The Many Healing Qualities of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

lionsmaneAre you familiar with Lion’s Mane Mushrooms? They have become the hot item for healthy eating. Vegetarians love them for their high protein content, while doctors and naturopaths go to them for their many healing qualities. Known by a variety of different names, such as bearded tooth mushroom, satyr’s beard,  hedgehog mushroom, pom pom mushroom, or  yamabushitake – the mushroom is often used as a meat substitute, since many say that they taste like shrimp or lobster when properly cooked.

Still, it is the medicinal properties of the fungus that have scientists amazed. Research indicates that benefits include improved digestion, improved memory, reduced cognitive decline and enhanced neuron growth and regeneration. The last few attributes have huge implications for the treatment of Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and other nervous system diseases.

The Huffington Post reported: “Recently, mice were injected with neurotoxic peptides in an experiment to assess the effects of lion’s mane on the type of amyloid plaque formation seen in Alzheimer’s patients. The mice were then challenged in a standard “Y” maze, designed for testing memory. Mice fed with a normal diet were compared to those supplemented with lion’s mane mushrooms. As the peptide-induced plaque developed, the mice lost the ability to memorize the maze. When these memory-impaired mice were fed a diet containing 5 percent dried lion’s mane mushrooms for 23 days, the mice performed significantly better in the Y maze test. Interestingly, the mice regained another cognitive capacity, something comparable to curiosity, as measured by greater time spent exploring novel objects compared to familiar ones.The reduction of beta amyloid plaques in the brains of mushroom-fed mice vs. the mice not fed any mushrooms was remarkable. The formation of amyloid plaques is what many researchers believe is a primary morphological biomarker associated with Alzheimer’s.”

If you’re not crazy about eating mushrooms straight, you can still get a lot of the benefits by taking the capsule form or drinking a tea made from them. Renowned mycologist, Paul Stamets, has pioneered new ways of cultivating and preparing mushrooms, and offers many varieties on his website, www.hostdefense.com  In a TED talk, Mr. Stamets explained his belief that mushrooms can save our lives, restore our ecosystems and transform other worlds, and in one video he explains all about Lions Mane specifically.