Lion’s mane mushrooms found to stimulate nerve growth, according to study

Researchers from Australia and South Korea have discovered an active compound from lion’s mane mushrooms that improves brain cell growth, enhances memory and boosts nerve growth.

The researchers purified and identified biologically new active compounds from lion’s mane known in science circles as Hericium erinaceus —  based on their ability to promote neurite outgrowth in hippocampal neurons.

If you really want to get into the weeds, take a look at the study published earlier this year in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Other studies have identified strong neurotrophic effects, along with the identification of numerous bioactive components, including polysaccharides, erinacines, hericerins, alkaloids, steroids and many others, according to the study. Those studies showed that lion’s mane can help regulate blood sugar and reduce high blood pressure, as well as other mental and brain health applications including treating depression and improving recovery after a traumatic brain injury, according to an article in Popular Science.

Humans can consume lion’s mane in a variety of ways; Manna Restaurant in Castle Rock, Colo., recently made pulled pork sliders out of it. Powder extracts and tinctures are exploding in popularity, and compounds found in lion’s mane are even being used in skin care products.

According to the study, a promising nootropic fungus from lion’s mane has been used to treat ailments such as stomach aches and as prophylactic treatment of cancers. More research is needed to fully understand the implications of lion’s mane consumption, but advances such as the ones announced in the Journal of Neurochemistry are giving hope across multiple fields of medical study.

Lion’s mane, a mushroom that bears shaggy spines and has a crab-like consistency, traditionally grows on old or dead broadleaf tree trunks, but commercial scalability of lion’s mane is now attainable with controlled-environment agriculture. Repurposed shipping containers, in which the entire cultivation process takes place, provide the means to yield 300-400 pounds of the fungi per week. FarmBox Foods outfits the containers with a substrate mixer, steam cabinets for sterilization, a HEPA lab, incubation room and a fruiting chamber with a misting system.