Lion’s Mane Mushroom 101: Benefits & Medicinal Properties

Native to many regions worldwide (including North America, Asia, and Europe), Lion’s Mane is a mushroom superfood that’s been used for thousands of years, especially in traditional Chinese medicine, to promote health and wellness with minimal risk of adverse effects. 

Today, the world is catching on to the benefits of Lion’s Mane, with many people adding it to their morning coffee, blending it in their smoothies, or even cooking it as a delicious meal! 

However you choose to take your dose of Lion’s Mane, this awesome mushroom is sure to become a regular in your wellness stack. 

Ready to learn more? Here’s a guide from Sunwink that breaks down the properties and benefits of Lion’s Mane and the yummiest Lion’s Mane supplements you can start taking today.

Why Is It Called Lion’s Mane? 

Officially called HericiumErinaceus, Lion’s Mane got its name due to its funky appearance. If you look at the raw mushroom, you’ll notice it’s covered in something that looks like white fur — which is similar to, well, a lion’s mane. 

But its cool appearance isn’t the only reason we love Lion’s Mane so much. 

Do you know how some mushrooms taste delicious while others have awesome health benefits? Well, Lion’s Mane has a little bit of both. It is a great addition to your diet and can go a long way in supporting your wellness goals. No wonder it’s stuck around for so long.

Intrigued? Keep reading to find out what exactly makes Lion’s Mane a true superfood. 

What Are the Medicinal Properties of Lion’s Mane? 

Lion’s mane has awesome benefits for the mind and body. 

Let’s break down how it works. Essentially, Lion’s Mane is made up of several special compounds called hericenones and erinacines. These are compounds that support nerve growth factor (NGF), which is a special chemical that can help brain cells stay strong and resilient. 

Other ways to support NGF include doing vigorous exercise and practicing yoga, but Lion’s Mane is an easy way to support a healthy brain for those with little time. 

That’s not all. 

Lion’s Mane may also support the immune system, which plays a role in many body functions. Not only does our immune system fight off nasty pathogens, but it also helps with healing from injuries, helps our bodies detox, and keeps us from getting sick from a chronic illness. 

Researchers aren’t sure exactly how Lion’s Mane helps immunity. One possible explanation is that the mushroom contains rich polysaccharides, which are carbs that healthy gut bacteria can feed on. Our microbiome plays a major role in our immune systems — so it makes sense that when it’s happy and healthy, our immune system is, too. 

What Are Some Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits? 

Now that we understand how Lion’s Mane works, you might be wondering what it can do for you.

Well, Lion’s Mane is something of a multi-purpose superfood, which can help you on your wellness journey in many ways. Lion’s Mane can help you boost focus, promote a positive mood, spark mental clarity, and give you a dose of extra energy —amongst many other things.

Here are the top five benefits of Lion’s Mane you can start reaping today: 

1. Superfood Qualities

A superfood is so much more than a marketing term. It describes foods with a super high nutritional content — such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or all three. These nutrients are not only essential for basic functioning but can promote all kinds of wellness goals. 

Lion’s Mane epitomizes superfood. It’s rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Instead of taking synthetic supplements, you can get a hefty dose of nutrition from this all-natural source. 

The best part is that Lion’s Mane is edible (and delicious to boot). If cooked, its taste is said to resemble seafood like crab or lobster. But it has a fairly mild flavor, so you definitely won’t notice it in your supplements, coffee, or daily smoothie. 

2. High Antioxidant Activity

Lion’s Mane is chock-full of antioxidants, work to support cell health throughout your body. 

Free radicals come from everywhere, although we get most of them from excessive sun exposure or air pollution. Stress can also create free radicals in the body. Needless to say, we get a lot of free radical exposure on a daily basis. Lion’s Mane can offer a protective effect that supports your wellness during exposure to free radicals and stressors.

3. May Support a Healthy Gut

As mentioned above, Lion’s Mane is full of healthy carbohydrates, including polysaccharides, beta glucans, prebiotic fiber, and digestive enzymes. These are a feast for your healthy gut bacteria, which can grow and multiply with a hefty dose of Lion’s Mane. 

At the same time, by supporting healthy gut bacteria, you may be getting rid of some of the bad guys, which can lead to stomach upset, allergies, and food sensitivities. 

