The lion’s mane is a tasty mushroom that grows wild throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, most often on dead or dying hardwood trees. Also known as the hedgehog mushroom and, more formally, Hericium erinaceus, the lion’s mane has a long history of cultivation both as food and as medicine.
Color and Flavor
Fresh lion’s mane is pale, almost white, but when dried darkens to a tan or rusty brown color. It’s flavor has been described as mildly sweet, with a texture and flavor reminiscent of lobster or crab meat.
In terms of macronutrients, lion’s mane is fairly average in its nutritional profile. A 100g serving of lion’s mane provides 24 calories, with 3.6g of carbohydrates and 2.4 grams of protein.
With centuries of use in traditional Chinese medicine, modern scientific tests have revealed that lion’s mane does offer a number of nootropic (mind-affecting) benefits, boosting cognitive function and helping to enhance memory. It’s considered the world’s first “smart mushroom,” with proven improvements in cognitive function and nerve regeneration, which could potentially benefit those suffering from dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, peripheral neuropathy, seizures, anxiety, depression, and muscle cramps and spasms. Research is still ongoing to determine the best ways that lion’s mane can be used in these situations.
Lion’s mane has other medical benefits as well, including improved digestion, a strengthened immune system, and an improved lipid profile. It’s exciting that his mushroom may help doctors and researchers treat a number of diseases in the not-too-distant future.
If you’re interested in cultivating the lion’s mane, Cascadia Mushrooms is a great place to get started.
Want to grow your own?
Lion's Mane mushrooms at home!