Nerve Regeneration by Wild Mushroom Hericium erinaceus

The unique flavor of the gourmet mushroom Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is often compared to either lobster or shrimp. And modern science is now discovering that not only is it a culinary delicacy but it may also possess some unique medicinal properties, with its ability to stimulate nerve and myelin regeneration. [150, 151] In the book Mycelium Running, foremost American medicinal mushroom expert Paul Stamets suggests this may make Hericium erinaceus useful in a large number of neurological conditions, from multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy to Alzheimer’s and dementia. [134]

Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) is known to grow in Europe, North America, Japan and China. It can be found on many broad leaf trees, from oaks, maples and sycamores to beeches and walnuts.

“Erinacines” is the name of the medicinal compounds from Hericium erinaceus that are being researched for their neurological health benefits. They are small enough to pass through the blood brain barrier, which or course is a requirement in order to effect any healing on the myelin sheaths or neurons. [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]

Although recent research on Hericium erinaceus extract has focused on its powerful effect on healing nerve tissue, in Traditional Chinese Medicine Lion’s Mane Mushroom was used primarily for stomach conditions and cancers of the digestive organs.

Modern studies have affirmed the validity of this traditional application of Hericium erinaceus extract. One paper published in 1985 reported positive findings in the treatment of atrophic gastritis. Another from 1995 concluded that Hericium erinaceus had an ameliorating effect on hepatoma with an increased life expectancy for treated patients. [156]

Finally, a few additional areas where modern research has reported benefits from the use of Hericium erinaceus extract include: Anti-tumoral [159]; stomach cancer [134]; inflammation [134]; immune support [157]; antimicrobial against Aspergillus and Candida. [158]

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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