What is a Lion's Mane Mushroom? A Beginner Guide

You must have seen the new cooking videos on your YouTube page or maybe your Instagram, and out of them, one common reoccurring ingredient must be something called the lion's mane mushroom. So, what is this new internet sensation that has taken the internet by storm? Hericium Erinaceus, frequently called the lion's mane, is a widely popular group of edible mushrooms. Commonly found in gourmet cooking, they are used as specialty mushrooms. Some people compare its flavor to that of a lobster. It also comes with a long history in East Asia, where it was used to produce ancient medicines. Previously considered one of the more exotic vegetables, it has now been popularized in the western world. You can run into some lion's mane mushrooms next time you go grocery shopping − look out for all the shelves.

It's named the lion's mane mushroom considering its features which include large, white with sort of a fuzzy or more like a stringy structure quite like the mane of a lion. Along with its popularity and flavorful character, it's also filled with various diverse nutrients and some vital vitamins. It contains essential minerals, including manganese, zinc, and potassium. Some of the significant health benefits that come with the consumption of mushrooms are

1) Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidants

Heart disease is a significant risk these days, and what better way to prevent it than with a delicious dish with some lion's mane mushroom? Yes, it is true. It's filled with natural factors that help to fight against increased cholesterol and an increased tendency to blood clotting. Studies over the years have revealed that the mushroom also influences factors that contribute to reducing weight gain, lower triglyceride levels, etc.

2) Helps in improving Symptoms of Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety in teenagers and adults in developed and developing countries have risen. Astronomical numbers over the past few years. More than one-third of people in the most developed parts of the world suffer from depression. Now, along with the many possible causes for such outcomes, chronic inflammation plays a significant role in it as well. Researchers have observed after conducting multiple tests that the mushroom improves the functioning of the hippocampus, which may contribute to providing aid to such patients. However, more in-depth research is still ongoing.

3) Ability to Manage Diabetes Symptoms

The mushroom helps in the management of blood sugar levels. It blocks the functioning of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, due to which our body is unable to properly digest carbs which results in an overall lowering of our blood sugar levels. However, a more in-depth study is necessary to capture its usefulness fully.

4) Helps in Boosting the Immune System

It protects the body from various external agents and other disease-causing pathogens. It boosts our immune system making the body capable of fighting against harmful viruses, bacteria, and other fungi. Studies have shown that lion's mane mushroom reduces the chances of developing dangerous diseases. It fastens up the activities of the intestinal immune system, therefore protecting our body from disease-causing pathogens.

5) Aid Against Alzheimer's Disease

Thorough studies on this subject have proven that these mushrooms help to protect against memory problems. This study further revealed its possible connection neuroprotective effect that works against ischemic stroke.

Nutritional Benefits

The mushroom also comes with various nutritional benefits of its own. The pale, white mushroom tends to turn brown after it's dried. As previously discussed, its general texture can be compared to that of crab meat with a slight flavor of lobsters. After thorough research into its nutritional facts, it's been determined that it's an average vegetable in terms of a healthy profit. A serving of around 100 grams of the mushroom can provide up to 50 calories (about 4 minutes of running), accompanied by 10 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of proteins. It might be no surprise that over the years, we have witnessed intense use of the medicine in traditional Chinese medicine. It's also been nicknamed the 'smart' mushroom because of its potential to improve cognitive functions. Its rich nutrient content has made it one of the finest edible mushrooms today.

Uses & Side effects

With all the effectiveness and uses, it does come with some minor side effects that are very treatable. The mushroom is very safe when consumed through mouth, maintaining the advisable dosage amount, i.e., 1 gram daily for 16 weeks (about three and a half months). However, consuming at a higher dosage can cause a mild stomachache. Many people doubt whether it can be applied to the skin. The answer is that more information has yet to be revealed to suggest its application on the skin. Another critical piece of information regarding the mushroom is that it can slow blood clotting. This can lead to an increased chance of bruising and bleeding. It is also advised to stop consuming lion mane mushrooms around two weeks before any major surgery.

A meaningful use related to the mushroom includes its century-long usage as a food source and for herbal medicine. In the eastern world, fungi are named the spirit plant as it was believed they provided longevity in life. This mushroom is believed to be nutritious to five of our most vital organs, including the lung, heart, kidney, spleen, and liver. In contrast to the eastern world, mushrooms are not readily available in general grocery stores.

Prepare A Delicious Meal

The mushroom is known to be paired with brown rice or quinoa, along with some fresh vegetables and seafood. Let's learn some essential tips to prepare a delicious meal from this exotic vegetable. Before proceeding with the recipe −

  • Wash off any remaining dirt.

  • Move on to separating the spines of the mushroom and cutting it in half.

  • After your mushroom turns brown, fry it with your favorite spices or seasonings.

  • Mix your cooked mushrooms with fried meat and veggies and serve with your famous rice or garlic bread.

Enjoy your delicious and hearty meal.