Lion’s Mane Mushroom: A General Overview

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Lion’s Mane is a type of mushroom that is used as an in ingredient in Chinese cuisine and as medicinal plant in traditional Asian medicine. Known scientifically as Hericium erinaceus, this mushroom is endemic to the continents of Asia, Europe, and North America. It is one of the most distinctive looking mushrooms with spines instead of the usual mushroom cap hence the name Lion’s Mane.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Lion’s Mane mushroom has been used as treatment for variety of medical conditions that affect the liver, kidney, spleen, heart, and the stomach. Lion’s Mane mushroom has steadily gained popularity as herbal supplement in the recent years, being sold in particular by multi-level marketing (MLM) companies.

Lion’s Mane MushroomAlthough most MLM companies are notorious for selling watered down versions of herbal supplements, Lion’s Mane appears to have escaped the stigma of being identified as an MLM product. Ever since its introduction into the herbal supplement industry, it has maintained its reputation as one of the supplements that actually works and one that is potent.

The interest in Lion’s Mane as a nootropic supplement stems from its neurogenetic properties. While this ability of Lion’s Mane is yet to be tested on humans, animal studies have consistently proven its ability to stimulate nerve growth and the ability to regenerate peripheral nerves damaged through blunt force trauma injuries.

For the online community of nootropic users, the ability of Lion’s Mane to protect, regenerate, and stimulate the growth of nerves makes it a promising option as a cognitive enhancer. More brain cell nerves do translate to a higher capacity and efficiency for its cognitive processes. Another ability of Lion’s Mane mushroom that interests the nootropic community is its capacity to stimulate the growth of myelin, the fatty cells that is thought to make neurotransmissions more efficient.

In theory, more nerve connections in the brain translate to a smoother flow of its cognitive processes. It is also suggested in clinical studies that more neurons in the brain also mean that the retention and recall of memory is enhanced. The properties of this supplement make it a viable option for the treatment or the management at least of cognitive decline associated with ageing. With these benefits attributed to Lion’s Mane mushroom makes it a good addition to a nootropic stack.

One of the drawbacks to Lion’s Mane supplementation is that while it may encourage the growth of new neurons, it has no capacity to stimulate these new growths. It has been proven that dormant and unused neurons and dendrites eventually degenerate and gets metabolized over time. Most users of Lion’s Mane often report of an itching sensation on different parts of their bodies. The intensities of the itch varies from mild to annoying. While Lion’s Mane is generally safe, it has its own share of side-effects and these include upset stomach, nausea, dizziness, and respiratory distress.

PROS

  • It is an all-natural supplement
  • It can stimulate the growth of new neurons in the brain
  • It can help treat and manage cognitive decline
  • It can complement your existing nootropic stack
  • It is affordable

CONS

  • It might not work very well when taken by itself
  • There is very little data on its effect on human consumption
  • There are no studies regarding its effect on long term supplementation
  • Some may experience unpleasant side effects from supplementation

There is yet to be an established dosage for Lion’s Mane mushroom extract supplementation in order to enjoy its cognitive enhancing benefits. Based on collated experiences from people who regularly supplement with the mushroom, particularly the extract is 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams a day, preferably divided into three doses and taken via oral administration. Although Lion’s Mane is well tolerated, it will be a good idea to consult with your physician before starting on its supplementation.

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