Monograph: Hericium Mushroom
Botanical Scientific Name: Hericium Erinaceus
Common Names: Lion’s Mane; Monkey’s Head; Sheep’s Head; Bear’s Head; Old man’s Beard; Hedgehog Mushroom; Satyr’s Beard; Pom Pom
Chinese Name: Hóu Tóu Gū
Japanese Name: Yamabushitake
The Hericium mushroom grows mainly in Asia on ancient or dead trees.
The mushroom is referred to as: “Nature’s food for the neurons and memory” due to its ability to increase the level of NGF – Nerve Growth Factor in the brain and in the nervous system which protects the neurons from the processes of degeneration, aging, and injury.
The reason it received its most popular nickname, Lion’s Mane, is because the mushroom has what resembles white hair like the mane of a lion.
For hundreds of years in Asia, people ate the Hericium mushroom in order to develop “nerves of steel and the memory of a lion”.
In Japan, male Buddhist monks drank tea from the mushroom in order to improve the sharpness of the mind as well as the ability to focus during meditation.
The Japanese name of the mushroom is Yamabushitake, which means mountain monk mushroom. This refers to the faction Shugendu, who are reclusive monks that wear flowing robes.
The meaning of the name in Chinese – Hóu Tóu Gū, is monkey head mushroom.
In traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, the Hericium mushroom was used to strengthen the spleen, to nourish the colon, and also as a cancer remedy. According to their tradition the mushroom provided nourishment to five internal organs: liver, lungs, spleen, heart and kidneys, and advanced proper digestive performance. They believed the mushroom provided energy and strength and was recommended for the treatment of ulcers in the stomach and duodenum as well as chronic gastritis.
Parts of the mushroom for use:
All parts of the mushroom:
- Fruiting Body
Route of Administration:
Taste: spicy, sweet, dull
Meridians: spleen, stomach, heart (according to some sources, also liver, kidneys or all circuits)
- HEPA1, HEPA4, HEPB2
- HEP-1, HEP-2, HEP-3, HEP-4, HEP-5
- HPA, HPB
- AF2S-2, BF2S-2
- FI0-a, FI0-a-α, FI0-a-β, FI0-b, FII-1, FIII-2b
Terpenoids – sesquiterpenes and diterpenoids:
- Erinacerins A–L
- Erinacines A–I
- Erinacine P, Q
- Erinaceolactams A–E
- hericenone A
- hericenone J
- Hericenone B
- Vitamins from the B-complex family
- Oleic acid
- Linoleic acid
- Linolenic acid
- Arachidic acid
- Palmitic acid
- Nervonic acid
- Lignoceric acid
- Stearic acid
- Trans-vaccenic acid
- Behenic acid
- Cis-11-Eisosenoic acid
- Docosadienoic acid
- Cysteic acid
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
Immunomodulatory (balances the immune system), antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancer, neuroprotective (balances and restores the nervous system), cardioprotective, gastroprotective, hypoglycemic, hypocholesterolemic, hepatoprotective, anti-aging, antiplatelet, analgesics, and prebiotic.
Uses supported by clinical research:
Weakened immune system, cancer, memory loss, cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy, protection against Age-related hearing loss (Presbycusis), nerve pain, bacterial infections (Helicobacter pylori, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, MRSA), gastritis, type II diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, excessive blood coagulation, hepatitis, depression, and prebiotic.
Traditional uses that have yet to be supported by clinical evidence:
Multiple sclerosis, insomnia.
Effects according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Neurishes the stomach Qi and spleen, promotes digestion, strengthens the Nutrient Qi (Ying Qi), moves the blood, strengthens and nourishes the heart Qi, and sharpens the awareness.
Nourishes the tissues and internal organs.
Moves the blood.
Nourishes the Jing and the brain, sharpens awareness.
Manners of use and recommended dosage according to the literature:
Liquid extract (tincture): at a concentration of 1:2, 50% alcohol, 5-20 ml per day.
Dry extract: standardized extract at a concentration of 30% polysaccharides, 300-5,000 mg per day.
Decoction: 5-15 grams per day.
As part of a formula: 30-40%
Safety, Toxicity, Interactions, and Side Effects:
The Hericium mushroom is safe to use.
People allergic to mushrooms should avoid eating the mushroom or consuming the mushroom as a food supplement.
Due to its immunostimulant activity, transplant patients should not use the mushroom.
Seven days before undergoing a surgical procedure, the use of the mushroom should be discontinued and may be resumed two days following the procedure.
Since the mushroom may prolong the duration of clotting indexes INR, PT, PTT, and APTT, it is recommended to exercise caution when consuming Hericium with anti-coagulant blood thinners from the Coumadin, Clexane, Xarelto, Eliquis, Pradaxa and Lixiana families.
Caution is advised during chronic use of the morphine medications family (MCR, MIR, MCR-UNO), or with morphine-based narcotics, such as oxycodone, oxycontin, precoset, percodan, oxycode syrup, fentanyl patches (Dorgzic, Fanta), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Palladone), methadone, due to the analgesic activity of the active ingredient in the mushroom Erinacine E.
With the exception of forbidding pregnant women who receive blood thinners such as Clexane to use the mushroom, there is lack of data to support the safety of use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Stop use if hypersensitivity/allergy occurs.
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