The Nootropics Library: Red Reishi Mushroom

Everything You Need To Know About Red Reishi Mushroom

General Information

Scientific Name: Ganoderma lingzhi / Ganoderma lucidum

Any Other Names: Reishi, Ling Zhi, Munnertake, Sachitake, Youngzhi, “Mushroom of Immortality”

Primary Constituents: Polysaccharides (Beta-Glucans, Coumarin, Mannitol, and Alkaloids), Fungal Immunomodulatory Proteins (FIPs), Ganoderic Acids, Triterpenoids

Country or Region of Origin: Native to Asia, Europe, and North America

Known Uses: Anti-Fatigue, Mood Booster, Antioxidant and Stress Reducer, Immune System Booster, Hearth Health, and More


General History & Introduction

Red Reishi Mushrooms are native to China, most of Asia, and scattered amongst comparable climates throughout the world. Although extremely rare, they are easy to spot with their bright red or orange-hued, clam-shaped glow protruding from a tree. These mushrooms are well-known and trusted constituents of traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, some common Chinese folklore glorifies the Reishi mushroom as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” where it is known as Ling Zhi and has been utilized for thousands of years (Knechtges, 1996). The primary reason the Red mushroom was nicknamed the Mushroom of Immorality is due to its purported anti-disease properties, fighting and preventing most major diseases of modern times (Paterson, 2006). And while the mushroom has many traditional uses, today it is easier to implement into a daily regimen as a nootropic extract.

Nootropic Benefits of Red Reishi Mushroom


Despite the fact the mushroom is known throughout traditional Chinese culture as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” the Red Reishi is well-revered for its anti-fatigue effects on the mind and body (Wachtel-Galor et al., 2011). There are many bioactive constituents which may contribute to the mushrooms longevity and energy-preserving properties including nucleosides, peptides, phenolic compounds, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids (Geng et al., 2017). And although more research is still required to determine which types of fatigue and energy the mushroom may impact, many studies prove it clear that Red Reishi offers relevant energy boosting effects (2017).

Antioxidant and Overall Cognitive Health

Many traditional and modern applications of Red Reishi involve its stress relieving properties. It is also revered for its positive effects on cognitive health.  The antioxidant effects are part of the reason the mushroom is considered a general longevity herb (Cor et al., 2018). The proteins, lipids, phenols, sterols, and other bioactive compounds offer the mind and body very therapeutic effects (2018).

Mood Booster

Red Reishi Mushroom is commonly used for its mood boosting effects.  It is sometimes used to fight depression (Socala et al., 2015).  There are studies which suggest the herb can moderate mood, anxiety, and even seizure threshold (2015). Many studies propose that the mushroom’s water soluble extract has the potential to antagonize the 5-HT2A receptors which could help moderate anxiolytic-like effects toward many cognitive functions which contribute to mood (Matsuzaki et al., 2013).

Other Benefits

Red Reishi contains many bioactive components such as adenosines, flavonoids, peptides, polyphenols, and triterpenoids (Geng et al., 2017).  These components are responsible for many of the obscure, positive effects of the mushroom.  For example, Red Reishi can be found as an ingredient in many immune system support supplements.  The mushroom is also notoriously used to promote cardiovascular function and overall heart health. Part of the gains seen by the cardiovascular system are from the energy provided by the mushroom (2017). There are some Chinese medicinal recipes with Red Reishi which are used to control blood sugar (Winska et al., 2019). 

Although there is not enough empirical research available to reach a conclusion, there is some evidence which suggests that Red Reishi Mushroom may have anti-cancerous and anti-disease properties (Paterson, 2006). It has been shown to relieve blockages and pressure in the bladder. And other traditional applications of the herb are preparations meant to support respiratory health (2006).

Dosing and Usage Information

The fruiting bodies are where the Red Reishi offers most of its medicinal and culinary properties.  These are the orange-colored parts of the mushroom exposed and visible on the surface of the tree.  While these mushrooms have been foraged and consumed for thousands of years for their intrinsic value, they are commonly consumed as a healthy, purified extract via supplement.  The typical Red Reishi Mushroom dose is around 500 mg per serving, per day of extract. These extracts may be anywhere from 1:2 to 1:20 in strength, with the dose varying depending upon the strength of the extract.

