Lion’s Mane guide: what it is, benefits & more!

Lucy the founder of Edible Ethics vegan food blog eating vegan noodles in a plant based restaurant

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Did you know that Lion’s Mane can protect against dementia, relieve depression and anxiety, and help your brain to stay focused throughout the day? Not bad for a mushroom. Read my Lion’s Mane guide to find out more!

Lucy holding up a Lion's Mane mushroom with a plate in her other hand

It used to be my sister who was a little bit mushroom mad, but in recent months I’ve also been venturing over to the fungus side. I am less interested in how mycelium make the world work, because well, that kind of freaks me out. Instead, I am a little bit obsessed with how they make me feel.

When I talk about mushrooms I mean the functional edible kind, the ones that enhance my natural state with no hallucinegic effects. And there is one in particular that deserves special attention, Lion’s Mane.

It’s a pretty insane mushroom that has changed my day-to-day life in many awesome ways. I have been using it on a near enough daily basis and have experienced really incredible changes to my mental health. Not only have I pretty much cleared away all of my irritating brain fog, but I’ve also experienced a reduction in my anxiety and depression.

Pretty impressive for a mushroom, right?

Continue reading my Lion’s Mane guide and you’ll find out why this mushroom is so awesome, the benefits that you can reap, and where to get your hands on your very own Lion’s Mane supplements.

Since I’ve got you here, why not also check out my guide to the best mushroom supplements?

A close up aerial view of the top of Lion's Mane mushrooms

What is Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane (hericium erinaceus) is a type of edible mushroom that grows on dead tree trunks. It has an unmistakable shaggy outer which has led people to name it ‘lion’s mane’.

When cooked, the taste and texture resemble crab meat. Although, I think it is more like a chicken alternative.

It is commonly thought that Lion’s Mane is illegal, but it actually isn’t. It is legal to both grow and eat Lion’s Mane mushroom. Interestingly though, it is illegal to harvest Lion’s Mane from the wild. This is because it is one of the most highly protected mushrooms in the UK, due to it being classed as a Section 8 Endangered species.

So it should come as no surprise that Lion’s Mane is incredibly hard to find in the wild. If you are lucky enough to find one, then only take photographs. Do not attempt to harvest it or cut away any parts of it since it is both illegal and dangerous to do so.

Organic Lion's Mane supplement by Erbology

Erbology Organic Lion’s Mane Powder

This European-grown Lion’s Mane is easy to take. It contains over 32% beta-glucans and is independently accredited.

What are the health benefits of Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane is often said to be the brain mushroom, thanks to the many benefits it can have with mental health, focus and brain related disorders. On top of this, it is said to help the immune system, regulate blood sugars, reduce high blood pressure and protect heart health.

Here is a list of the potential benefits backed by science that you can reap from Lion’s Mane:

  1. Can potentially help against dementia (see scientific source)
  2. Could alleviate mental health issues like depression and anxiety (see scientific source)
  3. May help repair nerve cells (see scientific source)
Lucy holding a plate with fresh lion's mane mushrooms on top

Does Lion’s Mane have side effects?

It is highly unlikely that you will experience any side effects from eating or supplementing Lion’s Mane. It is well tolerated by our digestive systems and has no nasty overdosing effects. However, as with any food, a minority of people may experience some side effects with it.

Namely, it may cause digestive issues like nausea and abdominal discomfort. On top of this, it can cause a skin rash.

At this current moment, there isn’t one standard dosage recommendation for Lion’s Mane mushrooms. The reality is that the right dosage is dependent upon you. Well, mostly your age and your overall health. So you can either talk to your doctor about the right dosage of Lion’s Mane for you, or you can start small and increase the dose as you go.

