Lion's Mane has a taste and texture similar to lobster or crab; stringy, meaty, and delicate. Once cooked, it's slightly chewy, tender, and juicy, with a seafood-like taste. Lion's mane readily takes on the flavor of spices and sauces.
What is Lion's Mane Mushroom?Lion's Mane Mushroom is a fascinating nootropic substance. It is a common ingredient used in high quality daily nootropic stacks today, and it is a key ingredient in Performance Lab Mind.
Lion's Mane, also known as Hericium erinaceus, the Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom or the Monkey Head Mushroom, is a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine. It has a long hisotyr of both culinary and medicinal use, with traditional medicine practicioners prescribing it for ailments including insomnia, low mood, low immune system function, and memory loss.
In cooking, Lion's Mane is commonly eaten in China, where it is routinely combined with other speciality mushrooms such as Shiitake and Oyster.
While most of its "traditional" uses have no corroborating evidence, there are some benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom which have strong support from recent clinical trials.
Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits: Why you should eat this medicinal mushroomWhat are the benefits of eating Lion's Mane Mushroom? Should you make the effort to consume this medicinal mushroom?
If you're interested in maximizing your cognitive performance for the long-term, then you should absolutely consider adding Lion's Mane Mushroom to your diet, at least a few times per month.
The benefits of Lion's Mane consumption are extensive, covering almost every aspect of cognitive function, and health more generally.
The known benefits of regular Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract consumption include:
- Enhanced memory retention and recall
- Improved focus and concentration
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Better sleep quality
- Improved mood
- Enhanced immune system function
- Better long-term cognitive function
It's no wonder then that Lion's Mane is fast becoming one of the most popular mushroom supplements in the world. However, you don't have to use Lion's Mane supplements to see these benefits; eating Lion's Mane on a regular basis will produce these same benefits, although it is definitely harder to eat enough Lion's Mane on a daily basis to get the same results as a high quality extract.
How does eating Lion's Mane work?
Why does eating Lion's Mane produce these benefits?
Lion's Mane consumption has been found to increase the release of neurotrophic factors in the brain. Specifically, Lion's Mane triggers the release of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), and to a lesser extent, Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).
These neurotrophic factors regulate neuron growth, repair, and proliferation. By increasing NGF (and BDNF to some degree), Lion's Mane consumption increases the rate at which you create new neurons and repair old, damaged neurons. It also speeds up neuron dendrite growth and brain cell maturation.
The end result of all of this is significantly improved cognitive performance.
BDNF is also implicated in cognitive function, brain health, and wellness more broadly. Studies suggest that BDNF may improve mood, reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and bolster the immune system, both within the brain and systemically throughout the body.
What do Lion's Mane Mushrooms taste like?Lion's Mane Mushroom is noted for its seafood-like taste. Many people describe Lion's Mane as having a flavor and texture similar to crab, lobster, and other large shellfish.
In terms of texture, Lion's Mane is very stringy and meaty; much meatier than most mushrooms. It is somewhat similar to oyster mushrooms, although it is much chewier and juicier.
Remember that Lion's Mane takes on the flavor of whatever spices or sauces you cook it in. So if you cook your Lion's Mane in a spicy tomato broth, it will taste like the broth. In this regard it is a lot like tofu, chicken, and other mushrooms.
How to source Lion's Mane MushroomsLion’s mane mushrooms are in season during late summer and autumn. You can usually buy Lion’s Mane Mushrooms at your specialty health food store, although these will usually be dried rather than fresh. With a little online research, you can even find Lion's Mane spores to grow your own!
Sourcing fresh Lion's Mane can be very difficult. This is partly why we recommend using a high quality Lion's Mane supplement, or a nootropic stack which contains plenty of Lion's Mane, such as Performance Lab Mind.
Thankfully, dried Lion's Mane confers the same health benefits as fresh Lion's Mane, if not more!
How to cook Lion's ManeThe key to cooking Lions Mane Mushrooms, or any wild mushrooms for that matter, is simplicity. Wild mushrooms are bursting with flavor all on their own, so doing too miuch to them can actually ruin the dish.
For best results when cooking Lion's Mane, stick to frying your mushrooms in salt, pepper, garlic, and a small amount of butter.
To start, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Do not add any oil. Dry saute the Lion's Mane until the water releases from the mushrooms and the edges start to brown. Then add a healthy pad of butter (or cold-pressed rapeseed oil for a vegan alternative) and ensure all the mushrooms get coated. Cook the lion’s mane mushrooms until golden brown, whichusually takes about 3-5 minutes each side.
When cooked properly, lion’s mane mushroom has a meaty texture. It is advisable to pierce a mushroom with a fork to check it is chewy yet soft before serving.