Side Effects

People with liver disease or liver conditions are advised to avoid Red Reishi Mushroom.  The mushroom is generally considered safe for consumption within established daily values. Still, however rare, possible side effects may include dryness of the mouth, dryness of the nasal passageways, itchiness, rash, nausea, dizziness, headache, and diarrhea.

Other Important Information


Traditional use of Red Reishi in some cultures meant brewing the herb into an aromatic herbal tea or consuming dried or crushed preparations (Corbley, 2020).  Today, the herb is more commonly consumed as an extract. And because there are many different extracts available, it is important to consider the quality and potency of the extract (some are stronger than others).


Red Reishi Mushroom has long proven itself throughout many traditional Eastern medicines. In modern times, the mushroom is making an impact in Western healing as well, appearing in many studies and journals as of late.  The mushroom can be commonly found in longevity-based nootropic stacks and anti-fatigue/fitness supplements. Whether it is used for one of its more specific effects or as an overall health booster, it is a sensible addition to almost any daily regimen.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


Cör, D., Knez, Ž., and Knez Hrnčič, M. (2018). Antitumour, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Antiacetylcholinesterase Effect of Ganoderma Lucidum Terpenoids and Polysaccharides: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). Vol. 23(3). Pp. 649. DOI:

Corbley, A., (2020). Stanford Designer is Making Bricks Out of Fast-Growing Mushrooms That Are Stronger than Concrete. Good News Network.

Geng, P., Siu, K. C., Wang, Z., and Wu, J. Y. (2017). Antifatigue Functions and Mechanisms of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms. BioMed research international. Vol-Ref: 9648496. DOI:

Knechtges, D. (1996). Wen Xuan or Selections of Refined Literature. 3. Princeton University Press. Pp. 201-211. ISBN 9780691021263.

Matsuzaki, H., Shimizu, Y., Iwata, N., Kamiuchi, S., Suzuki, F., Iizuka, H., Hibino, Y., & Okazaki, M. (2013). Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. Vol. 13. Pp. 370. DOI:

Paterson, R., (2006). Ganoderma – A therapeutic fungal biofactory. Phytochemistry. Vol. 67(18). Pp. 1985-2001. DOI:

Socala, K., Nieoczym, D., Grzywnowicz, K., Stefaniuk, D., and Wlaz, P. (2015). Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice. Int J Med Mushrooms. Vol. 17(3). Pp. 209-18. DOI: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i3.10

Wachtel-Galor, S., Yuen, J., Buswell, J., and Benzie, I. (2011). Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom. In Benzie, Iris F. F.; Wachtel-Galor, Sissi (eds.). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-4398-0713-2.

Wińska, K., Mączka, W., Gabryelska, K., & Grabarczyk, M. (2019). Mushrooms of the Genus Ganoderma Used to Treat Diabetes and Insulin Resistance. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(22), 4075.

The Nootropics Library: Panax Ginseng

Everything You Need to Know About Panax Ginseng

General Information

Scientific Name: Panax Ginseng

Any Other Names: Chinese Ginseng, Ginseng, Ren Shen (Chinese), Renshen (Chinese variant)

Primary Constituents: Acetylenic compounds, Panaxans, Sesquiterpenes, Triterpenoid saponins and Ginsenosides

Country or Region of Origin: Native to China, Eastern Russia, and North Korea

Known Uses: Cognitive Function, Memory, Simulant, Stamina, Athletic Performance, Life-Enhancing Tonic, Adaptogen, Anti-Anxiety, Aphrodisiac, Libido, Erectile Dysfunction, Menopause Tonic, and More

General History & Introduction

Panax Ginseng is one of the most popular and well-known nootropics around the world. It has a history of over 7,000 years of recorded therapeutic use (Chevallier, 2016). It has been so well-sought after that there have been wars fought over the territory controlling its cultivation (2016). Panax is exceptionally popular in Western culture as a dietary supplement.  Its many active components make the herb useful for many parts of the body, as well as general wellness (Beshara, 2019).  It has been called one of the most famous adaptive tonics in traditional Chinese medicine (Orr, 2014). One thing is for sure: Ginseng is arguably one of the most useful herbs in holistic practice.

