Origin of Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane or Hericium Erinaceus, is a functional mushroom that originated in Asia, Europe and parts of Northern America. Its history can be traced back to around 600 – 700 AD as its references were found in ancient Chinese texts. There are references to Lion’s Mane mushrooms being consumed to promote longevity and enhance cognitive function across China, Korea and Japan before getting introduced to the West. Lion’s Mane mushroom goes by many different names depending on the region and its local history, such as pom pom mushroom, monkey head mushroom, bearded tooth mushroom, and bearded hedgehog mushroom to name a few.
Lion’s Mane has also been known as “Mountain Priest” in the past across parts of Asia as it was a mushroom of choice for royalty and cherished for its cognitive power by Buddhist monks. Lion’s mane mushroom has long been used in Chinese and Japanese medical systems to promote overall health and wellness. Lion’s Mane has always been revered by eastern healers and highly regarded as a medicinal fungus. According to old Eastern traditions, it was believed, those who eat Lion’s Mane mushrooms will have nerves of steel and perfect memory.
Lion’s Mane has the appearance of a white spherical fungus with long shaggy spines, resembling an actual Lion’s Mane. If you are walking through the untouched jungles of Asia, Europe and North America, there is a possibility you might find Lion’s Mane growing on hardwood trees such as birch, maple, oak, walnut and sycamore. Lion’s Mane mushroom is easy to identify with its white color and snowball-like shape from which the spines of the Manes grow out. In North America and Canada, you can find Lion’s Mane growing in late summer or fall as fungus on dead logs or through cuts and wounds in hardwood trees, like maples or oaks. Though not easy, Lion’s Mane can also be cultivated at home with proper care and know-how.
Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom with a mild and slightly sweet flavour similar to seafood while the size of mushroom can range anywhere from a softball to a volleyball. Although it is safe to consume raw Lion’s Mane mushroom, it is recommended to cook it to improve its flavor and digestibility while most importantly increasing the bioavailability of some of its beneficial compounds through cooking.
Nature’s gift to humanity, the Lion’s Mane mushroom contains several beneficial compounds like polysaccharides, erinacines, hericerins, alkaloids and lactones that provide the required dose of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and Nerve Growth Factors (NGF). NGF is essential for healthy cognitive function and overall brain health.
Lion’s mane is also great to support overall immunity and enhance your health and wellness. You can know more about the benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom here. You can also learn how Lion’s Mane improves your brain health here.