Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits for the Brain and Body

Lion's mane is an easy name to remember; after all, it looks just like one. But that's not all it's known for. It is a nootropic that has a slew of benefits beneath that beautiful exterior. It is often mixed with coffee and taken as a pill to improve brain function and to fight the effects of aging.

Let's look closer at this magic mushroom.


Also known as Hieracium Erinaceus, yamabushitake, houtou, and even hedgehog mushroom, this beautiful mushroom has been used for years in Chinese medicine. It has been tested on humans and animals and shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and a helpful immune booster.


Your mind typically decreases in effectiveness as you age. The signs and symptoms you link with aging-- like memory loss, forgetfulness, and loss of focus -- are due to a reduction in the size of your nerves and difficulty with repairing brain cells. Studies show that lion's mane mushroom extract might sustain brain health and overall wellness in animals by boosting the production of 2 crucial substances: nerve development variables (NGF) and neurotrophic factors (BDNF).

NGF and BDNF are healthy proteins that boost the manufacturing and strengthening of cells. NGF also helps create myelin, the outer sheath on cells that aids with cell functioning.  BDNF promotes plasticity in our brains, keeping brain cells healthy and effective as we grow older and reducing overall anxiety and stress.

In 2008 a study on 15 adults showed that lion's mane aided with cognitive abilities, and rodent studies showed it might help brain cells increase memory retention and aid in the formation of new neurons.

It has also been touted as removing amyloid plaque that kills important neurons and hampers brain function. And it aids in the creation of new, healthy myelin sheaths we need.  

In a 2009 study, scientists discovered that hericenones and erinacines from the fruiting body, as well as mycelium of lion's mane, rapidly cross the blood-brain hurdle to boost NGF. 

Likewise, Lion's mane has effective anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants aid with BDNF creation, blocking free radicals that cause inflammation that negatively affect your cell health. These antioxidants also help your body create more BDNF. Lion's mane supports both BDNF and NGF. All of these benefits inhibit cell deterioration—particularly important as you age. 


In 2010, scientists analyzed the results of lion's mane mushrooms on 30 females over four weeks. The individuals were randomly designated to an examination team or a control team and were given either lion's mane cookies or sugar pill cookies. Though the study was small, it showed an improvement in overall mood on the women who took lion’s mane cookies. More studies like this are showing positive results in terms of emotional balance.

Lion's mane may help with improved focus as well. Its anti-inflammatory properties aid with blood flow that brings more oxygen to your brain, improving overall brain function. And antioxidant properties help increase learning ability, even potentially creating stronger, healthier cells and neurons.

Now that we have learned more about it, how do you fit it into your diet?


Theoretically, you could add it straight into your favorite morning coffee, but it doesn't pair all that well with it due to its slightly fishy and earthy flavor. It also doesn't provide the needed health benefits. Supplements are a better option.


You can prepare and eat lion's mane like any other mushroom, but unless you live near a farmers market or specialized shop that offers them, you could be far better off taking lion's mane as a pill. And like other supplements, you obtain the most advantages when you take it continually, so nutritional supplements are typically easier.


Lion's mane supplements come as pills, powders, and extracts, but the company offering them should be of good quality. Not all provide the right benefits.

You also must have the ability to read the number of bioactive substances in the capsules and distinguish how much is just junk.


Medical tests on the advantages of lion's mane are less than ideal. Still, it's important to remember that the mushroom may stimulate NGF and BDNF. It can also be combined with other boosters, such as certain coffee fruit extracts.

Experiment with this intriguing mushroom to learn what works right for your body. At the very least, it is a healthy food!

For more wellness tips visit our blog.