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Lion's mane: a treat for your brain

Date Posted:12 May 2023 

Lion’s Mane is a culinary mushroom that's been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, and it's now making its way into your kitchen. This mushroom has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory in both rats and humans - and it's one of the most potent natural nootropics available!


For centuries, humans have been using mushrooms to improve their brain power. From the ancient Greeks to the Chinese dynasties, people all over the world have used these fungi for everything from treating insomnia to improving memory.

But not all mushrooms are created equal. In fact, there's one type of mushroom that is particularly high in compounds that can help maintain your brain’s health and function. It's called lion's mane and we're going to tell you everything you need to know about it!



What is lion's mane?

Lion's mane mushroom is a type of fungus that grows on old, dead trees. It has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, where it's considered to be a medicinal mushroom that improves cognitive function, helps with anxiety and depression, and can even help treat cancer.

The scientific name for lion's mane is Hericium erinaceus, which means "hedgehog beard", because it looks like a hedgehog's beard. The mushroom itself looks like the head of a lion - it has long, curling teeth that stick out from the sides of its head.

It's also called monkey head mushroom because of its resemblance to the top of a monkey's skull. It is usually sold dried, but you can find fresh versions at some health food stores and Asian markets.

Lion's mane grows on hardwood trees in North America, Europe, and Asia.


Benefits of lion’s mane mushroom

One of the most well known benefits of lion's mane mushroom is its ability to support brain health. Studies have shown that it contains compounds called erinacines and hericenones, which can stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve cognitive function.

In fact, one study found that elderly Japanese men and women who consumed lion's mane mushroom for four months showed significant improvements in their cognitive function compared to a control group.

Lion's mane mushroom has also been shown to have anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, lion's mane benefits digestion and boost the immune system.



Is lion’s mane good for you?

Ye, lion’s mane mushroom is absolutely good for you.

Lion's mane mushroom benefits include improved brain function, reduced anxiety and depression symptoms, better immune system function, and reduced risk of cancer. They may also help with weight loss and prevent diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels in people who are obese or diabetic.

Some research suggests that lion's mane mushrooms might help improve memory function by increasing Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) production in the hippocampus - the part of your brain responsible for forming new memories - and protecting against age - related cognitive decline like Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Lion's mane can be eaten raw or cooked, but it's most commonly steamed or sautéed. It has a deep earthy flavour that pairs well with other foods - think onions and garlic, or mushrooms and spinach. It's also incredibly versatile: You can use it in soups, salads, stir - fries…you name it!


Can lion's mane improve your mood?

Lion's mane mushroom is known as a powerful mood booster. It can even help you get through the day when you're feeling uninspired, anxious, or depressed. It's also a well known anti inflammatory that can help fight inflammation in the brain, which can cause anxiety and depression.

In addition to this, lion's mane contains several vitamins and minerals that are important for mental health, including B vitamins thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid (B5), folic acid (B9), calcium, phosphorus and potassium. These nutrients help maintain normal brain function by supporting nerve cell growth and repair while also helping reduce stress hormones like cortisol - which can lead to anxiety or depression symptoms if not controlled with proper nutrition!

Scientists have discovered that lion's mane contains compounds called erinacines A and B, which are structurally similar to serotonin - the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, appetite, sleep patterns and more.

So how does it work? Lion's mane may help promote the production of dopamine and norepinephrine - two hormones that play key roles in regulating mood - by stimulating nerve cells in the brain. According to an article published in Behavioural Science, H. erinaceus has also been shown to lessen anxiety and depression after four weeks of consumption in human subjects 



Does lion's mane improve cognition and memory?

The active ingredient in lion's mane is called hericenones, and it's believed that these compounds are responsible for improving cognition and memory through a process called neurogenesis.

Neurogenesis is the process of creating new neurons in your brain, which helps improve your ability to learn new things, retain memories, and think more clearly. Lion's mane also contains polysaccharides, which are known as prebiotics - essentially, they act as fertiliser for your gut bacteria. The idea is that these prebiotics help stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut (like Bifidobacterium longum), which can then produce substances that may have positive effects on mental health.

While this all sounds pretty good, there is not enough evidence to support the use of lion's mane as a treatment for dementia or Alzheimer's disease at this time. However, it seems like a safe bet based on what we know so far - and if you're looking for a way to boost your brain power naturally, it can't hurt to try!

A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found that lion's mane does indeed improve cognition and memory in humans. The study found that lion's mane can help with both long term memory and short term memory, as well as improve attention span in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).


Can lion's mane improve your gut health?

