The unique flavor of the gourmet mushroom Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is often compared to either lobster or shrimp. And modern science is now discovering that not only is it a culinary delicacy but it may also possess some unique medicinal properties, with its ability to stimulate nerve and myelin regeneration. (150, 151) In the book Mycelium Running, foremost American medicinal mushroom expert Paul Stamets suggests this may make Hericium erinaceus useful in a large number of neurological conditions, from multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy to Alzheimer’s and dementia. (134)
Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) is known to grow in Europe, North America, Japan and China. It can be found on many broad leaf trees, from oaks, maples and sycamores to beeches and walnuts.
“Erinacines” is the name of the medicinal compounds from Hericium erinaceus that are being researched for their neurological health benefits. They are small enough to pass through the blood brain barrier, which or course is a requirement in order to effect any healing on the myelin sheaths or neurons. (152, 153, 154)
Two Japanese patents exist relating to Hericium erinaceus extracts; one from the 1990’s for an extraction process of these compounds yielding an extract known as “Nerve Growth Stimulant Factor.” (150, 151) A more recent one from 2004 is for a water extract of Hericium erinaceus, also used for its nerve regenerating properties. (155)
Although recent research on Hericium erinaceus extract has focused on its powerful effect on healing nerve tissue, in Traditional Chinese Medicine Lion’s Mane Mushroom was used primarily for stomach conditions and cancers of the digestive organs.
Two modern studies have confirmed this ancient wisdom. One done in 1985 showed positive results for treating atrophic gastritis. Another conducted a decade later, in 1995, showed some ameliorating effect on hepatoma, with a marked life extension of treated patients. (156)
Note: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never use any herb (or mushroom) except as advised by a licensed medical practitioner.
Credits: Thank you, Paul Stamets, for research references.