Mushrooms are all the rage right now. The enigmatic little organisms (which are more closely related to humans than plants) are proving to be very useful allies in a number of human domains - particularly when it comes to achieving good health.
One mushroom species that is gaining appreciation for its health-boosting powers is Lion’s Mane mushroom. With its unique flowing white locks, Lion’s Mane is being used by many for its ability to enhance brain power, to repair the gut, and as a complement to microdosing.
This article will tell you all you need to know about Lion’s Mane mushroom, including where to buy Lion’s Mane in the UK…
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is a large, white, shaggy-looking mushroom that resembles a lion's mane as it grows. Its proper name is Hericium erinaceus and it grows natively in North America, Europe and Asia.
Usually found growing on dead hardwoods, lion’s mane has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and its production is widespread within Asia. Lion’s mane is also common in gourmet cooking, with young specimens offering a great steak-like texture when pan-fried.
What are the effects/benefits of Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane has become very popular among health conscious people. This is largely thanks to its cognitive benefits including its ability to increase NGF (nerve growth factor) levels and promote neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells).
These properties mean that many people who use lion’s mane experience:
- Clarity of thought
- Enhanced memory
- Enhanced focus
- Enhanced cognition
- Increased energy
The unseen benefits of lion’s mane are even more profound and include:
- Protection of the brain against neurodegenerative disease
- Reduction in inflammation, particularly in the gut
- Reduction in depression and anxiety
- Enhance recovery from nervous system injuries
- Lower risk of blood clotting and heart attack and stroke
- Control blood sugar and manage diabetes
- Possible anti-cancer effects
- Boost immune function
Personally, I’ve been using lion’s mane on and off for over a year and I find it very effective for enhancing focus and blocking out distractions. I haven’t noticed any side effects and there’s no evidence that they’re common.
You’d be wise not to expect instant results with lion’s mane supplements. Clinical studies done with lion’s mane are typically done over at least two months of use.
How much Lion’s Mane should you take?
While many studies on lion’s mane are conducted on rats and mice, there are a number of clinical studies on humans. The usual dose is between 0.5-3g per of dried lion’s mane powder per day.
Lion’s mane is thought to be safe in even higher doses, but 3g per day seems to be more than adequate for most people.
If you are using an extracted lion’s mane product, you will need noticeable less depending on the purity. Most good products will outline how much you should take each day on their labelling.
Best ways to take Lion’s Mane
When it comes to consuming lion’s mane, you have a number of options.
Of course, you can pick and eat lion’s mane mushrooms and it’s actually quite nice. Its texture can be quite tough so it’s best to cook - ideally pan fry - beforehand.
Capsules containing dried lion’s mane powder or an extract are very convenient and accurate ways of taking lion’s mane.
Dried lion’s mane powder is a versatile way to add the mushroom to smoothies or various dishes.
Alcohol-based extracts offer a way to consume concentrated Lion’s Mane easily and effectively. These tinctures can be quite potent and are great for adding to coffee, tea or other drinks.
Lion’s Mane and psilocybin microdosing
Microdosing is the act of taking such a low dose of a drug - usually a psychedelic like psilocybin (from magic mushrooms) or LSD - that it doesn’t have any strong effects on your perception but does subtly enhance things like your mood, focus and creativity.
Like lion’s mane, psilocybin also has the power to increase NGF (nerve growth factor) and promote the formation of new brain cells. It’s for this reason that many people like to consume psilocybin microdoses in conjunction with regular doses of lion’s mane.
The practice was first popularised by the well-known and eccentric mycologist Paul Stamets. When discussing his protocol, Stamets refers to two mice studies in particular. In these studies, scientists intentionally damaged the brains of some mice by giving them a neurotoxin, giving them dementia-like symptoms. Remarkably, when given lion’s mane mushroom, the effects of the neurotoxin were reversed.
Read more about microdosing, Paul Stamets, and his protocol here.
10 Best Lion’s Mane Supplements In The UK
Our brand new high-strength capsules have been specifically developed for both cognitive and immune support.
The capsules don’t contain dried mushroom powder like many others, but rather a concentrated extract with high levels of beta glucans (30%) - a soluble fibre that boosts the immune system and supports gut health - and hericenones and erinacines, which stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain and give lion’s mane its cognitive enhancing properties.
In fact, each capsule contains a whopping 4.8mg of hericenones, making them one of the strongest standardised hericenone-rich extracts on the UK market.
The extract is also made from only the fruiting body of mushrooms (not the mycelium) grown naturally on large hardwood sticks. It has been dual extracted with both water and alcohol to draw out both water-soluble and non-water-soluble compounds from the mushroom, making it ideal for boosting both cognitive and immune function.
This powerful tincture gives fast effects thanks to its superior absorption rates compared to powders or capsules.
High in active compounds including hericenones and erinacines, this liquid extract allows beneficial compounds to readily pass through the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), leading to enhanced neurogenesis and cognitive performance.
This extract is referred to as 10:1 because you need 10kg of raw lion's mane to produce a single kilo of the extract. Hericenones and erinacines, which are the compounds considered to be responsible for the cognitive benefits of lion's mane mushroom, are only soluble in ethanol.
These capsules from Woodies contain lion's mane alongside CBD, another very effective tool for regulating your health. Woodies are cannabis enthusiasts and the extract they use is broad-spectrum with added CBG.
I’m not aware of any other companies combining these powerful ingredients and they also have a number of other mushroom/CBD combos including reishi, turkey tale and cordyceps.
These potent capsules from TimeHealth are best for supporting immunity and gut health. It is hot water extracted only to draw out bio-actives, resulting in a very high beta glucan content (50%).
If you’re looking for a product for boosting brain health, then you’re best off going for something that’s undergone an alcohol extraction. However, for gut health these would be ideal.
I’m super proud of this coffee and drink it everyday. Along with barista-style instant arabica coffee, it contains a variety of unique ingredients picked specifically for their ability to enhance brain power and energy levels.
It contains three powerful mushrooms extracts - lion’s mane, cordyceps and chaga extract - as well as red maca (a root used for energy and vitality), theanine (found in tea and balances out caffeine), resveratrol (strong antioxidant found in red wine) and bacopa (herb used in Ayurvedic medicine).
DIRTEA are a great brand that offers lots of great info and guides on using mushrooms. I’m a big fan of their products, particularly their dual-extracted powders.
They recommend adding a teaspoon of their lion’s mane powder to your hot tea, coffee or smoothie for a healthy boost. Keep an eye on their social media channels for more lion’s mane recipes and ideas.
Each of these capsules from The Shroom Shop contain 500mg of lion’s mane extract. Unfortunately, the website doesn't say whether the product has undergone double extraction.
Mindful extracts take the utmost care to ensure their products are organic, clean and effective. They’ve taken the choice to use both the fruiting body (mushrooms) and mycelium (root-like system) of the lion’s mane.
They also use a dual-extraction process to ensure the full-spectrum of beneficial compounds are preserved.
These awesome coffee adaptogenic coffee pouched from London Nootropics are delicious and very effective.
Each handy pouch contains instant coffee, organic dual-extracted lions mane mushroom extract, rhodiola rosea extract, and natural flavouring. It’s been developed for motivation, mental clarity and focus in mind.
This is a great value lion’s mane product. Using both mycelium and fruiting body, this powder has undergone dual-extraction to make sure it's as potent as possible.