5 Brain Boosting Benefits of Lions Mane Mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus)

Dr. Miranda Wiley, ND

So, there you are staring at a blank screen willing your brain to come up with something brilliant and witty…or just grammatically correct…or just words… something!  Anything!  The deadline is approaching, or you really need to respond to that urgent email. Why are words so hard to come by today?  Why does thinking feel so elusive?  You slept well, ate a good breakfast, there’s nothing out of the ordinary troubling your mind, so what can you do to get the juices flowing and the brain back on track?  How can you help to develop a stronger brain and more energized body?
5 Brain Boosting Benefits of Lions Mane Mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus)

The answer may lie in an edible and medicinal mushroom called Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus).  Native to many areas across the northern hemisphere including North America, Europe, China, and Japan, this unique looking mushroom has found a way into our medicinal toolbox as a remedy for several conditions and support for a healthy body, a healthy brain, and healthy emotions.

  1. Mild Cognitive Improvement
    Who doesn’t want a sharper brain? It’s the information age, there is SO much coming at us and a lot of it is very cool (and a lot of it is junk but that’s another story…) so any edge to aid in the comprehension and retention of that information is a priority in my books!A Japanese study from 20091 tested Lion’s Mane on men and women aged 50-80 years over a period of 16 weeks.  Compared to the control group those who took a daily dose of Lion’s Mane mushroom had higher scores on cognitive function tests at various stages during the study, but when tested again 4 weeks after the intervention was stopped their cognitive scores had declined again.  It appears then that while Lion’s Mane has benefit for brain health when it comes to understanding and comprehension, those effects are not permanent.  Instead, benefit correlated with the daily ingestion of the mushroom.  It’s interesting to note that Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom too, implying a high level of safety.  [This is one of the few studies I found on Hericium Erinaceus that used humans, and 20 weeks of total observation was a longer trial than many other studies.  But the bottom line is that we don’t have much by way of long-term data beyond traditional use.]
    5 Brain Boosting Benefits of Lions Mane Mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus)
  2. Mood RegulationLion’s mane has historical use as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Recent studies on mice are exploring the biochemical pathways by which this could happen2,3.  A daily dose of Lion’s Mane is a good way to smooth out snags in our emotions and it appears to do so by supporting the health and growth of nerves within the hippocampus rather than through altering neurotransmitters (like most anti-anxiety and anti-depressive drugs).  The hippocampus is a part of our brain that controls emotions AND memory (see point #1 above!)
  3. Physical Energy
    Hericium Erinaceus has also been studied for its notable anti-fatigue effects4.  Lion’s Mane improves physical energy independently of its benefits on mental function.   Let’s face it, it’s hard to think when you’re tired! So, trying to nudge up brain power without also giving the body a boost will only get you so far.
  4. Digestive Health
    I know, I know, this is a blog about brain health.  But perhaps you’ve heard of the digestive tract being dubbed “the second brain” of the body?  If not, check out such books as The Second Brain (Michael Gershon), The Brain Maker (David Perlmutter), or many others.  The bottom line is that your brain’s capacity for excellence is influenced, either positively or negatively, by your digestive health and gut flora.  Lion’s Mane may have an indirect benefit to our mental prowess by the role it plays in supporting the digestive tract5,6.
    Brain Boosting Berry Smoothie
  5. Nerve Regeneration
    Lion’s Mane has been shown to be of use in the regeneration of peripheral nerves (that is, those outside of the spinal cord), suggesting it could have a benefit to help the physical recovery of those who have undergone trauma7.  Of course, part of the slog in healing the body is the necessity for strong mental health.  Depression and frustration can be obstacles to healing after a trauma whether it be major or minor.  Considering the benefits demonstrated by Lion’s Mane in improving cognitive function, AND helping to reduce both anxiety and depression, AND supporting physical endurance, it certainly seems to have a potential role in helping you or a loved one get back to rocking life!

So are you ready to think more clearly, experience more inner peace and joy, have greater physical performance, and smoother digestion?  Then its time for a new, powerful mushroom to enter your life, which you can easily incorporate with Botanica’s new Perfect Protein Elevated Brain Booster. It contains 750mg of Lion’s Mane per serving, along with other brain-boosting superfoods and 20g of sprouted and fermented complete plant protein for an easy all-in-one approach.  Let Lion’s Mane help you to be the best that you can be…every day.

  1. Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving the effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium Erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Mar;23(3):367-72. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2634. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844328?dopt=Abstract
  2. Chiu C,H., Chyau C,C., Chen C,C., Lee L,Y., Chen W,P., Liu J,L., Lin W,H., Mong M,C. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Jan 24;19(2). pii: E341. doi: 10.3390/ijms19020341. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29364170
  3. Ryu S., Kim H,G., Kim J,Y., Kim S,Y., Cho K,O. (2018). Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain. Journal of Medicinal Food. Feb;21(2):174-180. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.4006. Retrieved from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29091526
  4. Liu J., DU C., Wang Y., Yu Z. (2015). Anti-fatigue activities of polysaccharides extracted from Hericium erinaceus. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. Feb;9(2):483-487. Retrieved from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25574220?dopt=Abstract
  5. Yang Y., Zhao C., Diao M., Zhong S., Sun M., Sun B., Ye H., Zhang T. (2018). The Prebiotic Activity of Simulated Gastric and Intestinal Digesta of Polysaccharides from the Hericium erinaceus. Molecules. Nov 30;23(12). pii: E3158. doi: 10.3390/molecules23123158. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30513668
  6. Wang M., Konishi T., Gao Y., Xu D., Gao Q. (2015). Anti-Gastric Ulcer Activity of Polysaccharide Fraction Isolated from Mycelium Culture of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 17(11):1055-60. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26853960
  7. Lai P,L., Naidu M., Sabaratnam V., Wong K,H., David R,P., Kuppusamy U,R., Abdullah N., Malek S,N. (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 15(6):539-54. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24266378

About the Author

Dr. Miranda Wiley, ND

Dr. Miranda Wiley, ND

Miranda began her career in natural health at 13 years old when she took a summer job at her local health food store. By age...

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