit you.

Additional Perks of Lion’s Mane

We all know the Lion is king of the jungle. And just like the awesome beast after which it is named, Lions Mane Mushroom is one of the strongest mushrooms on the planet. In fact, this medicinal mushroom has been shown to possess anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, antidiabetic, antifatigue, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-anxiety, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective properties, amongst a host of others.

Heart Health

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and two factors that may increase your risk for heart disease are obesity and elevated levels of triglycerides, also known as bad cholesterol. However, studies conducted in 2013 showed lions mane may enhance fat metabolism and has powerful activity to reduce cholesterol. Research in Japan suggests that lions mane may also help reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack thanks to a compound called hericenone, which decreases blood clotting rates.

Immune System

Like all mushrooms, Lions Mask is loaded with antioxidants and beta-glucans, which combat oxidative stress and help to support proper immune responses. One study that evaluated the therapeutic benefits of 14 different species of mushrooms found lions mane to possess the fourth highest antioxidant activity, and other studies demonstrate its anti-inflammatory effects in people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, among many other conditions.

Gut Health

Many of us know by now that gut health is directly linked to a stronger immune system – 70-80 percent of your immune cells are found in your intestines, after all. While more human clinical trials are needed, studies done in mice suggest lions mane may help boost intestinal immune responses, and protect cells from bacterial infections, even increasing longevity.

Anxiety and Depression

There is an increasing body of evidence suggesting inflammation plays a role in depression and anxiety, and anti-inflammatory substances like Lions Mane Extract may be helpful. A 2018 study in mice demonstrated how lions mane extract offered antidepressant-like effects over the course of a two-week period, and another study showed amycenone – a brain activator found in lions mane extract – leads to anti-inflammatory and antidepressant responses.

Fights Cancer

But growing studies suggest lions mane may be a powerful candidate to treat cancer, partly due to its particular compounds. Several tests show lions mane mushrooms to possess cancer-fighting properties against a broad spectrum of diseases, including leukemia, stomach cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer. One study even found that Hericium erinaceus extracts dramatically reduced the number of metastasizing tumor cells.

Taking Lion’s Mane

If you can find them fresh, you absolutely need to try cooking up a few Lions Mane Mushrooms for your next recipes. Not only is it delicious, but it has many benefits besides just its taste, as you learned. That said, it is not exactly easy to come by. You are probably better off using supplements like our strong powdered extracts from Lion Mane, so that you can reap the benefits of its healing properties in concentrated amounts.

Lions Mane Mushroom Extract Powder is made by taking whole fruiting mushrooms, and then performing hot water extraction (sort of like making soup broth or bone broth) in order to preserve its health-giving properties. Once this is done, the liquid is spray dried to produce a fine powder, which you can either encapsulate, or add into your coffee, tea, smoothie, or whatever you are eating.

Where to Buy Lion’s Mane Mushroom

For fresh mane of the lion, look at the local farmers market or Asian markets. While it is not as common as some of the other edible mushrooms, you can not go wrong finding lions mane in a health food store or an organic market. You can always ask your local grocery store if you can have it specially ordered. But, as mentioned, probably the easiest thing is just to purchase Lion Mane supplements online.

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

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