The Top 5 Health Benefits Of Lion's Mane
Think of the life cycle of a three-hundred-year-old maple tree. What nutritional wisdom has it gathered during its lifetime?
Wild lion’s mane mushrooms play an important role in the life cycle of deciduous forests, home to ancient maple, oak, and beech trees. A saprophytic fungus, lion’s mane essentially digests trees that have died, collecting the nutrients accumulated over a tree’s lifetime.
It’s no wonder that lion’s mane mushrooms have a reputation for enhancing wisdom, cognition, and healthy aging. In traditional Chinese medicine, lion’s mane is used to improve cognition, treat nerve pain, and delay or prevent degenerative brain diseases. Lion’s mane’s benefits also promote longevity by improving digestion, preventing cancer, and supplementing cancer treatments .
1. Lion’s Mane Supports Cognition
Neurons love lion’s mane extract for its erinacines and hericenones. Scientists identified these unique compounds in lion’s mane in the 1990’s. Since then, they have been shown to protect and boost brain function.
Erinacines and hericenones stimulate the natural production of nerve growth factors (NGF) in the brain and throughout the nervous system.
NGF is a protein that makes it possible to grow and maintain nerve cells in the central, sensory, and automatic nervous systems [2, 3]. The hericenones and erinacines in lion’s mane are proven to stimulate NGF, even helping neurons grow new branches and, ultimately, make new connections . This is likely the basis for lion’s mane’s traditional medicinal use as a learning aid and memory booster.
The erinacines extracted from lion’s mane are special because they can cross the blood-brain-barrier. Because neurons can absorb lion’s mane’s erinacines right from the blood stream, they likely act directly on the central nervous system to improve cognition .
2. Lion’s Mane May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Because lion’s mane extract increases NGF, researchers are examining it in treatments for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease affects neurons in the forebrain, which plays an important role in attention, motivation, and memory . Wild foods that stimulate NGF production may help neurons in the forebrain grow, repair, and recover some functions lost to Alzheimer’s.
Buildup of amyloidβ protein is another factor in Alzheimer’s disease. When amyloidβ builds up into plaques in the brain, those plaques interrupt communication between neurons. Researchers think this causes the cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer’s sufferers. Once amyloidβ plaques begin to form, other proteins cling to them. This creates a chain reaction of permanent protein tangles that interrupt neural activity.
Because Alzheimer’s seems to start with amyloidβ plaques, scientists are looking for dietary interventions that prevent plaques from forming.
Lion’s mane studies show that erinacines slow the accumulation of amyloidβ plaques. This shows that wild lion’s mane extract has the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease .
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—and experts say this is especially true for Alzheimer’s disease. Preventing plaques may prevent Alzheimer’s before any symptoms arise.
Incorporating our wild lion’s mane extract into your daily nutrition might be an important step in preventing or managing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Feed your brain well to keep it healthier, longer.
3. Lion’s Mane May Aid Recovery from Nerve System Damage
The nervous system reaches throughout our bodies. We have neurons in our fingertips! If nerves anywhere in the body are damaged, they may stop sending signals or misfire, sending uncontrolled pain signals to the brain.
Researchers have found that lion’s mane extract blocks certain pain signals and helps regenerate nerves by stimulating NGF . This suggests that lion’s mane offers two-fold treatment for nerve pain.
Nerve pain is often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) . Unfortunately, those drugs can damage the stomach’s protective mucosal layer, especially with long-term use .
Wildly enough, lion’s mane has anti-inflammatory properties that can protect and repair the stomach’s lining.
Lion’s mane reduces inflammation and prevents tissue damage in the stomach and intestines. It can even treat ulcers caused by NSAIDs use.
Lion’s mane studies show the superfood inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, protecting the stomach lining, and reducing the symptoms of painful intestinal diseases. One study showed that patients with ulcerative colitis who took a lion’s mane extract reduced their symptoms and improved their quality of life in just three weeks .
Gastric and intestinal conditions which may be soothed by lion’s mane extract include: stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease.
5. Lion’s Mane Fights Cancer
Combined, lion’s mane extract’s anti-inflammatory and neuron-protecting properties may be the source of its ability to fight cancer.
Lion’s mane also fights cancers more directly. One study showed that lion’s mane accelerated the death of cancer cells from liver, colon, stomach, and blood cancer. A lung cancer study showed that lion’s mane slowed the cancer’s spread by 69%. A third study showed that lion’s mane extract slowed tumor growths better than traditional cancer treatments, with fewer side effects .
Nerve pain caused by chemotherapy may be relieved by lion’s mane extracts . Because the mushroom superfood has been shown to fight cancer cells and heal nerves, cancer patients may find comfort in lion’s mane extracts. (As with any medical regimen, cancer patients should consult with their physician before adding our potent wild extracts to their diet.)
Boost Your Connectivity—and Plant Trees—with Lion’s Mane Extract
The stressors of the modern world take a toll on our minds and bodies. If we get burnt out, it’s easy to see why we might lose connection with the people and projects that matter to us. Luckily, our wild bodies know how to get the most out of superfoods like lion’s mane.
And by purchasing our products, you heal your connection with the earth by helping to reforest our planet. Every sale from our store donates to One Tree Planted, an organization that shares our mission for sustainability by planting trees worldwide.
1. I-Chen Li, et. al. “Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines," Behavioural Neurology, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/5802634.
2. Aloe, L., et al. “Nerve growth factor: from the early discoveries to the potential clinical use,” Journal of Translational Medicine, 20 Nov 2012, https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-10-239.
3. “NGF gene nerve growth factor,” MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/ngf/.
4. I-Chen Li, et. al. “Prevention of Early Alzheimer’s Disease by Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study,” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 03 June 2020, https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2020.00155.
5. Holland, Kimberly, “What You Should Know About Neuropathic Pain,” healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/neuropathic-pain.
8. Julson, Erica, “9 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom,” healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom.