Lion's Mane Mushroom | Clear Probiotics
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Lion's Mane Mushroom

Jan 21, 2022

Understanding The Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom

Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus), Hou tou gu (Chinese), or Yamabushitake (Japanese) is a unique mushroom with culinary and medicinal uses. You may know it by its common name; Lion's Mane. This shaggy-haired fungus also has several fun names: Mountain-Priest Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus, Monkey Head Mushroom, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr's Beard and Pom Pom Mushroom. Its official Latin name is Hericium Erinaceus [1,2] 

The Clear Story of Hericium Erinaceus

Lion's Mane mushrooms grow on decaying trees throughout China, Japan, Europe and North America. They are also parasitic; which means once a Lion's Mane mushroom begins growing on a live tree, it slowly kills it. These fuzzy fungi are seasonal and usually found in late summer and early fall, thriving on dead or dying hardwood trees. If you want to find one in its natural habitat, check a hardwood forest as they prefer oak, beech and maple [3].

Thousands of years ago, Lion's Mane, or Hou Tou Gu, was used in Chinese medicine for a range of health conditions including cancer, strengthening the spleen and feeding the gut. However, you had to be Chinese royalty to reap the benefits of the furry puffball. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Hou Tou Gu provided nutrition for the heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney. It was also revered as a powerful medicine by Buddist monks. The monks dried the mushrooms and ground them into a powder to make tea. They believed that drinking the Erinaceus Tea boosted their brainpower and enhanced their focus during daily meditations [4]. 

According to historical information provided by Cascadia Mushrooms, ‘In Japan, locals call it Yamabushitake after a sect of Buddhist monks, a word that means “those who sleep in the mountains.” It’s said that the Yamabushi mountain monks wear a garment around their necks with long strands of fur to resemble the Lion’s Mane mushroom.’ [5] This statement gives us a glimpse into a culture that cherished the Mountain-Priest Mushroom. 

In the late 1980s, China perfected a cultivation technique by fashioning an artificial log using bottles and plastic bags. As of 1988, they were officially in the Lion's Mane business. Lion’s Mane is currently grown for the alternative medicine market, the culinary world, and the nutrition supplement industry. They are grown in most Asian countries, including India. Europe, Canada, and the US produce the shaggy ‘shroom to the domestic and international markets [6]. 

Lion’s Mane belongs to the tooth fungus genus, known for clusters of fungi teeth or spines that look like hair. They are white at first and then slowly brown as they age. Their funky hairstyle is what makes them easily identified. The appearance of the Lion’s Mane mushroom has been called “cute” and “Cool.” it’s completely edible and has no toxic look-alikes, so it’s a safe bet to try them raw if you happen to find them in the will [5]. 

Are you wondering about the taste of Lion's Mane Mushrooms? You probably won't believe it until you taste them for yourself, but their flavor is seafood-like. The flavor is somewhat similar to lobster or crab. You can use them fresh to add to salads, smoothies or sandwiches. Some people prefer them roasted or sauteed with their favorite seasonings. Their meaty texture makes Lion's Mane a great meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans. If you are hoping to add fresh Lion's Mane to your diet, you can grow them yourself or find a specialty grocery store that stocks them [5]. 

Health Benefits of Lion's Mane

Interest in Lion’s Mane Mushrooms has skyrocketed from the public and the medical field within the last twenty years, with inclusion in food and supplements alike. We already know that this unique mushroom had played a significant role in medicine in ancient China. It's used today for many of the same reasons that it was thousands of years ago. 

The latest health interest in the ancient fungus is due to its effect on brain health and immune support. Researchers have turned to the mushroom with silly names for its ability to improve cognitive function. This science is crucial because as humans age, the brain's ability to create new connections drops off. The lack of new connections may be why our memory and recall declines as we get older. The two unique compounds that this mushroom is named for, hericenones and erinacines, have shown promise in protecting against Alzheimer’s. In studies, these compounds have stimulated brain cell growth which means Hericium can pass through the blood-brain barrier. This information is proof that Lion's Mane is a nootropic and can improve cognitive performance [5].

In one study published in 2009 in Phytotherapy Research, patients with mild cognitive impairments took Lion’s Mane extract daily. Members were tested several times during the 16-week clinical and showed significant improvement each time. More research completed in 2011 and published in Biomedical Research examined the brain function of mice after being treated with Lion's Mane. Results showed that the mushroom prevented the brain plaque that causes Alzheimer's disease. Lion's Mane may also offer neuro-protection against strokes [7]. 

There is evidence that Lion's Mane may help with depression, anxiety and menopause symptoms. In a 2011 study found in Food & Function, researchers studied the possibility of cancer and leukemia protection. In another 2011 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, colon tumors were shrinking after being treated with Lion's Mane. It's believed that the mushroom stimulates the cells to increase the immune system's response. Researchers feel it is still too soon to confirm the positive results without more testing [7]. 

