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Medicinal mushrooms and their health benefits

By Nadia McMorran


Lion’s Mane (Latin name Hericium Erinaceus) is a medicinal mushroom that mostly grows on fallen hardwood trees and looks a little like the mane of a lion with a long dangling spine.

It has historically been very popular in Asia, known for giving you ‘nerves of steel and the mind of a lion’.

In traditional Chinese practice, it is said to be nutritive particularly to five of our internal organs; the lungs, heart, spleen, kidneys and liver. It is used to support good digestion, strength and general wellbeing, and is often prescribed for issues involving the brain and nervous system.

Cognition and brain function

Lion’s mane is most frequently used to support relief from worry and low mood, and cognitive diseases such as brain health. It helps to support slowing cell degeneration. Lion’s mane has also been found to support the treatment of nerve conditions and a recent study in Malaysia even found that lion’s mane supported regeneration of damaged cells following peripheral nerve injuries.

It also seems that lion’s mane has a particularly positive support for PC12 cells; the cells that make, store and release dopamine and norepinephrine; by protecting them from damage and drastically slowing down cell death.

It can also help to support worry and low mood, healthy sleep patterns and general wellbeing.


A variety of research has shown that lion’s mane mushroom may in fact be supportive for a number of different
types of cancer.

Cardiovascular health

Lion’s mane may support heart and circulatory health and healthy cholesterol balance.

It may also be able to support healthy blood clotting.

Digestive health

Due to lion’s mane’s anti-oxidant properties, it may help to support gastric health and function.

Antioxidant properties

Lion’s mane is also high in antioxidants, which help to prevent and relieve the oxidative stress our bodies are under from both nutritional and environmental factors. The antioxidants also can drastically speed up wound healing, support joint mobility, slow skin ageing and protect the liver from alcohol damage.

Studies have also shown that lion’s mane may have the ability to support immune function and healthy blood sugar levels. The mushroom is also believed to be high in vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium, zinc, iron and selenium

There are no known adverse effects from ingesting lion’s mane mushrooms, however, it’s always a good idea to speak to your natural health practitioner to see if it’s the right choice for you.