How Eating A Lion’s Mane Every Day Will Help Your Brain Become Smarter And Happier
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Lion's Mane? No not the one you find on a giant cat that sleeps all day but the kind that you might find in a forest growing on a dead or dying broad leaf tree such as an oak. With icicle-like tendrils that hang from the white rubbery flesh of the Lion’s mane mushroom it is the most unique looking mushroom on the planet. It is also unique for some very important other reasons........
Lion's mane natures gift to your nervous system
The story of the fountain of youth is one I think we have all heard of and one part of our human psyche would love to believe it to be true.
But what if there were a way to regenerate parts of our bodies and remain youthful for longer. And not just within the confines of our imagination.
What if eating a certain mushroom could harness such magical abilities? Well Lion's mane might be that very mushroom!
The reason Lion's man is so special is that recent research has shown that it contains within it a not one but two nerve growth stimulate compounds (NGS) which have been named erinacines and hericiones. These rather clever hericones stimulate neurons to regrow and rebuild myelin.
Myelin is the fatty substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells, forming a electrically insulating layer. This layer is essential for the nervous system to function properly.
This rebuilding of nerve cells and thus improvement of nervous system function, could mean that Lion's mane could play a vital role in the treatment of senility and Alzheimer's disease as well as repairing neurological trauma and increasing cognitive abilities. And perhaps in the future play a role in treating people suffering from nerve degenerating conditions like muscular dystrophy.
lion's mane mushroom usage from past to present
Lion's mane or Hericium erinaceus is also know as monkey's head, bear's head, old man's beard the hedgehog mushroom (due to its long spine like tendrils) and in Japan Yamabushitake which roughly translates as "mountain priest mushroom" all great names I think you will agree has had a long history of use.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have prescribed Lion's mane for the treatment of stomach ailments and to prevent or treat cancer in the gastrointestinal tract. Modern studies show that Lion's mane contains 5 distinct polysaccharides with potent anti-tumor properties and a study carried out by Dr. Mizuno of Shizuoka University, was able to extend the life spans of his patients.
Could lions' mane help treat Alzheimers?
In 2009, researchers at the Hokuto Corporation and the Isogo Central and Neurosurgical Hospital published a small clinical study. They gave 30 Japanese patients with mild cognitive impairment Lion's mane extract over a period of 16 weeks.
All the patients took 250mg of powder three times a day and all of these test patients showed positive improvements in their conditions for as long as they kept taking the Lion's mane supplement.
"At weeks eight, 12 and 16 of the trial, the Lion's mane group showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group. The Lion's mane 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)
As is normally the case mice have also been subjected to testing but this time with the amazing regenerative properties of Lion's mane, when in a recent study mice were injected with neurotoxic peptides. These peptides would make the mice form amyloid plaque the same seen in people suffering with Alzheimer's disease.
The mice were then put through a memory test in a Y maze which for the poor mice became impossible as the amyloid plaque built up, leaving them unable to remember which way to go.
These mice were then fed a diet containing 5% dried Lion's mane for 23 days which had significant effects on the memory of the mice. Not only that but they also regained another cognitive capacity, something comparable to curiosity, as measured by greater time spent exploring novel objects compared to familiar ones.
Could lions' mane improve mood swings?
If you suffer from mood swings, depression or anxiety then you will be glad to know that Lion's manes neurological benefits seem to bleed into the realm of mood and feelings of well being.
One clinical study on post menopausal women showed that women who consumed cookies made from Lion's mane showed marked improvements in their mood and ability to concentrate, significantly more than the group who ate none. There was also a reduction in anxiety within the group who ate their mushroom cookies.
In conclusion it is safe to say that Lion's mane is showing some very positive signs it could play a pivotal role in the treatment of neurological diseases and could also become a useful tool in helping those with depression or anxiety.
Coined the worlds first "smart mushroom" by world renowned mycologist Paul Stamets, Lion's mane should hopefully become the focus of a lot more attention from scientists in the near future.
And could taking a Lion's mane supplement be great preventative treatment for some neurological conditions? With more research and more time this question could very well be answered but until then I am very happy to add Lion's mane to my medicinal mushroom cupboard.
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Neal has had long running relationship with Daoism and its health related practices including Chi Gung, Meditation and a interest in its methods of using herbs and food to generate health. He hopes his passion will rub off on you in a positive way.