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Lion's Mane Benefits and Facts: About the Mushroom Extract

Lion's Mane Benefits and Facts: About the Mushroom Extract

If you’ve been on social media at all recently, you may have seen a TikTok or Instagram Reel about lion’s mane mushroom. This mushroom is currently getting its well-deserved time in the spotlight because of its ability to support brain health and encourage healthy digestion.

But what exactly is lion’s mane, and how do you use it? Read on to learn more about this functional fungus, its benefits, and how to take it.

What Is Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s mane mushroom, known officially as Hericium erinaceus and belonging to the Hericenones family, is a medicinal mushroom native to Asia and Europe, although it does naturally grow in North America now. These mushrooms can look furry or shaggy in appearance, which is why they may also be called “old man’s beard.”

Lion’s mane mushrooms are usually white, although they can turn yellow or brown as they get older. This type of mushroom is also quite unique because it doesn’t have a stalk or a cap.

When Was Lion’s Mane First Used?

Lion’s mane is a staple in many types of Asian medicine, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is a highly respected form of ancient medicine that is still practiced today, and practitioners of TCM use lion’s mane to help support the spleen, encourage a good mood, and support the digestive system.

In Japan, lion’s mane is called yamabushitake, which means “mountain monk mushroom.” It is also called hou tou gu and bearded tooth fungus. It’s hard to say exactly when lion’s mane was first used since there’s not much information available. However, we do know that it has been popular for hundreds of years, and science is just now confirming what traditional medicine has known all along.

What Are the Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

There’s a reason lion’s mane is so popular in the wellness world. Here are just a few of the potential health benefits you can find in this fantastic fungi.

Supports Focused Thoughts

Have you ever had a day where you felt like your brain was running at half speed? Many of us might find that our brain function takes a dip after a sleepless night, in times of stress, or even as we get older.

Lion’s mane can help support clear and focused thinking. In cognitive tests, research shows that lion’s mane may help encourage cognitive function in both young and older adults. For older adults specifically, lion’s mane has been studied in cases ranging from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. It may also support balanced mental health and mood.

Supports Digestion

Lion’s mane is rich in beta glucans, which are a type of polysaccharide fiber. This fiber can help feed the good bacteria in your digestive system, offhandedly supporting digestion.

Lion’s mane also contains probiotics, which can support the good bacteria colonies that are already hard at work in your gut. It’s no replacement for a bowl of Greek yogurt or a heavy-hitting probiotic supplement, but every little bit helps when it comes to gut health.

May Support Metabolic Health

When you think of metabolism, you might think of weight loss. However, there’s far more to your metabolism than just numbers on a scale.

For instance, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels are all integral parts of your metabolism. More importantly, they’re all indicators that can tell you how your metabolism is doing.

Lion’s mane mushroom may be able to support a healthy metabolism and encourage heart health. Research into this benefit is still in its early stages, and right now most of the research consists of animal studies — however, the findings are still encouraging, and we can’t wait to see what human studies reveal.

Encourages Long-Term Wellness

This functional mushroom is a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that contain extra electrons and can help neutralize free radicals.

Because they’re missing electrons, free radicals can cause widespread damage as they attempt to stabilize themselves. This damage can have massive effects on the body over time, which is why taking in antioxidants is one evidence-based key to feeling your best over the years.

Supports a Healthy Immune System

Having a diet rich in antioxidants is one way to support a healthy immune system. Another way you can support your immune system is by supporting your gut.

The gut contains up to 70 percent of the body’s immune cells, and the gut microbiome even plays a part in telling your body which substances are “bad.” Without a strong gut, you may find yourself more susceptible to colds and other illnesses.

Encourages Brain Health

Finally, lion’s mane mushroom can encourage brain health by supporting the production of nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is a protein that helps the body create new nerve cells, or neurons. 

Neurons are specialized brain cells that receive feedback from and send messages all over the body, using the nervous system as a way to communicate with other areas of the body.

Who Shouldn’t Take Lion’s Mane?

One of the best parts about this mushroom is that, even with all of these benefits, there are almost no side effects of lion’s mane. It’s generally well tolerated, which makes it accessible to almost everyone.

That said, it is possible to be allergic to the compounds in lion’s mane, so you should stay away from it if you’ve already had one allergic reaction to it. Also, you may want to avoid lion’s mane if you have a preexisting health condition like diabetes, heart disease, blood clotting disorders, or autoimmune conditions. This is especially true if you take medications for these conditions.

Like all herbs, lion’s mane gets its powers from individual constituents within itself. These constituents are quite powerful and can interact with medications. If you’re not sure whether you should take lion’s mane or not, talk to your primary healthcare provider.

Additionally, this herb hasn’t been studied in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Since we don’t know how lion’s mane could affect these processes, it may be best to stay away from it until you’re no longer pregnant or breastfeeding. Of course, your doctor can give you more specific advice.

What Are the Best Lion’s Mane Supplements?

Lion’s mane supplements come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, you might find lion’s mane extracts or lion’s mane powders. 

