The Lion’s Mane has been given many names over the years. In Japan it is known as the Yamabushitake but in the West it was given the names Hedgehog mushroom, Bearded tooth mushroom or Bear’s head. It is clear why this name was chosen, the resemblance to the mane of a lion is obvious. The use of this mushroom comes from Eastern medicine and the healing properties that this mushroom would possess are at least impressive to mention.
The healing property for which Lion’s Mane is best known is that it could counteract dementia. As people grow older, their brains are less able to create new connections, which is why the cognitive abilities of older people deteriorate. Lion’s Mane contains 2 substances that have been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells: hericenone and erinacin. Scientific tests have already been done on mice in which it was observed that Lion’s Mane has a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s decreased visibly and no brain damage occurred as a result of Alzheimer’s. There are no known studies on the effect in humans but it is known to be a mental boost. There has been a study in which test subjects took 3 grams of Lion’s Mane powder per day for 4 months. However, the effects diminished after stopping the use.
In addition, Lion’s Mane would also help against mild symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. Animal studies have shown that Lion’s Mane helps regenerate brain cells and improves the function of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that processes memories and emotional responses. According to scientists, it is precisely because of the better functioning hippocampus that anxiety and depressive feelings would decrease.
Lion’s Mane could also be responsible for a decrease in the risk of heart disease. Studies on mice and rats showed that Lion’s Mane promotes fat metabolism and reduces triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat and are used as a source and store of energy in your body. If you don’t get enough exercise then these cells accumulate and this gives an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Tests have proven that the mushroom can help against the oxidation of cholesterol in your blood. This oxidized cholesterol can stick to the walls of your blood vessels and thus increase the risk of heart attack or bleeding.
There are many more positive effects on the body that can be attributed to this powerful mushroom, boosting your immune system, reducing stress, reducing symptoms of diabetes and even fighting cancer. Unfortunately the scientific studies on humans are not far enough along to make any real claims but the results that are known so far do not lie and are very promising.
Using Lion’s Mane as a nootropic
In addition to being used as medicine for thousands of years in Eastern medicine, the mushroom has been gaining popularity in recent years as a nootropic, a supplement that is said to stimulate and improve the cognitive functions of your brain.
Using Lion’s Mane helps to increase nerve growth factor, this means that damaged or aging brain cells will cause less for cognitive problems such as memory loss and lack of concentration. So the increased nerve growth factor ensures growth and survival of new neurons in your brain and improves synaptic plasticity which helps you to better absorb new information. Simply put, your brain will wear out less quickly and you will be able to learn more easily.
Above you could already read that Lion’s Mane can help against symptoms of anxiety and depression but it can also help to reduce stress and improve your mood, especially women in the transition seem to benefit from this. By counteracting inflammation and improving your blood flow, this mushroom helps supply your brain with more blood and more blood means more oxygen resulting in your brain performing at its best.
Many users report that by using it they become more interested in the things and persons around them. Many more things in daily life can excite you in a positive way. Especially other people will fascinate you more and you get the urge to have that normally so awkward conversation at the coffee machine at work.
Also while studying you will notice a great positive influence, material that normally seems boring and dry you will absorb much easier and it becomes easier to go deeper into the material. Lion’s Mane will help you to cope with a greater amount of work and you will be more resistant to stress.
How to use Lion’s Mane
Important to know is that the use is not addictive and there will be very little to no signs of habituation, so you will not need more and more to achieve the same effect. If you are going to start using Lion’s Mane, it is best to start with approximately 500 mg (half a gram) per day. The extract can be bought as a powder (cheaper) to dose yourself or as a capsule and in the latter form you will find different dosages per capsule.
You can choose to take the whole dose at once, for example with your breakfast, or add it to your shake or yogurt if you have the powder extract. You can also divide the dose over 2 moments during the day, it just depends on what you prefer. If you buy the powder, make sure you have an accurate scale to weigh it on.
Give your body time to get used to this mushroom for about a month. During this month you can gradually increase the dose to 1 gram per day. After the first month you can, if you find it necessary, increase the dose gradually to 1.5 to 2 grams per day.
Keep a close eye on how your body reacts to this mushroom, write it down in a diary or as a note in your phone or agenda. This way you can monitor what dosage does to you and you will learn what the ideal dose is for you to take.
But is everything positive or are there side effects?
There are no official studies on the side effects of Lion’s mane on the human body but it is considered very safe. Little to no side effects are reported by users but sometimes stomach upset can occur if you take it on an empty stomach. In very rare cases, itchy skin may result. Because Lion’s Mane is a mushroom it is not suitable for people with mushroom allergies.