Lions Mane - Hericium erinaceus
Lions Mane Chemistry and Uses
Hericium erinaceus contains a number of polysaccharides, such as B-glucan, heteroglucans, and heteroxylans, as well as several cyathane derivative diterpenoids known as hericenones and erinacines.
To stimulate broader interest in the reported beneficial properties, this overview surveys and consolidates the widely scattered literature on the chemistry (isolation and structural characterization) of polysaccharides and secondary metabolites such as erinacines, hericerins, hericenones, resorcinol’s, steroids, mono- and diterpenes, and volatile aroma compounds. The reported health-promoting properties of the mushroom fruit bodies, mycelia, and bioactive pure compounds include antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, antifatigue, antihypertensive, antihyperlipodemic, antisenescence, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective properties and improvement of anxiety, cognitive function, and depression. The described anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and immunostimulating properties in cells, animals, and humans seem to be responsible for the multiple health-promoting properties. A wide range of research advances and techniques are described and evaluated. The collated information and suggestion for further research might facilitate and guide further studies to optimize the use of the whole mushrooms and about 70 characterized actual and potential bioactive secondary metabolites to help prevent or treat human chronic, cognitive, and neurological diseases.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom and the Brain
• Nerve Growth Factors (NGF), i.e. stimulates the growth of neurons
• Helps repair the brain from physical damage
• Helps prevent or slow age-related mental degradation
• Has mood regulating effects from the NGF and other non-NGF factors
Really important to realize is that the effects of this nootropic herb have been found to level off particularly fast after use is stopped (around 2-4 weeks)
To gain the potential benefits, it is therefore recommended that consumption of Lion’s Mane takes place every day. The culinary use of Lion’s Mane by the Chinese shows that this is a safe habit to practice.
But this mushroom isn’t just good for the mind. Consumption of this mushroom, whether in whole form or as an extract, has been shown to potentially provide the following benefits
• Promotes cellular apoptosis (death of damaged cells)
• Provides a cascade of nutrients
• Anti-fatigue properties
• High antioxidant containing as all mushrooms are
• 20% protein by volume
• Wound healing abilities when applied topically
• Gastrointestinal protective effects
Benefits of Lion’s Mane
The main cognitive benefits of lion’s mane seem to be related to anxiety, depression, and the prevention of cognitive decline (i.e: neuroprotection). The evidence is a bit lacking, but predominantly looks at anxiety and depression. In one 4 week study, doses of lion’s mane were given to 30 participants and found significant improvements in feelings of anxiety and depression .
Aside from anxiety, lion’s mane can improve the cognitive performance of those who are already in decline. A 16 week trial of 50 – 80 year olds showed improvements in their cognitive abilities with lion’s mane mushroom . While this study shows some evidence of neuroprotection, it isn’t very convincing. More compelling evidence exists on the interactions within the brain, however.
For example, lion’s mane mushroom can increase the expression of nerve-growth factor (NGF) in some regions of the brain (such as the hippocampus, but not the cortex) . This increase in NGF can support neurogenesis and general cognitive health. It may even be able to support the regrowth of neurons after injury, which has been replicated in a single rat study . This doesn’t mean anyone with brain injuries will instantly recover, but it is a theoretical possibility.
What is most interesting about these lion’s mane mushroom benefits is how they correlate together. Although no studies explore the connection, neurogenesis (the growth of new cells) is supposed to be an effective way to reduce anxiety and depression. A lions mane mushroom extract can increase nerve-growth and studies suggest it reduces anxiety. One potential cause for reduced anxiety and depression is the increased neurogenesis of lions mane mushroom.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Uses:
• Strengthen immune system
• Improve cognitive function
• Treat anxiety
• Treat depression
• Treat high cholesterol
• Stimulate synthesis of (NGF) Nerve Growth Factor
• Treat cancer
• For antioxidant effect
• Treat arthritis
• Regulate blood pressure
• Treat inflammation
• Treat dementia
• increase intelligence
• Improve reflexes
• Fight infections
• Promote longevity
• Treat Parkinson’s disease
• Rejuvenate nerve growth
• Promote a healthy digestive system
• Regulate blood sugar levels
• Treat Alzheimer’s disease
• Eliminate toxins in the body
• Treat ulcers
• Treat arthritis
• Improve memory
• Protect nervous system