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April 26, 2021 3 min read
Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus)are a white fungi with long, shaggy spines. They can be consumed in full, or taken in a variety of supplement forms, tinctures and powders which are now readily available in the Western world.
Find out what to look for when buying lion’s mane for a fuller understanding of how these mushrooms are grown and harvested. In Asia, these superfood plants have been consumed for both culinary and health purposes in traditional rituals for hundreds of years.
Some superfood mushrooms and adaptogens, like lion’s mane can help to maintain and support an already healthy functioning immune and digestive system.‡ Their nutritional density acts as a powerhouse of antioxidants, which can support the body in adapting to stress and maintaining an overall sense of wellbeing.‡
However, the most unique and interesting aspect of lion’s mane mushroom is likely to be its nerve growth factor (NGF), which has a number of benefits for maintaining brain function.‡ NGF is a type of protein which contributes to a healthy functioning nervous system.‡ Here we will explore some key lion’s mane mushroom brain benefits.
Lion’s mane has been coined a ‘smart’ mushroom in the world of health foods and wellbeing for being safe to eat and offering a nutrient-rich punch of power.‡ These mushrooms help your brain and body respond to stress in a healthy way. They also promote mental agility, focus and overall cognitive performance.‡
Here, we’ve included a list of potential factors which are associated with lion’s mane mushroom brain benefits:
Fascinatingly, lion’s mane mushroom brain benefits have been researched heavily in recent years, and there are some interesting links to having an overall positive effect on brain health.‡
One research study, which was published inPhytotherapy Research in 2009, provided 30 adults between the ages of 50 and 80 who had mild cognitive impairment with either a placebo or lion’s mane extract for 4 months. Participants in the lion’s mane group showed a more significant cognitive improvement when paralleled against the members of the placebo group. Participants were tested at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, and interestingly, these cognitive test scores decreased once the participants stopped taking the extract.
"The subjects of the Yamabushitake group took four 250 mg tablets containing 96 percent of Yamabushitake dry powder three times a day for 16 weeks. After termination of the intake, the subjects were observed for the next four weeks. At weeks 8, 12 and 16 of the trial, the Yamabushitake group showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group. The Yamabushitake group's scores increased with the duration of intake, but at week four after the termination of the 16 weeks intake, the scores decreased significantly." (Mori, 2009)
This study, though an earlier example, is a good demonstration of a positive link between the effects of lion’s mane brain benefits and an overall sense of better cognitive functioning in humans.‡
Lion’s mane has recently been gaining popularity as a nootropic, which means it helps to bring focus and mental clarity, even to a restless, or foggy mind, and does so without containing any stimulants.‡ Rritual enhances lion mane with Rhodiola root, a powerful adaptogen that has been traditionally consumed to support and enhance physical performance and cognitive acuity.‡ Bacopa, a treasured Ayurvedic herb, is also included for its well-established ability to nourish and support healthy focus levels.‡
This nutritious mushroom is around 20% protein, and one of the few that can even taste a little like lobster or shrimp (Stamets, 2005). This makes lion’s mane unique in a culinary sense; it can easily be used as a tasty vegan-style meat substitute. To read more about cooking with lion’s mane, you can read our article on top lion’s mane mushroom recipes.
If you’re interested in experimenting with Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder to see what it could do for you, we recommend adding one scoop of either the mix or an Elixir Stick into your morning tea or coffee. Simply mix with 6 oz of hot water, dairy or non-dairy milk.
For a surprising elixir latte that is good for your defenses too, we suggest mixing a serving of the elixir into 6-8 oz of your favorite dairy or non-dairy beverage, warmed up. This soothing combination, enhances the natural peanutty flavor of astragalus root, as well as, the citrusy and berry notes of schisandra berry to create a delicious and satisfying peanut buttery beverage.
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