Home Health Topics Health Benefits and Side Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Health Benefits and Side Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom

by Gauri Kolhe

As the name suggests, resembling the fluffy mane of a lion, Lion’s mane mushroom or Hericium is a fungus found in the forests of Asia, Europe, and North America. It has been used for its medicinal benefits for centuries.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been extensively used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat ailments like constipation, inflammation, and anxiety and boost mood and cognition. The mushroom grows on the trunk of dead or old broadleaf trees and can be easily stored in powdered or in fresh form to be used as a culinary ingredient.

Stick to the end of the article to understand the various health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms and the precautions you should consider while consuming the mushroom.

Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom

The mushroom can be differentiated into two parts, i.e., the visible fruiting part and the root structure, which is the mycelium. The fruiting and mycelium contain health compounds that provide many health benefits, from physical to boosting cognitive aid. These bioactive compounds in lion’s mane mushrooms also exhibit anti-cancer, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities.

Below are some of the potential benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms

1. Nutritional Powerhouse

Lion’s Mane mushroom is a powerhouse of nutrients. Essential amino acids required for the body’s healthy functioning are present in these mushrooms. Amino acids are considered the body’s building blocks; therefore, their high concentration in the mushroom can be an effective inclusion in daily diet. The mushroom also contains low polyunsaturated fatty acids and low fat content.

The nutritional profile of lion’s mane mushroom is as follows (for 100 grams)

  • Calories- 35 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 2 Grams
  • Potassium- 304 Mg
  • Sodium- 10mg
  • Calcium- 2mg
  • Iron- 0.41mg
  • Carbohydrate- 2g

2. Treatment for Depression

Research published in 2020 suggested that lion’s mane mushrooms can potentially be a remedy for depression. The research suggested that consuming mushrooms ensures sufficient neurotransmitters and that the inflammation caused due to depression and nerve growth loss caused due to stressful situations can be reduced.

Nerve growth helps in the specialization of nerve cells, which becomes potent for remaining healthy and helps regulate mood. It has been found that lion’s mane mushroom helps in increasing the nerve growth factor that benefits brain health and reduces aging.

3. Boosting Brain Health

The effect of the mushroom could be further studied to understand its benefits to boost brain health. Ailments like Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments could be effectively kept at bay with the help of these mushrooms. The mushrooms provide nootropic compounds that help increase the brain’s functioning.

In a study conducted in 2021, people suffering from traumatic brain injury experienced a reduction in inflammation and amelioration of oxidative stress upon consuming lion’s mane mushroom and turkey tail mushroom. Traumatic brain injury often leads to worsening mental health, leading to Parkinson’s and other complications; however, neurodegeneration can be effectively reduced with the help of the mushroom. Lion’s mane mushroom has also shown effectiveness in alleviating anxiety and stress symptoms.

Our brain is not able to create new nerve connections as we age. Still, with the consumption of mane mushrooms, it has been observed the special compounds present in the mushroom, erinacines can stimulate brain cell growth.

4. Protects against Gastrointestinal Ailments

With increased fast food consumption and instant nibbles, it is common to observe people developing ulcers in their gastrointestinal tracts and further complications. The development of ulcers is caused by the overgrowth of H. pylori and continuous damage to the mucous layer. Several studies have shown that lion’s mane mushroom has effectively protected the gastrointestinal tract against bacterial overgrowth. It was also observed that the mushroom is effective against inflammation and ulcers caused due to alcohol abuse. It can effectively treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other bowel ailments.

5. Takes Care of Heart Health

Obesity and consumption of oxidized cholesterol increase the risks of blood clots leading to heart ailments; lion’s mane can effectively help treat these conditions and reduce the risk of heart diseases in the long run. Studies have revealed that extracts from these mushrooms can lower triglyceride levels and enhance fat metabolism.

Oxidized molecules attach to the artery walls, increasing the thickness and the related risk of heart attack. The oxidation of cholesterol in the bloodstream can be effectively controlled with the help of a lion’s mane mushroom. Hericenone B, present in the mushroom, efficiently decreases the risk of blood clots as well.

6. Manages diabetes

Diabetes leads to blood sugar imbalance in the body. Altered blood sugar levels can lead to various complications, including vision loss, kidney disease, and nerve damage. Studies have reported that lion’s-name mushrooms can effectively be used in treating diabetes. The mushroom blocks the enzyme alpha-glucosidase’s activity, which helps break carbohydrates; when the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates are altered, the blood sugar levels get effectively managed. The mushroom also helps treat feet and hand pain caused by diabetes.

