Wildcrafting Lion’s Mane

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Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a mushroom that grows wild throughout much of the United State, Europe, and Asia. It can be found on decaying hardwood trees, such as oak and hickory. Generally, when you find Lion’s Mane, it will be far up the side of a tree, but occasionally you can reach it.

This amazing fungi has both edible and medicinal properties. For centuries, it has been harvested across Asia to help with cognitive function, focus, longevity and overall wellness. In the United States, we are just discovering through scientific studies how powerful it really can be and that these Ancient civilizations may have been onto something. It is considered an adaptogen, which is the latest big discovery in herbal medicine. An adaptogen increases the bodies resilience to all types of stressors – sleep deprivation, chemical imbalances, exposure to heat, cold, or just run of the mill stress. They have anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, and stimulant for central nervous system.

Identification

It looks a little bit like the teeth of a humpback whale (if you happen to be familiar with that!) and sometimes like a lion’s mane, hence the name.

Color: Ranges from creamy white, yellow, approaching orange, to pink.

Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Lion’s Mane is now sold at many farmer’s markets across the country. Like all mushrooms, it needs to be cooked before consuming in order to unlock all the nutrients. This mushroom holds a lot of water, so you can cook it on a medium-high temperature in a skillet. It’s great in soups, creamy dishes, and risotto, to name a few. It’s makes a simple meal all of a sudden taste gourmet just by adding this in.

1. Aids Attention Deficit Issues

Lion’s Mane is a nootropic. What’s a nootropic? They are amphetamines, such as Ritalin and Adderall, which increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that regulates attention, alertness, and energy. As you may be able to guess, they are used to aid ADHD symptoms.

This mushroom isn’t instantaneous like prescription drugs, but in creates gradual changes overtime, such more positive thinking, emotional regulation, memory, and verbal fluidity.

2. Depression

Lion’s mane appears to help with depression symptoms.

3. Helps Prevent Dementia

Since it’s an adaptogen and improves brain function, it appears to help prevent dementia. More research needs to be done on all the mental affects it has, but everything that has been seen so far show an extremely beneficial affect on the brain and reducing stress.

4. Repairs Nervous System Damage

Lion’s Mane repairs nervous system damage, such as after a stroke, according to studies in mice. It can increase nerve cell grown and improve nerve function.

5. Protects Against Ulcers in the Digestive Tract

Lion’s Mane stops the growth of H. plyori, which is a bacteria that contributes to damage in the mucous layer of the stomach and increases the risk of ulcers. It also has been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent tissue damage in other areas of the intestines making it effective in the treatment of certain inflammatory bowel diseases.

6. Helps Manage Diabetes Symptoms

Appears to help level out blood sugar levels slightly in people with type 2 diabetes.

7. Helps Fight and Prevent Some Types of Cancer

It appears to reduce the growth of existing cancer, prevent new cancer growth, and reduce side affects during chemotherapy.

As always and especially with severe illnesses, consult your doctor about all herbs, vitamins, and mushrooms are you are taking (or consult more than one) and also we advise you to follow your doctors instructions. This certainly should not replace modern medicine but be used in addition to it.

How to Find Lion’s Mane

Again, it is found wild in hardwood forests in Asia, North America, and Europe, so you can look for them there. Also, you can purchase it only in pill form, find it at some farmer’s markets, and even higher end grocery stores.

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