Lion’s mane mushroom (known scientifically as Hericium erinaceus) is named for its distinct, shaggy appearance, but it’s far more than just a funny-looking fungus.
This mushroom — and, more specifically, its extracts — provides a wide range of health benefits when consumed regularly.
Have you been curious about adding lion’s mane mushroom supplements to your wellness routine?
Outlined below is everything you need to know about lion’s mane extract and its positive effects.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom: The Basics
Lion’s mane mushroom is a large, white mushroom that looks like a pom pom. It goes by several other names, including hedgehog mushrooms, bearded tooth mushrooms, and Japanese yamabushitake.
Where Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Grow?
This species of mushroom grows on the trunks of dead hardwood trees during the late summer and autumn.
Lion’s mane is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It has long been used in Eastern medicine — specifically in countries like China, Japan, Korea, and India — to support brain health and strengthen the immune system.
What Makes it Special?
Lion’s mane mushroom is rich in B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It also contains essential minerals like zinc, potassium, and manganese.
This mushroom’s health benefits don’t stop there, though. It’s also known as an adaptogen, which is a type of plant that helps the body respond to stress better.
What Is Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract?
Lion’s mane mushroom extract is a substance taken from the lion’s mane mushroom with the help of two solvents: water and alcohol.
The extraction process removes the natural, beneficial compounds from the lion’s mane mushroom and makes it easier for our bodies to process and utilise them.
Why can’t you just eat lion’s mane mushrooms in their natural state?
Although these mushrooms are edible, eating them whole is not the best way to experience their benefits.
The reason it’s not recommended to eat lion’s mane mushrooms whole (at least for those who are looking for specific health benefits) is that mushroom cell walls are made of a substance called chitin. This is the same substance from which crustacean shells are made.
The human body lacks an enzyme known as chitinase, which is needed to digest chitin. Without proper digestion and absorption, we can’t experience all the benefits lion’s mane mushrooms have to offer.
This is why so many people turn to mushroom extracts, such as tinctures and powders, instead.
Lion’s Mane Benefits: What Does the Research Say?
You can experience all kinds of benefits — particularly brain health benefits — when you incorporate lion’s mane mushroom extract into your routine.
Lion’s mane is commonly recommended to improve brain health and cognitive performance because it contains active compounds — known as hericenones and erinacines — that can pass through the blood-brain barrier.
The blood-brain barrier plays a key role in protecting the brain from toxins that might be transferred via the blood. It also allows beneficial nutrients, such as those found in lion’s mane mushrooms, to make their way into the brain’s tissues.
Some of the most noteworthy brain health benefits associated with the lion’s mane mushroom are detailed below:
Protects Against Dementia
Both hericenones and erinacines have been shown to increase the production of neurotrophic growth factor (or NGF) in the brain.
NGF stimulates the growth, repair, and protection of nerves and nerve cells.
NGF synthesis declines with old age, which contributes to declines in cognition and memory. This is especially true among those who struggle with severe conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to reducing one’s chances of developing dementia in the future, lion’s mane mushroom extract may also improve cognitive abilities in the present.
Because it stimulates the growth of new neurons, including lion’s mane mushroom extract in your daily regimen could help you learn new concepts and remember what you’ve learned more easily.
Lion’s mane extract may also help you to focus more easily at work or school. This has to do, in part, with the fact that it is rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants help to protect against oxidative stress and reduce inflammation throughout the body. This includes the inflammation that can contribute to brain fog and difficulty focusing.
Speeds Recovery from Nervous System Injuries
An injury to the central nervous system — composed of the brain and spinal cord — can wreak havoc on your quality of life. These injuries may cause serious issues like paralysis and cognitive difficulties.
Some early research suggests that lion’s mane mushroom extracts can help to speed recovery after nervous system injuries occur. This likely has to do with its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its effect on the production of NGF.
Lion’s mane mushroom extract may also benefit those who struggle with mental health challenges like depression and anxiety.
Many studies have shown a link between inflammation in the brain and mental health conditions. By reducing inflammation and protecting against oxidative stress, lion’s mane mushrooms may regulate your mood and help you manage symptoms of depression or anxiety more easily.
Some research also shows that lion’s mane mushrooms can improve the function of the hippocampus. This is the region of the brain responsible for memory processing and appropriate emotional responses.
Shop for a High-Quality Lion’s Mane Tincture Today
From decreasing your risk of developing dementia to improving your mood, lion’s mane mushroom — and, more specifically, its extracts — have a lot to offer.
Are you interested in seeing what lion’s mane mushroom extract can do for you?
Now that you know more about lion’s mane mushrooms and their benefits, it’s time to start shopping for the best lion’s mane extract.
Luckily, you don’t have to look further than Beams Co.’s Lion’s Mane super tincture. This is an excellent, high-quality option to get your daily dose of brain-boosting lion’s mane extract.