Did you know that mushrooms also have medicinal properties? Indeed, they do and they have been used for centuries as a medicinal herb, but research shows that they may have additional health benefits when consumed regularly.
Lion’s mane is a mushroom that grows wild and can be found in many areas of the world. It has long been used in Chinese medicine as a preventative against aging and treatment for depression. It has also been used as an anti-aging elixir in Japan and Korea since ancient times; some believe that consuming it may help as a preventative against age-related cognitive decline.
Lion’s mane provides many benefits to the body, but especially the brain. People take lion’s mane to improve their memory, keep their brain healthy and young and improve nerve function. In fact, lion’s mane has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine as a tonic for promoting longevity and memory.
How is Lion’s Mane Grown And Harvested?
Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that grows on wood and it can be found in North America, Europe and Japan. It’s an extremely slow-growing fungus and harvesting usually takes place between August and November. The main part of the Lion’s Mane mushroom is its long strands of white filaments (called “tentacles”), which are used for attaching to tree branches or other surfaces as it grows.
Active Ingredients in Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane contains a compound called beta-glucans, which are chains of sugar molecules found in fungi and other organisms. These chains contain bioactive compounds called hericenones and erinacines that have been shown to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that promotes neuron survival and growth. NGF plays an important role in brain development, learning and mood regulation.
Additionally, these chains of sugars have been shown to have effects on certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters play a major role in brain function and mood/anxiety disorders; they also help regulate concentration and learning ability.
How Lion’s Mane Works in the Brain
Lion’s mane is a nootropic, which is a substance that enhances cognitive functions such as memory, focus and attention. It can also enhance creativity and problem-solving abilities. Here are some of the benefits of lion’s mane for the brain:
• Brain Health: It makes sense that the brain ages, just like the body does. Lion’s mane exhibits anti-inflammatory benefits, and some of its active ingredients can cross the blood-brain barrier, providing neurogenerative benefits. The anabolic effects of Lion’s mane promote neural growth in the brain, which may help repair damaged neurons and improve memory function. Studies have shown that lion’s mane mushroom contains compounds that can help slow aging in the brain. Some research suggests that lion’s mane could help to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases.
Cognitive Health: Lion’s mane can also help to regulate neurotransmitters in the brain. Researchers in Japan conducted a double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial* of 50 to 80-year-old Japanese people with mild cognitive impairment. The group taking lion’s mane showed increased scores on the cognitive function scale and the researchers concluded that lion’s mane is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment.
*a study where neither the researcher nor participant knows which group they belong to. One group receives the active medicine (lion’s mane) and the other group receives a supplement without any medicinal ingredients or benefits (placebo)
• Mood & Anxiety: Lion’s mane can help to keep your mood balanced. New research on mice suggests that lion’s mane could help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. The study found that lion’s mane is capable of reducing inflammation, which is a contributor to depression and anxiety.
Supplementing with Lion’s Mane
If you are looking to take lion’s mane, the recommended dose is 1,000 mg per day and you can take it with or without food.
There are no known side effects when taking Lion’s Mane orally. However, there have been reports of nausea and vomiting in people who have consumed high doses (over two grams) of the mushroom for prolonged periods of time (more than six months). If you experience these symptoms or any other negative effects from taking this supplement please talk to your natural health practitioner.
Lion’s Mane has not been studied extensively in pregnant women; therefore, it is always best to consult with a doctor prior to starting a supplement regime when pregnant.
What Lion’s Mane is Best?
Purica is a Canadian supplement brand that’s known for its quality and potency. Their Lion’s Mane powder and Lion’s Mane capsules are micronized and organic, as well as gluten-free, vegan and GMO-free. This formula supports cognitive health and is trusted amongst many.
Known as the “smart mushroom,” Lion’s Mane has been studied for its ability to promote neural growth and repair damaged cells in the brain. It contains several compounds that may help protect against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease by improving memory and learning. If you are looking to support optimal brain health and slow the effects of aging on the brain, lion’s mane may be for you.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.