Confused? Don’t Be! (Lion’s Mane Mushroom)

The claim is made that experiments were done with mice where neuropathy and plaque were reversed with the feeding of Lion’s Mane Mushroom…

Wonder how it goes in an omelette… I like Mushroom Omelettes

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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8 Responses to Confused? Don’t Be! (Lion’s Mane Mushroom)

  1. H.R. says:

    I expect there will soon be a lot of follow-up buzz supporting and contradicting this.

    I’d like to read a bit more discussion, particularly counterarguments, before I consider chasing down Lion’s Mane mushrooms.

    What particular compound is it that causes the effect? Is it found in other mushrooms?

  2. Clay Marley says:

    Celery juice has been a recent fad; cauliflower, avocado, various spices like cinnamon (Ceylon of course!), turmeric, alma (Indian Gooseberries), ginger, garlic, and others like ginseng, colostrum, etc. are all purported to have amazing health or cognitive benefits. If I supplemented everything that’s supposed to have magical health benefits I could easily spend half a grand a month.

    For most people, get the macros right before worrying about supplements like these. For me that meant cut the carbs, processed foods and vegetable oils. In the last 6 months I’ve gone from being clinically obese, pre-diabetic, with high heart disease risk, to being 70 lbs lighter, not pre-diabetic, and low cardiac risk.

    Get your macros in order, then get a decent exercise routine, then think about the small additional benefit one might get from various supplements. And be aware the science behind these benefits is usually fairly weak: association studies, mouse models, or in vitro studies. Long term human studies are rare, and that’s to be expected when the substance involved can’t be patented.

    I cook with mushrooms quite a bit. In fact the lowly white button mushroom and crimini are said to also have good health benefits. If I could find Lion’s Mane in the grocery, and it tasted good, I would certainly give it a shot. But as a supplement, well, get in line with all the others.

  3. rhoda klapp says:

    They sell plugs on the internet. Stick ’em in dead wood and wait until late spring.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    I saw it in Whole Foods some months ago, before seeing the video. Thought it looked strange so didn’t buy any. My mistake.

    Also, do note:

    In the video, he states that this was TESTED IN A LAB ON MICE. It isn’t a fad idea being reported. It is that medical testing was done and neurogenisis was observed in the dissected rodents compared to controls. I.e. real science was done.

    As to “what compound”: Nobody knows yet. If other fungi and effects are indicative, it will likely be several in unison.

    Lots of plants and fungi make compounds to fight off predation or infection. Often what kills a bug has use in lower concentration in humans. Or for directly killing bacteria in humans (penicillin and others… lots of our current antibiotics come from molds and fungi ) or are useful as anesthetics or stimulants. The nicotine that kills insects addicts humans.

    There is every reason to believe there are many more undiscovered compounds in the plants and fungi of the world. We have done very little searching so far, barely even cataloging that most exist. Certainly not testing doses very high or low compared to that natively in the material. (That is, folks eat something and die, we call it poison and stop. No bad thing happens, we call it food. Only those with visible medicinal effect tend to be searched for drugs, and then not many are searched, nor well.)

    Lion’s Mane is generally known as a good food mushroom, as are most medicinal mushrooms (as noted in the video). Do watch it… most of the answers are there… I also found the anecdote about enoki mushrooms of interest.

    For those commenting without watching the video: Stamets describes a Japanese medical reasearch bit where one town /area had vastly lower rates of ALL cancers. Why? Turns out it is where the local industry is growing enoki mushrooms. Those with any blemish are given free to the workers, so folks eat a lot of enoki mushrooms…

    As they are the skinny little ones in Japanese soup, and I love Japanese soups… I’m going to check the local Japanese grocery for them.

    Not because of any “fad”, but because they taste good and there is legitimate medical research behind the discovery of why cancers were much lower in that place.

    I will also be willing to cook with Lion’s Mane now that I know about it. My bias had been against “strange mushrooms” so I mostly only bought white buttons… I’m basically learning to get past that and eat the “strange” ones too. So far I’ve found that crimini are more tasty and Oyster mushrooms make a very nice omelette. Shiitaki are a bit tough and strong for an omelette, so I need to get better recipes for them. I am very much looking forward to my first Lion’s Mane meal. If it helps keep the brain happy and staves off late life peripheral neuropathy, so much the better.

  5. H.R. says:

    @E.M. Thanks for the summary. No cc so I didn’t watch, but I spot checked the video for graphs or posters.

    Because your post is the first I’ve seen on this, my comment still stands that I’ll likely see more buzz on this, as it seems intriguing enough for others to look into it. I am keeping my eyes peeled for more info on the topic.

