With a unique flavor alternately described as lobster or shrimp, the gourmet mushroom Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) with its out-of-this-world showy display of cascading ‘teeth’ also possesses singular medicinal properties – stimulating myelin and nerve regeneration [150, 151] – which upon further study may prove beneficial in a whole series of neurological conditions. Paul Stamets suggests the possible usefulness of Hericium erinaceus extract in conditions such as Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, M.S. and dementia. 
In the wild, Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) grows on hardwood trees, especially oak, sycamore, maple, walnut and beech. It can be found throughout the temperate areas of the world, from North America and Europe to Japan and China.
The active compounds that have received the most attention for their nerve regenerating properties are named erinacines, a series of low molecular weight molecules that are able to pass through the blood brain barrier – an essential attribute for any medicinal compound expected to be able to effect healing on myelin or nerve tissue. [152, 153, 154]
In Japan, there are two patents on extracts of Hericium erinaceus. The first was filed in the 1990′s for a process of extraction that yields what has been named “Nerve Growth Stimulant Factor.” [150, 151] The second from 2004 is for a water extract of Hericium erinaceus. It is likewise used to stimulate nerve regeneration. 
Although recent research on Hericium erinaceus extract has focused on its powerful effect on healing nerve tissue, in Traditional Chinese Medicine Lion’s Mane Mushroom was used primarily for stomach conditions and cancers of the digestive organs.
Two modern studies have confirmed this ancient wisdom. One done in 1985 showed positive results for treating atrophic gastritis. Another conducted a decade later, in 1995, showed some ameliorating effect on hepatoma, with a marked life extension of treated patients. 
Finally, a few additional areas where modern research has reported benefits from the use of Hericium erinaceus extract include: Anti-tumoral ; stomach cancer ; inflammation ; immune support ; antimicrobial against Aspergillus and Candida. 
Note: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult a licensed medical practitioner before using any herb (or mushroom) for medicinal purposes.
Credit: Thank you to Paul Stamets for source material.
August 16 2009 09:57 am | herbal remedies