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Monograph of Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion's Mane AKA Hericium erinaceus, Sheep's head, Bear's head, Bearded tooth carpophore, Yamabushitake has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an anti-inflammatory, immune-booster, to treat ulcers, insomnia, vacuity (weakness), and hypodynamia, which are characteristic symptoms of Qi deficiency in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Here is an evidence-based infographic for Lion's Mane mushroom from the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine (AARM).

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Indications

Neuroprotection, neurotrophic activity, cognitive function, neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic stroke

Exact mechanisms of action are still being elucidated, but several biologically active metabolites have been isolated from Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) that hold promise for nerve and brain health. Of particular interest are hericenones and erinacines, which are believed to occur only in Hericium spp. Hericenones are isolated from Lion's mane fruiting bodies, and erinacines are isolated from the mycelium. Both hericenones and erinacines are low molecular weight compounds that potentially cross the blood–brain barrier.

Hericenones are aromatic compounds isolated from the fruiting bodies. Have shown a strong stimulatory effect on the biosynthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF) in vitro. Erinacines are cyathin diterpenoids that appear to stimulate the synthesis of NGF. To date, 15 erinacines have been identified. Several erinacines show neuroprotective activity.

Evidence-based research

NeuroprotectionEvaluated in a neurotoxin-induced model of Parkinson's disease. Results showed that dopaminergic lesions and oxidative stress in the stratum and substantia nigra were significantly improved.

Neurotrophic activity - An ethanol extract of Lion's mane fruiting body improved NGF gene expression in human astrocytoma cells. Cultivated cerebellar cells underwent myelination earlier and at a greater rate than controls.

Cognitive functionIn a controlled study of 50-80-year-old Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, oral intake of 250 mg tablets containing 96% of Lion's mane dry powder 3x a day for 16 weeks was associated with marked improvement in cognitive function.

Safety

Experimental studies suggest that Lion's mane mycelium is safe, with no evident adverse effects. To date, there has been no concerted investigation into the use of Lion's mane mushroom in pregnancy and lactation.

General dosage 

The dose of Lion's mane dried fruiting body recommended for increasing NGF production is 3–5 g per day. Best to supplement with preparations of Lion's mane that use a combination of aqueous and alcohol extraction, to ensure the whole spectrum of contents is present.

Traditional uses

Used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for their anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting effects. Lion's mane is also known for its effects on the central nervous system.

 

References 

Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus). (2019, April 4). from https://restorativemedicine.org/library/monographs/lions-mane/

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