When you think of mushrooms, you probably think of the sautéed veggies in your omelet this morning – but mushrooms have tons of other uses, ranging from pharmaceutical to the new-age medicine trend of micro-dosing psychedelics for depression and anxiety.
One of the most significant types of mushroom is Lion’s Mane. Given its name due to the fringed, fur-like strings pouring out of the centre of the mushroom, Lion’s Mane has become a health regimen staple for its robust benefits.
Lion’s Mane is also easy to find and grow. They thrive in decaying hardwood trees in Europe, Asia, and North America. Keep an eye out for them in the fall months.
If you are interested in trying Lion’s Mane for its health benefits or culinary reasons, read on for further information about this legendary fungi.
How to Take Lion’s Mane
There are a few ways to prepare Lion’s Mane. You can eat it raw, cook or bake it, steep it to make tea, or dry it for snacking. Most people say it has a distinct seafood flavour that is reminiscent of crab or lobster.
Cooking with Lion’s Mane
You can cook Lion’s Mane like most other mushrooms – sautéed, baked, boiled, etc. Another option is to pull out your trusty slow cooker for supple and tender mushrooms.
The most popular way to prepare Lion’s Mane is as a mushroom steak. To do this, follow these steps:
- Slice the mushroom
- Fry mushrooms in a pan without oil
- When the mushroom is half its original size, toss in a pan with oil until crisp
And voila! You have a delicious meat alternative for a quick and easy dinner.
How Many Grams to Take & When to Take Them
Some people prefer to take Lion’s Mane as a supplement and therefore need to figure out what dosage level works best for their body.
Most experts recommend not exceeding 4 grams per day. Doses as low as 750 mg are effective. You can take Lion’s Mane up to three times a day. If you are taking it for cognitive and neurological reasons, having a scoop of Lion’s Mane powder in your coffee is a great way to get your mind ready for the day ahead.
Since Lion’s Mane makes your mind active, try not to take it at night, as it can disrupt sleep. And, always take it with a meal to prevent nausea, like any other supplement.
Where to Purchase Lion’s Mane
After you have figured out the dosage and which type of Lion’s Mane you want to take, the next challenge is finding the mushroom in stores.
It can be tricky to find, especially if you want it in supplement form. You can find raw Lion’s Mane in some health food grocery stores or even on Amazon.
Tiger Vit, a reliable vitamin supplier, has Lion’s Mane supplements ideal for everyday use. A few functions of this supplement are:
- Prevention measures for cognitive disorders, such as dementia
- Digestion regulation
- Strengthen the immune system
The Tiger Vit Lion’s Mane supplement may also help with inflammation, anxiety, and depression.
However, if you have asthma, this particular supplement may not work for you. Always consult your physician before trying a new vitamin.
How to Grow Lion’s Mane
If you want to try your hand at growing Lion’s Mane, there are a few things you should consider before starting the process.
First, decide if you want to grow mushrooms long-term or if you see yourself only doing one or two batches. If you wish to get into mushroom growing, try purchasing a mushroom fruiting block to familiarise the process.
You may already be a seasoned mushroom grower, and if that is the case, you can also grow Lion’s Mane from scratch (aka spawn). This process is a bit more complex than the blocking method and not recommended for beginners.
To grow Lion’s Mane from scratch:
- Begin with a culture on agar
- Create grain spawn
- Mix in a substrate
After these steps, you will see your Lion’s Mane begin to flourish, and these mushrooms can last for a pretty long time in the fridge.
Drying Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
The powder is the most popular form of Lion’s Mane, as it easily mixes with drinks and is quick to measure. Thankfully, it’s a relatively simple process to make your own powder by drying the mushrooms, allowing you to save some money.
Lay your mushrooms out in the sun for up to four hours. This step boosts Vitamin D and prepares the Lion’s Mane for the drying process.
After that, slice your mushroom into small pieces and place them in your oven for 2 – 4 hours on the lowest temperature setting.
Storing Lion’s Mane
These little guys are resilient, so all you need to do to store them properly is keep them in a cool, dry place – like your pantry or garage if you live in a mild climate.
Supplements and powders need to be stored in dry places as well, so keeping them in your medicine cabinet is acceptable.
Benefits of Lion’s Mane
In addition to the cognitive benefits listed above, Lion’s Mane has countless possibilities. Some studies show that consistent Lion’s Mane dosing can improve the outlook of colon cancer patients by slowing down the migration of cancer cells.
Another study that surveyed individuals taking Lion’s Mane states that over half of the respondents had a positive experience.
Lion’s Mane for Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety affects everyone to some degree. Whether triggered by a specific event or a diagnosed problem, anxiety is never a pleasant feeling.
Depression is another common mental health diagnosis – over 40 million US adults are currently suffering from depression and anxiety.