Nootropic Benefits of Panax Ginseng

Cognitive Function, Memory

Panax Ginseng is popular worldwide for its ability to improve cognitive performance (Beshara, 2019).  Many clinical trials have revealed the herb to offer significant improvements to cognitive performance in healthy adults.  And many clinical trials have suggested the herb can improve cognitive function for Alzheimer’s patients (2019). Ginseng has been proven in recent Russian studies to improve mental activity (Balch, 2010).  The plant’s proven ability to increase attention, alertness, and energy, make it an excellent cognitive nootropic (2010).

Stimulant, Stamina, Athletic Performance


Panax is frequently used by athletes for a stimulating boost, and for its stamina-promoting properties (Chevallier, 2016). It improves the body’s ability to fight fatigue and offers a well-known energy boost (2016).  Panax is revered for its capability to improve chronic fatigue syndrome (Beshara, 2019). It is so impactful in terms of preventing fatigue due to its ability to bypass glycogen, and instead making use of fatty acids for energy (Balch, 2010). The herb can improve one’s ability to adapt to extreme temperatures (Chevallier, 2016). Panax’s favorable impact on sustaining respiration is also very helpful for athletes and stressful situations (Orr, 2014).

Life-Enhancing Tonic

The Chinese, as well as Western cultures, have recognized Panax Ginseng’s general capability as a life-enhancing tonic (Chevallier, 2016).  The herb can stimulate circulation and regulate blood sugar fluctuations (Conkling & Wong, 2006).  It has the power to moderate blood pressure (2006). It has been used for its rejuvenation and detoxifying properties (Balch, 2010). There are studies which support the idea that Panax can improve kidney function, cool fevers, and even influence and regulate digestion (Orr, 2014).  Panax ginseng has been called a powerful antioxidant and a youth-preserving herb (Walker & Brown, 1998).  The herb is able to stimulate and strengthen the heart, as well as regulate the central nervous system (1998).

Adaptogen, Anti-Anxiety

Panax ginseng has capability to help the body handle difficult situations (Orr, 2014). Panax helps the body adapt to stress (Chevallier, 2016).  It will improve the mind’s ability to relax, eliminating both mental and emotional stresses.  The herb’s reduction in common stresses can include decreased worries about hunger, fatigue, and extreme temperature (2016).  As an adaptogen, Ginseng regulates and influences a lot of systems within the body (Conkling & Wong, 2006). The herb provides the body anxiety adaptation and a range of stress responses, applying them as necessary to combat the independent adverse effects of stress (Orr, 2014).  Ginseng’s heavy triterpenoid saponin content is purportedly responsible for the plant’s adaptogenic properties.  The active constituents also do a great job of improving mood (2014).

Aphrodisiac, Libido


Panax has been used for thousands of years as a male aphrodisiac (Chevallier, 2016).  It has been said to improve general vitality and virility in men and women.  It has also been used to improve libido for women going through menopause.  Panax is also reportedly a great treatment for erectile dysfunction.  It can even be used to improve impotence (2016). One Russian study proved Ginseng had a positive effect on sex glands, and helps men correct sexual dysfunctions (Balch, 2010). 

Other Uses

Panax Ginseng has been used to resist infection and improve liver function (Chevallier, 2016).  It is often taken by to improve the quality of life in cancer patients. It has been known to improve immune function (2016).  In one recent study, Panax was proven to reduce the likelihood participants would catch the flu (Beshara, 2019). In higher doses, it can be used to help reduce inflammation, especially with rheumatoid arthritis (Balch, 2010).  Its purported benefits for diabetes patients are likely due to the decrease of the cortisol hormone in the blood (2010).

A recent study has found Panax to have the power to regulate adrenal glands (Orr, 2014).  This same research outlined its additional ability to regulate the pancreas.  There are reports of the Native Americans using Ginseng to treat convulsions and palsy. They also classically used the plant to recover from general illness as well (2014). This could be considered the Native American version of Western culture’s “Chicken Noodle Soup” tonic.

