You could say that lion’s mane mushroom has some street cred, given that it has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It’s quite a shaggy mushroom, and if you squint hard enough and use your imagination, it resembles a lion’s mane. It is also commonly sold in powdered form, and you may see people mixing the lion’s mane powder in their coffee or tea from time to time. Are these people micro-dosing, or simply privy to something that you don’t know about?
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is not a psychedelic mushroom, but it does have some pretty magical health benefits. The bioactive substances in lion’s mane positively affect the brain, heart, and gut. Since research of neurodegenerative disease prevention is ongoing, lion’s mane has been heavily studied within recent years. Research has determined that it is a nootropic, also known as a smart drug. You could say that lion’s mane is like a pencil sharpener for the brain. Below, you’ll find some of the most important benefits of lion’s mane mushroom.
Reduce Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety
According to a 2010 research study, in which 30 women were examined over a four-week period, lion’s mane mushroom proved to reduce mood disorders. The study had one group of women eat lion’s mane mushroom cookies and the other group eat placebo cookies. At the end of the study, the group that ate lion’s mane cookies reported a reduction in depression scores. Other preliminary studies show that lion’s mane can improve the function of the hippocampus, which is responsible for emotional and memory responses. Boosting the hippocampus may reduce anxiety symptoms and depressive behaviors.
Improves Cognitive Function
Lion’s mane is your fungal friend, especially when it comes to boosting brain health. More and more evidence has revealed that lion’s mane has a positive effect on focus, memory, and overall cognitive function. Several studies, which focused on mental function in the elderly, found that the mushroom boosted mood, improved focus, and led to a more peaceful state of mind. There is also preliminary evidence that lion’s mane interacts with the kappa-opioid receptors in the brain, which are linked to learning and memory.
Protects Against Ulcers In The Digestive Tract
The development of stomach ulcers is typically caused by the overgrowth of H. pylori bacteria or damage to the mucus layer of the stomach’s lining. According to several studies, lion’s mane extract may prevent the growth of H. pylori, which protects the stomach lining from becoming damaged. Another benefit of this mushroom is that it can reduce inflammation in the intestines and inhibit tissue damage. This is good news for those with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Similar to other medicinal mushrooms, lion’s mane contains polysaccharides and beta-glucans, both of which have been associated with improved immune function. The aforementioned gut health benefits of lion’s may positively affect probiotic gut bacteria, which is beneficial for the immune system. The anti-inflammatory properties work in conjunction with the probiotic activity to help fight inflammation and keep the immune system functioning at optimum level.
Decreases Symptoms Of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Superfood specialists, Joy Coelho and Jay Denman, have reported that lion’s mane works to get rid of amyloid plaque, which is a protein that impairs cognition and harms healthy neurons. A 2008 study found that people who consumed lion’s mane on a daily basis reported improved cognitive function. It also works to build myelin sheaths, and the breakdown of myelin is one of the main contributing factors to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Researchers attribute these abilities to the powerful antioxidants that reduce free radical damage and reverse brain cell degradation.