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The Lion’s Roar

The Lion’s Roar

The Brain-Boosting Mushroom You Need to Know
2 minutes read


April 3, 2024

By Erik Vaughan, Epiphany Co-Founder

“Wait, wait, wait … this isn’t a mushroom! I’ve seen pictures of mushrooms and this is not a mushroom. It looks like a brain! Wish I had one…”

–David Moss, host of New Day Cleveland, in a cooking segment with Epiphany’s Don King

Of all the magic mushrooms you can find in the forest that are delicious, nutritious and can help change your brain – and are also NOT illegal to possess – my favorite is Lion’s Mane.

Lion with mouth wide open, eyes closed, and roaring.
Just like the roar of a lion, the Lion’s Mane mushroom can have profound effects.

Meet Hericium erinaceus – also known as mountain-priest, bearded tooth, monkey’s head and yamabushitake:

These gourmet mushrooms – known for their meaty texture and mild, savory taste – are sometimes sold in Midwest grocery stores as “pom-poms.” They can be featured as a center-of-the-plate option for many meatless recipes – like the one referenced above by Epiphany’s own Director of Mycology, Don King.

Dehydrated Lion’s Mane products are also sold online and at health food stores – and the mushroom renaissance we’re currently experiencing has helped bring Lion’s Mane supplements into the Western culture mainstream.

These mushrooms can be cultivated indoors and are also found growing in forests throughout North America, Europe and Asia – typically on dead or dying hardwood trees. My family and I recently found a variation known as “Bears Head Tooth” at a park in our hometown of Hudson, Ohio.

Beyond its culinary value and striking good looks, the potential health benefits of Lion’s Mane mushrooms are what make it special. A quick Google search can point you to studies exploring its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and even potential antidepressant effects. But for me, the most compelling research is centered around what Lion’s Mane can do for our brain.

A 2008 study in Japan showed that adults with mild cognitive impairments taking Lion’s Mane powder over the course of 16 weeks (1) scored significantly higher on cognitive tests versus the placebo group, and (2) showed a notable decline in test scores once they stopped taking the Lion’s Mane powder.

Of note, tea made from this mushroom has a long history of use in meditative practices by Buddhist monks due to its perceived contemplative power. So while the magic of this amazing mushroom is relatively new to Americans, its potential has been understood and appreciated for generations in Asia.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, treat yourself to some Lion’s Mane from a trusted local grower (ours will be ready soon) or from a guided foray with a local mushroom expert!


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