Lion’s Mane and Cognition
I have had a personal interest in Lion’s Mane mushroom after recently taking a brain support product that contained the ingredient. I’d been looking for something to sharpen my focus, and I’d tried most of the ingredients in that category- ginkgo, huperzine, etc. When I added Lion’s Mane to the mix, I was instantly impressed and wanted to learn more!
Lion’s Mane (or Hericium erinaceus) is an edible and medicinal mushroom which grows in North America and Europe. It has been used as a food in Asian cultures and has risen to notoriety as a medicinal in the US in the last decade. It is rightly earned its place!
Lion’s mane contains a rich complex of polysaccharides (like most mushrooms) such as Beta-glucan, heteroglucans, and heteroxylans, which provide similar immune modulating benefits as most medicinal mushrooms. Lion’s mane also contains, however, triterpine compounds such as hericenone and erinacine which are suspected to be responsible for Lion’s Mane’s neuroprotective and cognitive effects.
In-vitro studies have shown that Lion’s Mane could stimulate the production of nerve growth factor and support myelination of nerve cells. Animal studies have shown that Lion’s Mane could promote nerve cell recovery after injury. A 2014 review of Lion’s Mane’s clinical effects included improvements in cognition and peripheral nerve regeneration in addition to diverse support to wound healing, especially in the gut, anti-microbial, antioxidant, and even studies pointing to anti-cancer activity.
So, it seems that Lion’s Mane is finally creeping forward as a therapeutic with a lot of potential- definitely something to roar about!
By: Jaclyn Chasse ND
 Park, Y. S.; Lee, H. S.; Won, M. H.; Lee, J. H.; Lee, S. Y.; Lee, H. Y. (2002). “Effect of an exo-polysaccharide from the culture broth of Hericium erinaceus on enhancement of growth and differentiation of rat adrenal nerve cells”. Cytotechnology. 39 (3): 155–162.
 Wong KH, Naidu M, David RP, Bakar R, Sabaratnam V. (2012). “Neuroregenerative potential of lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review).”. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. pp. 427–46.
 Jiang, Shengjuan & Songhua Wang & Yujun Sun & Qiang Zhang (September 2014). “Medicinal Properties of Hericium Erinaceus and Its Potential to Formulate Novel Mushroom-based Pharmaceuticals”.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 98 (18): 7661–7670.