7. Combats inflammation

Healthcare professionals have observed that inflammation can be considered the root cause of several ailments, including cancer. Lion’s mane mushroom contains potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that help alleviate inflammation effectively. Cancer arises when replication occurs without any control, leading to DNA damage. Studies have shown that extracts of lion’s mane mushrooms with cancer cells have effectively halted the replication of the cancerous cells and even led to the slow spread of the disease.

Side Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane mushroom provides a plethora of health benefits; however, one should always be advised to learn about the side effects as well. Seek professional assistance before consuming lion’s mane mushrooms, as the common side effects observed are skin rash, gastrointestinal discomfort, and nausea. If you have a history of allergies or are under treatment for other ailments, ask your healthcare provider before consumption.

Some of the potent side effects of lion’s mane mushroom include

1. Decreased Sex Drive

It has been observed men report decreased libido upon consuming lion’s mane mushrooms. The mushroom blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which usually leads to low sex drive.

2. Drop in Blood Pressure

Lion’s mane mushroom produces a hypotensive effect, which causes a decrease in blood pressure; this can be anguishing if the person already suffers from low blood pressure. It can cause more adverse effects.

3. Development of Allergic Reactions

All types of mushrooms lead to allergic reactions, and lion’s mane mushroom is no exception. The development of symptoms like breathing difficulties and skin rashes are commonly observed in people who have consumed the mushroom. While the mild symptoms can be effectively treated with medications, upon occurrence of severe complications like swelling, skin hives, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps should be immediately consulted with professionals.

4. Gastrointestinal upset

You might face digestive upset upon consuming Lion’s mane mushrooms, including boating, gas, and diarrhea. In that case, it is best advised to reduce the dosage consumed.

5. Potential Interactions

Lion’s mane mushrooms possess anti-platelet properties, which do not allow blood clots to form. This can be risky when combined with anticoagulants and blood thinners, leading to an increased risk of bleeding. Therefore, it is always advised to stop consuming the mushroom a week prior to surgery.

6. Toxicity

Lion Mane’s mushroom may contain poisonous or mycotoxins, leading to severe complications, including liver toxicity, headaches, and skin irritation.

How to Incorporate Lion’s Mane Mushrooms into Your Diet?

Lion’s Mane Mushroom tastes meaty, delicate, tender, and juicy. It is a great substitute for seafood options for vegetarians. Lion’s mane mushrooms can be purchased as powders, dried or fresh. Fresh and dried versions are best suited for grilling and frying, whereas the powders can be used in broths, beverages, and baking.

It is best advised to purchase the mushrooms fresh, but you have to store them properly so that they are able to retain their freshness for a longer time. Store the mushrooms in a refrigerator in an airy paper bag if you are planning to eat them within a few days. Try to keep the mushrooms away from any liquids, as it will lead to mold development.

As the mushrooms begin to age, they grow yellow; cut off those yellow parts to ensure the flavor is reserved. However, if the mushrooms turn orange or rot, it is best to throw them out. You will be able to store lion mane mushrooms for about a week with proper storage procedures.

Lion’s mane mushroom can be seamlessly incorporated into daily diet as a primary culinary ingredient. They are incredibly versatile and easily incorporated into dishes without overpowering the taste. Before cooking, cut the bottom part of the mushrooms, as they are dirty and can be poisonous upon consumption. You can dehydrate your mushrooms in an oven and store them in jars; this will help you store the lion’s mane mushrooms for a long time.

Mentioned below are some easy ways to prepare the mushroom

  1. Saute- This method best suits stir-fries or accompanying salads and pasta. You should use a mild-flavored oil to saute as the mushroom will retain its flavor. Since the mushroom is meaty in texture, it will take longer to cook it perfectly. Once the water evaporates, the mushrooms can then absorb your seasonings better. Turn off the heat once the mushroom edges turn brown.
  2. Slow simmer- If you want a lion mushroom in bone or soup style, then slow simmering is best. This method will help teach the umami flavor to your homemade soup and aid in extracting all the flavors of the mushroom effectively.
  3. Powdered form: You can easily grind the mushroom to its powdered form and add it to your hot beverages. The rich texture of the mushroom elevates the taste of tea or coffee.
  4. Pan-fry: Lion’s Mane mushroom can be used in a steak-like preparation instead of meat. Damp a piece of paper, slice the mushroom into half-inch steak cuts, and then saute the sides in a pan until it becomes tender. Season it according to your preference.

