The lion’s mane mushroom, not only looks like a lion’s mane, this incredible mushroom is also powerful like a lion for improving the mind and fighting disease. The lion’s mane is an edible mushroom found primarily East Asian countries, such as Japan and China that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It provides a variety of health benefits due to its antioxidant and immune-modulating activity. Research has found lion’s mane to be effective against cancer, hyperlipidemia, nerve damage, wound healing, hyperglycemia and several other conditions.
Clinical studies have shown that supplementation with lion’s mane extract can be beneficial for mental function. A study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2009 evaluated lion’s mane impact on cognitive impairment in adults aged 50-80 years. After supplementation with four 250mg tablets of lion’s mane three times a day for 8 weeks, the supplement group had significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared to subjects who only received a placebo. Another study published in the journal Biomedical Research in 2010 shows possible effects of lion’s mane on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Thirty women were randomly assigned to consume a cookie containing 0.5g of powdered lion’s mane or a placebo daily for four weeks. After the four week trial, women taking the lion’s mane cookie were found to have improved scores on a depression scale. The women also reported feeling less anxious and irritable after eating the cookies containing the mushrooms.
Additionally, lion’s mane mushrooms may also offer protection to the gastrointestinal tract. The complex polysaccharides present in the lion’s mane has been shown to be effective in reducing gastritis, gastric ulcers, and in preventing gastric cancer progression. An animal study published in Oncotarget in 2017 showed that lion’s mane extract was effective in relieving symptoms in rats with induced inflammatory bowel disease. These rats were given extracts of lion’s mane (polysaccharide, whole, and alcoholic extracts) at concentrations of 100 mg/kg daily for two weeks. After two weeks, the rats were found to have reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines, increased immune function, and reduced presence of pro-inflammatory microbes in the gut. Another study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms investigating mice with ulcerative colitis found that alcohol extracts of lion’s mane reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduced oxidative stress in the colon. Although this is only animal research, reducing inflammation in the gut could help many people struggling with debilitating inflammatory bowel diseases.
Lion’s mane can be consumed in several ways. A popular method of serving lion’s mane is pan-fried, which some believe makes this mushroom have a flavor and texture of lobster! You can also get the benefits from lion’s mane mushrooms through extracts or as an ingredient in coffee or tea. Lion’s mane powder can be added to smoothies, juices, or other beverages for an immediate health boost. Since lion’s mane acts as an adaptogen, best results can be seen with daily intake.