Continuing in our four part mushroom series, 'The Magic of Mushrooms', which marks the release of our new product, Altai Mountain Shilajit Mushroom Blend, we take a deeper look into the curious and enticing looking mushroom known as 'Lion's Mane'.
This unusually handsome and visually inviting 'smart mushroom' is Lion's Mane, (Hericium Erinaceus). Also known as 'bearded tooth', 'monkey head', 'bearded hedgehog' ('hericium' means hedgehog in Latin) or 'pom pom', is native to North America, Europe and Asia. This shaggy mane of fungal spines grow from hardwood usually in a low hanging clump on Beech trees, resembling a frozen, milky waterfall. The creamy white spines can grow to around 5cm in length and produce spores. Lion's Mane needs very humid conditions to thrive and its first known uses were in the Far East. The first known medicinal documentation comes from China and Japan were this adaptogenic superfood was used for many health benefits, but known for its ability to significantly increase brain function and neurological health, improving mental clarity and enhancing memory and productivity. Foods that nourish the brain in such a way are classed as a 'nootropic'. Nootropics are cognitive enhancers and have been rapidly attracting interest from neuroscientists . You may or may not know the extensive research and works of the charming Paul Stamets into the abilities and mysteries of mushrooms and their effects on the human brain. He has joined Joe Rogan twice to discuss his fascinating fungal findings and his incredible experiences with psilocybin which you can find on YouTube. Here's a clip of Paul talking about the recent scientific findings on the potentials of Lion's Mane mushrooms.
5 Benefits of Lion's Mane:
1. Cognitive Function
Lion's Mane has been turning heads by people like Paul Stamets as it has been showing huge benefits in improving cognitive function and preventing cognitive disorders particularly later in life. No other mushroom is known to show the same effect on stimulating the production of nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) than Lion's Mane. Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey described Lion's Mane as 'miracle grow for your brain'. Essentially, Lion's Mane shows an ability to help connect pathways and rebuild DNA within the brain, improving memory, improving learning ability and mood.
This study linked below shows the link between the Hericenones and Erinacines in Lion's Mane and the production of Nerve Growth Factor in the brain which can combat the onset on neurological disorders such as Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. The study was done in Japan and conducted on 50 elderly patients with various brain disorders including Parkinson's, Dementia, Cerebrovascular Disease and Degenerative Orthopedic disease. They consumed 5mg of Lion's Mane everyday over a period of 6 months and the results showed that all of the patients suffering from Dementia showed significant improvements in their perceptual capacities and also physical capabilities.
The high amount of antioxidants available in Lion's Mane make it a useful anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation in the body leads to all kinds of discomforts, pains and conditions which Lion's Mane can help to prevent and treat.
4. Focus & Concentration
The biological compounds in Lion's Mane allow it to easily cross the blood-brain barrier which help our minds to function at a higher level than normal as more receptors are stimulated. When our brain is able to perform at ease without any stress or 'brain fog', we are able to concentrate and think clearly, making better decisions. Lion's Mane has been used in the far East for centuries by Royalty and Shaolin monks, thought to help achieve deeper and more meaningful meditations and to enhance the potential of enlightenment.