Extracts are made by soaking an herb in alcohol for an extended period of time. This process lifts certain constituents from the herb and often creates a very powerful concoction. On the other hand, lion’s mane powders are often made by grinding up the mushroom itself into a fine powder.

You might think that taking lion’s mane powder is best since it contains the whole mushroom. While what’s best is ultimately up to you, it’s worth noting that some constituents are only unlocked during the extraction process.

You can still find mushroom extracts in powdered form, and you may even find extracts available in capsule form. This is part of why it’s so important to read the labels for each product you’re considering — it’s important to know what type of supplement you’re working with.

Another thing to consider is what part of the mushroom your supplement uses. Many mushroom supplement brands use only the mycelium of the mushroom. This stringy bit of mushroom anatomy is the part that gathers nutrients and holds the mushroom in place — you can compare it to the roots of a plant.

On the other hand, the fruiting body of the mushroom is the part that grows above the ground and fulfills the reproductive functions of the fungus. It’s almost like a flower, if you think about it. 

Fruiting bodies are generally more dense in certain elements like beta glucans, which makes them potentially better options for supplements. Make sure you check your products to see what parts of the mushroom are used in their formulas.

Introducing Lion’s Mane Coffee

Taking a mushroom supplement doesn’t have to look like choking back pills or pinching your nose trying to swallow a smelly soup. In fact, enjoying the benefits of lion’s mane can look as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee.

Everyday Dose’s Mushroom Coffee+ contains lion’s mane, chaga mushrooms for immunity, L-theanine for focus, collagen protein for gut health, and coffee extract for energy. Our functional coffee tastes just like regular coffee, even though it contains less caffeine than an average cup of coffee.

We use double-extraction methods during processing for all of our mushrooms, which essentially means that they’re extracted twice to make sure we squeeze out all the goodness we can. We also use only the fruiting bodies of the mushrooms and make sure our fungi aren’t fed cheap starches, which can compromise the quality of the nutrients.

On top of all of that, we test our product for beta glucans, heavy metals, allergens, mycotoxins, and mold. That way, you can rest easy knowing we’ve done everything we can to make sure our mushroom coffee is of the highest quality.

What Can You Do With Mushroom Coffee?

If mushroom coffee sounds too good to be true, we understand — but we’re here to tell you that it’s real and it’s easier than whipping up a batch of instant coffee. In fact, mushroom coffee is a super versatile supplement that you can constantly enjoy in new ways. Here are a few of our favorite things to do with mushroom coffee.

Drink It Plain

First, you can simply drink it plain. Measure out a serving of your mushroom coffee and mix it with hot water. Stir once or twice to dissolve the powder, and your fresh cup of functional coffee awaits.

This is another area where Everyday Dose stands apart. While some mushroom coffees leave behind gritty sediment, our formula is designed to completely dissolve. This way, you can enjoy your drinking experience, and none of the goodness is left behind.

Put It in a Smoothie

If drinking it plain isn’t your style, you can also put mushroom coffee in a smoothie. This is an especially convenient option if you already tend to fix yourself a protein smoothie after your morning gym sesh.

Simply measure out a serving of mushroom coffee into your smoothie, and that’s all you need to do. It shouldn’t affect the taste of your smoothie, either. If anything, it’ll add a slight hint of coffee.

Make a Latte

We all love to shake things up from time to time, and there’s nothing more classically refreshing than a latte. You can follow our mushroom latte recipe to make a truly delicious flavored latte that is sure to compete against your normal go-to cafe order.

Plus, if you prefer iced lattes, you can simply pour this latte over ice. Finish it up with a milk of your choosing, and you have a delicious and easy drink on your hands.

Make Brownies

Finally, you can easily enjoy some mushroom brownies by slightly altering your favorite brownie recipe. Simply add a serving of mushroom coffee powder to your dry ingredients or use mushroom coffee instead of water.

Exposing the mushroom coffee to high temperatures during the baking process might affect its effectiveness, so just remember that you might not experience all of the benefits if you opt to try this for yourself. However, it’ll still taste delicious!

The Bottom Line

Lion’s mane mushroom is a popular herbal supplement that has been traditionally used in Asian folk medicine. This functional mushroom has tons of benefits ranging from its ability to support focus to its ability to encourage immune health. 

There are plenty of different types of lion’s mane supplements out there, but we personally love to take our lion’s mane with a dash of coffee. To learn more about the wonders of mushroom coffee and everything you can do with it, visit the Everyday Dose blog today.

Sources:

Neurological Activity of Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) | Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine

Lion’s Mane - LiverTox | NCBI Bookshelf

Add antioxidants to your diet | Mayo Clinic

5 Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits | Cleveland Clinic

The Acute and Chronic Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplementation on Cognitive Function, Stress and Mood in Young Adults: A Double-Blind, Parallel Groups, Pilot Study | PMC

Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia | PMC

If you want to boost immunity, look to the gut | UCLA Health

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