Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that drops spores through spines or tubes that look like a waterfall or the hairs on a lion’s mane. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat the stomach and gastro-intestinal disorders. This is because it contains a lot of water-soluble compounds that protect the mucosal lining of the stomach from ailments like gastric ulcers. Lion’s Mane contains many polysaccharides and beta-glucans that can have anti-tumor effects on the GI tract and liver, along with antioxidants and terpenes that are known to modulate insulin secretion to aid in the treatment of diabetes.
The most popular aspect about Lion’s Mane is its ability to stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which will promote the growth, repair, and maintenance of nerve cells in the peripheral and central nervous systems, in addition to protecting the myelin sheath around nerve cells. Lion’s Mane compounds called hericenones and erinacines can improve cognitive function, motor skills, memory, and nerve damage repair. These properties can be effective for people with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies have shown that by promoting neurogenesis, Lion’s Mane can improve the emotional state, mood, and stress recovery while reducing anxiety and depression. However, the hericenones and erinacines are primarily alcohol soluble, so the alcohol extract will only exhibit the neuro-protective properties. Eating the fruiting bodies will primarily act on the digestive tract and immune support.
Blue Sky Fungi cultivates Lion’s Mane mushrooms during part of the growing season and are available at the local farmers markets.
Bing-Ji Ma, Jin-Wen Shen, Hai-You Yu, Yuan Ruan, Ting-Ting Wu & Xu Zhao. Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus. Mycology (2010), 1:2, 92-98, DOI: 10.1080/21501201003735556
Ryu S., Kim H.G., Kim J.Y., Kim S.Y., Cho K.O. Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain. Journal of Medicine and Food 2018 Feb;21(2):174-180
Kolotushkina E.V., Moldavan M.G., Voronin K.Y., Skibo G.G. The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro. Fiziol Zh 2003;49(1):38-45
Thongbai, Benjarong & Rapior, Sylvie & Wittstein, Kathrin & Hyde, Kevin & Stadler, Marc. Hericium erinaceus, an amazing medicinal mushroom. Mycological Progress (2015). 14. 1-23. 10.1007/s11557-015-1105-4. DOI 10.1007/s11557-015-1105-4