Mushrooms are one of the standard foods found in supermarkets. Even just as a side dish, mushrooms are fantastic as part of the meal; however, something most people aren’t aware of is just how useful they are as a medicinal supplement.
People have been using mushrooms to help treat all kinds of medical conditions for thousands of years now. Both ordinary culinary mushrooms and specialized medicinal mushrooms can be used to assist with a huge number of symptoms.
The Lion’s Mane mushroom is one of these supposed medicinal mushrooms. Not only does it look cool in the wild, but it apparently has all sorts of different applicable medicinal benefits. People are buying lion’s mane mushroom capsules all the time these days, looking for its purported health benefits.
But what are the myriad health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms? Are they to be trusted?
What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
Before we can get into the various medicinal benefits of Lion’s Mane mushrooms, we need to first understand what this mushroom actually is.
Lion’s mane mushroom is a weird, shaggy mushroom that grows just like many other types of fungus. It develops its mycelium – sort of like the mushroom’s body – through dying wood and grows out and down, covering itself with its own fruiting body.
This results in the mushroom’s unique appearance, as it seems to flop over like a shaggy lion’s mane; hence the name!
Many people eat lion’s mane as a special culinary ingredient. It has an umami flavor that goes well with vegetables and is perfect as an ingredient in haute cuisine.
But when it comes to medicinal effects, Lion’s Mane mushrooms seem to have a lot more going for them than most people would expect.
Benefit #1: Could Help to Reduce Heart Disease
Everyone fears the onset of heart disease; it kills about 1/3 of all people and is the main reason why cardio is recommended as part of a healthy workout routine.
There has been some preliminary research showing that lion’s mane mushrooms could help improve fat metabolism in rats and lower their triglyceride levels.
This could be potentially very useful for fighting heart disease because one of the chief causes of heart disease is obesity.
A similar study also found that lion’s mane mushrooms can prevent cholesterol oxidation within the bloodstream. This helps to reduce overall body cholesterol and maintain overall health.
Benefit #2: Could Help to Prevent Cancer
Cancer is something that everyone is looking to cure, whether through specific medicinal treatments or the next great supplement. The aim is to either get rid of cancer risk or make palliative care easier.
Lion’s mane mushroom has been shown to fight against cancer cells in a lab environment, though the number of studies currently published is pretty limited.
As always, this isn’t going to be some sort of magical cure that gets rid of cancer. Instead, it is possible that the lion’s mane may fight off cancer when it is already affecting the body.
Benefit #3: Can Help to Reduce Inflammation
There are all sorts of unique medicinal supplements out there that are designed to help to reduce inflammation at the moment.
Lion’s mane mushrooms have recently joined that club, as there is some strong evidence that it could reduce the inflammation response through interaction with our body’s immune system.
As ever, the precise mechanism isn’t fully understood yet. Still, it seems that lion’s mane can help to reduce inflammation when suffering from an inflammatory condition, such as arthritis or a skin disorder.
Benefit #4: Potentially Help to Fight & Prevent Dementia
Dementia is a disease that no one could ask for, yet it affects countless millions the world over.
The brain’s capabilities to be able to form new neural connections and grow diminishes as a person gets older, and dementia can quickly worsen this.
Lion’s mane mushrooms seem to contain compounds, hericenones, and erinacines, that some studies have shown could help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Whether it is entirely because of the lion’s mane mushroom’s antioxidant properties or due to some other unique chemical interactions with the brain, science is not so sure. Regardless of its exact mechanisms, it seems that lion’s mane mushrooms could be an effective tool against dementia.
Benefit #5: Help to Boost the Immune System
This benefit is certainly something that all of the previous benefits directly imply, but it is significant enough that it deserves its own mention.
Lion’s mane mushrooms may not only improve the immune system in general, but studies have shown that it could improve the intestinal immune system more specifically.
This is key for having a strong immune system because it ensures that pathogens and bacteria cannot enter the body, helping to protect the body from illnesses and infections.