Dosing and Usage Information

Although traditional Chinese preparation of Panax was normally a vegetable soup (Chevallier, 2016), this method is rarely used today. And despite there being a lot of different Panax supplements, from untreated or blanched, whole or part root, liquid or concentrate, tincture or tea, Panax is most popularly consumed in Western culture via capsule form (Balch, 2010). Typically, a Panax Ginseng dietary supplement will offer daily servings of around 400 to 2000 mg of extract.  Pills and capsules are also more convenient for short-term usage.

Side Effects


Panax Ginseng is generally considered safe within established daily values. Exceeding the established daily value dosages can increase the likelihood of adverse side effects such as insomnia and high blood pressure (Chevallier, 2016). It is important to consult a physician before using Ginseng if pregnant, nursing, or using blood-thinning medication.  It is suggested to avoid using Ginseng with caffeine (2016).  Panax Ginseng should be limited to 6 months of use at a time, as it can have strong, hormone-like effects on the body (Beshara, 2019).  Still, it is a generally accepted as safe for consumption, nontoxic adaptogen (Orr, 2014).

Other Important Information

Cultivation of Panax Ginseng requires immense skill and attention (Chevallier, 2016).  Typically, the roots will only be harvested after having grown for 4 years to ensure the active constituents are strongest in content and concentration. Traditionally, the dry roots are chewed for energy boosts.  The extract form of the herb is often used by women in menopause for its ability to increase sexual arousal as well as reduce hot flashes and improve mood (2016).

It is important to note that there are two primary variations (species) of Ginseng being Siberian ginseng [Eleutherococcus senticosus] and Chinese ginseng [Panax ginseng] (Orr, 2014). Both species share similar qualities and offer nearly the same benefits, however, this article is focusing on Panax ginseng. Panax ginseng is a bit rare, as it is highly endangered. For this reason it is difficult to find trustworthy vendors, as the market has been flooded with falsely labeled “Panax” ginseng products which actually contain Siberian ginseng (2014).

One finicky version of Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, grows in forest areas of North America (Orr, 2014). This variant of the plant was well-known for its therapeutic properties throughout traditional Native American culture. In fact, it was loved by many Native American tribes including the Cherokee, Delaware, Iroquois, and Seminole. By the end of the eighteenth century, Native American priests and healers would be administering the plant for a variety of ailment s (2014). Ginseng would only grow in popularity, becoming one of the most prevalently marketed nootropic supplements of modern times.


Panax Ginseng is widely known for its therapeutic benefits.  It has been well-revered in Chinese medicine, as well as throughout the world.  It is commonly known as a general tonic in so many traditional, holistic practices for its ability to influence such versatile systems of the body (Conkling & Wong, 2006). Although it can be a bit more difficult to source high quality Panax (and even harder to cultivate it), it could easily be argued one of the most valuable natural herbs used in modern, holistic healing and nootropic stacks to date!

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


Balch, P. (2010). Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Fifth Edition. Avery Publishing. New York, New York. ISBN 978-1-58333-400-3

Beshara, J., Engle, D., and Haynes, K. (2019). Beyond Coffee. Monocle Publishing. ISBN 9781544505459

Chevallier, A. (2016). Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Third Edition. DK Publishing. New York, New York. ISBN 978-1-4654-4981-8

Conkling, W. and Wong, D. (2006). The Complete Guide to Vitamins and Supplements: The Holistic Path to Good Health. Avon Health Publishing. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0-06-076066-3.

