Lion's Mane
Lion's Mane
Lion's Mane
Lion's Mane

Lion's Mane

Hericium erinaceus

Lion's mane has been used in herbal medicine from hundreds of years as it helps with over all vitality. Additionally, it has been used for digestion, anti-cancer and anti-tumor support. However recent studies have shown nerve and neuron regeneration from

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Bearded Tooth
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Fruit
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About Lion's Mane

Lion’s mane is a white, voluminous, and shaggy mushroom that is hailed as the king of the Hericiaceae family. As the name indicates, the mushroom resembles the lion’s mane. It is a traditional Chinese nootropic herb that is also called pom-pom mushroom, bearded tooth mushroom, satyr’s beard, and bearded hedgehog.

Lion’s mane can be seen on decaying oak maple, and birch tree. It attacks its host and kills it in the process.

Although the appearance of a lion’s mane is hysterical but it is capable of providing more than just a visual treat. Its taste reminds the avid foodies of the seafood. Its chewy texture with a hint of sweet-savory flavor has got everyone heads over heels. As much as it’s enjoyed in culinary discipline, its medicinal properties have also earned it plenty of double-takes. Lion’s mane is celebrated for bolstering the immune system and helping in memory retention, regeneration of nerve cells, anxiety, and depression. Lion’s mane helps manage many disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, ulcers, and so forth. The claimed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the lion’s mane play a stellar job at arresting copious culprits that are accountable for the deterioration of the body.

The fruiting bodies of the lion’s mane possess hericenones and erinacines that can easily cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) to stimulate the regulation of growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of target neurons.

Growing

Naturally, a lion’s mane preferably grows on dead and decaying hardwood logs of maple, oak, and birch trees. As a lion’s mane is a rare treat in the wild so people have started cultivating it on their own.

Lion’s mane can be grown on hardwood logs or sawdust. Other hardwoods that can be employed for the cultivation can be black walnut, poplar, tulip, and elm. Lion’s mane is quite shy when it comes to growing in the presence of other fungi. The logs should be dried for at least 3 months prior to inoculation.

After the inoculation (preferably in spring), the logs are supposed to be placed in a well-ventilated and shady area. The process of growth may take up to two years.

As for sawdust, the spawn is added to the bag filled with sawdust and left in a warm and dark area to grow. Within few weeks, mycelium starts to grow out of the customized hole in the bag. The bag is then placed in a region with indirect sunlight and adequate air supply.

The spores of lion’s mane attack the fallen hardwood. The spores of the lion’s mane colonize gradually and grow during late summer or autumn. Lion’s mane takes at least a span of 6 months to 2 years to fully generate into a fruiting body.

The fruiting body of the lion’s mane is always stationed perpendicular to the earth to release its spores on the ground of the forest, only to be carried away towards their next prey.

Harvesting

Lion’s mane fruiting body is harvested when numerous strands are visibly hanging down towards the ground. It is recommended to harvest lion’s mane mushrooms when they are still white because if they turn pink then they will not be able to impart a good flavor.

The fruiting usually takes place during spring and fall, so it is considered as the best time to harvest a lion’s mane.

Specifically, the fruiting body of the lion’s mane is harvested in order to use it in culinary and medicinal regimes.
A sharp big knife is employed to cut the snowball aka ‘Lion’s mane mushroom’. Delicate nicks are made in order to keep the spines or strands intact.

Lion’s mane mushrooms are best used when they are fresh. They are wrapped in a paper bag and laid in the crisper drawer of the fridge. This way, the mushrooms can last for two weeks.

 

Usage

Lion’s mane mushroom has been taking the lead ever since its advent. It has been employed in framing various preparations to celebrate the benefits it confers.

  • Tincture- Fresh lion’s mane mushrooms are sliced and topped with the alcohol of choice to render lion’s mane tincture.
  • Tea- Fresh lion’s mane mushroom covered in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Further coconut oil, coconut milk, and honey can be added to add some flavor to the tea.
  • Decoction- Fresh lion’s mane is used to form the decoction.
  • Salve- Lion’s mane extract is used to make a salve.