Mushrooms have existed for millions of years and used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until recently that the numerous medicinal properties of some types of mushrooms were scientifically confirmed and their health benefits unearthed.
One of the most valued medicinal mushrooms is lion’s mane mushroom, which is scientifically known as Hericium Erinaceus. This edible mushroom natively grows in North America, Europe and Asia.
Several recent studies have revealed that lion’s mane mushroom possesses several medicinal effects making it a considerable tool in combating certain health problems and disorders, and supporting overall mental and physical well-being.
Facts About Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane mushroom contains many bioactive compounds including erinacines, hericenones, hericerins, alkaloids, resorcinols, steroids and lactones.
It is rich in polysaccharides, especially beta-glucans, which are believed to have medicinal activities including antioxidant, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, neuroregenerative, hypolipidemic, anti-cancer, anti-gastric ulcer, anti-fatigue and anti-aging.
Both the fruiting body and the mycelium (root-like structure of mushrooms) have been shown to contain bioactive compounds that have pharmacological effects. Many dietary supplements include extracts from the mycelium of lion’s mane, which is easier to produce, however, the fruiting body does have a higher medicinal value.
The optimal dosage of lion’s mane mushroom has not been established due to lack of human studies. The generally recommended dosage ranges from 500mg to 1000mg of the extract taken up to three times a day, preferably with a meal.
If you are interested in learning more about the biological activities and potential therapeutic benefits of lion’s mane mushroom (hericium erinaceus), then check out the following scientific review [PDF].
Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Some of the scientifically confirmed benefits of lion’s mane mushroom include:
- May protect against cognitive decline and memory disorders, like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- May improve immune function.
- May reduce anxiety and depression.
- May protect against some types of cancer and fight tumor growth.
- May lower blood sugar levels and alleviate diabetic neuropathy.
Please keep in mind that the suggested uses and benefits of this mushroom are mostly based on preliminary studies that showed promising results. To date, lion’s mane has not been proven as an effective treatment for any disease or disorder.
Best Brands of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplements
You can find this mushroom in most nutrition stores (locally and online) in raw powder form or as a standardized extract. Most people opt for capsule formulas, but if you’d like to mix it with coffee, tea or another drink then go with the powder.
The following are five of the best, high quality lion’s mane mushroom supplements I’d recommend:
One bottle costs $23.96 and contains 60 vegetarian capsules, and each capsule contains 500mg of organic lion’s mane mushroom mycelium.
Lion’s Mane Plus contains a blend of organic lion’s mane mushroom, organic ginkgo biloba leaf extract and a few essential vitamins.
One bottle costs $24.62 and contains 60 gelatin (bovine) capsules.
Nootropics Depot offer a whole fruiting body extract powder made from organic lion’s mane mushroom. One jar of powder (30 grams) costs $14.99.
One jar contains 200 grams of organic lion’s mane powder and costs $31.99.
One bottle costs $16.99 and contains 30 vegetarian capsules, each with 500mg of organic whole mushroom extract powder.