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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Chong, P., Fung, M., Wong, K., and Lim, L. (2019). Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder. International journal of molecular sciences. Vol. 21(1). Pp. 163. DOI:

Davis, R., Sommer, R., and Menge, J. (2012). Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America. Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 29. ISBN 978-0-520-95360-4

Friedman, M. (2015). Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds.  J. Agric. Food Chem. Vol. 63. Pp. 32. DOI:

Li, I., Lee, L., Tzeng, T., Chen, W., Chen, Y., Shiao, Y., and Chen, C. (2018). Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines. Behavioural neurology. PMID: 29951133. DOI:

Kushairi, N., Phan, C., Sabaratnam, V., David, P., and Naidu, M. (2019). Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. Suppresses H2O2-Induced Oxidative Damage and LPS-Induced Inflammation in HT22 Hippocampal Neurons and BV2 Microglia. Antioxidants. Vol. 8. Pp. 261. DOI:

Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y. and Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother. Res. Vol. 23. Pp. 367-372. DOI:

Mori, K., Ouchi, K., and Hirasawa, N. (2015). The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lion’s Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in a Coculture System of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264 Macrophages. Int J Med Mushrooms. Vol. 17(7). Pp. 609-18. DOI: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i7.10

Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., and Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. Vol. (4). Pp. 231-7. DOI: 10.2220/biomedres.31.231

Sabaratnam, V., Kah-Hui, W., Naidu, M., and Rosie David, P. (2013). Neuronal health – can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. Vol. 3(1). Pp. 62–68. DOI:

Sheng, X., Yan, J., Meng, Y., Kang, Y., Han, Z., Tai, G., Zhou, Y., and Cheng, H. (2017). Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Food Funct. Vol. 8(3). Pp. 1020-1027. DOI: 10.1039/c7fo00071e

Sokół, S., Golak-Siwulska, I., Sobieralski, K., Siwulski, M., and Górka, K. (2016). Biology, cultivation, and medicinal functions of the mushroom Hericium erinaceum. Acta Mycologica. Vol. 50(2). DOI:10.5586/am.1069

Vigna, L., Morelli, F., Agnelli, G., Napolitano, F.,et al., (2019). Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Vol. 2019, Article ID 7861297. Pp. 1-12. DOI:

Weil, A. (2004). Natural Health, Natural Medicine. Houghton Mifflin Publishing. New York, New York. ISBN 978-0-618-47903-0

Wong, K., Kanagasabapathy, G., Naidu, M., David, P., and Sabaratnam, V. (2016). Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., a medicinal mushroom, activates peripheral nerve regeneration. Chin J Integr Med. Vol. (10). Pp. 759-67. DOI: 10.1007/s11655-014-1624-2

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