Lion Mane mushrooms

Does anyone here have experience with the use of lion mane mushrooms?
I have read a lot about it online and watched numerous YouTube videos. Does anyone here have relevant experience / knowledge to share on the benefits (preferably benefits experienced yourself…)

TIA!!

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I have a lion mane “chai” latte blend (caffeine free) that also really does not taste anything like chai… more of a cinnamon dirt concoction, but I don’t mind the earthiness :joy:

I can’t say I experienced too many noticeable effects from drinking it - even when I was doing so on daily basis - but it was bearable replacement for my usual cup of coffee in the morning in terms of focus/energy. I know nutrition wise it’s also supposed to be great for you.

Have you come across anything linking it to better sleep? I only ever drank it in the morning so maybe it’s worth a go before bed!

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I be curious if @pamelaspence or @MJB have come across this.

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Lions Mane mushroom has been studied for cognitive improvement in humans and there seems to be good data that it helps. As for sleep there are several pilot trials that suggest sleep improvement as well as reduction in anxiety that can be linked to insomnia. The authors of these pilot studies suggest that further work is needed to conclusively show this effect. Adding mushrooms to the diet is recommended by many health professionals, so why not try this yourself before bedtime and see what happens?

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Apologies for the delay @laurent.rossier been dealing with husband’s ‘signficant’ birthday - back to work properly today! Yes, as @MJB says there are some really interesting studies coming to light about Lions Mane’s ability to improve brain function. I have witnessed this myself in my clinic where I’ve used it, as well as other strategies, to assist with Parkinson’s tremors and also, most recently with short term memory function in a person in their 50s with a very rare kind of early onset dementia. In the cases where I’ve used it I certainly think that we have seen improvement, but it is not the only plant medicine being used. The studies around reducing anxiety linked to insomnia are interesting.

As @MJB says many health professionals recommend adding mushrooms to the diet - they all have their own unique properties, but ALL of them (including the humble button mushrooms in the supermarket) contain an interesting set of polysaccharides that help to modulate the immune response both by improving responses when the system is under attack and also reducing over-response in hayfever and allergies.

I love teaching my students that mushrooms are a whole new kingdom quite separate from plants and animals - they may have the physical appearance of a plant-type organism, but actually they digest food using enzymes which is what the animal kingdom does. Absolutely faschinating and we’re only just scratching the surface in terms of research but it makes sense that in many cultures they have been prized as longevity tonics over thousands of years!

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awesome!!! Thank you @pamelaspence

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Thanks Pamela! Also, recent research at the National University of Singapore conducted over a 7 year period showed that people over 60 who consumed more than two standard portions of mushrooms (ca. 150 grams) weekly had as much as 50% of reduced chance of having mild cognitive impairment. The mushrooms included golden, oyster, shiitake and white button, as well as dried and canned mushrooms. , The scientists hypothesized that ergothioneine, a compound found in these mushrooms, was responsible for the reduced risk of cognitive impairment. No mention of lion’s mane in this study, but in other papers, that species is thought to have neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties. Lots to think about here. [Note to self–add more mushrooms to weekly diet!]

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Interesting! Funny enough I grew up in Singapore (went to secondary school there) and it was watching all the local folks eating mushrooms and other traditional foods as tonics that sparked a lot of my interest in herbal medicine many years later! That and the amazing smells in the Chinese herbal shops!
I was lucky enough to interview Martin Powell last year who is a UK medicinal mushroom expert and he is very keen to have people understand that the extraction methods for mushroom products are particularly important to get the best mix of components. He advocates a hot water and alcohol extract combined. Of course if we just remember to eat the mushrooms whole in the traditional way there is no need to worry about that :blush:

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Okay, I’m definitely adding more mushrooms to my diet!

I love them anyway and will have for lunch on an egg sarny at times and here’s two of my favourite recipes to inspire others!:

Mushroom & sausage pasta

Japanese mushrooms noodle soup

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@pamelaspence

I have received an article today that depicts an interesting story about the (negative) benefit / value of mushrooms as a food. Sorry, it’s a bit lengthy… I would be really interested about your view on this article. There is indeed a lot of talk about the benefits of mushrooms - this article somewhat paints a different picture.
In my view though - considering mushrooms as ‘medicine’ is not inherently a bad thing, merely for the fact that most humans are in need of healing (be that from inflammation, side effects from poor sleep or from whatever issues they might have).

