Herícium erinaceus

In the English speaking world it is called Lions’ Mane. This unusual and interesting name comes from the mushroom’s beautiful white spines, which resemble really a lion’s mane.

Scientific studies confirm Lion’s Mane traditional use as a tonic for the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. Numerous experiments demonstrated that the mushroom can be used as a remedy for gastric and duodenal ulcers and chronic gastritis. Polysaccharides from the fruit-body of the mushroom can help against stomach, esophageal, and skin cancer. These polysaccharides modulate the immune system so that it responds more effectively, which is very important in the case of cancer diseases.

A Japanese research team discovered a class of compounds called hericenons in Lion’s Mane that stimulate production of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain. This substance is a protein, which play a part in the survival and regeneration of the neurons. Its absence leads to a condition resembling Alzheimer’s disease. Another ingredient isolated from the mushroom, amyloban, was found to protect against neuronal cell death caused by beta-amyloid peptide, which is the main component of plaque that develops in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. A clinical study has demonstrated effectiveness of the mushroom against dementia in a rehabilitative hospital in Japan. It seems that Lion’s Mane can play a very important part in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and in treating various types of dementia in general.