Fad or Fact? The Inside Scoop on Lion’s Mane

Jul 21, 2021

Used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to support overall health and longevity, there’s a reason why Lion’s Mane mushrooms have been on the radar for years. Referred to as Monkey Head mushroom, Hedgehog mushroom, Bearded Tooth mushroom and many more, the infamous fungi lives up to its nicknames by its distinctive appearance of long cords clumped together into what resembles a lion’s mane. 

Native to North America, Asia, and Europe, these edible mushrooms grow on hardwoods in the late summer months. Legend has it that Buddhist monks used Lion’s Mane mushroom powder as a tea to enhance brain power for meditation. Sounds promising, right? 

Now that the rest of the world has caught on to this ancient herbal trend, Lion’s Mane is synthesized into supplements for everyday use. And the fungi is linked to some impressive preliminary research about brain, heart, and digestive health. 

With this said, it is important to note that Lion's Mane is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

What Makes Lion’s Mane So Special? For Starters, Your Brain!

This powerful fungi is believed to have a variety of benefits for cognitive health and has even been referred to as the brain’s superfood. That’s because these mushrooms contain two special compounds: hericenones and erinacines. These compounds are said to encourage brain cell growth and can potentially support cognitive function in healthy individuals. 

In one study, 100 mg of Lion’s Mane was given to a group of Japanese men and women three times daily. After 16 weeks, the group had significantly increased scores on cognitive function. While this suggests that Lion’s Mane may support cognitive function in high doses, there is a need for more research to draw definitive conclusions about lower doses on cognitive function. 

However, within the research that has been conducted, we can conclude that Lion’s Mane may support cognitive and memory function in healthy individuals.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Benefits

Inflammation has become a major buzz word in the world of health and wellness. Why? Inflammation is the root of many common health issues and refers to the body’s process of fighting against anything that harms it– think infections, injuries, and toxins. 

Now enter: Lion’s Mane. This super mushroom can be taken as a supplement (or raw) and may help fight inflammation and oxidation in the body caused by exercise or overexertion. 

Digestive Health

Not only does Lion’s Mane seem to help with cognitive function and inflammation, these mushrooms also support healthy digestion. The results of one study on mice indicate that Lion’s Mane mushrooms encourage growth of beneficial gut bacteria which supports healthy immune function. 

Other animal research shows that Lion’s Mane can support healthy immune function by increasing activity in the intestines, protecting our body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose. While this research is promising, it is important to note that there is a need for more human studies.

Heart Health 

When talking about cardiovascular health, it is commonly understood that heart health may decline when cholesterol in the arteries oxidize. The good news: all mushrooms contain antioxidants which help fight against oxidation of cholesterol. And furthermore, research suggests that Lion’s Mane can slow down the oxidation of LDL cholesterol or the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. 

How to Take 

So how can you get your hands on this superfood? Lion’s Mane can be eaten like any other mushroom, brewed into a tea, or taken as a supplement. Asian countries often use Lion’s Mane in cuisine as it is said to have a taste similar to crab or lobster, and is known for its mild sweetness. 

However, our favorite way to take Lion’s Mane is in combination with other adaptogens and botanicals to form the ultimate supplement.

CBD + Lion’s Mane

Similar to Lion’s Mane’s anti-inflammatory properties, research suggests that CBD reduces inflammation by affecting the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. When combined with all of the heart, digestive, and cognitive health benefits of Lion’s Mane, you have an unstoppable duo. 

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