So here you go; I hope you have a chance to read this and share your view:

“”"""
I get a ton of questions asking about my thoughts on mushrooms so here they are:
Lets start with first principles…

Mushrooms are fungi, and whilst they aren’t a plant, they are still rooted in the ground and can’t run away.

And like all living organisms, mushrooms don’t wanna get eaten.

Many mushrooms can kill you, or in smaller doses cause severe liver damage and hallucinations…

So clearly mushrooms are highly defended and have defense chemicals.

As an aside, I also think mushrooms are beautiful and fascinating.

Most mushrooms people eat like the white button, portobello and crimini varieties are all from the same fungi, Agaricus bisporus

This species of mushrooms makes a mycotoxin known as agaritine, which is known to be harmful to humans by binding to DNA and causes cancers in animal studies.

The good news is that agaritine is mostly denatured by cooking, but do we really want to be putting something like this in our body if it’s not necessary?

But what about all the studies that tell us mushrooms are good for us?

Mushrooms like plants may contain molecules that have pharmaceutical roles in the human body… so like MEDICINE, not food.

And as with all medicines, they come with side effects.

What do I mean by that?
Think about it like this… molecules, pharmaceuticals… things you get at the pharmacy with a prescription… many of these molecules are from plants…

And whilst these molecules may have pharmacological roles in the human body, it doesn’t mean they are nutrients.

They are not vitamins or minerals, and they are not integral to your biochemistry.
They affect your body, and that CAN be leveraged for the good…

But every pharmaceutical you get at the pharmacy has a package insert with a list of all the side effects.
Most of the pharmaceuticals we use have side effects, ranging from mild to severe.

Within the health/nutrition/supplement industry, people are always looking for the new “superfood”…

The new thing they can sell you, and mushrooms just happen to be one that’s very in vogue right now.

But I’m not convinced that any of these molecules in mushrooms are that unique…

Or that anyone is considering the side effects and creating an assessment of the net benefit or net negative risk of mushrooms.

I think mushrooms are a net negative for humans.

Are there molecules in mushrooms that can have a physiological effect in humans? Yes.

Psilocybin is great when used properly…
But psilocybin is not a food, it’s a medicine.
And we mustn’t ignore the side effects.
“”""

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Morning @laurent.rossier it’s interesting you should reference mushrooms as we were discussing this on Sunday over breakfast (where I have always enjoyed mine)! It’s interesting our focus at sofi is medicinal plants and primarily flowering plants. It doesn’t mean someday we may not expand our knowledge this way based on evolving regulatory landscape but for now firmly focused on reviewing the dozens of generally recognised as safe plants that we can easily incorporate into our every day diet without significant balance of risks. @pamelaspence is travelling up to Scotland so may be slow to respond but thought of sharing this with you right away. Wishing you and all a wonderful Monday and week ahead! Getting ever closer to those Pioneer boxes. Another update later this week. :pray:

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Thanks for the interim reply @Kaveh while I catch up!
@laurent.rossier ooooohhhhh. I have a lot of thoughts about this - but first, can you tell me who wrote the article and in what context? Are they a mycologist? Herbalist? Nutritionist? And what audience were they writing for? I’m pondering some of the things they’ve said but this would help me understand why they are saying what are clearly some quite contraversial things! Look forward to hearing more!

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Excellent @pamelaspence

This was written by Paul Saladino, who introduces himself as follows:
“Dr. Saladino is the leading authority on the science and application of the carnivore diet”

At this stage in life he promotes diets (very) rich in animal foods and he is especially strongly advocating the benefits of eating organs (heart, liver, brain etc).
Seeds are a no go for him and on some of the podcasts he doesn’t subscribe to the notion that some veggies should be considered superfoods (rather: organ’s are superfood, and more aligned with an evolutionarily aligned diet).