Several studies have shown the positive effects of Lion’s Mane on anxiety disorders. These effects are thanks to the chemical makeup of Lion’s Mane – hericenones and erinacines.
Results demonstrate that Lion’s Mane is just as effective (if not more effective) than SSRI and SNRI medications for treating depression and anxiety.
Lion’s Mane for Inflammation
Research suggests that Lion’s Mane may reduce inflammation in the body and immune system problems due to its polysaccharides. Other improvements related to ingesting Lion’s Mane are:
- Increase in innate immunity
- Immunomodulation, or modifying the immune system
- Benefits for immuno-compromised individuals
These aspects of Lion’s Mane can be life-changing for some, as immune system-related disorders are often quite debilitating. By decreasing inflammation and strengthening the immune system, Lion’s Mane has the potential to cure some of the worst ailments out there.
Lion’s Mane for Alzheimer’s & Cognitive Impairment
Alzheimer’s is one of the most devastating conditions in the modern world and has a detrimental effect on the brain. Lion’s Mane is a preventative agent against Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments.
The mycelium in Lion’s Mane is of particular interest regarding cognitive ailments. The hair-like structures point to increased activity in previously dormant cells in the brain, spinal cord, and retina.
Research also reflects improvements in antioxidants, hippocampal activity, and neuroprotective activity.
How Long it Takes for Lion’s Mane to Work
Like a lot of prescription medications, Lion’s Mane takes some time to kick in. For the best result, take an equal dosage every day for two weeks, and make sure you observe:
- Side effects
- How you feel emotionally and physically
- Sleep patterns
If you notice the ailment you are trying to improve has started to get better but is not quite at your liking yet, increase the dosage slightly. The longer you use it, the longer you will reap the benefits.
Addictive Properties of Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane is not an addictive substance. The erinacines have mRNA nerve growth factors that inhibit opioid receptors – which could help with opioid addictions.
Lion’s Mane in Chinese Medicine
Long before its use for cognitive disorders, Lion’s Mane was utilized in Chinese medicine for gastric issues, digestion, and dyspepsia.
Other ways ancient Chinese doctors used Lion’s Mane are:
- To cure gastric ulcers
- To soothe gastritis symptoms
- Help with digestion
The administration of Lion’s Mane was through brewed teas, a method that continues to be popular among users today.
Psychedelics & Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane is not a psychedelic mushroom. Instead, it is a nootropic that has no intoxicating effects.
Nootropics are a wide range of medicines that can be prescriptions or natural substances like Lion’s Mane. They are often referred to as smart drugs, as they boost brain performance and cognition.
Some other medications that fall into this category are Adderall and Ritalin. Prescription nootropics have strong side effects and addictive properties compared to Lion’s Mane and other natural supplements.
How You Feel on Lion’s Mane
Chances are, you will not notice much of a difference early on, as it takes about two weeks to feel the effects of Lion’s Mane. You may feel more energised and focused, but some people report feeling tired after their first few doses.
You will not feel high or drunk when taking Lion’s Mane!
The Legality of Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane is scarce in the UK and under strict conservation laws. You cannot pick or sell the mushroom in the UK, but purchasing it online or from a store is not illegal.
The mushroom is legal in Ireland and the rest of Europe.
Where Can You Find Lion’s Mane?
In nature, Lion’s Mane grows on dead wood. You are most likely to find Lion’s Mane in the northern United States, Europe, and Canada.
Purchasing Lion’s Mane is as easy as going on Amazon or a trip to your local health food store – particularly if you want the supplement or powder formulations.
Taking Lion’s Mane: Is it Worth It?
Consuming Lion’s Mane is worth it if you want to stray from traditional medications and policies. Since it is a natural substance, there are very few side effects and no potentially harmful additives.
If cognitive problems are frequent in your family, Lion’s Mane is worth a try for its proven neurological benefits – even just as a precaution.
Does Cooking Lion’s Mane Destroy its Nutrients?
No. Cooking them is recommended, as it helps the nutrients come to the surface. Consuming them in a powder or liquid form ensures that you will absorb as many nutrients as possible.
Does Lion’s Mane Increase Testosterone?
Unfortunately, there is not sufficient evidence to answer this question from either perspective. Since Lion’s Mane increases energy and can help increase muscle mass, it may increase testosterone. However, proving this theory requires much more research.
Does Lion’s Mane Make You Sleepy?
That varies depending on your brain chemistry and body. Some people report improved REM sleep and take it before bed, but some people have trouble sleeping if they take it late at night. Since Lion’s Mane improves cognitive function, more active minds may have sleep problems.
How Do You Cook Lion’s Mane?
There are several ways to cook this magnificent mushroom. Some methods are:
- Hand-shredding to form mock crab
Feel free to get creative with Lion’s Mane, as it has a robust flavour and a meaty texture.