Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects

Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects
Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects

With a stringy, light-colored fruiting body, the Lion’s Mane mushroom is a unique fungus that looks something like, as its name suggests, the mane of a lion. But this mushroom is more than its unusual appearance. There are many ways Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits your body.*

In this article, we’ll share examples of how this mushroom supports your health, as well as how you can incorporate it into your daily routine. First, let’s explore the basic facts about the Lion’s Mane mushroom.

What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

The Lion’s Mane mushroom is scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus but also goes by other names, such as bearded tooth, Japanese yamabushitake, pom pom mushroom, and the hedgehog mushroom.

All of these unusual names might give you an idea of what this mushroom looks like. Its fruiting body (the above-ground part of a mushroom that is typically foraged) is white, stringy, and unlike any other mushroom.

Lion’s Mane grows during late summer and fall on trees like beech and oak and is native to North America, Asia, and Europe. While this is an edible (and delicious!) mushroom, you may not have seen it in the grocery store because it has a short shelf life.

Traditional Chinese Medicine used this mushroom to support brain and neurological health.* Today, it’s used for these and other reasons.

Lion’s Mane provides nourishment for the brain, crossing the blood-brain barrier to directly support brain cells, and contains beta glucan polysaccharides to support immune health.*

Now that you’re a bit more acquainted with this fungus, let’s talk more in detail about three amazing Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits for your body: mood support, brain and cognitive support, and immune support.*

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits

Lion's Mane mushroom growing on the side of a tree

Lion’s Mane Supports Mood*

This powerful little mushroom may help support your mood.* One particular study randomly assigned 30 females to eat either Lion’s Mane cookies or placebo cookies over the course of four weeks.

After Lion’s Mane intake, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)—which measures how often a person experiences symptoms associated with depression—was lower than before.1

Though more research is needed to draw specific conclusions, this study shows that Lion’s Mane has the potential to support mood in positive and significant ways.*1

Lion’s Mane Provides Brain and Cognitive Support*

Two people doing a puzzle while enjoying Lion's Mane mushroom benefitsThe Lion’s Mane mushroom is touted for its potential to provide brain and cognitive support.* As we mentioned, it was traditionally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for this very purpose. Now, studies continue to point toward this mushroom for brain health.*

One animal study notes that Lion’s Mane can delay “neuronal cell death in rats.”2 Although we can’t say for sure that these particular findings apply to people, the mushroom has been studied for its effects on humans.

For example, one study evaluated 30 people (50- to 80-year-old Japanese adults) with impaired cognition. Over the course of 16 weeks, half of the group took Lion’s Mane mushroom while the other half took a placebo.

Participants were observed for another four weeks.3 Throughout intake, the Lion’s Mane mushroom group “showed increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group.”*3

Lion’s Mane Supports Immune Health*

Man hiking while enjoying Lion's Mane mushroom benefitsYou might not be aware that your immune system and your gut health go hand in hand. In general, mushrooms are heroes when it comes to immune health.* Lion’s Mane is no different.

The Lion’s Mane mushroom polysaccharide promotes immune function, and one study notes that this is most likely thanks to “the effective regulation of intestinal mucosal immune activity.”*5

How to Use Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

The list of Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits could go on for quite a while. But, before we wrap up, we want to let you know how you can take advantage of all that Lion’s Mane mushrooms have to offer.

We recommend working Lion’s Mane into your diet via a capsule or powder supplement that contains this mushroom. Or, if Lion’s Mane mushroom is accessible to you, there are also some delicious ways to cook with this fantastic fungus!

First, let’s dive a bit deeper into where Gaia Herbs’ mushrooms come from.

Source and Quality

Gaia Herbs sources the mushrooms used in our products from North American Medicinal Mushroom Extract (Nammex). Nammex operates 100% Certified Organic growing and manufacturing operations in Qingyuan County China.

This is a remote, mountainous region far from highly populated cities and industrial manufacturing areas and it is often referred to as the best ecological environment in China.

People sometimes question the quality of mushrooms grown in China, but we can assure you that Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest sources for the use of mushrooms for health purposes.

Gaia Herbs chose Nammex as our mushroom provider because their growing conditions are similar to the mushrooms’ natural habitats.

All of our mushrooms are harvested from their growing substrate, never incorporating any of the growing medium into the final product. This results in a 100% organic supplement that, in the case of our new line of mushroom capsules, is 100% mushrooms and nothing else—no fillers, starch, or grains with guaranteed levels of beneficial beta glucans.* Our mushroom powders and herb and mushroom blend formulas are also free of fillers, starch, and grains.

There is no mycelium in our mushroom products either, as we use only mushroom fruiting bodies. Why? Fruiting bodies have been used for thousands of years in traditional herbal medicine. The concentration of powerful biochemical compounds, such as beta glucans, is highest in the fruiting body versus the mycelium.

Because we value transparency, we created meetyourherbs.com, the world’s first herb traceability platform.

