Lion’s mane is a mushroom that is used widely in eastern Asia for cooking, nutrition and medicine.
It is considered to be one of the most praised medicinal and edible mushrooms.
Lion’s mane is also known as Hericium ernaceus, its scientific name.
Although lion’s mane mushroom is used widely throughout eastern Asia, it is not nearly as common in North America.
This is surprising, given all the benefits and medicinal uses there are for lion’s mane.
The benefits of lion’s mane appear to come from its terpenoid, sterol, and aromatic compound content (1).
Let’s go through them together.
Benefits of lion’s mane mushroom
Traditional Chinese Medicine actions
Lion’s mane is often used in traditional Chinese medicine. In terms of actions, ancient Chinese medicine practitioners say that lion’s mane helps by fortifying the spleen, nourishing the stomach, and tranquilizing the mind (2).
Lion’s mane has antitumor activities. This is because lion’s mane combats against oxidative stress, which is one of the major factors in tumour growth and formation (3). Lion’s mane can also help against tumor activity by its ability to induce cell apoptosis, which is death of cancerous cells. Lion’s mane also leads to cell cycle arrest, stopping tumor formation in its tracks (4).
Lion’s mane can also be used for pain reduction. This is due to its ability to help promote nerve growth factor biosynthesis. Lion’s mane reduces nociceptive behavior, which is how pain receptors behave (5).
Helps to heal ulcers
Lion’s mane is protective to the mucosal layer of the inner lining of the stomach. It is therefore healing to gastric ulcers (6). It also inhibits the ability of H pylori to adhere to the cells inside the stomach. H pylori is one of the main causes of stomach ulcers (7).
Helps to heal IBD
It is not only beneficial to the upper digestive system, however. It can also benefit intestinal health. In fact, scientific studies have demonstrated that lion’s mane significantly improve body weight and colon length in those with inflammatory bowel disease. Lion’s mane helps to decrease intestinal bleeding in these patients as well (8).
Helps against nervous system disease
The nervous system can also reap the benefits of lion’s mane mushroom. This is because lion’s mane produces natural products called cyathane diterpenoids, which are useful against nervous system diseases (9).
Several other benefits
Lion’s mane has a wide array of additional benefits that have been proven by scientific studies, including: modulating the immune system, protecting the liver, lowering cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, helping with fatigue, and anti-aging effects (10).
Uses of lion’s mane mushroom
Lion’s mane is also helpful in neurological conditions. For example, scientific research studies have demonstrated lion’s mane’s usefulness in treating dementia, among other diseases of the nervous system (14).
Diseases of the stomach
Lion’s mane is often used in digestive diseases, such as gastritis, H pylori infections, stomach ulcers, and stomach cancer. In fact, scientific research studies have shown that lion’s mane can actually help to prevent the progression of stomach cancer (11).
Lion’s mane is also useful in inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (12).
Research has also demonstrated that lion’s mane has a useful role in osteoporosis, where there is a reduction in bone density, common in elderly females (13).
As you can see, lion’s mane has positive effects on several different organs and systems of the body. It is unfortunate that use of lion’s mane has not been more widely adopted here in North America. Ask your health care provider if lion’s mane mushroom is right for you.
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