Your Total Guide To Adaptogens | Part 6| Lion’s Mane

Your Total Guide To Adaptogens | Part Six | Lion’s Mane

Adaptogens are plants and mushrooms that help your body respond to stress, anxiety, fatigue and overall well being. You can take adaptogens by adding them to food or beverages or take them as capsules, powders or tinctures. Adaptogens bring your body back to balance, to homeostasis, by managing both physical and mental stress.

Lion’s Mane is an adaptogen and a medicinal mushroom that is taken for a variety of conditions including mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, and also for age-related cognitive decline such as dementia and and Alzheimer’s disease.

Hieracium erinaceus, also known as Yamabushitake, Hou Tou Gu, and Lion’s Mane, is capable of strengthening the spleen and nourishing the stomach, tranquilizing the mind, and fighting cancer. The polysaccharides in Lion’s mane possess various promising bioactivities, including antitumor and immunomodulation, anti-gastric ulcer, neuroprotection and neuroregeneration, anti-oxidation and hepatoprotection, anti-hyperlipidemia, anti-hyperglycemia, anti-fatigue and anti-aging.

Lion’s mane, grows on old or dead broadleaf trees, and is used as both food and medicine in parts of Asia. The fruiting body is called hóu tóu gū which translates to “monkey head mushroom” in Chinese, and yamabushitake “mountain monk mushroom” in Japanese. In Chinese medicine, Lion’s mane is Sweet and neutral, it benefits the five internal organs ( the five TCM organs, namely, heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys)

Use lion’s mane for anything from digestion, general energy and strength, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis or other digestive issues. The mushroom is also known for its effects on the central nervous system, which is where it is really a stand out powerful herb that surpasses many other adaptogens. Lion’s mane can be used for insomnia, weakness, lethargy and fatigue, and basically any symptoms that are related to symptoms of Qi deficiency in Chinese medicine.

Studies in rats and mice have found that lion’s mane mushroom extract improves fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels, and other studies show that lion’s mane can cause significantly lower blood sugar levels in both normal and diabetic mice. This is great since high cholesterol and high blood sugar are issues that an increasing number of people are dealing with. Natural methods for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels are available, and Lion’s mane is one powerful herb!

Lion’s mane has an effect on the nervous system and on the brain, but as always when it comes to the medicinal studies of herbs in the west, it is lagging behind and we all know why. That being said there are some studies done and they show an improvement in reduction of inflammation, and a reduction in oxidation in brain cells. Inflammation and oxidation is the root culprit of most of our diseases. Lion’s mane has also shown that it is capable of generating new nerve growth, and improvement of the myelin sheath formation.

Use Lion’s mane when you need to improve cognitive function in any way weather it is due to brain fog, age related cognitive decline, post viral fatigue or just a general feeling of slower thinking.


In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease Lion’s mane improved the hippocampus, and prevented impairments of spatial, short-term, and visual recognition memory and in another study using an Alzheimer’s model of mice resulted in fewer plaque deposits in microglia and astrocytes in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. There are a number of studies done on Lion’s mane and Alzheimer’s disease and there is enough indication to say that this herb is beneficial.


In animal studies of Parkinson’s, there was a reduction in oxidative stress and dopaminergic lesions in the striatum and substantia nigra after 25 days.


In another animal study, Lions mane was administered after a crush injury for 14 days, and noticeably improved nerve regeneration, and increased the rate of motor function recovery. The animals treated with recovered 4–7 days earlier than animals in the control group.


Lion’s mane extract may also help reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke.

In one study, high doses of lion’s mane mushroom extract given to rats immediately after a stroke helped decrease inflammation and reduce the size of stroke-related brain injury by 44%

To sum up the magic of this medicinal mushroom, you can use it for:

  • Protection Against Dementia.
  • Relieve Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety.
  • To Speed Recovery from Nervous System Injuries.
  • Protects Against Ulcers and other Digestive Disorders.
  • Reduce Heart Disease Risk.
  • Manage Diabetes Symptoms.
  • Fight Cancer.
Photo by Ella Olsson

Kushairi N, Phan CW, Sabaratnam V, David P, Naidu M. Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. Suppresses H2O2-Induced Oxidative Damage and LPS-Induced Inflammation in HT22 Hippocampal Neurons and BV2 Microglia. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Aug 1;8(8):261. doi: 10.3390/antiox8080261. PMID: 31374912; PMCID: PMC6720269.

Mori K, Obara Y, Hirota M, et al. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2008; 31:1727–32.

Zhang J, An S, Hu W, et al. The neuroprotective properties of Hericium erinaceus in glutamate-damaged differentiated PC12 cells and an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Int J Mol Sci. 2016; 17(11); 1810.

Wong KH, Naidu M, David P, et al. Peripheral nerve regeneration following crush injury to rat peroneal nerve by aqueous extract of medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011:580752.

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