4. May Support Immune Function

The microbiome plays a major role in the immune system. A large part of our immune system is actually inside the gut. There are many ways the microbiome interacts with the rest of the immune system, such as by creating antibodies. So, supporting a healthy gut (as Lion’s Mane does) can also help support a healthy immune system.

5. May Support Cognitive Function

The main compounds in Lion’s Mane, erinacines and hericenones, are well-known for their brain health benefits. By boosting brain-derived nootropic factor (BDNF), Lion’s Mane mushroom supplements can help support cognitive health and everything it comes with. 

In order to learn and remember new things, your brain depends on its ability to be “plastic,” which is another way of saying that it can change. 

When your brain is highly flexible, it may be more able to undergo the positive changes required for learning new things. Lion’s Mane can help with that by making it easier for brain cells to communicate with each other. 

Not only that, but Lion’s Made has been thought to help support the body’s healthy creation of new brain cells, especially in memory-related brain areas, which may help support areas of the brain involved in learning. 

6. May Help Maintain Emotional Wellness 

It may be because of its high antioxidant content or its positive effect on the gut — researchers aren’t exactly sure — but Lion’s Mane extract or dietary supplements can support a positive mood, too.

For instance, in some clinical trials and research, those who took Lion’s Mane experienced a better mood and higher sleep quality compared to a placebo. This makes total sense: If our minds and bodies are working better, our moods will likely follow. 

What Are the Best Ways To Consume Lion’s Mane? 

Lion’s Make is a super versatile superfood, perfect for anyone with a serious sweet tooth to those who prefer more savory foods. Consult your healthcare professional for medical advice before you incorporate Lion’s Mane into your diet for specific benefits, especially if you have certain health concerns or conditions.

Here are some ways to consume Lion’s Mane and start reaping its benefits today: 

1. Fresh & Cooked

Because of its popularity, high-quality Lion’s Mane mushroom shouldn’t be hard to find in popular health food stores. If you can get your hands on fresh Lion’s Mane, you can enjoy its benefits. Cooking Lion’s Mane can be as simple as sauteeing it in butter. 

You might wonder if cooking Lion’s Mane can destroy the valuable nutrients in the mushroom — which is what happens with many other plants — but this isn’t the case with mushrooms. 

Cooking mushrooms breaks down chitin, which is what mushroom cell walls are made of. As a result, your body is better able to absorb the nutrients from Lion’s Mane. 

2. Brewed in a Tea 

Brewing Lion’s Mane in tea is one of the oldest ways to consume this superfood. 

And making it couldn’t be easier: Just mix one teaspoon of pure Lion’s Mane powder with one cup of hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, strain it into a cup, and enjoy!

FYI, while cooked Lion’s Mane has a taste resembling seafood, its flavor completely changes when it’s brewed as a tea. Its flavor is described as mild and subtle, with flavor notes that pair well with warm spices, like turmeric. 

If you cool down your Lion’s Mane tea, you can mix it with our perfectly-crafted Turmeric Recover Sparkling Superfood Tonic

3. Mixed in a Coffee

Because Lion’s Mane promotes focus, energy, and a positive mood, we can’t think of a better addition to your morning routine. 

If you’re a coffee drinker, you can add some of the sweet-tasting Lion’s Mane powder into your daily cup of java. Some spices, like cinnamon, can perfectly compliment your coffee and the Lion’s Mane. 

4. Blended in a Smoothie 

Smoothies are a quick and easy way to get your daily intake of superfoods. Regular Lion’s Mane powder will do, but we prefer something with an extra flavor punch. 

Our Cacao Clarity Superfood Powder has a rich and delicious flavor that tastes great on its own or with your favorite fruit! 

5. Taken as a Capsule 

If you want the least amount of fuss possible, taking Lion’s Mane in capsule form is an easy way to get on with your day — especially if you consume other superfoods as part of your wellness routine. 


Lion’s Mane is a superfood mushroom known for improving gut health, boosting focus, and promoting a positive mood without unpleasant side effects. If you’re sold on its benefits, then Sunwink’s Cacao Clarity Superfood Powder is a convenient and delicious way to get your daily dose of this powerful mushroom. 



Full article: Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus | Mycology

Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota | Frontiers

Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia | NCBI

Interaction between microbiota and immunity in health and disease | Cell Research

Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) | Restorative Medicine

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