Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus)
Lion's Mane mushroom is a rising star among natural treatments for some of the world's most difficult health problems. This mushroom has been highly prized in Chinese tradition, where it was eaten exclusively by the Emperors.
Lion's Mane's medical benefits were already well known to the Chinese doctors as a curative for problems of the digestive tract such as stomach and duodenal ulcers, as well as for cancers of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Its beta glucan polysaccharides, along with polypeptides and fatty acids have a lot to do with these curative effects. Clinical studies have shown that these polysaccharides, along with adenosine and oleanolic acids, stimulate induction of interferons and modulation of the immune system, boosting the white blood cell count to help the healing process. These substances also enhance the function of the gastric mucus barrier, accelerate the healing of ulcers, and exhibit anti-inflammatory effects.
Lion's Mane has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It is completely safe, showing no signs of toxicity or side effects in any scientific research. One of the most exciting areas of potential is its ability to help combat some of the symptoms and underlying causes of dementia and Alzheimer's disease as well as peripheral neurological dysfunction.
Dr. Hirokazu Kawagishi of Shizoka University Japan, a recognized authority on Lion's Mane for the past 15 years, showed the mushroom to have the remarkable activity of stimulating the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). A lack of NGF is considered one of the major causes of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Kawagishi and his team isolated two types of molecules within Lion's Mane which both stimulate NGF production and also crucially, pass unhindered through the blood brain barrier. The first of these substances is found in the fruiting body (the part of the mushroom which sprouts out of the ground or tree stump) and are called hericenones. Hericenones stimulate the brain to produce more NGF. An even more powerfully effective group of substances called erinacines were found in the mycelia (the root system) of Lion's Mane. Small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier, erinacines work from within the brain to promote NGF production, which in turn helps make more neurons. This process results in alleviating symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and even Parkinson's disease. This is one of the most significant discoveries of the last 50 years and is why the Nobel Prize was awarded for its discovery.