In the last several decades we have witnessed an increased number of people looking at the health benefits that come from a natural diet, a trend which has seen many plants and mushrooms classified as “super foods”.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms (scientific name: Hericium erinaceus) have long been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine throughout history as a therapeutic mushroom. It is also part of the cuisine of many other Asian countries such as Korea and India. Available in both natural form and also processed into modern supplements, this is one of the mushrooms where the centuries of traditional medicinal use have been backed up by modern scientific studies.
About Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane is one of the most impressive mushrooms health-wise, and offers a wide array of benefits that are going to be hard for just about anything else to match. It’s loaded with antioxidants and beta-glucan, has the ability to enhance overall cognitive function, has proven neuroprotective qualities and is linked to the production of NGF (Nerve Growth Factor). Most benefits of Lion’s Mane can be broken down into three categories:
1) Mood improvement (depression, anxiety and related illnesses);
2) Enhanced memory and brain function and nerve growth factor;
3) Anti-aging properties in human cell cultures.
Components and extracts of Lion’s Mane have proven antibiotic, anticancer, neuroprotective, fat- lowering and glucose-lowering effects. This mushroom also protects against stomach ulcers and has anti-fatigue properties.
At its core, all the beneficial effects are based on three important properties of Lion’s Mane: it decreases inflammation, acts as an antioxidant, and stimulates the immune system.
Lion’s Mane & the Brain
Memory and brain function enhancement has been the biggest overall benefit that has appeared again and again when looking at lion’s mane’s health benefits. Especially in older individuals and those with mild cognitive issues (sometimes from the potential onset of age related disorders), this supplement has been shown to help a variety of mind related issues:
- Improves memory & overall brain function;
- May help alleviate certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease;
- May help alleviate certain Alzheimer’s symptoms;
- Shows signs of helping anxiety and depression caused by brain chemistry.
Immune System & Prevention of Disease
Current research shows many signs that this mushroom can be a powerful supplement to help the overall health of your immune system and your body’s ability to fight external treats. From boosting the immune system to enhancing your body’s defenses against bacteria, aging, and more, there’s a lot to like about what this supplement brings to the table:
- Boosts the immune system;
- Boasts of several anti-cancer properties and induces the death of leukemic, liver, colon, gastric, and breast cancer cells;
- Boosts your body’s defenses against bad bacteria;
- Displays many anti-oxidant qualities;
- Has shown several notable anti-aging properties.
Heart & Blood Health
While more studies are still being done on the full potential of what lion’s mane mushrooms have to offer, early tests are very encouraging. In research done on mice and rats, there are signs of reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and phospholipids and increased HDL cholesterol. Lion’s Mane reduced blood glucose levels in both normal and diabetic mice by nearly 50% in lab conditions.
Heart and blood often go hand in hand as improving one can drastically improve the other but having early signs of being able to help both makes Lion’s Mane all more appealing. When one natural fungus can bring so many benefits, it’s hard to argue with wanting to make it part of your diet:
- Lion’s mane has shown promise in improving cardiovascular health;
- Potential for improving metabolism;
- Can help decrease inflammation;
- May help some with neuropathy pain due to diabetes;
- Some potential for helping to lower high blood glucose levels;
- Improves overall circulation.
Other Potential Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Some of the studies on these potential benefits are still very early in the laboratory stage, but early animal testing in labs is showing some of the potential of Lion’s Mane and only adds to the growing fan base around the world. From helping to heal from injuries to boosting vital organs and increasing your overall energy levels, this is one mushroom you will not want to exclude from your diet!
Other possible benefits:
- Enhancing nerve regeneration;
- May help prevent scarring;
- Protects the gut;
- Protects the liver;
- Helps eliminate fatigue;
- Good for your skin health;
- Strengthen density of your bones;
- Create healthier sleep cycles.
Source: The Nootropics Review