Lion's Mane Mushrooms may protect digestive health by preventing stomach ulcers. Studies have shown that Lion's Mane can prevent H. pylori from multiplying. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may support healthy digestion for people with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis and more.[8]. 

Taking Lion's Mane extract may help reduce heart disease risk factors like high triglycerides, bad cholesterol, blood clots, and obesity. The tincture improved the metabolism, triglycerides and cholesterol when administered to mice. It may also help people manage their diabetes better by improving blood sugar levels [8]. 

How is Lion's Mane Used?

Since ancient times, the Bearded Tooth Mushroom has been well-known for improving brain function, specifically memory and cognitive performance. Other significant benefits are its neuro-regeneration and neuroprotective properties. This hairy medical mushroom has also shown great promise in Alzheimer’s treatment. The whole fruiting body is beneficial and often ground into powder.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are available in the following forms:

  • Coffee
  • Powdered (from the whole fruiting body)
  • Extract
  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Fresh
  • Dried whole mushrooms
  • Cognitive function & brain health supplements

Choosing to take a daily brain health supplement may help improve your memory and help keep your mind sharp as you age. Lion's Mane supplements support a healthy brain, better moods and improved energy levels, making it an excellent choice for busy people looking for that edge on the job or in school. 

Why Clear Probiotics Utilizes Lion's Mane Mushrooms

Our hectic modern lives have made it commonplace for our bodies to feel drained and our minds feel foggy. Clear Probiotics uses Lion’s Mane in Clear Brain probiotic supplement because of its impressive history of supporting cognitive function. With a quality brain health supplement as part of your daily routine, it’ll help you feel focused and energetic while supporting the gut-brain connection and an overall healthy gut microbiome.

The Science of Lion's Mane/ The Research Behind Lion's Mane 

Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help?

This medical journal article discusses how Lion's Mane mushrooms can help the nervous system and brain health. It also shares information about using the mushroom to improve the brain function of Alzheimer's patients.

Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium Erinaceus

This review looks at the chemical and biological information dealing with the nerve growth factor (NGF). It talks about the role that hericenones and erinacines play in preventing AD.

9 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Plus Side Effects)

Learn more about the variety of health benefits of taking Lion's Mane supplements. This article also looks at its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting abilities.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Guide

This guide helps people interested in learning about the uses and history of Lion's Mane Mushrooms. You'll find in-depth information about how to grow, forage or cook these mushrooms.

Resources:

  1. Iso Rabins. The Amazing Medicinal Benefits Of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms. Forage. [Internet] March 2020. Accessed January 15, 2022: https://www.foragesf.com/blog/2020/3/10/the-amazing-medicinal-benefits-of-lions-mane-mushrooms 
  2. Cultivate Elevate Staff. Lion's mane mushroom - Hericium Erinaceus - Background about the mushroom and alternative names. Cultivate Elevate. [Internet] May 2020. Accessed January 15, 2022: https://cultivateelevate.com/blog/lions-mane-mushroom-hericium-erinaceus-backround-about-the-mushroom-and-alternative-names/ 
  3. Cultivate Elevate Staff. Lions mane mushroom - Hericium Erinaceus - Background about the mushroom and alternative names. Cultivate Elevate. [Internet] May 2020. Accessed January 15, 2022: https://cultivateelevate.com/blog/lions-mane-mushroom-hericium-erinaceus-backround-about-the-mushroom-and-alternative-names/ 
  4. Super Batter Staff. The Story of the Lions Mane Mushroom. Super Batter. [Internet] August 2020. Accessed on January 15, 2020: https://www.superbatter.com/post/the-story-of-the-lions-mane-mushroom 
  5. Cascadia Mushrooms Educational Staff. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LION'S MANE MUSHROOMS. Cascadia Mushrooms. [Internet] June 2021. Accessed January 15, 2022: https://cascadiamushrooms.com/blogs/cm/everything-you-need-to-know-about-lions-mane-mushrooms 
  6. Super Batter Staff. The Story of the Lions Mane Mushroom. Super Batter. [Internet] August 2020. Accessed on January 15, 2020: https://www.superbatter.com/post/the-story-of-the-lions-mane-mushroom 
  7.  Cathy Wong and Caitilin Kelly, MD. Mental Health A-Z. The Health Benefits of Lion's Mane. Verywell Mind. [Internet] March 2020. Accessed on January 15, 2020: https://www.verywellmind.com/the-benefits-of-lions-mane-89474 
  8. Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN. LION’S MANE MUSHROOMS ROAR WITH NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS. Nutrition, Health, Wellness. Eat and Live Goodness. June 2020. [Internet] Accessed January 15, 2020: https://sharonpalmer.com/lions-mane-mushrooms-roar-with-nutritional-benefits/

Lion's Mane Mushroom Image courtesy: gailhampshire, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Clear products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website does not offer medical advice.