Orr, S. (2014). The New American Herbal. Clarkson Potter Publishers. New York, New York. ISBN 978-0-449-81993-7

Walker, L., and Brown, E. (1998). The Alternative Pharmacy. Prentice Hall Press. Paramus, New Jersey.  ISBN 0-7352-0021-1

The Nootropics Library: L-Theanine

Everything You Need to Know About L-Theanine and Camellia sinensis

General Information

Scientific Name: [L-Theanine: r-glutamylethylamide, Suntheanin] [Camellia sinensis – the Plant Containing L-Theanine; of the Theaceae Family]

Any Other Names: Theanine, Constituent of Camellia sinensis, Green Tea

Primary Constituents: L-Theanine

Country or Region of Origin: East Asia and Southwestern China

Known Uses: Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Lowers Elevated Blood Pressure, Increases Concentration and Focus, Promotes Relaxation

General History & Introduction

Camellia sinensis is better known as “tea” and is the second highest consumed beverage on the planet (Twilley & Lall, 2018). The Camellia sinensis plant grows as an evergreen shrub around 3-5 feet tall with dark, rough leaves and sweet-smelling, white flowers (Chevallier, 2016).  It is typically found in India, China, and Sri Lanka, where it has established itself as a staple herbal tea even in the earliest of cultures. There are a lot of ancient, cultural rituals in many Asian countries surrounding the drinking of the herbal tea (2016). Each tea plant produces enough leaves to be picked up to 4 times within a year (Shivashankara et al., 2014).

Camellia sinensis also has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine (Chevallier, 2016). It has also been well-accepted throughout Indian culture as an herbal tea (2016). And although Camellia sinensis has a lot of great benefits, one of its amino acid derivatives, L-Theanine, is primarily responsible for the plant’s nootropic effects (2016). L-Theanine is well known for its favorable effects on cognitive performance, emotional state and mood, sleep, and a variety of other health benefits (Türközü & Şanlier, 2017).

Important Note: L-Theanine is a derivative of Camellia Sinensis, which is commonly used to make green tea. Both L-Theanine and Camellia Sinensis offer profound cognitive and relaxation effects, only L-Theanine is considered a nootropic and Camellia Sinensis is usually only consumed as a tea. This article will reveal the positive benefits of items, and how their effects may compare and contrast.

Nootropic Benefits of L-Theanine and Camellia sinensis

Concentration, Focus, and Cognitive Benefits (both L-Theanine and Camellia sinensis)

L-Theanine has always been used for its cognitive performance enhancing capability, however, modern studies have begun to record its significant effect on measurable attributes.  For example, one study has measured the chemical’s effects on concentration and learning ability with encouraging results and future propositions for improving the chemical’s value in the brain (Vuong et al., 2011). The nootropic possesses an innate ability to increase cerebral blood flow, especially when it is used alongside caffeine (Dodd et al., 2015). This contribution to brain health is one of the main factors in its reported cognitive benefits (Dodd et al., 2015).


The nootropic provides the brain with increased subjective alertness and improved cognitive function (Giesbrecht et al., 2010). It is one of the primary nootropics benefiting from use alongside another.  In other words: L-Theanine works better when it is used with Caffeine. For example, one study on the combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine found participants to have significantly improved focus and attention-spans during a “demanding cognitive task” (2010).

Reduces Stress and Anxiety, Promotes Relaxation (both L-Theanine and Camellia sinensis)

L-Theanine has been revered throughout Eastern cultures for thousands of years for its ability to reduce oxidative stress and provide focused, calming effects (Ross, 2014). These antioxidant properties are present when the plant is brewed in tea form, as well as within L-Theanine supplements (Chevallier, 2016). There are studies which have shown the primary constituent has a significant positive effect on behavior and mood (Dodd et al., 2015).

One recent, randomized, controlled-trial suggested that L-Theanine can significantly relieves stress-related ailments and promotes overall mental health (Hidese et al., 2019). And some studies suggest that L-Theanine can increase certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which are responsible for promoting relaxation and regulating mood (Nathan et al., 2006). These neurotransmitters include dopamine, serotonin, and GABA (2006).

Digestive Treatments (both L-Theanine and Camellia sinensis)

Gut Flora are microorganisms (bacteria) which live in the intestines and aide in digestion activities. Some recent research suggests that L-Theanine may have the potential to improve Gut Flora in the digestive tract while also limiting the growth and spread of harmful bacteria (Saeed et al., 2019).  It is purportedly also able to reduce risks of infections within digestive organs (Li et al., 2016).  Some research even suggests the chemical can entirely prevent some digestive disorders (Wang et al., 2012).

