Lions Mane Warm Weather (Hericium Erinaceus)
Mane Warm Weather (Hericium Erinaceus)
Lion’s mane mushrooms are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane as they grow. They contain bioactive substances that have many beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart, and gut. Share on Pinterest fotografiecor via Adobe Images Lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, have both culinary and medicinal uses in Asian countries like China, India, Japan, and Korea (1Trusted Source). Here are nine health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms and their extracts, along with dosages, preparation, and side effects. 1. Could protect against dementia The brain’s ability to grow and form new connections typically declines with age, which may explain why mental functioning worsens in many older adults (2Trusted Source). Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines (3Trusted Source). Additionally, animal studies have found that lion’s mane may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss. In fact, lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have been shown to reduce symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source). A 2020 study of people with mild Alzheimer’s disease found that supplementation with 1 gram of lion’s mane mushroom daily for 49 weeks significantly improved cognitive test scores compared with a placebo (7Trusted Source). The ability of lion’s mane mushroom to promote nerve growth and protect the brain from Alzheimer’s-related damage may explain some of its beneficial effects on brain health. However, it’s important to note that most of the research has been conducted on animals or in test tubes. Therefore, more human studies are needed. SUMMARY Lion’s mane mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate brain cell growth and protect them from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. However, more research involving humans is needed. HEALTHLINE PARTNER SOLUTIONS Discover simple vitamins backed by science Ritual shares its full supply chain process so you can trace each ingredient and understand what’s going in your body. 2. Helps relieve mild symptoms of depression and anxiety Up to one-third of people living in developed countries experience symptoms of anxiety and depression (8, 9). While there are many causes of anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation could be a major contributing factor. Animal research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice (10Trusted Source). Other animal studies have found that lion’s mane extract can also help regenerate brain cells and improve the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain that processes memories and emotional responses (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source). Researchers believe that improved hippocampus functioning may explain the reductions in anxious and depressive behaviors in mice receiving these extracts. While these animal studies are promising, there is very little research involving humans. One small 2010 study of menopausal women found that eating cookies containing lion’s mane mushrooms daily for 1 month helped reduce self-reported feelings of irritation and anxiety (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source). SUMMARY Studies suggest that lion’s mane mushrooms may help relieve mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, but more research involving humans is needed to better understand the correlation. 3. May speed recovery from nervous system injuries The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and other nerves that travel throughout the body. These components work together to send and transmit signals that control almost every bodily function. Brain or spinal cord injuries can cause various adverse medical outcomes. They often cause paralysis or loss of mental functions and can take a long time to heal. However, research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract may help speed recovery from these types of injuries by stimulating the growth and repair of nerve cells (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source). It may also help reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke. However, no studies have been conducted involving humans to determine if lion’s mane would have the same therapeutic effect on nervous system injuries as animal research has suggested. SUMMARY Rat studies have found that lion’s mane extract can speed up recovery from nervous system injuries, but research involving humans is lacking. 4. Protects against ulcers in the digestive tract Ulcers can form anywhere along the digestive tract, including the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Two major factors typically cause stomach ulcers: overgrowth of the bacteria H. pylori and damage to the mucous layer of the stomach that’s often due to long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (17Trusted Source). Lion’s mane extract may protect against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage (18Trusted Source). Several older studies have found that lion’s mane extract can prevent the growth of H. pylori in a test tube, but no studies have tested whether the extract has the same effects inside the stomach (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source). Another 2013 animal study found that lion’s mane extract was more effective at preventing alcohol-induced stomach ulcers than traditional acid-lowering drugs — and without any negative side effects (21Trusted Source). Lion’s mane extract can also reduce inflammation and prevent tissue damage in other intestinal areas. In fact, they may help treat inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source). A 2016 study of people with ulcerative colitis found that taking a mushroom supplement containing 14% lion’s mane extract significantly reduced symptoms and improved quality of life after 3 weeks (25Trusted Source). However, when the same study was repeated in patients with Crohn’s disease, the benefits were roughly the same as with placebo (26Trusted Source). It’s important to note that the herbal supplement used in these studies included several types of mushrooms, so it’s difficult to conclude about the effects of lion’s mane specifically. Overall, research suggests that lion’s mane extract may help inhibit the development of ulcers, but more research involving humans is needed. SUMMARY Lion’s mane extract has been shown to protect against stomach and intestinal ulcers in rodents, but research involving humans has been conflicting. 5. Reduces risk of heart disease Major risk factors for heart disease include the following: obesity high triglycerides large amounts of oxidized cholesterol an increased tendency to get blood clots Research shows that lion’s mane extract can influence some of these factors and reduce the risk of heart disease. Studies of rats and mice have found that lion’s mane mushroom extract improves fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels (27Trusted Source). One 2010 study of rats fed a high fat diet and given daily doses of lion’s mane extract showed 27% lower triglyceride levels and 42% less weight gain after 28 days (28Trusted Source). Since obesity and high triglycerides are both considered risk factors for heart disease, this is one way that lion’s mane mushrooms contribute to heart health. Test-tube studies have also found that lion’s mane extract can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the bloodstream (29Trusted Source). Oxidized cholesterol molecules tend to attach to artery walls, causing them to harden and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Reducing oxidation is beneficial for heart health. What’s more, lion’s mane mushrooms contain a compound called hericenone B, which can decrease the rate of blood clotting and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke (30Trusted Source). Lion’s mane mushrooms appear to benefit the heart and blood vessels in multiple ways, but studies involving humans are needed to support this. SUMMARY Animal and test-tube studies suggest that lion’s mane extract can reduce the risk of heart disease in several ways, but human studies are needed to confirm these findings.