As research into the medicinal benefits of mushrooms garners more attention, one species, the Lion’s Mane, has emerged as the gold standard for mental health. The scientific literature, while limited, has a growing number of studies linking this mushroom with cognitive benefits. As interest and funding continues to expand, we expect that Lion’s Mane will become one of the most important foods for the health of our brains and minds. It’s important to remember that the Chinese and Japanese have been using the Lion’s Mane for centuries, and that sometimes it can take a while for science to validate what we have long known.
What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a variety of mushroom that is commonly found on dead hardwood trees in Asia and North America. It is one of the most unique and stunning mushrooms, and can easily be identified by it’s beautiful white cascading tentacles that are often compared to icicles, pom-poms, or beards. In a natural setting, the best time to harvest these mushrooms is during late summer and throughout fall where the mushrooms thrive in the mild to warm weather.
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom
In ancient Chinese and Japanese civilizations, Lion’s Mane was often used as a medicine to help with physical and mental ailments. Now, we have the science to prove that our ancestors’ intuition about the healing nature of this amazing mushroom were correct. To name some medicinal benefits, Lion’s Mane has been shown to help with:
Our brains naturally slow down over time. Memory loss, brain fog, and lack of focus are a few ailments that are caused by a shrinking number of neurons and damaged brain cells. Lion’s Mane helps by providing the brain with building blocks. Micronutrients like cyathane, diterpenoids (hericinones & erinacines) help to repair and promote neurite growth in the brain.Furthermore, dilinoleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine is an unsaturated fatty acid found in the Lion’s Mane that has been shown to prevent cell death, specifically in the brain. The lion’s mane is loaded with many nutrients like these, and when they work in tandem there is a clear benefit for the brain and body.
Incorporating Lion’s Mane into your Diet
There are a number of ways to start incorporating Lion’s Mane into your diet. You can do a deep dive and forage your own mushrooms from your local woodlands given you’re in the right location. If you go this route make sure you do this safely and sustainably. This book is a great resource for mushroom identification, especially if you’re in the west coast U.S.. Fresh Lion’s Mane are difficult to find in grocery stores, but if you do get your hands on them, they are great for cooking. Their taste is often compared to seafood like lobster or crab, which is why some people use them to make meat free “crab” cakes! In Asian cultures they are often used in tea, and you can find dried Lion’s Mane to steep in hot water.
However, we believe that one of the best and most convenient ways to enjoy the amazing cognitive benefits of Lion’s mane is through a high quality product, like ours, that has the pure wood-grown Lion’s Mane extract paired with brain superfoods like ashwagandha, blueberry juice, and probiotics.