The shaggy, distinctive appearance of a lion’s mane mushroom has an otherworldly appearance, but did you know this rare mushroom may be one of the most valuable finds on your next foraging trips? What is lion’s mane used for, you may ask? What are some of its benefits, and does it have any side effects? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more.
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What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom Good For?
Lion’s mane is an incredible mushroom.
There are many mushrooms that are considered edible, and many others that don’t taste very good but are used medicinally. Lion’s mane is one of the only mushrooms in the world that is both a tasty edible and a valued medicinal: it is loved for its taste and texture as much as its health benefits.
Lion’s mane has a mild, earthy taste with gentle seafood undertones, and many people have compared its flavor to crab. The mushroom has the soft, spongy texture of bread.
It can be sauteed, fried, dried, added to many different recipes, and eaten raw.
As a medicinal, lion’s mane is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, nootropic, and antibacterial. It has a number of potential health benefits and has been used as a component of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits
Many of this mushroom’s alleged benefits have not been thoroughly tested scientifically, but as noted above, it has been a part of Chinese medicine for a long time. There is much anecdotal evidence and limited research indicating that lion’s manes are beneficial for the following health conditions:
- Inflammation: Because of its antioxidant and inflammatory properties, lion’s mane mushrooms may improve a number of conditions caused by inflammation in the body. It may also have a beneficial effect on chronic or systemic inflammation.
- Depression and anxiety: The mushroom appears to have the ability to lower levels of depression and anxiety. This ability is also thought to be related to its anti-inflammatory effects.
- Alzheimer’s: Known for its nootropic effects, lion’s mane may have the ability to prevent and treat a variety of cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It is touted for its ability to improve memory and mental clarity in those suffering from these disorders.
- Heart conditions: Lion’s mane appears to have some cholesterol-lowering qualities, which in turn can improve overall heart health.
- Digestive issues: The anti-inflammatory properties of lion’s mane can be extremely beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease. The mushrooms also appear to lower the bad gut bacteria while increasing the good, which can lead to improvements in overall digestive health.
- Diabetes: When taken over a period of time, lion’s mane mushrooms may have the ability to regulate blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. They also appear to have a protective and pain-reducing effect on nerve disorders related to diabetes.
- Wounds: The antibacterial effects of lion’s mane appear to have beneficial effects on wound healing. Applying freshly-bruised mushroom pulp or lion’s mane extract to open wounds can help reduce the risk of infection and speed healing time.
- Nerve problems: There is some evidence that lion’s mane can have protective and restorative effects on the nerves. Those with nerve damage can experience both pain relief and improvement of their condition by taking lion’s mane supplements.
- Cancer: Some animal studies indicate that lion’s mane may be able to fight some types of cancer, including leukemia, colon, liver, and gastric. This is due to the mushroom’s antioxidant content and has not been thoroughly studied in humans.
To learn more about the impressive benefits of lion’s mane, check out the video below.
Does Lion’s Mane Help With Focus?
As noted above, one of the most impressive benefits of lion’s mane is its nootropic qualities: its ability to act as a “brain booster” and improve mental conditions. It is frequently used as a nutritional supplement for a wide variety of cognitive issues.
There isn’t much research regarding the use of lion’s mane for these conditions, but there is strong anecdotal evidence supporting it.
Because of its effects on other mental conditions, it is reasonable to suppose that lion’s mane may help with mental focus among individuals with ADD, ADHD, and other conditions, as well as those simply suffering from brain fog or mental fatigue.
Again, these effects have not been proven, and lion’s mane may not work the same way for everyone. But if you’re looking for a supplement that may help with mental focus, lion’s mane supplements are a safe and nutritional option to try.
Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Have Any Side Effects?
Lion’s mane mushrooms, like many other foods, may cause food sensitivities in some people. For this reason, it’s best to start with small doses.
Aside from this food sensitivity risk, which is very small, there are no known side effects of lion’s mane. According to Medical News Today, this may be because lion’s mane hasn’t been studied in humans enough to know much about side effects; however, the article points out that, even in high doses, rodents in studies didn’t experience any negative reactions.
It’s also worth noting that lion’s mane has been eaten and used in medicine for hundreds if not thousands of years, so its general safety has been established over a long period of time and in many regions throughout the world.
The lion’s mane mushroom has many beneficial uses, both as an edible and a medicinal. It can be used in recipes or enjoyed on its own, eaten raw, dried or cooked, and taken as a supplement.
With some of its potential health benefits including treating cognitive disorders, lowering blood sugar, and improving nerve and digestive issues, perhaps lion’s mane is one mushroom you’ll want to start adding to your diet.