Lion's Mane

What is Lion's mane mushroom?

Known scientifically as Hericium erinaceus, Lion’s mane mushroom is an edible fungus. It is known by many different names including; Mountain-priest mushroom, Bearded hedgehog mushroom, Hog head fungus, Hou tou gu, Old man’s beard mushroom. All of the names seem to reflect on the appearance of the mushroom which has long white dangling spines. The fruit bodies of the mushroom are the parts that are used. It is used both for consumption and for medicinal purposes in Asia. Even though it has some status as an edible mushroom, [1] it is actually an endangered mushroom, the sale and picking of which are illegal in the United Kingdom.[2] The taste of Lion’s mane mushrooms are said to resemble lobster. In Chinese medicine it is believed to have multiple health benefits, both physical and cognitive.[3]

Where does Lion's mane mushroom come from?

Lion’s mane can be found growing in North America, throughout Europe and in most of Asia. It lives primarily on dead trees but can sometimes also be found on living trees.[4] The fungus can possibly survive for 40 years on the same dead tree.[5] Lion’s mane can also be cultivated, both indoors and outdoors. Since it has a longer history in Asia of being used as food or medicine there is also more production being practiced. Most production in Asia is done by log cultivation, outside.

What are the effects of Lion's mane mushroom?

Lion’s mane has not been widely studied but may have some beneficial effects on the human body. Some of these are supported only anecdotally while others are studied in vitro and in vivo. As most organisms, Hericium erinaceus consists of a whole spectrum of different compounds. Amongst others, the fungus contains steroids, alkaloids, lactones[6] and varying polysaccharides to which medicinal properties have been attributed.[7] Lion’s mane shows potential in its anticancer effects.[8] It has shown antioxidant effects,[4] antimicrobial effects[14] and promotes blood flow.[3][9][10][11]


  • Reduced cognitive decline[13]
  • Increased neurogenesis
  • Reduced stress[12]
  • Reduced anxiety[12]


  • Reduced inflammation

How to use Lion's mane mushroom?

Lion’s mane supplements tend to come in a dried form of the fungus. In some cases whole fungus material, but more often powdered. It is also available in extracts either liquid or in capsules. Capsules will be the easiest way to add Lion’s mane to your daily regimen. Powders are more versatile and might be more widely available depending on where you look. Powders are frequently added to shakes or smoothies.

How much Lion's mane mushroom to use?

When trying out new supplements it is wise to start with a lower dose and–depending on the experienced effects–increase or decrease the dosage accordingly

In studies on possible cognitive effects from Lion’s mane varying doses have been used. Ranging from 750 mg to 5 g per day for 16 weeks. Effects were noticed in studies on both sides of this spectrum.

What are the side effects of Lion's mane mushroom?

There are not many known side effects of Lion’s mane. One study reported a single case of less menstrual bleeding. Another reported mild stomach aches. There have been no reported immediate harmful effects from consuming large amounts of Lion’s mane.[12]

Interactions of Lion's mane mushroom

Most nootropics are relatively safe to use on their own. Combining them with other substances may cause them to suddenly become dangerous or life-threatening.

There are no known interactions of Lion’s mane mushroom.


  1. [1] Davis, M., Sommer, R., & Menge, J. (2012). Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America. Amsterdam University Press.
  2. [2] Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 | Schedule 8 | Plants which are protected | UK Wildlife | Nature | Biodiversity. (2016). UK Wildlife. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from
  3. [3] Friedman, M. (2015). ChemInform Abstract: Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium Erinaceus (Lion′s Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds. ChemInform, 46(41), no.
  4. [4] He, X., Wang, X., Fang, J., Chang, Y., Ning, N., Guo, H., Huang, L., Huang, X., & Zhao, Z. (2017). Structures, biological activities, and industrial applications of the polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) mushroom: A review. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 97, 228–237.
  5. [5] Sokół, S., Golak-Siwulska, I., Sobieralski, K., Siwulski, M., & Górka, K. (2016). Biology, cultivation, and medicinal functions of the mushroom Hericium erinaceum. Acta Mycologica, 50(2).
  6. [6] Jiang, S., Wang, S., Sun, Y., & Zhang, Q. (2014). Medicinal properties of Hericium erinaceus and its potential to formulate novel mushroom-based pharmaceuticals. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 98(18), 7661–7670.
  7. [7] Wang, M., Kanako, N., Zhang, Y., Xiao, X., Gao, Q., & Tetsuya, K. (2017). A unique polysaccharide purified from Hericium erinaceus mycelium prevents oxidative stress induced by H2O2 in human gastric mucosa epithelium cell. PLOS ONE, 12(7), e0181546.
  8. [8] Li, G., Yu, K., Li, F., Xu, K., Li, J., He, S., Cao, S., & Tan, G. (2014). Anticancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 153(2), 521–530.
  9. [9] Khan, M. A., Tania, M., Liu, R., & Rahman, M. M. (2013). Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 10(1).
  10. [10] Liang, B., Guo, Z., Xie, F., & Zhao, A. (2013). Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 13(1).
  11. [11] Hiraki, E., Furuta, S., Kuwahara, R., Takemoto, N., Nagata, T., Akasaka, T., Shirouchi, B., Sato, M., Ohnuki, K., & Shimizu, K. (2017). Anti-obesity activity of Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) powder in ovariectomized mice, and its potentially active compounds. Journal of Natural Medicines, 71(3), 482–491.
  12. [12] Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical Research, 31(4), 231–237.
  13. [13] Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 23(3), 367–372.
  14. [14] Liu, J. H., Li, L., Shang, X. D., Zhang, J. L., & Tan, Q. (2016). Anti- Helicobacter pylori activity of bioactive components isolated from Hericium erinaceus. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 183, 54–58.
  15. [15] Lakshmanan, H., Raman, J., David, P., Wong, K. H., Naidu, M., & Sabaratnam, V. (2016). Haematological, biochemical and histopathological aspects of Hericium erinaceus ingestion in a rodent model: A sub-chronic toxicological assessment. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 194, 1051–1059.
NameLion's Mane
Other namesHericium erinaceus, Old man's beard mushroom
EffectsAnxiety Reducing