The Lion's Mane Fungus: The Memory Mushroom

Most mushrooms are known for their benefits. Medicinal, food, added flavor, or whatever else. Mushrooms have been a huge part of many diets. The newly discovered Lion's Mane mushroom adds to this diet.


The lion's mane fungus, otherwise known as sheep's head, bear's head and the Japanese yamabushitake, is a species of mushroom that differs from many of its counterparts. Also known as the "pom-pom blanc" due to its cheerleader pom-pom like shape and figure, the lion's mane differs from the regularly stemmed and capped mushroom and instead has a globular shape and teeth like spines that give way to white spores.

It is beginning to game renown for its nerve regenerative properties as an agent to help improve mental health and stability. It is also becoming a very popular specialty food. It is one of few foods that can taste like shrimp or lobster and is incredibly packed with protein.


The lion's mane has things called NGFs or nerve growth factors. Since 1991 about a dozen studies have been conducted on the lion's mane and have been finding similar results after Dr. Kawagishi first identified NGFs in Japanese lion's mane samples.

In 2009 researchers at the Hokuto Corporation and the Isogo Central and Neurosurgical Hospital held a study with a small sample size of about 30 people with mild mental impairment and found that the mushroom helped every one of them improve.


After the original studies, there were more studies involving mice. The mice were injected with neurotoxic peptides that induced a form of Alzheimer's while they were given mazes to track and complete. To begin the mice did very well with the mazes but started falling off as the toxin set in. The mice were then fed a steady diet of lion's mane for a few weeks and their performance in the maze improved greatly. The mice also regained to what amounts to curiosity. Brain function was greatly improved, and some of the plaque build-up in the brain receded.

This won't necessarily translate directly to humans but it is a step in the right direction with people beginning to live much longer than before.