Lion’s Mane Mushroom, or Hericium Erinaceus (also called lion's mane mushroom, mountain-priest mushroom, or bearded tooth fungus) – found in products like Plantfully Systems FIRE – is a type of edible mushroom that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to help with digestion, relieve anxiety, and improve cognitive function.
Lion’s Mane mushroom's medicinal properties are directly connected to its high levels of polysaccharides which are known to be beneficial for gut bacteria, which is an extremely important part of your health.
Besides helping to control digestion and benefiting your immune system, Lion’s Mane mushrooms, working in concert with your gut bacteria, can help with anxiety, depression, ADHD, memory, and cognitive function. In many ways, Lion’s Mane mushroom's medicinal properties cover overall brain health.
The following are 9 Lion's Mane Mushroom Medicinal Properties You May Not Know About...But Should
1. They Just May Protect Against Dementia
The Lion's Mane Mushrooms have been shown in many studies to be an effective treatment for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. The reason it has this effect is that the fungus contains compounds that promote the growth of neurons and synapses in the brain, which can help with memory and cognitive function.
2. They Have Been Shown to Help Relieve Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Mushrooms have been used for centuries to treat depression and anxiety. Lion’s mane mushrooms, in particular, have been shown to reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is likely due to the fact that lion’s mane mushrooms contain polysaccharides and ergothioneine, which are believed to be the active agents in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
3. Just May Help People Recover Faster from Nervous System Injuries
The human nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and other nerves. They work together to send transmissions all over the body to control bodily functions like breathing, sleep cycles, and nausea. Traumatic injuries to the brain or spinal cord can be life-altering. They often cause paralysis or loss of mental function and may take a while to heal.
Lion’s mane extract has been shown to help the recovery of nerve cells in cases of nerve damage. (1, 2, 3). What’s more, lion’s mane mushroom extract has been shown to reduce recovery time by 23-41% when given to rats with nervous system injuries. (4), and may even help reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke.
4. Overall Gut Health…Including Protection Against Digestive Tract Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are usually caused by two major factors: H. pylori growth and damage to the mucous layer of the stomach that’s often due to long-term use of NSAIDs.
Studies of Lion’s Mane extract have shown that it just may protect against the development of ulcers by inhibiting H. pylori and protecting the lining from damage. (6).
In fact, research has demonstrated that lion’s mane extract prevents alcohol-induced stomach ulcers better than traditional drugs, and this effect has been shown to be safe. (7).
Recent research suggests it can help to relieve inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease too. (8, 9, 10).
5. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Major risk factors for heart disease include obesity, high triglycerides, large amounts of oxidized cholesterol, and an increased tendency to get blood clots.
Some studies have found that lion’s mane mushroom extract improves fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels (11).
Lion's Mane Mushrooms are among the many natural foods that may be beneficial for your heart health. Obesity and high triglycerides are both linked to heart disease, and lion's mane mushrooms can reduce these risk factors.
6. Help To Manage Diabetes Symptoms
Diabetes is a disorder where the body has difficulty regulating insulin levels. This leads to blood sugar being uncontrolled and thus at chronically high levels. Eventually, complications will be caused like kidney disease or nerve damage if they are not drastically reduced.
Diabetes is tough and it can leave you feeling out of control. Lion’s mane mushroom may be the answer, as these mushrooms improve\ blood sugar levels and eliminate many of the side effects that diabetes brings.
Lion’s mane works by blocking the enzyme that breaks down carbs. This helps to control blood sugars in the body. (12). When this enzyme is blocked, the body isn’t able to digest and absorb carbs as effectively. This can lower blood sugar levels and reduce abdominal visceral fat which is associated with other health benefits like reduced diabetic nerve pain in the hands and feet.
7. They Also Might Help to Fight Cancer
When DNA becomes damaged, cells grow and multiply more rapidly than the body needs. This is what causes cancer.
Some research suggests that lion’s mane mushroom has cancer-fighting abilities due to its unique compounds. (13, 14). In fact, lion’s mane extract has shown positive effects on cancer cells in a laboratory setting – specifically with human cancer cells. When the extract was mixed with cancer cells in a test tube, they were observed to die off at a faster rate.
This has been demonstrated with several types of cancers such as liver, colon, and stomach cancers. (15, 16, 17).
In addition to being a possible cure for colon cancer, lion’s mane also slows the spread of cancer.
One study found that it slowed the spread by 69% in mice with colon cancer. (18). Recent studies have shown that lion’s mane extract may be more effective than traditional cancer medications with fewer side effects. (19).
8. Lion’s Mane Can Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are the root causes of many modern illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. (20).
Lion's mane mushrooms have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research shows that these unique compounds may help reduce the impact of illnesses, e.g., osteoarthritis. (21).
In fact, one study has shown that Lion’s Mane just might be one of the best sources of antioxidants out there. Lion's mane is even being studied for its ability to reduce cognitive decline in older people. (22).
9. A Great Immune System Booster
A strong immune system protects our body from diseases. It does so by eliminating nasty bacteria and viruses before they have a chance to invade the organism. On the other hand, a weak immune system may lead to pathogen invasion and infection as it doesn't have as much defense as a healthy one.
Research has shown that lion's mane mushroom can help boost immunity by increasing the activity of your immune system. This means it can help protect you from any pathogens that get in through your mouth or nose…and even your gut! (23).
What You Can Do
Lion’s mane mushroom and its extract are good for your health. Studies have found that lion’s mane may protect against dementia, provide relief for mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, assist in the repair of nerve damage, etc.
Beyond this, lion’s mane mushrooms have been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting abilities and may bene lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, ulcers, and diabetes.
Though human studies are ongoing, lion’s mane mushrooms have so far shown that they are not only safe for humans, they’re effective at keeping us healthy and making us feel good!
What’s more, when you pair lion’s mane with other functional mushrooms, like maitake, turkey tail, reishi, which have been shown to boost your immune system, chaga, which can detoxify and revitalize your body, and cordyceps, which may improve strength and endurance, you just might find that you're able to optimize…everything.