- Santa Cruz Fungi
Lion's Mane Mushroom
Common Names: Bearded Tooth, Japanese Yamabushitake, Pom Pom, Bearded Hedgehog, Crinière de Lion, Monkey Head
Lobster-like, Sweet, Nutty
Edible Cultivated Mushroom
4 - 7 days
Large, white, shaggy
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom: Lion’s Mane Supplements, Mushroom Extracts, and Fresh Fungi
Lion's mane is packed with vitamin d, potassium, iron, antioxidants, protein, beta-glucans, and NGF (nerve growth factor). In recent years, they have gained popularity for various health and wellness benefits. High-quality lion's mane mushrooms are available in various forms, including supplements, powders, fresh, dried, and extracts. The fruiting body and mycelium of the mushroom are often used to support cognitive function, brain cells, and overall brain health. Evidence-based practice has shown that it can help improve mood, reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, repair nervous system, and support a healthy immune system. Let’s dive into the other benefits:
Beta-glucans: Complex polysaccharides that can help stimulate the immune system. Beta-glucans may help activate white blood cells, which play a vital role in fighting off infections and diseases. Regular consumption of lion's mane supplements or extracts may help boost immune function, have anti-inflammatory effects, and reduce the risk of infections.
Hericenones and erinacines: Compounds which are believed to support nerve cell growth and development. These compounds found in lion’s mane mushrooms may help improve cognitive function and memory, and may also help protect against age-related cognitive decline. Additionally, lion's mane supplements or extracts may help support nerve regeneration and repair after injury.
Neuroprotective effects: Special compounds that may be beneficial for individuals with Alzheimer's disease. These compounds may help promote the growth and repair of nerve cells, and may even potentially slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. While more research is needed, some studies have suggested that it may help improve cognitive function in individuals with mild cognitive impairment.
Anticoagulant effects: Lion’s mane may help prevent blood clots from forming. Blood clots can be dangerous as they can cause heart attacks or strokes. The anticoagulant properties of these fluffy mushrooms may help support cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Prebiotic fibers: Help support the growth and activity of probiotics in the gut. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and play a vital role in supporting immune function, digestive health, and overall wellness. Consuming lion's mane mushrooms may help support a healthy gut microbiome and promote the growth of beneficial probiotics.
It's worth noting that while there is growing evidence to support the many health benefits of this medicinal mushroom, even more research is needed to fully understand the effects of lion’s mane. As with any dietary supplement, it's important to speak with your a healthcare professional before adding large amounts of lion's mane to your diet to make sure there are no side effects or adverse effects with other medications.
How To Store lion's mane Mushrooms
Keep your lion’s mane mushrooms in the fridge, inside the wax paper bag. They'll keep fresh for about 4 - 7 days.
If you don't plan on eating them within the 4 - 7 day window, we recommend:
Cooking then storing in the freezer.
Drying in a dehydrator.
Drying in the oven at its lowest setting for 2 hours. Flip them halfway through.
Pro Tip #1 → Dried lion’s mane mushrooms can be rehydrated by soaking in warm water for 20 minutes or by tossing them in a simmering soup!
Pro Tip #2 → Store lion’s mane mushrooms towards the top of the fridge. Avoid the veggie drawer, it's often too cold for them!
How To Prepare lion's mane Mushrooms
IMPORTANT: Do not wash! If the base of your lion’s mane mushroom has substrate (sawdust) cut or pull it off.
In our experience, the best way to get a buttery, crispy texture is to slice it into thin strips about a quarter to one-eighth thickness. Some recipes may prefer larger pieces, however, we've found that it cooks the best this way.
Cook them with a sprinkle of salt in a dry pan over low heat until most of the moisture is gone. Add fat of choice (butter, oil, or ghee) along with chopped garlic, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and turn the heat up to medium. They'll golden up in about 10-15 minutes.
Hunting for lion's mane Mushrooms
Hericium erinaceus are a saprophytic type mushroom, meaning it feeds off dead trees and matter. Mushroom hunters typically find these delicious medicinal mushrooms growing in the wild on decaying hardwoods across North America, Europe, and many Asian countries. The first known mushroom growing farm was reported in China in 1988. Lion’s Mane fruiting bodies has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a way to combat the deficiency of Qi or “life force.” There are many ways to get the many health benefits of lion’s mane, like taking supplements with the fruiting body, adding lion’s mane extracts to your recipes, or just eating it in your favorite dishes. The images above show the fruiting bodies we stumbled upon in the forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
lion's mane Mushroom Recipes We LovE
Lion's Mane mushrooms are known for their shaggy pom-pom appearance. When cooked they have a fresh lobster or crab meat-like texture with slightly sweet nutty notes. They can develop a crispy buttery flavor when pan-fried. If you’re feeling lazy but still want to add a mushroom supplement in your life, check out our ready-made Organic Key Lion’s Mane Mushroom Mousse that’s packed with the same health beneficial lion’s mane extract tucked into a delicious, dessert.