What Are the Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushrooms? (2024)

Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) are big, white mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane (hence the name). Although they’re generally thought of as a single type of mushroom, there are three different species, withHericium erinaceusbeing the one that’s most widely available.

Lion’s mane mushrooms usually look like white pom-poms and have culinary, as well as medicinal, applications. They are extensively used in Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, India, and China. The demand for these mushrooms is growing quickly since it has several applications in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries.

Now, lion’s mane mushrooms are found in grocery stores, your favorite restaurants, supplement shops, and even some of the most popular coffee varieties. You can get your fix of lion’s mane in the form of powders you can add to your morning cup of coffee or find in capsules.

Lion’s mane mushrooms have a flavor that many describe as similar to seafood, and it’s enjoyed either raw, dried, or cooked.

Lion’s mane mushrooms are also very nutritious and are rich in vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It’s also a good source of essential minerals such as manganese, zinc, and potassium.

Research shows that lion's mane has many health-promoting ingredients that come with several benefits.

Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties

Many health conditions such as heart diseases and autoimmune disorders such as arthritis are due to chronic inflammation. Lion’s mane mushrooms are rich in a specific type of carbohydrate called oligosaccharides that have many critical biological functions including antioxidative and antitumor activities.

They also exhibit immune-stimulating functions, all of which combine to lower the inflammatory fallout of such conditions. Research conducted to understand the antioxidant qualities of several types of mushrooms found that lion’s mane mushrooms show the fourth most potent antioxidant activity. Some studies also indicate the benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms to fight obesity by lowering the impact of fat tissue inflammation.

May Help Overcome Dementia

As you age, the ability of your brain to form connections reduces along with its capacity to form new brain cells called neurons, and this leads to diminished mental functioning in elderly people. Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms, though, are a good source of hericenones and erinacines, two chemicals that accelerate the growth of brain cells.

A chemical called the nerve growth factor (NGF) is similarly essential for the normal functioning of the part of the brain (called the basal forebrain) that produces acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of the most common neurotransmitters that is used by neurons (brain cells) to transmit information and is also the chemical responsible for your waking state. Stimulating the basal forebrain leads to the release of this chemical in your brain that in turn causes you to wake up.

Studies have shown that NGF enables prolonged acetylcholine release, and chemicals such as hericenones and erinacines help induce NGF production in nerve cells. The presence of NGF is directly proportional to acetylcholine activity.

Other studies, meanwhile, found that when older adults who had cognitive impairments ate three grams of lion’s mane mushroom every day for four months, it led to considerably enhanced mental functioning. Moreover, their functioning reduced when they stopped taking the supplements.

Lion’s mane is also a very good source of neurotrophic compounds, a family of biomolecules (most of which are protein-based) that promote the growth, survival, and several physiological functions of both new and mature neurons. These neurotrophic compounds have a positive impact on human nerve cells that may help overcome many neurodegenerative conditions such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Prion disease
  • Spinal muscular atrophy

Could Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Lion’s mane extracts could have possible benefits in treating depression and anxiety. To test this possibility, a study was carried out on Japanese women with many health conditions, including menopausal symptoms and poor sleep. Some of these women were given lion’s mane extracts while others were given placebo cookies for four weeks.

The women who were given extracts of lion’s mane reported lower levels of stress and anxiety compared to the placebo group.

Of course, further research needs to be done to determine the impact of lion’s mane on anxiety and depression. Also, since not many studies have been done to determine the benefits of lion’s mane, there is not much information about the recommended dosage.

Possible Side Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

There’s not much research currently available assessing whether it’s safe to eat lion’s mane for a prolonged period or about its side effects. Since it’s a species of mushroom, though, it’s better to be cautious. If you have a history of allergies, asthma, or any other medical condition, you would be better off checking with your doctor whether it’s safe for you to eat lion’s mane mushrooms in any form – in your food or as a supplement.

There have also been reports of individuals who have had difficulty breathing and skin rashes that have been linked to eating lion’s mane mushrooms.


While there are some advantages of lion’s mane mushrooms, you should keep in mind that there’s much research still being done to find evidence of its exact benefits. This is one of the main reasons why it’s too early to make conclusions about its specific upsides.

You should also keep this in mind when you come across products that mention health benefits, since research on the effectiveness of lion’s mane is yet to be done extensively on humans. Although several products already state these benefits, these products may not adhere to FDA regulations.

To cite an example, in 2019, the FDA had asked a company that promoted its lion’s mane supplement with claims that it’s beneficial for “brain injury recovery” to stop making such claims.

What Are the Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushrooms? (2024)


What Are the Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushrooms? ›

Lion's mane mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Modern science suggests the mushrooms may have health benefits, including fighting dementia, treating nerve damage, managing diabetes, and preventing ulcers. But research in humans is still too limited to say whether those benefits are real.

