Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a medicinal mushroom that has a long history of use in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine.
Aside from being rich in vitamins and minerals, Lion’s Mane also contains hericerins, erincaines, erinaceolactones, glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Extracts of Lion’s Mane have proven antibiotic, anticancer, neuroprotective, and glucose-lowering effects. Lion’s mane also protects against stomach ulcers, improves anxiety, cognitive function, and depression, and has anti-fatigue and anti-aging properties.
Lion’s mane is most well-known for its nootropic properties. A nootropic is a substance that naturally enhances memory and cognitive function, without the use of stimulants.
Science Backed Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Improved Brain Function
Lion’s Mane improved cognitive function in 50- to 80-year-old Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment .
In mice with neurodegenerative diseases, Lion’s Mane improved both memory and cognitive function .
May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s
Lion’s Mane had anti-dementia activity in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease . Lion’s Mane prevented the loss of spatial short-term memory by decreasing amyloid beta plaque in the brain. Amyloid beta plaque contributes to brain degradation in patients with Alzheimer’s.
May Combat Depression and Anxiety
In a four-week study, symptoms such as loss of concentration, irritability, palpitations, and anxiety were significantly decreased when patients were treated with Lion’s Mane. The alleviation of symptoms also improved sleep quality 
Boosts the Immune System
Compounds naturally found in Lion’s Mane improve immune function by enhancing cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Lion’s Mane increased T cells and macrophage levels in mice .
Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Studies dating as far back as 1992 report that Lion’s Mane shows high antitumor activity. Lion’s Mane promotes the Th1 response, which is important for fighting tumors .
In mice, Lion’s Mane induced the death of leukemia, liver, colon, gastric, and breast cancer cells.
Lion’s Mane exerts an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing prostaglandins, reactive oxygen species, and pro-inflammatory factors such as NF-κB .
In mice with gut inflammation, Lion’s Mane improved symptoms and decreased intestinal bleeding. In rats with brain injury, Lion’s Mane decreased the levels of inflammatory cytokines.
May Improve Metabolism
Lion’s Mane decreased weight gain, body fat, and triglyceride levels when mice were given a high fat diet .
Improved Muscle Insulin Sensitivity
Lion’s Mane reduced blood glucose levels in both normal and diabetic mice by nearly 50% . Lion’s Mane also increased glucose tolerance in diabetic mice.
May Protect the liver
Lion’s Mane decreased liver damage caused by acute alcohol exposure in mice, decreasing blood ALT, AST and MDA levels .
May Help with Fatigue
In mice, Lion’s Mane extended exhaustive exercise time, increased antioxidant enzyme activity, and decreased biochemical parameters related to fatigue such as blood lactic acid, urea and malondialdehyde .
Purchasing A Lion’s Mane Supplement
Lion’s Mane is sold as a pure powder and in capsules. Lion’s mane naturally has a nutty and earthy taste to it. Most people find the raw powder very nice tasting.
The standard recommended daily dosage is 1,000-2,000 mg. My personal favourite way to use lion’s mane is to add a ½ teaspoon (~1,500mg) into a cup of black coffee with a tablespoon of MCT oil.