Did You Know - The Lion's Mane Mushroom has been found to improve cognitive health and even help treat cancer?
Hericium Erinaceus "Lion's Mane Mushroom" Two Fruitings in Missouri, Oct. 2020
View our YouTube video about the Lion's Mane Mushroom:
What is Lion's Mane?
Hericium erinaceus, commonly called 'Lion's Mane' is a unique mushroom that is white to off-white in color, roughly spherical or bulbous shaped, and covered in long narrow spines that release spores.
Where Can I Find Lion's Mane?
Sometimes you'll find these mushrooms hiding under fallen logs while other times they'll fruit high up on the trunks of sick or dying trees. Either way these mushrooms will always be on a limb, trunk, stump, or log as they are both saprophytic - feeding on dead wood, and parasitic - feeding on live wood.
Lion's Mane love the wood of broadleaf and deciduous trees, especially Oaks.
The season for Lion's Mane is typically late summer through fall, though depending on your regional climate, you may continue to see these fruit throughout the winter months.
How do I Forage Lion's Mane?
If you're 100% sure you've found Lion's Mane and you'd like to forage some for the table, a knife can be helpful to cut the mushroom away from any bark or wood debris.
If you’re foraging this mushroom, be sure to only take what you need! These can fruit in large clumps with several mounds on each.
Be sure to avoid any specimens that are too mature as they become yellow and unpalatable in age.
Remember to always thoroughly cook wild edible mushrooms by sautéing them on a low to medium heat for at least 10 minutes.
The Lion's Mane mushroom is less common, making it one of the more exciting mushrooms spot in the wild & harvest.
Our favorite recipe? ➡️ Lion's Mane Crab Cakes of course!
Now Let's Break it Down:
What makes Lion's Mane medicinal?
Lion's Mane has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 1,000 years - but the Western world is just now waking up to this mushroom's numerous medicinal benefits.
Perhaps you've even heard about Lion's Mane in the recent years? It's beginning to be marketed for its medicinal qualities more frequently and sold in supplement form, acting as a 'pioneer of sorts' for the use of medicinal mushrooms in the western world.
Scientific studies show Hericium erinaceus has a range of medicinal benefits including anti-cancerous and neuro-protective properites... More specifically, these mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that are responsible for these medicinal properties.
Interested in something a little more concrete? Prepare yourself, we're entering the world of biochemistry here... According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine:
"This mushroom is rich in some physiologically important components, especially β-glucan polysaccharides, which are responsible for anti-cancer, immuno-modulating, hypolipidemic, antioxidant and neuro-protective activities of this mushroom. H. erinaceus has also been reported to have anti-microbial, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, wound healing properties among other therapeutic potentials."
So basically what scientists have already discovered is that Lion's Mane has a wide range of benefits to offer, thanks to certain bioactive compounds & particular polysaccharides.
To break it down even further, a polysaccharide is essentially a carbohydrate whose molecules consist of multiple sugar molecules that are bonded together.
Thank you Oxford Dictionary. 😅
But listen here - there's more! Improvements in cognitive function don't end with Lion's Mane; there are a range of edible mushrooms that also provide neuronal health benefits. In a study titled Neuronal Health - Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help? scientists researched a range of edible/medicinal mushrooms and their ability to combat age-related neurodegenerative disorders. The findings concluded that mushrooms including Lion's Mane, Reishi, Hen of the Woods etc. could in fact improve cognitive abilities in aging populations if incorporated into their daily diets (Naidu M. et. al, 2013). This information is groundbreaking, especially in considering ways to combat and prevent major neurocognitive disorders and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Overall its great news that we're finally taking a closer look at mushrooms and their health benefits, but this is just the beginning! It'll take years of more research but we will always be moving forward in gaining a better understanding of these dynamic living organisms.
"Hericium Erinaceus: an Edible Mushroom with Medicinal Values" 2013 Study by De Gruyter *Requires authentication