With our Meet Your Herbs® program, you can enter the ID number located on the back of any Gaia Herbs product and instantly learn when your product was manufactured as well as its best by date. You can also learn where it came from and how it was grown, harvested, and extracted, plus see validation of your product’s level of purity and potency.

You can be assured that all of our mushroom products are safely produced without the use of pesticides and other toxins.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion's Mane mushroom capsules

This pure Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplement contains only the fruiting bodies of 100% organically grown and sustainably sourced Lion’s Mane mushrooms.

Each capsule contains 2,500 mg of dried Lion’s Mane mushrooms to support mental performance, cognition, focus, and nervous system health.* At 5x strength, you get the support you need in just one capsule per day.*

These capsules are delivered in a 40-count bottle, which provides a better value when compared to the 30-count bottles offered by many companies.

Mental Clarity

 Gaia Herbs Mental Clarity Mushrooms & Herbs with Lion's Mane mushroom benefits
In addition to Lion’s Mane, Gaia Herbs Mental Clarity Mushrooms & Herbs contains Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms, as well as Rosemary, Holy Basil, and Gotu Kola.

The herbs and mushrooms in Mental Clarity Mushrooms & Herbs come to you in their pure form, and you can be assured that this herbal supplement is vegan and free of dairy, gluten, and soy.

This blend is specifically designed to support memory and cognitive function—something that we know Lion’s Mane does well—and provides daily support to help maintain mental alertness.*

To reap the benefits, adults should take one capsule twice a day.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder

Gaia Herbs Mind Spring™ with Lion's Mane mushroom benefits
If you prefer taking mushrooms via a powder supplement, there’s a Lion’s Mane supplement for you, too.

Gaia Herbs Mind Spring™ is formulated with a synergistic blend of mushrooms and herbs that have been traditionally taken for brain health and recall.*

Mind Spring is USDA Certified Organic and is made with Lion's Mane and Reishi mushrooms combined with herbs including Turmeric, Ginkgo, Gotu Kola, and Holy Basil. And, of course, there are no added fillers, flavors, or sweeteners.

Our Mind Spring powder can be added to a smoothie or stirred into dairy or non-dairy milk (or any other beverage of your choice). Adults should take one teaspoon daily.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Recipes

Cooking with Lion's Mane mushroom
If you’re lucky enough to have access to raw Lion’s Mane mushrooms, there are endless ways to cook them. Saute them with garlic, serve them poached over grilled steaks, or add them to a sauce to top a bowl of pasta.

Another option is to cook with a Lion’s Mane mushroom powder like Mind Spring. One of our favorite recipes is Mind Spring Broth.

This richly nutrient-dense mineral broth incorporates Gaia Herbs Mind Spring™ powder to form a delicious and supportive broth that’s just like sipping on a tea.*

You’ll need the following ingredients:

    • 8 cups of filtered water
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped into large wedges
    • 4 celery stalks (tops included), coarsely chopped
    • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
    • 1 cup of dried Shiitake mushrooms
    • 2 Reishi mushroom slices
    • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh Parsley
    • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
    • ¼ teaspoon of pink salt
    • ⅓ teaspoon of black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon of Mind Spring powder

For the complete Mind Spring Broth recipe, click here.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Side Effects and Precautions

Lion’s Mane mushroom is, in general, quite safe to consume. One study noted that “tests showed no adverse effect.”3

Even still, remember that before you start using any herbal supplement, you should consult your doctor, especially if you are already taking medications or have a medical condition. And be advised that Lion’s Mane is not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Your Well-Being*

Lion's Mane mushroom growing on stump of tree
As we’ve seen, Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits are significant.* This odd-looking fungus can support your mood, provide brain and cognitive support, and promote immune health.* And they’re simple to add to your daily routine.

For easy-to-take capsules with Lion’s Mane, turn to Gaia Herbs Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Mental Clarity Mushrooms & Herbs. For Lion’s Mane in powder form, try Mind Spring as it is loaded with other mushrooms and herbs to help keep your mind in tip-top shape.*

Don’t wait to take advantage of the Lion’s Mane mushroom and everything it can do for you!

REFERENCES:

1. Mayumi Nagano et al. “Reduction of Depression and Anxiety by 4 Weeks Hericium erinaceus Intake,” Biomedical Research 31, no. 4 (2010): 231-7, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20834180.

2. I-Chen Li et al. “Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines,” Behavioural Neurology, May 21, 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239.

3. Koichiro Mori et al., “Improving Effects of the Mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double‐Blind Placebo‐Controlled Clinical Trial,” Phytotherapy Research 23, 3 (2008): 367-372, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.2634.

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 (2020), https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2020.00155/full.

5. Xiaotong Sheng et al. “Immunomodulatory Effects of Hericium erinaceus Derived Polysaccharides are Mediated by Intestinal Immunology,” Food & function 8, no. 3 (2017): 1020-1027, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28266682.