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What is Lion’s Mane?


Lions mane, which is scientifically known as Hericium Erinaceus, is an edible and medicinal mushroom that has a history of use dating back up to 2,000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Lion’s mane was formulated into a tonic, used to support the overall health of the consumer. The fungi is one of the most talked about medicinal mushrooms of recent times, with supposed neurotrophic (supporting growth and survival of neurons) benefits that may even include neurogenesis (the birth of neurons). 

Natural Lion's Mane Mushroom

Hericium Erinaceus/Lion’s Mane

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The mushroom is composed of layers of cascading white to yellow spines, with its commonly known name coming from the lion’s mane jellyfish, which it shares its appearance with. Even the scientific name gives an idea of the mushroom's appearance, with the Latin word erinaceus actually meaning hedgehog, matching the spined fashion in which lion’s mane grows. The fungi, which is native to Europe, Asia and North America grows naturally in deciduous forest areas. It grows on the deadwood of fallen trees and on the trunks and large branches of standing trees, especially old, veteran or ancient individuals. Although the fungi naturally grows throughout most of the world, it is so rare to find that it is actually endangered within the UK. Fortunately the mushroom is easy to grow indoors, meaning that there is never a shortage of lion’s mane. 

Lion’s mane is extremely beneficial for a woodlands ecosystem, supporting regrowth by breaking down the minerals within dying woods, turning them into nutrients for the soil. Mushrooms are master decomposers and regenerators, so whilst all commercially grown lion’s mane is currently grown indoors, there is now evidence to suggest that controlled outdoor growing is possible with this amazing mushroom. It would be great to see outdoor grown lion’s mane becoming more popular in the future.

Why is there so much excitement surrounding Lion’s Mane?


Much of the excitement and scientific research around lion’s mane comes from its reported neurogenetic properties. An ever increasing ageing population, emerging over the past half-century has led to a ‘silver tsunami’ of age related diseases. Among these diseases, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the fifth-leading cause of death among adults aged 65 years and older and is also a leading cause of disability and morbidity. Unlike other major diseases for which there has been steady progress in the development of novel therapies, no new pharmacologic treatment for AD has been approved since 2003. Reports state that patients treated with lion’s mane have been shown to have an increased cognitive function over placebo groups.

Treatments of prevention, working before any symptoms show are much harder to implement than treatments of intervention, which look to combat symptoms after they appear. New treatments for the disease have been extremely hard to find, as AD is believed to be a progressive disease, whereby the damage to the neurons and brain can occur many years before any clinical symptoms are seen. AD requires prevention over an intervention treatment, which is where we fall into difficulties. 

Lion’s mane has been found to contain high levels of two chemicals (hericenones and erinacines), which have been linked to the growth and stimulation of new neurons, which may be able to replace those that have been damaged or even killed. AD is caused by a buildup of amyloid-beta plaques, which will eventually kill the neurons which it is encasing, causing dementia. Some studies have even shown that the use of lion’s mane as a preventative medicine can even protect the brain from the initial plaque damage caused by AD. 

A 2009 study saw 50 to 80 year old Japanese men and women, who were diagnosed with mild cognitive disorders, testing the efficiency of lion’s mane on cognitive function. The study showed that adults who consumed 3 grams of powdered lion’s mane daily for four months saw an increase in cognitive function. The cognitive function increase did drop after lion’s mane treatment was stopped, showing the need for a continuous supplement regime.  

Studies on neurogenesis as a whole are still relatively new, meaning that lion’s mane studies are currently very limited. With that being said there is still clearly some scientific evidence supporting lion’s mane increasing cognitive function in humans. We are not making any medical claims at Shroomology, however there must be a reason for all the current hype surrounding lion’s mane

What else can lion’s mane be used for?


Whilst much of the current interest for lion’s mane comes from its effects on cognitive function, there are a whole host of other benefits that have been reported through Lion’s Mane use. Again scientific backing for these benefits is limited, however some of the reported benefits include;

  • Potential to speed recovery from central nervous system injuries
  • Reduce levels of anxiety and depression for mild sufferers 
  • Reduces heart disease risk
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Potential to protect against stomach ulcers 

    As always at Shroomology, we always encourage independent research, to ensure you truly understand the benefits that may be on offer from the supplements you are taking. We hope our guides can in some way give you an overview of the potential benefits of certain mushrooms. 

    The Shroomology Focus Blend contains 300 mg of 10:1 organic lion’s mane extract in each dose (equivalent to 3000 mg of dried lion’s mane) , along with 200mg of 15:1 organic reishi (equivalent to 3000 mg of dried reishi) and 2.4ug of organic vitamin B12. Focus/Clarity/Memory