Nerve Regeneration by Wild Mushroom Hericium erinaceus

Out of the kitchen, into the pharmacy, the gourmet mushroom Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) with its unique flavor resembling lobster or shrimp appears to also possess likewise unique medicinal properties. It has been found to stimulate nerve and myelin regeneration, which may be beneficial in many neurological conditions. World renowned medicinal mushroom expert Paul Stamets suggests its potential application in conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. [134]

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 specific medicinal compounds under scientific scrutiny are called erinacines, which are relatively small organic molecules that can pass through the blood brain barrier. Of course, passing through the blood brain barrier is essential in order to effect healing on nerve tissue or myelin sheaths. [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. [155]

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.

Modern studies have affirmed the validity of this traditional application of Hericium erinaceus extract. One paper published in 1985 reported positive findings in the treatment of atrophic gastritis. Another from 1995 concluded that Hericium erinaceus had an ameliorating effect on hepatoma with an increased life expectancy for treated patients. [156]

Finally, a few additional areas where modern research has reported benefits from the use of Hericium erinaceus extract include: Anti-tumoral [159]; stomach cancer [134]; inflammation [134]; immune support [157]; antimicrobial against Aspergillus and Candida. [158]

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. Never use any herb (or mushroom) except as advised by a licensed medical practitioner.

Credit: Thank you to Paul Stamets for source material.

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