Lion’s mane mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms that can quite literally change your life. In fact, renowned mycologist Paul Stamets not only explains why mushrooms are good for you, but specifically why lion’s mane is a natural health booster in numerous ways. Don’t worry; we’ll get into the details of that soon.
Let’s start by exploring what the lion’s mane mushroom is.
What are lion’s mane mushrooms?
A brief overview. Lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as Hericium Erinaceus, are edible mushrooms within the tooth fungus group. They are characterized by their long and dangling finger-like protrusions and have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties.
What it’s used for. The usage of lion’s mane in traditional Chinese medicine dates back thousands of years. These mushrooms are not just functional, but they’re delicious, too! Lion’s mane is rich in nutrients and high in protein, complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins that can enhance any diet.
Lion’s mane benefits. These mushrooms aren’t just pretty to look at — they have incredible health benefits when ingested! Lion’s mane is known for improving brain functioning, including productivity, focus, and fighting against diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. In animal tissue cultures, research has shown that lion’s mane can induce the development of myelin (the protective coating) on nerve cells.
In terms of mental health, it’s also been known to aid in relieving depression and anxiety, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It offers immune-boosting effects that protect the body from bacteria, viruses, and disease-inducing pathogens during day-to-day life, thanks to encouraging improved gut (intestinal) health.
How do I begin foraging for lion’s mane mushrooms?
Where and when to find the lion’s mane mushroom. In North America, including Canada, you’ll find these functional mushrooms in the late summer and fall. Foragers seeking out Hericium Erinaceus can find them in the wild, though they’re not always within arm’s reach. Lion’s mane can often grow over 40 feet (around 12 metres) up their host trees, which are typically dead or dying hardwood species. You may even find them growing in the wounds of fallen trees.
Picking these beneficial medicinal mushrooms. The ideal time to harvest these fungi is when their tooth-like protrusions have formed, before turning from a whiteish colour to a golden-brown hue. Like most edible mushrooms, the only tool needed to harvest them is a pocketknife to cut the stalk gently. However, because lion’s mane often grows so high up on hardwood trees, bringing a ladder along with you is your best bet.
Common imposters of these medicinal mushrooms. Good news! Hericium Erinaceus is one of the most easily identifiable mushrooms, with no look-a-likes posing a health threat. Think of it as just another one of lion’s mane’s benefits. The most common fungi that appear similar are closely related to lion’s mane mushrooms: bear’s head tooth (Hericium Americanum) and coral tooth fungus (Hericium Coralloides).
Instead of the lion’s head’s snowball-like formations, bear’s head tooth features many branches that are tightly bunched together. In coral tooth fungus, you’ll find its branches extending from various irregularly shaped branches in different lengths.
Please remember: If you’re not entirely sure of what you’re foraging, we advise you not to consume it.
How can I grow lion’s mane mushrooms at home?
Finding a trustworthy grow kit. If you’re new to growing mushrooms, this is the best option for you! Our Lion’s Mane Mushroom Grow Kit is easy to use and takes only minutes a day to maintain, yet it produces two to three crops of these delicious, medicinal mushrooms. With this option, you can reap all of lion’s mane benefits from the comfort of your home by growing it yourself, without the hassle of hunting for the fungi and foraging in a forest.
Starting a grow kit from scratch. For every 5 pounds (2.27 kilograms) of fruiting block, you’ll need 5 cups of hardwood fuel pellets, 1.25 cups of wheat bran, and 1.4 litres of water that has been sterilized for two and a half hours at 15 PSI. Make or purchase lion’s mane spawn, then add it to the hardwood, wheat bran, and water fruiting block. Work under a laminar flow hood to add the spawn at about 10% to 15% to the sterilized substrate. Once it’s been inoculated, you can expect to see your fruiting block fully colonized in just two weeks! This can yield about 2 pounds (0.9 kilograms) of fungi.
Maintaining a thriving block of functional mushrooms. These mushrooms grow in clusters and can become quite large. After seeing your first primordia ‘pins’ emerge, it’s about two to three weeks until harvest (depending on personal preference). When the fruits stop growing, it’s time to collect. Remember to ensure you’re harvesting it before the fungi start yellowing!
How can I take advantage of the benefits of lion’s mane?
Using mushroom supplements. A lion’s mane supplement is a great way to enjoy the benefits of this medicinal mushroom. In addition to oral capsules, our Lion’s Mane Tincture is a great way to capitalize on Hericium Erinaceus. Taking 1.25 millilitres twice a day can boost concentration, uplift your mood, and spark creativity.
Consuming medicinal mushroom powder. If you’d rather consume this fungus as a powder, you can find it in a variety of flavours. Whether you’re taking lion’s mane before bed with your bedtime tea or in the morning (we love Lion’s Mane Coffee), this is a convenient option for many seeking out the mushroom’s beneficial properties.
Incorporating them into your diet. The whole family will enjoy tons of lion’s mane mushroom recipes, and cooking with gourmet mushrooms is incredibly easy. Their mild taste makes them ideal for pairing with most foods, and many folks describe them as having a taste similar to lobster, crabs, or scallops. They’re a great vegan alternative! If it’s not the flavour you’re after, you can even add our Lion’s Mane Tincture on top of your favourite dishes.
It’s clear that lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium Erinaceus) are crucial fungi that can be used to improve a person’s health and daily functioning overall. Whether foraged, purchased, or grown at home, the benefits you can reap are plenty. To start experiencing the life-changing advantages of the lion’s mane functional mushroom, all it takes is acquiring some.
Is lion’s mane a functional mushroom you turn to, to boost your health? What’s your go-to way to enjoy the benefits of lion’s mane mushroom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.