King of the Mushrooms: Is Lion’s Mane Really Something to Roar About?

If you’re new to holistic health or recent nutritional trends, what you may think of when you hear the words ‘Lion’s Mane’ is a trip to the zoo or a rerun of Disney’s The Lion King. The reality is Lion’s Mane, officially known as Hieracium erinaceous, is sort of like the Kleenex of functional mushrooms. It’s one of Eastern Medicine’s most well-regarded and highly used mushrooms. Additionally, there is a growing acceptance in the West for its powerful health benefits. Here we’ll take a deep dive into Lion’s Mane and explore four areas where you may consider adding it to your lifestyle.

1. Functional Features

First, what is a functional mushroom?

This refers to a category of mushrooms accepted as immune-boosting foods with other health benefits, including physical, cognitive, and apoptogenic. Functional mushrooms fit within the larger umbrella of functional nutrition as nutrient-dense superfoods that can enhance health and support healing.

2. Chasing The Lion

You won’t see Lion’s Mane listed on the menu at mainstream restaurants. However, these fluffy white plants are increasingly available at farmers’ markets and gourmet shops – and you’ll likely find them in their dried format at Asian markets.

Lion’s Mane can be found in extracts, smoothie powders, or pills. It’s a hero ingredient, alongside its shroom sisters, in mushroom coffee products like MUD/WTR and Four Sigmatic. And no, those coffee-style drinks do not taste like mushrooms; they are quite tasty!

3. Super-Shrooms

Lion’s Mane is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, making it beneficial for everyone, especially those battling inflammatory conditions like autoimmune disease, psoriasis, Crohn’s Disease, or inflammatory bowel disease. Lion’s Mane is also being studied for its potential impact on easing symptoms of depression and its positive effect on blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol in animal models of diabetes.

Lions Mane may also have cognitive benefits, including support for the nervous system. Research has concluded that these mushrooms may potentially treat or prevent diseases that cause a decline in cognitive health, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Healthline explains, “Lion’s Mane mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate the growth of brain cells and protect them from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. However, more human research is needed.”

4. Trend to Table

Lion’s Mane, and its family of functional mushrooms, are having a big moment. A recent report by Grand View Research indicates that the global mushroom market is expected to grow 10% per year until 2030. This trend ticks alongside a growing area of study about how functional mushrooms’ sassier sisters – psychedelic mushrooms – may benefit the treatment of certain mental health conditions, specifically PTSD.

While Lion’s Mane can likely benefit most people, it’s important to discuss starting any new supplements with your doctor. This article does a great job explaining potential concerns on usage – namely during pregnancy or preparing for surgery.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or physiological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your healthcare provider before trying new supplements or medications.

About the Author

Brooks Betts
Brooks Betts is a Connecticut-based lifestyle writer and mom to three children. Brooks spent 10 plus years creating content at leading magazine brands, including Real Simple, Food & Wine, and Travel and Leisure, as well as for women’s lifestyle brands Jane Iredale, PAIGE Denim, and Moroccanoil. Brooks writes for companies and personalities across various topics, including wellness, spirituality, beauty, and skincare. Brooks is also a certified Reiki practitioner, breathwork and meditation guide, and energy work enthusiast. When she’s not working, you can likely find Brooks enjoying the beach, meditating, playing tennis, or daydreaming at her favorite coffee shop.

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