One study has suggested that drinking unfractionated green tea can help prevent gastrointestinal disorders (Koo & Cho, 2004). More recent research has revealed the polysaccharides from Camellia sinensis flowers are able to regulate gut health (Chen et al., 2019). This same study suggested that the plant also ameliorated cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppression (2019).

Other Benefits (both L-Theanine and Camellia sinensis)


Camellia sinensis herbal tea has long been used to treat a variety of skin and inflammation conditions (Chevallier, 2016).  It also offers many anti-bacterial benefits. The constituent L-Theanine is great for regulating and improving the quality of sleep (Türközü & Şanlier, 2017). It has also been proven to have positive effects on cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.  The nootropic can even reduce the symptoms of the common cold (2017). Some research has shown that regular consumption of Camellia sinensis can reduce risk of pancreatic cancer (Wang et al., 2012).  Similarly, L-Theanine has been shown to have the potential to prevent and manage many different types of cancers (2012).

And one study revealed L-Theanine’s potential to improve immune function (Li et al., 2016). The chemical has been shown to possess an ability to improve nutrient absorption in the gut (Yan et al., 2017). Vitamins and minerals are literally absorbed better with L-Theanine, improving overall health (2017).

Dosing and Usage Information

Normally, only the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant are used, and this includes in the extraction of primary constituent, L-Theanine (Chevallier, 2016). Dietary supplements typically contain a maximum of 400 mg of L-Theanine extract.

Side Effects

Although more research is still required to draw ultimate consensus, one recent study on the safety and effects of using L-Theanine on a regular basis revealed the chemical as reliable and generally accepted as safe, even when consumed in larger quantities (Türközü & Şanlier, 2017). That said, while uncommon, some side effects may include headaches, irritability, and nausea (Giesbrecht et al., 2010).

Other Important Information

Sometimes Camellia sinensis is mixed with other herbs to create intricate herbal tea concoctions.  Cinnamon is one of the most popular additives (Chevallier, 2016).  The plant is used to produce all kinds of teas, including the traditional black, oolong, and green teas (Shivashankara et al., 2014).

The primary constituent responsible for the nootropic benefits of the tea, L-theanine, is also responsible for the flavorful taste of the tea (Vuong et al., 2011).


L-Theanine and its parent plant, Camellia sinensis, are extremely effective brain-boosters and have been well-known throughout many cultures as such.  They also offer relaxation-inducing effects.  L-Theanine’s nootropic benefits are constantly being investigated and backed by a growing archive of studies and empirical data. For this reason, L-Theanine has become one of the more popular nootropics, especially in Western cultures. And its effects on cognitive function and stress make it a great addition to most nootropic stacks.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


Chen, D., Chen, G., Ding, Y., Wan, P., Peng, Y., Chen, C., Ye, H.,, Zeng, X., and Ran, L. (2019). Polysaccharides from the flowers of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) modulate gut health and ameliorate cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppression. Journal of Functional Foods. Vol. 61. DOI:

Chevallier, A. (2016). Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Third Edition. DK Publishing. New York, New York. ISBN 978-1-4654-4981-8

Dodd, F., Kennedy, D., Riby, L., and Haskell-Ramsay, C. (2015). A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology (Berl). Vol. 232(14). Pp. 2563-76. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-015-3895-0

Giesbrecht, T., Rycroft, J., Rowson, M., and De Bruin, E. (2010). The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. Vol. 13(6). Pp. 283-90. DOI: 10.1179/147683010X12611460764840

Hidese, S., Ogawa, S., Ota, M., Ishida, I., Yasukawa, Z., Ozeki, M., and Kunugi, H. (2019). Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. Vol. 11(10). Pp. 2362. DOI: 10.3390/nu11102362

Koo, M., and Cho, C. (2004). Pharmacological effects of green tea on the gastrointestinal system. Eur J Pharmacol. Vol. 500(1-3). Pp. 177-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2004.07.023

Ross, S. (2014). L-theanine (suntheanin): effects of L-theanine, an amino acid derived from Camellia sinensis (green tea), on stress response parameters. Holist Nurs Pract. Vol. 28(1). Pp. 65-8. DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000009