In my view, his strong views are often controversial, which is not to say that I consider his convictions unfounded.
However, when it comes to mushrooms, I have read a fair bit - and mostly these papers and article were promoting the benefits (for brain, memory etc) of some fungi.

Looking forward to what you have to say about this topic.
Thank you

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Thanks @laurent.rossier am pondering and will get back to you soon! Sounds like an interesting guy although I am always wary of anyone who brands them selves as a leading expert and leaves no space for the opinions of others… but equally controversial points of view can encourage dialogue like this :blush: I will look him up!

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Hi Laurent,

Ok I have had a lot of thoughts tumbling around in my brain about this and I’m going to attempt to be coherent! :slight_smile:

Firstly I realised that reading the excerpt you posted made me feel irritated with the author. So I had to try and tap into why - because that kind of reaction means that there’s learning to be had, I believe. So thanks for the opportunity :slight_smile:

I think that it is the tone of the sweeping statements. I don’t believe there is much in nature that is black and white. It tends to be somewhat this and somewhat that, so that doesn’t sit well with me.

To his point on animal/plant kingdoms - mushrooms have an entire kingdom of their own - which I think I said further up this thread. They are both plantlike in structure but animal like in their digestive capabilities so they are totally unique. And while, yes they probably don’t really want to be eaten by us, the idea that they are solely interested in their own survival and nothing else I don’t find to be true. What of the fact that the mushroom is only the fruiting body of the actual organism? And that the mycelium which is underground and can stretch hundreds of miles, plays an integral part in helping trees communicate with each other, holding the soil structure together and being such an important part of the natural community. (Have you seen the excellent article The Wood Wide Web on bbc.co.uk?)

It is not only mushrooms that can poison you or give you severe liver damage - plenty of plants can do that too. What about the many plants containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause irreparable liver damage and yet can be some of the most nutritious foods and medicines when used correctly?

We have evolved alongside the other organisms on this beautiful planet. And so when you look at the traditional uses of many foods you will find that there are traditional ways of preparing them - for example, using heat to denature the agaritine. Or the fact that all traditional preparations of soya use fermentation - soya milk is not the natural, healthy product we are led to believe and if we throw away the traditional practices that have come with millenia of eating these plants or fungi then we do so at our peril. Our symbiotic relationship with these other organisms has even caused changes in our own biochemistry - take for example the fact that islanders in Scotland living last century on a diet based on oat porridge were found to have developed a unique enzyme that helped in the digestion of oats! We are not separate from the other kingdoms, we influence each other.

‘And as with all medicines, they come with side effects’. I disagree - not ALL medicines have side effects. Apples are used medicinally, so is garlic, and ginger and I can’t think of side affects associated with them. They contain compounds that act as medicines in the body and they are also foods with nutritional merit. With natural medicine these two roles often (but not always!) cross over. I do not believe that our bodies take in a substance and then think ‘ah this is a medicine chemical’ or ‘ah this is a food chemical’. They just break the substance down and work with those chemicals (or become worked ON by that chemical).

Also, the reason medical herbalists like myself use traditional whole plant extracts - not standardised extracts - is because we know that of the few hundred chemicals in each plant, some of the most active ones DO have side effects but that very often (but not always!), within the structure of the plant will be a chemical that counteracts that effect. That is why traditional preparations are so important. Take Kava Kava for instance. When traditionally prepared, this plant contains liver toxic kava lactones, BUT it also contains 10 x as many glutathione which protects the liver from the lactones. When a US company decided to make a standardised pill of Kava Kava they thought they’d make it stronger, increased the number of kava lactones and threw out the natural ratio - guess what? Liver damage in consumers followed and the herb has now been banned for use in some countries (like the UK). Or the really amazing feature of dandelion leaf (used as a diuretic to lower blood pressure) that puts paid to the traditional issue of pharmaceutical diuretics leaving the body with a potassium deficit (a problem for heart health) by being so high in potassium that even AFTER you pee out all that potassium - you still end up with a net gain of potassium!