Research has shown that lion's mane mushrooms may help improve your gut health. That's because they contain a compound called eritadenine, which has been shown to help promote the growth of probiotics in your gut. Probiotics are good bacteria that help keep our digestive systems healthy and functioning properly. They can also help to improve our immune system and reduce inflammation in our body.

Lion's mane mushrooms are a wonderful food for your digestive system. They're packed with nutrients that can help soothe inflammation, boost immune function, and keep your body humming along at its best. In fact, lion's mane has been shown to help promote the growth of good bacteria in our guts by improving digestion and reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Lion's mane contains compounds called erinacines and hericenones that are similar to those found in other mushrooms with anti - inflammatory properties (such as reishi). These compounds have been shown to have an impact on the gut microbiome - the bacteria that live inside your body - which could be what makes this mushroom so helpful for treating IBS and other gastrointestinal issues.

While there is not yet enough conclusive evidence to say for sure that lion's mane mushrooms will definitely improve your gut health, it's certainly something worth trying if you're looking for natural ways to improve your overall health.

If you are looking for a good quality lion's mane in Australia, we recommend Teelixir certified organic lion's mane powder, which you can purchase online from Sassy Organics' store.



How can you get more lion's mane in your diet?

Lion's mane mushroom is available in a variety of forms, including dried, powdered, and as a supplement. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavour and can be added to soups, stews, and stir-fries. You can also find it in coffee blends and other functional beverages. It's famously good for your brain, but it also has other benefits, like boosting your immune system and helping with digestion.

The best way to get more lion's mane in your diet is to eat it fresh. You can often find fresh lion's mane at Asian grocery stores. If you'd rather not go out of your way to find it, here are some other ways to consume more of this incredible fungus.

Add dried lion's mane powder to soups and stews. If you're using a powdered form of the mushroom, make sure that the ingredients list only contains "lion's mane" as an ingredient - some brands add additional ingredients such as corn starch or sugar which dilute the potency of the product.

Look for products containing lion's mane extract such as capsules or tinctures; these will contain concentrated amounts of this powerful supplement so be sure to follow instructions on dosage carefully!

If you're interested in trying lion's mane mushroom, it's important to choose a high quality product from a reputable source. Look for products that are certified organic and free from fillers and additives.


Does lion's mane have side effects?

Lion's mane mushroom is an amazing fungus that has been used for centuries to help with mental clarity, stress, and inflammation. But does it have side effects?

The short answer is yes, but they're mild and temporary. The mushroom itself can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to mushrooms or fungal products. If you're unsure whether you're sensitive to mushrooms or not, start with just a small amount of lion's mane before increasing your intake.

Also, there isn't enough reliable information to know if lion's mane mushroom is safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

It is also believed that lion's mane mushroom might slow blood clotting. This might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding conditions. If you suffer from blood related condition, it is recommended that you speak to your medical practitioner prior to consuming lion's mane supplement.



Lion’s mane extraction and dosage

Lion's mane extract undergoes a dual extraction (water and alcohol) process that uses only the lion's mane mushrooms fruiting body. This creates a lion's mane mushroom extract rich in immune supportive beta glucans (water soluble compounds) and the brain boosting effects of the diterpenoids (alcohol soluble compounds). Contrary to other lion's mane supplements and extracts on the market, only alcohol extracts of lion's mane mushrooms will give you the brain enhancing effects and mental focus benefits. If you are looking to buy lions mane mushroom in Australia, we recommend buying it in a supplement form, from a reputable source, preferrably certified organic such as the Teelixir Lion's Mane Powder.

Teelixir recommend starting with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp (1.6g) of lion's mane extract per day. If you are sensitive to herbs or lion's mane mushrooms, you may want to start with less. When your body feels ready, you can increase your dosage according to your daily needs. Best to use in the AM and PM.

For fast absorption, mix the lion's mane extract powder directly into coffee, hot tea or your favourite nut milk. Lion's mane mushroom extract is also a delicious addition to your smoothies, hot chocolates, soup broths, raw desserts, baked goods and more. Teelixir mushroom extracts are not sensitive to heat.

If you are using lion’s mane ticture or capsules, take it according to the manufactures’ recommendations and guidelines.


Final thoughts

Lion's mane mushroom is a fascinating and powerful natural remedy that has been used for centuries to support brain health and improve cognitive function. With its anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it may also help protect against chronic diseases and boost the immune system. Whether you choose to incorporate it into your diet through food or supplements, lion's mane mushroom is definitely worth considering as a natural brain booster.