Saeed, M., Yatao, X., Tiantian, Z., Qian, R., and Chao, S. (2019). 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing reveals a modulation of intestinal microbiome and immune response by dietary L-theanine supplementation in broiler chickens. Poult Sci. Vol. 98(2). Pp. 842-854. DOI: 10.3382/ps/pey394

Li, C., Tong, H., Yan, Q., Tang, S., Han, X., Xiao, W., and Tan, Z. (2016). L-Theanine Improves Immunity by Altering TH2/TH1 Cytokine Balance, Brain Neurotransmitters, and Expression of Phospholipase C in Rat Hearts. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research. Vol. 22. Pp. 662–669. DOI:

Nathan, P., Lu, K., Gray, M., and Oliver, C., (2006). The Neuropharmacology of L-Theanine(N-Ethyl-LGlutamine). Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherpay. Vol. 6(2). Pp. 21-30. DOI: 10.1080/J157v06n02_02

Shivashankara, A., and Baliga, M. (2014). Polyphenols in Chronic Diseases and their Mechanisms of Action Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease. Academic Press. ISBN: 978-0-12-398456-2. DOI:

Türközü D., and Şanlier, N. (2017).  L-theanine, unique amino acid of tea, and its metabolism, health effects, and safety. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. Vol. 57(8). Pp. 1681-1687. DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1016141

Twilley, D., and Lall, N. (2018). Are Medicinal Plants Effective for Skin Cancer? Medicinal Plants for Holistic Health and Well-Being. Academic Press. ISBN: 978-0-12-812475-8. DOI:

Vuong, Q., Bowyer, M., and Roach, P. (2011). L-Theanine: properties, synthesis and isolation from tea. J Sci Food Agric. Vol. 91(11). Pp. 1931-9. DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.4373

Wang, J., Zhang, W., Sun, L., Yu, H., Ni, Q., Risch, H., and Gao, Y. (2012). Green tea drinking and risk of pancreatic cancer: A large-scale, population-based case–control study in urban Shanghai. Cancer Epidemiology. Vol. 36(6). Pp. e354-e358 DOI:

Yan, Q., Tong, H., Tang, S., Tan, Z., Han, X., and Zhou, C. (2017). L-Theanine Administration Modulates the Absorption of Dietary Nutrients and Expression of Transporters and Receptors in the Intestinal Mucosa of Rats. BioMed research international. DOI:

The Nootropics Library: Lions Mane Mushroom

Everything You Need To Know About Lions Mane Mushroom

General Information

Scientific Name: Hericium erinaceus

Any Other Names: Monkey Head Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehod Mushroom, and Pom Pom Mushroom

Primary Constituents: Hericenones, Erinacines, and Polysaccharides

Country or Region of Origin: Asia, Europe, North America

Known Uses: Cognitive Enhancement, Memory, Mood, Depression, Anxiety, Nerve Damage, Neuropathic Healing, Anti-inflammatory, and More

General History & Introduction

Lion’s Mane Mushroom could be called a semi-versatile nootropic, securing a prestigious place in both medicinal and culinary worlds.  The mushroom has a lot of history throughout Asia, as well as the Western world (Beshara et al., 2019). Although a fungus, the plant is revered in many cultures for its various medicinal and brain-boosting benefits.  It is also well known to possess powerful neuroprotective properties (2019). Typically, the mushroom can be found more profoundly at the end of the summertime and beginning of autumn (Sokół et al., 2016). It requires heavy humidity and reasonable water potential (2016). The studies and clinical trials on the mushroom existing to date generally focus on the plant’s fruiting bodies as the source of any documented effects.

