Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) and Nerve Regeneration

Out of the kitchen, into the pharmacy, the gourmet mushroom Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) with its unique flavor resembling lobster or shrimp appears to also possess likewise unique medicinal properties. It has been found to stimulate nerve and myelin regeneration, which may be beneficial in many neurological conditions. World renowned medicinal mushroom expert Paul Stamets suggests its potential application in conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. [134]

Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is known in the wild from North America, Europe, China and Japan. It grows on many species of deciduous trees, in particular oak, walnut, beech, maple and sycamore.

The specific medicinal compounds under scientific scrutiny are called erinacines, which are relatively small organic molecules that can pass through the blood brain barrier. Of course, passing through the blood brain barrier is essential in order to effect healing on nerve tissue or myelin sheaths. [152, 153, 154]

In Japan, there are two patents on extracts of Hericium erinaceus. The first was filed in the 1990’s for a process of extraction that yields what has been named “Nerve Growth Stimulant Factor.” [150, 151] The second from 2004 is for a water extract of Hericium erinaceus. It is likewise used to stimulate nerve regeneration. [155]

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Hericium erinaceus has historically been prescribed not only for neurological conditions but also for ailments of the digestive tract, in particular for cancers of the digestive organs, such stomach cancer and liver cancer.

Two modern studies have confirmed this ancient wisdom. One done in 1985 showed positive results for treating atrophic gastritis. Another conducted a decade later, in 1995, showed some ameliorating effect on hepatoma, with a marked life extension of treated patients. [156]

To conclude, some additional areas where modern medical research has indicated that Hericium erinaceus extract may have a therapeutic effect include: Immune support [157]; inflammation [134]; antimicrobial against Aspergillus and Candida [158]; anti-tumoral [159]; stomach cancer. [134]

Note: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never use any medicinal mushroom or herb without prior approval by medical doctor.

Credit: Thank you to Paul Stamets for source material.

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