There are however some scientific studies that may help to give some guidance on this:

  • One scientific study found that 3-5 grams of Lion’s Mane dried fruiting body helped significantly with cognitive issues (see source)
  • Another scientific study found that taking 300g of Lion’s Mane fruiting body extract every day helped relieve depression in overweight people after 8 weeks (see source)

According to accredited supplement companies selling Lion’s Mane supplements, here are the average recommended doses:

  • Powder: Between 1-2g per day
  • Extract: Between 250 mg to 500 mg per day

When it comes to eating fresh Lion’s Mane, there are no scientific studies to show what dose you should consume. But it is very common for people to eat regular portions of Lion’s Mane mushrooms, just like you would your average supermarket bought mushroom.

Ultimately, you should base your dosage on you. Start by consuming low doses and build it up over time. If you notice any unwanted effects then make sure to speak to your doctor and stop taking the supplements.

What to look for when purchasing Lion’s Mane

When purchasing anything Lion’s Mane based, be it a powdered supplement or a liquid extract, you should make sure to read the label carefully. Here is what you should be looking out for:

  • Other ingredients: Make sure to look out for any other ingredients used inside the supplement. Maybe they’ve included high doses of other vitamins, like Vitamin D or B, and if you already supplement for these then you may want to avoid buying this supplement to avoid overdosing.
  • Presence of fillers: Check the ingredients list for any fillers, additives, or artificial preservatives. Common fillers in supplements might include maltodextrin, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, cellulose, or other binding agents. While some fillers are considered safe in small amounts, others might cause allergies or digestive issues in certain individuals.
  • Purity and potency: Look for supplements that have a high percentage of Lion’s Mane extract and minimal or no fillers. A high-quality product will often have a higher concentration of active compounds, such as hericenones and erinacines, which are responsible for the potential health benefits.
  • Third-party testing: Reputable supplement manufacturers often conduct third-party testing to verify the purity, potency, and absence of contaminants in their products. Look for supplements that have been independently tested by a credible laboratory, and the results may be available for review.
  • Certifications: Some supplements may carry certifications, such as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) or NSF International certification, indicating that the product meets certain quality standards.
  • Reviews and reputation: Consider reading reviews and checking the reputation of the brand or product before making a purchase. Positive reviews and feedback from other users can provide insights into the product’s effectiveness and safety.
A side on view of some Lion's Mane mushrooms

Where to purchase Lion’s Mane

This may be an endangered species in the wild, but it is now becoming an increasinly popular ingredient due to its wide range of impressive health benefits. Mostly, you’ll find it sold in supplements either as the sole ingredient or packaged in with other nootropics. You can also buy Lion’s Mane mushrooms fresh from reputable growers. I have given more information about each below.

Buy Lion’s Mane supplements

Lion’s Mane is fast becoming a popular supplement, meaning you can find it in a lot of products in the UK. But not all are made equal! Discover all of the best lion’s mane supplements here.

Here are two of my favourite offerings which will provide you with high-quality sources of this incredible mushroom, including a pure powder and a lion’s mane mushroom coffee:

A tub of Organic Lion's Mane powder supplement from Erbology

Erbology Lion’s Mane Powder

Get this pure Lion’s Mane powder to stir into your coffee, tea, soups or stews. It contains over 32% beta-glucans and contains absolutely no fillers.

A sachet of Lion's Mane supplement coffee from London Nootropics

London Nootropics Flow Coffee

Buy this pre-made Lion’s Mane instant coffee blend for a sustained caffeine hit. Read my London Nootropics review to find out more.

A close up view of some cooked Lion's Mane mushrooms
Cooked fresh Lion’s Mane mushrooms

Buy fresh Lion’s Mane mushrooms

This nutritious mushroom is also really tasty. Meaning you can choose to supplement it with powders and extracts and you can also eat it!

Simply slice it into thin slices and fry it for a few minutes on each side (you could even try cooking it in an air fryer). Then you can use it to make delicious salads or to top dishes like this vegan pho recipe.

Sourcing good-quality locally grown Lion’s Mane mushrooms can be tricky. So I tend to buy mine online from a reputable grower. Follow the link below to buy from my favourite mushroom grower, Merit Mushrooms:

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