Lion’s mane is a remarkable mushroom which has been used for centuries as health in Japanese medicine. Also, called as bear’s head, monkey’s head and hedgehog fungus, it is known in Chinese as “Hou to uGu.” In the scientific world, lion’s mane is known as Hericium erinaceus.
There has been continuous focus on the medicinal values of this mushroom which has led to several propriety products and patents. Several conditions that warrants the use of lion’s mane are benign or mild dementia, sleep anea,snoring, juvenile apathy syndrome, schizophrenia and sleep apnea. In general, lion’s mane is used for its healthy digestive benefits and immune functions.
The medicinal value of lion’s mane is due to bioactives inclusive of Heteroglucan, Xylan, Heteroxylan, diterpenoid derivatives named as erinacines A — 1 (7 -15), Proteoglycanhericenone A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Thus, it acts as brain tonic, digestive tonic, immune enhancer and anti-tumor.
Japanese exploited the immune related health benefits of Lion’s mane since ages, now the scientific evidence proves that the immune secrets of lion’s mane lies in beta glucans present within. Furthermore, lion’s mane has been used for its ability to strengthen cognitive skills. The brain tonic has left ginkgo far behind in this genre of medical use.
This mushroom (diterpenoid derivatives named as erinacines A — 1 (7 -15), Proteoglycanhericenone A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H ) promotes the synthesis of nerve growth factor from astroglial cells. This inturn enhances the memory and concentration in growing children. Nerve growth factor along with other ingredient (dilinoleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine (DLPE) is known to prevent nerve cell damage from amyloid beta-peptide. This peptide is scientifically proven of being involved in causing alzheimer’s-type dementia. In addition, clinical studies prove the effectiveness of mushroom in dementia patients, which was measured by scoring functional independence and extent of retardation of disease progression.
Chinese medicine describes the extensive use of lion’s mane in treating patients with chronic superficial gastritis. Of the 14 species of lion’s mane, 12 mushrooms showed inhibitory effect on the growth of helicobacter pylori bacteria. The minimum inhibitory concentration of these ethanolic extract of lion’s mane species was found to be less than 3 mg/ml. the antibacterial properties are also effective on staphylococcus aureus. The immunomodulatory effect of lion’s mane is indicated to be the probable mechanism of action. However, further research is required to understand the pharmaceutical mechanism of this mushroom.
As a digestive tonic, lion’s mane is approached for treating ulcers of stomach and duodenum, indigestion and chronic atrophic gastritis.
For the medicinal values of lion’s mane, the hot water extract is prepared by which the essential medical molecules are isolated. Crude drugs contain the active constituents within the cells. During the process of extraction, the cell walls are broken and bioactives made available. Hot water extraction is the best way to extract the medicinal ingredient as it helps to break the indigestible fiber named chitin.