Nootropic Benefits of Lions Mane Mushroom

Cognitive Enhancement, Memory

Recent studies have outlined Lion’s Mane Mushroom’s ability to enhance cognitive function and improve mild cognitive impairment (Beshara et al., 2019).  It has been purported to have therapeutic effects on neurodegenerative brain disorders (2019). Lion’s Mane possesses a heavy influence on many mental attributes, especially concentration and attention-span (Nagano et al., 2010). Part of the mushroom’s brain-boosting benefits come from its ability to induce the nerve growth factor (Li et al., 2018).  One study focused on measuring the benefits of the mushroom to overall cognitive function ruled the mushroom produced significantly higher cognitive function scores (Mori et al., 2009). The increase in cognitive ability appears to build along with regular daily intake (2009). It would also be reasonable to suggest that the herb’s neuroprotective and antioxidant effects (Kushairi et al., 2019) may help promote and enhance memory function.

Mood, Depression, Anxiety


The nootropic fungus has a well-documented power to improve mood and reduce negative symptoms of anxiety and depression (Beshara et al., 2019). In fact, the herb has been the focus of much modern research for its depression and anxiety reducing effects, with some notable studies and clinical trials to sustain these benefit claims (Nagano et al., 2010). One recent study outlined the mushroom’s potential to improve mood as well as sleep disorders (Vigna et al., 2019). Another study examined the herb’s potential as an alternative medicine for the treatment of depression altogether (Chong et al., 2019). The study outlines several potential hypotheses for how the mushroom may hold key potentials for treating mood disorders and depression, and with excellent supporting data (2019).

Nerve Damage and Neuropathy

One traditional recipe to treat peripheral neuropathy involves making Lion’s Mane herbal tea or using the mushroom as an extract (Weil, 2004). It has been suggested the mushroom can be useful for stroke patients, as it contains a natural nerve growth factor (2004). In fact, it has recently been found in preclinical trials to offer improvements to patients suffering from ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and more (Li et al., 2018).  There is even recent evidence suggesting Lion’s Mane activates peripheral nerve regeneration following injury (Wong et al., 2016). And many studies exist which showcase the efficacy of Hericium erinaceus for overall brain and nerve health (Sabaratnam et al., 2013).



One study revealed the herb’s potential anti-inflammatory effects on macrophages (Mori et al., 2015), which are basically large cells found stagnant in tissues at the area of an infection or flare up. Another recent study has proposed the mushroom’s potential to relieve oxidative stress and inflammations which generally contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative conditions (Kushairi et al., 2019). And while the mushroom may be able to offer preventative effects for many conditions from its anti-inflammatory properties, there is not enough research to determine exactly how far these properties may go (Friedman, 2015).

Other Benefits

It has been suggested that Lion’s Mane Mushroom might have the ability to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels (Beshara et al., 2019).  The plant is known to treat stomach ulcers, enhance immune function in the gut, and decrease neuropathic pain from diabetes (2019). The mushroom is able to effectively regulate intestinal mucosal immune activities (Sheng et al., 2017). The power in the herb’s ability to aide GI issues can be traced to its polysaccharides (2017).

Dosing and Usage Information

Lion’s Mane has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes throughout many ancient cultures for thousands of years in the form of tonics, herbal teas, and as a cuisine ingredient (CITATION). Today, the herb is most used as a dietary supplement.  Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract doses can range from 300 to 3000 mg a day. The strength of the extract matters a great deal in determining a healthy, effective dose of the mushroom.  Many full spectrum extracts of the mushroom’s fruiting bodies will be offered in dietary supplements suggesting daily servings of 400-800 mg.

Side Effects

Lion’s Mane is generally accepted as safe for short-term use. Some studies go as far as to say there are literally zero adverse effects (Mori et al., 2009). Still, it is always wise to approach your medical doctor before adding any supplement to your daily regimen.

Other Important Information

Hericium erinaceus is a member of the tooth fungus group and has a great deal of culinary use. It is a common ingredient in gourmet cooking, frequently served with shiitake or oysters (Davis et al., 2012).


Lion’s Mane Mushroom may have a fewer quantity of empirical studies and clinical trials, but those which exist are extremely promising and capable of sturdily backing many claims.  The mushroom has a historical presence in many cultures, and a modern, proven ability to offer several benefits.  The improvements that the herb offers to cognitive function, memory, and mood alone make it a powerhouse nootropic; however, the mushroom has so much more to offer the mind and body. The impressive herb earns two thumbs up and should be considered an essential part of any nootropic stack.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


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