    Also, your comment on the other mushrooms with beneficial effects has me wondering why there hasn’t been more general enthusiasm for mushrooms from the ‘natural foods’ crowd? That’s puzzling to me. And Clay Marley pointed out some of the Wonder Foods and Supplements that have generated more buzz than mushrooms. Could it be that the supplement makers and pushers haven’t found an effective way to market the mushrooms? Is it a supply problem; not enough to push it widely? I dunno.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    I get the impression it is relatively “new” to the West. This article has an 2011 date:
    So I would guess most of this is from this decade. Before that, most likely just “Asian folks medicine / folklore”

    Research on Enoki Mushrooms & Cancer

    For centuries, Enoki mushrooms have been considered by the Japanese to be an anti-cancer, anti-aging food. And Nagano, Japan (the center of enoki cultivation) has an extremely low rate of cancer compared to other regions.

    Now, research by National University of Singapore shows that eating enoki (or golden needle) mushrooms can destroy 95% of cancer cells by boosting our immune system.

    According to Professor Chua Kaw Yan who is researching this mushroom, the stalk of the mushroom contains a large quantity of a protein which interacts with the cells in our immune system resulting in production of a number of cytokines that are responsible for the regulation of our immune functions.

    American scientists have since run tests on this particular type of mushroom extract with blood, done outside human body. Results show that mushroom extract is able to destroy cancer cells.

    The mushroom is most frequently prepared by steaming. Cooking time should be less than 3 minutes, or the healing property would greatly diminish.

    This one is 2013, so just 6 years back. It takes a while to go from rumor to testing to R&D to publication to public awareness to folks doing it…

    Send to
    Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54.
    Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus
    (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.
    Lai PL1, Naidu M, Sabaratnam V, Wong KH, David RP, Kuppusamy UR, Abdullah N, Malek SN.
    Author information


    Neurotrophic factors are important in promoting the growth and differentiation of neurons. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is essential for the maintenance of the basal forebrain cholinergic system. Hericenones and erinacines isolated from the medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus can induce NGF synthesis in nerve cells. In this study, we evaluated the synergistic interaction between H. erinaceus aqueous extract and exogenous NGF on the neurite outgrowth stimulation of neuroblastoma-glioma cell NG108-15. The neuroprotective effect of the mushroom extract toward oxidative stress was also studied. Aqueous extract of H. erinaceus was shown to be non-cytotoxic to human lung fibroblast MRC-5 and NG108-15 cells. The combination of 10 ng/mL NGF with 1 μg/mL mushroom extract yielded the highest percentage increase of 60.6% neurite outgrowth. The extract contained neuroactive compounds that induced the secretion of extracellular NGF in NG108-15 cells, thereby promoting neurite outgrowth activity. However, the H. erinaceus extract failed to protect NG108-15 cells subjected to oxidative stress when applied in pre-treatment and co-treatment modes. In conclusion, the aqueous extract of H. erinaceus contained neuroactive compounds which induced NGF-synthesis and promoted neurite outgrowth in NG108-15 cells. The extract also enhanced the neurite outgrowth stimulation activity of NGF when applied in combination. The aqueous preparation of H. erinaceus had neurotrophic but not neuroprotective activities.

    In other words: Yes, the mushrooms cause nerve growth and IF you are having issues with not enough nerve growth, that might help.

    As we all lose Human Growth Factor with age, I suspect this is going to be beneficial in older folks, especially if faced with things like diabetic neuropathy or or other nerve issues.

    I KNOW for a FACT that Enoki are very nice in soups ;-) I’m hoping Lion’s Mane is tasty in a mushroom / onion saute or as as side with Leg Of Lamb 8-)

  7. H.R. says:

    East vs West sounds about right to me, E.M.

    I have noticed the tendency of Western medicine to pooh-pooh Eastern medicine, particularly if it doesn’t involve billions in research and development on some clever new compound. After all “It’s just folk medicine and anecdotal evidence.”

    Meanwhile, it looks from the links you found, the East figures there is some wisdom in what has been used for perhaps more than a 1,000 years and that it’s worth having a look into it. It looks like they have been doing solid research since it appears they have identified the effective compound and how it works in the body.

    Big pharma isn’t going to push mushrooms because there’s no money in it. Maybe the supplement industry will start in on mushroom extracts or powders sometime soon.

    Next trip to the stores, I’ll have a look at what mushrooms are available. The straw mushrooms for sure, but I suspect it will take awhile to run down the Lion’s Mane variety.

  8. Cuppa Covfefe says:

    (Forgive me, in advance)
    Play that fungi music, white boy…..

    Interesting how often “old folk remedies” prove to be enormously effective, whilst big-pharma produced compounds only many to ameliorate the symptoms, yet keep us ill, so we need to buy more, and more, and more meds…

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