Deep Dive: Lion’s Mane

Would you eat a large, white, shaggy mushroom that resembles a lion’s mane? 

Once I got past the weirdness of that sentence, and the texture, Lion’s Mane became one of my favorite mushrooms to indulge in!

Also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake (or the hedgehog mushroom!), this mushroom has culinary and medical uses in Asian countries such as China, India, Korea, and Japan, but many North Americans have been enjoying the benefits for years. And not just in the kitchen, but in powders and capsules. This versatile shroom is a very popular choice for cognitive, heart, and gut health!

Let’s dive a little deeper into this mysterious, shaggy-looking mushroom!


The Basics

This fuzzy-looking mushroom is also known as Hericium Erinaceus. They’re pretty easy to identify, as you can see by the picture!

Depending on where they’re growing, they could look slightly different. As you can see in the picture here, the cluster of icicles are pointing up, while if they are growing on a tree, you may notice them hanging from a dead or dying hardwood.

If you don’t want to forage your own Lion’s Mane mushrooms, you can likely find it at specialty grocery stores, health food stores, or even more likely, farmer’s markets.

It’s incredible to look at, but even cooler to see how it can help your health! It may improve the development and function of nerves, it might  protect nerves from becoming damaged, and lastly, it also seems to help protect the mucous membrane layer of the stomach.


Eating Lion’s Mane

Flavor profile: mild seafood flavor. If this isn’t your thing, you may want to steer clear. If you’re looking for some surf and turf, look no further. Cook this up in place of lobster or crab!

Grab it while it’s white, because once it starts to turn a shade of yellow, it’s not quite as fresh!

Lion’s Mane absorbs flavors and liquids like a sponge, so they will be full of flavor!

If you plan on eating Lion’s Mane, you’ll need to learn how to clean and store it.

  • First, you’ll want to store your mushrooms in a paper bag in the fridge (but not in the produce drawer)
    • A paper bag will allow them to breathe. Keeping them out of the produce drawer will give them better airflow.
  • Second, give them a quick rinse. 
    • When you’re ready to eat them, give them a rinse to get any dirt off, but be careful not to soak them, as they can become soggy.

Now it’s time to cook your Lion’s Mane.

  • First, slice off the bottom of the mushrooms, then cut into slices.
  • Second, set your skillet/frying pan on medium heat and cook your mushrooms for 2 minutes. You can use either olive oil, butter, or any oil of choice. (Bonus points if you want to use your AirFryer!!)
  • Third, flip & cook the other side for 1-2 more minutes, then add your seasonings. I personally love using salt and pepper or Okazu Spicy Chili Miso.

You’ll end up with a really cool pot luck side dish to enjoy with friends, or you can throw them in a sandwich, or even make vegan crab cakes!


Supplementing with Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is said to help medicinally, whether enjoyed raw, cooked, dried, or steeped as a tea.

They contain bioactie substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially when it comes to your brain, heart, and gut!

  • Can protect against dementia
  • Can help relieve mild symptoms of depression & anxiety
  • Can help speed recover from nervous system injuries
  • May protect against ulcers in the digestive tract (sometimes due to long-term use of NSAIDs)
  • Can reduce heart disease risk (improves fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels)
  • Can help manage diabetes symptoms (helps lower blood sugar & redue diabetic nerve pain)

It’s important to keep in mind that many of these studies have been performed on animals and it’s not quite certain if it is 100% accurate for humans. I’ve personally tried and loved the effects of Lions Mane, but because it isn’t as mainstream as other supplements, it’s still fairly new to North America and would require more human studies. 

lion's mane nutrachamps bottle and boxIf you’re looking for a well-balanced Mushroom Supplement, look no further! We’ve got the perfect product! We wanted to perfect our pre-existing Smarter Mushroom product and come out with something that was completely Organic. Our new Lion’s Mane Mushroom Product is an upgraded version of our Smarter Mushrooms. They include 270 mg of Lion’s Mane mushroom, 95 mg of a Mushroom Wellness Blend (Organic Reishi mushroom and Organic Cordyceps mushroom), and 5 mg of Organic black pepper for that you can easily absorb all the shroomy goodness!

Recommended dosage for the benefits of Lions Mane is still unknown due to a lack of studies.

If you’re interested in trying out Lions Mane or any other Mushroom supplement, consult your family physician first.


Contraindications

As I said above, it’s important to always consult a doctor before adding a new supplement to your regimen. This is important so that you know you won’t have any negative side effects or contraindications based on your current medication(s) or health status.

So far, there isn’t much information out there about any contraindications with other medications. Some mild side effects could occur, though, such as stomach discomfort. There are some studies that show that it could also affect those with allergies and asthma. 

Pregnant women should avoid using Lion’s Mane products as there is insufficient evidence available to determine safe dosage during pregnancy.


Conclusion

Remember, this isn’t a miracle mushroom. It’s not going to cure your cancer, it definitely won’t recover your brain injury, and it isn’t going to neessarily help you get off of anti-depressants. This is meant to be a supplement and not a cure-all.

That being said, I’m really hopeful for new supporting research to come out recommending Lion’s Mane! I know I’ve seen a huge difference in brain function alongside my other everyday supplements, and I think that the more we talk about these kinds of underresearched products, the more we can learn how to prevent diseases, rather than wait for them to occur.

If you have any questions or concerns or have been thinking of trying mushrooms for medicinal reasons, feel free to pop your question or comment in the comment section and I’ll get back to you! I’m not a doctor and I can’t recommend a specific dose, but I may be able to lead you to the right product if Lion’s Mane isn’t for you!


Resources:

  • https://draxe.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924982/
  • https://examine.com/supplements/lionsmane/
  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4
  • https://www.acouplecooks.com/lions-mane-mushrooms/

Alexia Palmeri

Alexia Palmeri is a 28-year-old personal development enthusiast! She looks at life experiences as an opportunity to always learn and grow. Alexia is also a broadcast journalism graduate with a passion and knack for communications and media. She is always on the lookout for new trends on social media and keeps up to date with what's happening in the world. In her free time, Alexia enjoys socializing with family and loved ones, being in nature, cooking nourishing meals, and discovering new places to dine and adventure!

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