Here are some delicious recipes that you can use to reap the maximum benefits of lion mane mushroom

1. Crispy Mushroom Saute


  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of herbs (according to your preference)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 oz of Lion Mane Mushroom (sliced in half-inch pieces)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


  • Season the mushroom pieces properly with pepper, salt, and flour.
  • Place a skillet and let it heat; add olive oil; add the mushrooms when the oils get heated up.
  • Saute the mushrooms until the sides turn brown.
  • Now lower the heat and add garlic and butter; sprinkle the herbs of your choice.
  • Once the butter melts, cook the mushrooms till the garlic turns brown. Add seasoning according to your preference.
  • Serve the started mushroom and drizzle with butter from the pan on the top. Garnish according to your choice.

2. Crab Mushroom Cake


  • ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup of diced onion
  • ¾ teaspoon of old bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcester sauce and Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz of Lion Mane Mushroom
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Oil
  • Lemon wedges (for garnish)


  • Shred the mushrooms to remember the flakey crab.
  • Mix parsley, Worcester sauce, onion, mayonnaise, old bay seasoning, parsley, Dijon Mustard, egg, pepper, and salt, and whisk them together to paste. Then add the mushrooms and the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Flatten the mixture into flat patties. Cook the patties on each side for 2-3 minutes until they turn brown.
  • Serve them hot and garnish them with lemon wedges (according to your preference).

3. Mane Mushroom Sandwich


  • ½ cup of flour (all-purpose)
  • ½ cup of cornmeal
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne powder
  • ½ tablespoon of old bay seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz of Lion Mane mushroom (cut into ¾ the size)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 brioche rolls
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato


  • Add cornmeal, old bay seasoning, pepper, and salt in a bowl.
  • Coat the mushroom in the mixture, dip it in the egg, and then in flour.
  • Add oil in a skillet, place the mushrooms coated in the flour mixture, and fry till it becomes golden brown on all sides. Season the mushrooms according to your preference.
  • Toast the rolls and add mayonnaise on the sides; now add the tomatoes, onions,  and finally the mushrooms and serve your delicious Mane Mushroom Sandwich

4. Lion Nuggets


  • ½ cup of flour (all-purpose)
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder and white pepper
  • 5 Tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 8 fresh Lion Mane Mushroom
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt


  • Cut the mushrooms into ¾ inches and coat them  with cornstarch properly
  • Mix cornstarch, flour, salt, baking powder, garlic powder, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk to incorporate all the ingredients; add water and keep on whisking to make a smooth paste
  • Fry the mushroom pieces until all sides become golden brown.
  • Serve the nuggets hot with your favorite condiment.

5. Lion Orange Chicken


  • Cooking Oil
  • ½ tablespoon of cornstarch, water, orange juice, and sugar
  • 1 ½ pound Lion’s Mane Mushroom cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 cup of diced onion, red bell pepper, and green onion
  • 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, and tamari/ soy sauce
  • Sesame seeds
  • Crushed red pepper


  • Mix cornstarch and water; add orange juice,  rice vinegar, tamari/ soy sauce, ginger garlic paste, and crushed pepper in a medium pan and prepare the sauce. Add the cornstarch water into the sauce and cook it to thicken.
  • In another pan, add oil for deep frying; place the mushrooms and fry until golden brown; add orange juice and cook until the juices get released; remove it from the heat and set aside.
  • Add oil to another pan, coat the mushrooms in cornstarch water, and fry them to make them crispy.
  • Add peppers and onion, and saute in another large pan; add ginger garlic paste, and finally, the crispy mushrooms and the prepared orange sauce to fully incorporate them.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and onion greens for a delicious touch.

 What Should You Consider?

Lion’s Mane Mushroom can be used as a supplement or as a culinary ingredient. If you are consuming the ingredient as a supplement, it is advised to consume it in the dosage prescribed by your healthcare provider. It is usually recommended to consume 250- 500 milligrams per day divided into three batches as a culinary ingredient.

Lion Mane mushrooms are rich in various essential ingredients, including alkaloids, steroids, and polysaccharides, that provide a plethora of healthy benefits, including combating cancer and inflammation and boosting the immune system; however, there are significant side effects associated with the consumption of the mushroom as well; therefore, it becomes extremely important to follow the discretion of healthcare professionals before incorporating the mushroom in your diet.

You can easily purchase fresh mushrooms from local or grocery stores. However, if you purchase mushroom powder, ensure the purchase is made from a certified website with positive comments and high ratings. Upon observation, any side effects upon consuming lion’s mane mushrooms should be immediately reported to healthcare providers.

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