A look in to Lion's mane mushroom

A look in to Lion's mane mushroom

In a world of natural remedies, lion's mane mushrooms are becoming increasingly sought-after with their diverse array of potential health benefits. We'll be discussing the evidence behind these benefits and see whether Lion's Mane is really worth all the hype.x

What is Lion's Mane? 

Hericium erinaceus, the formal name for Lion's Mane mushrooms, is a type of edible and medicinal fungi that grows natively in Europe, Asia, and North America. These mushrooms have an incredibly unique appearance, with dangling white beardy spines resembling a lion's mane or a "bearded tooth," as described by the species' nicknames. 

Though Lion's Mane has only gained worldwide popularity in recent years, the mushrooms have a long history of medicinal use in Asia. Chinese Buddhist monks may have used lion's mane to enhance their brain power for meditation somewhat 2000 years ago, and in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, lion's mane is believed to combat deficiencies of Qi, or "life force." Practitioners of these medical traditions also use lion's mane to nourish the five internal organs (heart, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney).

Why Is Lion's Mane Good for Health?

High concentrations of vitamins and minerals

Like most edible mushrooms, lion's mane mushrooms are nutritionally rich. These mushrooms contain high amounts of B vitamins, which are critical for metabolising food into energy, and essential minerals, such as zinc and manganese, which are required to build proteins and bones in the body. 

Why Is Lion's Mane Good for Health?

High concentrations of vitamins and minerals

Like most edible mushrooms, lion's mane mushrooms are nutritionally rich. These mushrooms contain high amounts of B vitamins, which are critical for metabolising food into energy, and essential minerals, such as zinc and manganese, which are required to build proteins and bones in the body. 

Immune system

Lion's mane contains high amounts of polysaccharide molecules (long chains of carbohydrates) called beta-glucans. By activating immune cells – the body's natural defense system – beta-glucans can help combat harmful cells and microorganisms. Studies show beta-glucans can increase phagocytosis, a process where immune cells "swallow-up" cells and release immune-signaling proteins called cytokines. 


Lion's mane contains a high concentration of antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralise harmful chemicals inside cells called reactive oxygen species (ROS), preventing cell damage caused by ROS and the subsequent effects of this damage to tissues and organs. In a study of various mushroom species, the researchers concluded lion's mane had a "relatively high" antioxidant potential. 

Brain benefits

Chemicals in lion's mane increased branching of nerve cells in one study on rats. Branching is when dendrites (parts of the nerve cell that receive signals from other cells) form, allowing new communication patterns to form across the brain, which is essential for learning. Lion's mane also increased the amount of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein important for nerve cell growth, survival, and division, in the rat's brains and improved their scores on memory tests.

Using Lion's Mane to Treat and Prevent Disease 


As well as combating pathogens, the immune-enhancing effects of beta-glucans means they can help attack cancer cells. In one study, compounds in lion's mane increased apoptosis, or "programmed cell death," in a sample of isolated human cancer cells. The compounds also decreased DNA replication of the cells, decreasing cell division and theoretically slowing the growth of a tumour. Lion's mane extracts also decreased the spread of cancerous tumours in rats. However, no clinical evidence currently supports the long-term benefits for using Lion's Mane in human cancer patients. 

Heart disease

Beta-glucans, found in lion's mane, can decrease cholesterol from being absorbed into the body. Cholesterol is a type of fat which can build up in blood vessels, impair blood flow and increase risk for heart disease. By preventing cholesterol build-up, researchers have proposed lion's mane could help decrease the risk of things like strokes and heart attacks. However, though lion's mane can sufficiently decrease cholesterol in animals, its usefulness in human heart health remains purely speculative.


In diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough of, or stops responding to a hormone called insulin, which functions to break down sugar into energy, resulting in dangerously high blood sugar levels. Lion's mane decreased blood sugar and insulin sensitivity in a rat study, though there's no clinical studies yet investigating lion's mane effects on human patients. 


Our brain's ability to repair damage decreases over time, explaining why mental functioning can often worsen in older adults. By increasing the ability for nerve cells to grow and form new connections, Lion's Mane could prevent age-related brain damage and risk for problems like dementia. Researchers think lion's mane could be particularly useful for Alzheimer's disease (AD), a type of dementia. One clinical trial found AD patients who supplemented lion's mane had reduced brain damage and improved cognitive ability compared to those who didn't. 

Using Lion's Mane for Personal Development 

With more celebrities, podcasters, and influencers discussing the benefits of nootropics, or "smart drugs," supplements like lion's mane are becoming increasingly popular worldwide.

Because the biological evidence for lion's mane's brain benefits is mostly limited to studies on rodents and isolated cells, we can't say for certain that lion's mane boosts cognitive function. Nonetheless, personal reports from lion's mane users frequently describe mental benefits which include:

  • Decreased brain fog
  • Improved memory
  • Improved concentration
  • Feeling "sharper"
  • Increased motivation and energy
  • More energy
  • Increased positive mood
  • Decreased depression
  • Decreased anxiety

Like other medicinal mushrooms and herbal supplements, lion's mane's effects can take a while to kick in. As such, if you decide to explore lion's mane, you may need to take daily doses for at least two weeks to notice any changes. 

If you want to see whether lion's mane works for you, be sure to check out our high-quality, organic lion's mane powder. Our 10% polysaccharides blend is specially formulated to contain a high concentration of useful compounds, such as beta-glucans, to increase your chance of experiencing beneficial effects. 

Does Lion's Mane quality affect its benefits?

With an increasing number of lion's mane products online, it can be difficult to know which are the best. You may have heard people saying that products from China are of lower quality. However, quality is less about geographical location than the conditions in which the mushrooms are grown.

As mushrooms grow, they absorb chemicals from their environment. Though this is great for obtaining nutrients and minerals from the soil, it also means toxic materials, such as heavy metals, can accumulate. Wholesalers may also pack lion's mane products with additives and fillers, often meaning there's a lower amount of nutrients and beneficial compounds. 

For this reason, we ensure our lion's mane has minimal exposures to contaminants by growing the mushrooms in highly-controlled greenhouse environments. Our lion's mane powder is also certified organic and uses absolutely no preservatives or additives.

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