Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) isn’t like other mushrooms who’s typical shape is a smooth cap and stem—no, this medicinal mushroom get’s its playful name from its white cascading structure of strands. 

Nicknames for the mushroom include “bearded tooth”, “monkey head”, and “pom-pom mushroom”. But lion’s mane has a lot more going on for it than just funny nicknames. Historically, Traditional Chinese Medicine used lion’s mane for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immunomodulating properties to help with stomach issues, including digestive problems and cancers!

In addition to its general healing benefits, lion’s mane is best known for its overall cognitive benefits: improving memory, concentration, focus, creativity, and clarity. Research shows that lion’s mane can regenerate and repair neurons and reverse effects of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. But how exactly? 

Our bodies contain NGF proteins, which stimulate new neuron growth and protect existing neurons from deteriorating. However, when the brain doesn’t produce enough NGF proteins, it can lead to degeneration and neurological diseases. This is where lion’s mane comes in: it can stimulate the synthesis of NGF within the brain! In fact, it’s the most abundant natural source of NGF proteins! 

Not only does this mean that lion’s mane can help those with degenerative neurological symptoms, but it can also help reverse deterioration that comes with aging—and without the side effects that sometimes come with prescription pharmaceuticals.  

I know, it’s all fascinating. If you’re ready to start adding this medicine to your daily routine, check out these five ways to use lion’s mane for brain health. 

5 Ways to Use Lin’s Mane for Brain Health 

Simple Sautéed Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

The easiest way to get all the brain benefits of lion’s mane is to simply sautee them with ingredients you already have lying around. It will make the perfect side to any healthy dinner. 

Ingredients: 

  • 8 ounces fresh lion’s mane 
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil 
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 

Instructions:

  1. Tear the mushroom into bite-sized wedges and then slice 
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat 
  3. Add garlic and stir until golden 
  4. Add mushrooms and stir regularly for 5-10 minutes until brown 
  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper and stir for an additional 2 minutes 

Smart Superfood Salad with Lions Mane 

Two of the top brain-boosting foods are in this recipe: lion’s mane and walnuts. Walnuts are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which research has found protect against cognitive decline and improve overall cognitive health. 

Serves 2-3 

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 cup dandelion leaves, torn 
  • 3 tomatoes or a cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped 
  • ½ cup kalamata olives 
  • ½ cup of toasted walnuts 
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded 
  • 6 ounces fresh lions mane, diced (can also use dehydrated but soak for 2 hours and drain)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions:

  1. Mix together romaine, dandelion, and cabbage in a large bowl 
  2. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste
  3. Dress salad and massage 
  4. Add tomatoes, olives, and walnuts 
  5. In a pan over medium heat melt the butter/ghee and add mushrooms and sliced onion. Cook for about 10 minutes until softened. Season with salt and white pepper (if have) 
  6. Divide salad among plates and top with mushrooms and onions

Adapted from Healing Mushroom by Tero Isokauppila founder of Four Sigmatic *

Lions Mane Pancakes 

Typically pancakes for breakfast would put me back to bed, but not these. This gluten-free, brain-boosting breakfast will help you think more clearly! 

Serves 5 (20 small or 5 large) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup glute-free flour of choice (cassava or almond are good choices) 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 2 cups almond milk 
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1 cup spinach, packed and finely chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 8 ounces fresh lion’s mane mushrooms or 3 cups dehydrated and soaked for 2 hours
  • Maple syrup, jam, butter for serving! Whatever you fancy 

Adapted from Healing Mushroom by Tero Isokauppila founder of Four Sigmatic *

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs and almond milk together 
  • Add flour, spinach, butter, mushrooms, salt, and pepper until well combined. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes 
  • Set cast iron skillet on high heat, add butter when pan is hot. 
  • Add ½ cup to the skillet and flip when bubbles. Flip to the other side. Pancakes should be golden brown 
  • Serve with syrup, jam, or nothing! 

Wake Up with Lion’s Mane 

Swap out your coffee for lions mane for a better brain boost than you could’ve imagined. Lion’s mane won’t burn out your adrenals like too much caffeine does. You can find powdered lion’s mane online, or I recommend purchasing Moon Juice’s Brain Dust or Four Sigmatic lion’s mane elixir packets for an easy morning pick me up! All you have to do is add to hot water, stir, and enjoy. I like a little oat or almond milk with mine, so it has that at-home latte feel.

Another fabulous option is to add lions mane to a yummy morning fruit smoothie with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and banana!

Lion’s Mane Tincture 

A lion’s mane tincture is an easy way to supplement with the mushroom. Simply add a couple of drops to water or straight into your mouth for the benefits! 

Now that you know how amazing lion’s mane can be for brain health, are you excited to add it into your daily routine! Let me know in the comments below how you’re going to use the medicine mushroom.

Cites

 

  1. Isokauppila, Tero, and Mark H. Hyman. Healing Mushrooms: a Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health. Avery, an Imprint of Penguin Random House, 2017.

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