Also, to lump all mushrooms together is the same as saying all animals or all plants are the same. Which is clearly nonsense. And compare Psylocybin with other mushrooms negates their incredible variety and complexity. Do we disregard all plants because belladonna is toxic? Of course not, but we know that belladonna is a very useful medicine when used safely, in tiny doses and so we don’t put the belladonna berries in our smoothie, we leave that for professional herbalists to administer when it is necessary. We pick blackberries for our smoothies.

You see what I mean? I find his to be totally reductionist thinking and completely misses the point about the complexity of natural medicines - whether they are plant or mushroom based.

I do take his point that the wellness industry is always trying to find the next superfood - which is highly irritating and often just about trying to part you with your money. Mushrooms are becoming popular and are turning up in everything from protein powders to lattes. However their use has been documented for over 3000 years (in China and India) in times when people relied ENTIRELY on them as well as plants and animals for food and medicine and therefore what I find is that those accounts of the use of natural medicines tend to be extremely detailed, as against the modern tendency to remember headline uses and forget the rest.

That is quite a lot of thoughts for one post - so I shall leave it there for now and hope that I have made sense!

Pamela

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@pamelaspence
What an amazing and super informative response. It will take me a few reads of your message to (hopefully) fully comprehend what you are saying.
An important message however is immediately visible (and I have witnessed this numerous times): Opinions of people with extreme views and with reductionist thinking need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

I thank you for spending considerable time reflecting on this topic and to type out your message - and YES, you totally made sense!!

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Ah thanks @laurent.rossier for such a lovely response. It took me a few reads to get my head around what he was saying too! I absolutely agree that statements with more extreme views and particularly reductionist thinking need to be examined thoroughly and not taken as fact because they are delivered with a voice of authority! :herb:

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Interesting update on using Lion’s Mane in clinic I thought you might be interested @laurent.rossier, @Kaveh, @MJB, @stephendahmermd

I mentioned my patient in his early 50s with onset of a rare dementia called logopenic progressive aphasia. There is no treatment, no idea of how quickly it will progress, only a surety that it will progress and that language is usually the first thing to be affected, followed by ability thinking skills and mood. I was saying that I was going to use Lions Mane mushroom as a supplement, along with a herbal tincture. Since there was no treatment available we decided it was worth a shot. I chose some traditional herbal brain tonics (medical herbalists rarely, if ever, only give one herbal substance) but the key herb in the highest quantity was Lions Mane.

When I first met him, he was unable to string a sentence together, there were big lapses in speech as he was looking for words and the only time he could really be coherent was if I asked him a question about something that happened in the past. He had begun to forget many household tasks (like running the washing machine, for example) and although he was on a phased return to work (2 hours a day) he was really only there for the social stimulation because he was unable to carry out any tasks.

Fast forward 8 weeks and I feel like I’ve just met the guy for the first time. He was able to answer all my questions without delay, joke with me and actively participate in our conversation without any trouble. Last time his daughter had to answer all his questions for him. He is now up to 80% of his standard work hours and is back on tasks again, his speech and language therapist has stopped coming weekly and has now arranged to see him every 2 months instead. He is managing all tasks around the house without prompting and has even gone back to playing golf.

No other changes to medication or diet have happened. I am stunned.

Could this be some kind of remission? Yes, it is possible, but remission is not expected in this kind of dementia and he has not experienced it before. Could it be the herbs? Yes, since it is the only thing that has changed. Is it all Lions Mane? No idea - if the herbs are responsible, it is likely to be the synergistic effect of all of them working together.

I am always cautious to claim a win for the herbs - but I look forward to seeing what happens next. Any my reason for posting - I’ve learned time and again that when it comes to herbal medicine there is always something else you can try. And that despite herbs often not having the strength of pharmaceutical herbs (think garlic vs a pharmaceutical antibiotic) sometimes the way they are able to interact with our bodies is infinitely more profound.

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Thank you Pamela for this fascinating report. Please do keep us posted on the progress of your patient.

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Hello @pamelaspence
You are amazing!!! Thank you for such a fascinating account. Very curious to learn much more about this as we progress with Sofi. And yes, please do keep us posted.

Honestly, it is people like you with input such as these that are the true icing on the Sofi-Cake at this stage. Wonderful success with your patient - and totally factual and non-emotional account.

Thank you for sharing this with us!!

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