What are the health benefits of lion's mane mushroom? ›

Lion's mane mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Modern science suggests the mushrooms may have health benefits, including fighting dementia, treating nerve damage, managing diabetes, and preventing ulcers. But research in humans is still too limited to say whether those benefits are real.

What happens if you take lion's mane everyday? ›

When taken by mouth: Lion's mane mushroom is possibly safe when used in a dose of 1 gram daily for 16 weeks. Side effects are mild and may include stomach discomfort.

What is the most beneficial way to eat lion's mane mushroom? ›

The best way to cook lion's mane mushrooms is to sauté or roast them. Once they're cooked, you can eat them in a sandwich, stir-fry, or on their own.

How long does it take to feel benefits of Lion's Mane? ›

Does lion's mane work immediately? While some people may feel a difference incredibly quickly after only a few days, this is rare. Most users will need to take lion's mane regularly for several weeks or 2-3 months before feeling a significant effect and reaping the long-term benefits.

Who should not take Lion's Mane? ›

She also said that people who are pregnant or taking blood thinners should avoid lion's mane and recommends that most people try lion's mane as a food first since supplements are also more concentrated than what you'd eat in a meal.

What is lion's mane side effects? ›

Some people may experience an allergic reaction to lion's mane mushroom, so get help immediately if you experience problems breathing, swelling of the throat, or other allergy symptoms. Consult your doctor and use caution if you are taking diabetes or anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications.

Is Lion's Mane bad for liver? ›

Recently, lion's mane has been purported to improve cognition and relieve anxiety and depression. Lion's mane is generally recognized as safe and has not been linked to serum enzyme elevations during therapy nor to episodes of clinically apparent liver injury.

Should you take lion's mane in the morning or at night? ›

* NGF is a type of protein which contributes to a healthy functioning nervous system. This is why thebest time to take lion's mane mushroom is traditionally considered to be in the morning to early afternoon - to give the mushrooms a chance to work with brain function throughout the day, while you are awake.

Can I take Lion's Mane with other supplements? ›

Blood thinners: One of lion's mane's components slows blood-clotting. 18 Taking lion's mane with other blood thinners like Jantoven (warfarin), aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel), or herbs and supplements that affect clotting could increase the risk of bleeding.

What happens when you start taking Lion's Mane? ›

Lion's mane contains substances that may contribute to nerve growth. Some studies have suggested that taking lion's mane may boost thinking and memory processes. It may also help protect against Alzheimer's and other types of dementia . However, more research is needed.

What part of Lion's Mane is good for you? ›

Lion's mane is composed of two parts: the visible fruiting body (the mushroom) and the mycelium, which is the bottom structure that resembles roots. Both the fruiting body and the root-like mycelium contain compounds that offer potential health benefits.

What happens if I take too much Lion's Mane? ›

If so, what will happen? Studies indicate that Lion's Mane is very safe, even at high doses. But some people are allergic to it, especially if they have mushroom allergies, and this can be dangerous.

How do you know if a lion's mane is working? ›

Many users report decreased anxiety and increased mental clarity after 2-5 days of use. Depending, of course, on the dosage. You may even notice reduced inflammation after a couple weeks of usage—though you'll want to commit for the longer term to truly tackle inflammatory issues in the body.

What time of day is best to take lion's mane? ›

It's true; morning is the best time of day to take Lion's Mane if you want to get the most benefit from it. If you're looking to seize the day, sharpen your mind and improve your overall thinking power, then, yes, morning is the ideal time to incorporate Lion's Mane into your routine.

Is Lion's Mane good for weight loss? ›

Lion's Mane mushrooms are a type of functional mushroom with health benefits that may also help you lose weight. These beneficial mushrooms are the non-psychedelic kind that may play a role in fat metabolism and support healthy body triglyceride levels (a type of fat).

Does lion's mane help with memory? ›

Lion's Mane is packed with a vast array of potent bioactive compounds that stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). In a double-blind study, researchers found that supplementing with Lion's Mane resulted in improved memory and cognitive function, provided it's taken consistently.

Does lion's mane help with sleep? ›

A celebrated nootropic, the lion's mane is well known for its neural benefits and support with cognitive function. But its benefits are not unique to our waking life. There are a plethora of reasons why taking lion's mane before bed may improve our lives by helping us wind down and get a better night's sleep.

Is lions mane good for brain fog? ›

Lion's mane is often referred to as “the smart mushroom” because of its ability to improve memory, focus, and clarity. This mushroom's potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties increase blood flow to the brain, leading to improved cognitive performance and a reduction of brain fog.

Does lions mane increase estrogen? ›

Oestrogen is the menstrual cycle and bone health superstar, and it can be even more of a star when joined on the stage by our mushroom buddy, Lion's Mane. Research has shown that taking Lion's Mane extract can stimulate the production of oestrogen. That means no more anxiety, depression or lacklustre sleep.

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