Lions mane, Hericium erinaceus

Lions mane is a unique fungi, which resembles a beautiful waterfall when found in the wild and has recently been discovered to have potent medicinal properties.   Historically reserved only for royalty, its tender white flesh tastes similar to seafood and compliments many different types of cuisine.  Now with improved cultivation techniques, everyone can enjoy this delicious health stimulating delicacy!

This mushroom grows on many different tree species; on dead and dying oak, rubber, acacia, sycamore, beech, maple and other broad-leaf trees.  This majestic masterpiece of fungi also grows very well on walnut and will fruit for many years because of the walnut trees slow decomposition process.  One should only use fresh cut (within 2 months old) logs, sawdust, or wood-chips.  Once inoculated, bury the logs one-third of the logs length (preferably 3-4 foot logs) into the ground in a shady area.  These mushrooms can also be cultivated on grain and certain varieties can grow on agricultural waste products.  For more info on growing techniques please check out Paul Stamets book Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms as well as Mycelium Running (you can find them at fungi.com).

Miraculously, recent scientific findings have proven that the Hericium erinaceus species is capable of stimulating the growth of neurons in the brain and helps with neurological disorders such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons and MS.  Because of is low molecular weight, the medicinal constituents are able to pass through the blood-brain barrier, which then causes a myelin-generating influence on cerebellar glia and nerve cells (in-vitro studies, Kolotushkina and others 2003).  Traditionally used in Chinese medicine for stomach ailments, Lions mane is effective against hepatoma cells as well as for prevention of gastrointestinal cancer.

In addition, as outlined in Mycelium Running (pg. 38), the following benefits have recently been documented:

Lions mane is antibacterial, anti-candida, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, has potent anti-tumor properties and is found to be a nerve tonic.  Furthermore, it has been found to be effective against specific cancers such as gastric/stomach and liver cancer.

Lions mane contains 20.46g protein, only 5g. of fat and 375 calories.  In a 100g. serving it gives us 57 IU of vitamin D, 61.8g of carbs. and 40.9g of complex carbs.  With 39.2g dietary fiber, 11.8g niacin, 20.9g sugars, panthothenic acid, thiamine, potassium, calcium, B1, B5, riboflavin and selenium, this delicacy packs it in!

Also useful for these particular microbes, Aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, Bacillus spp. (pg 58)

For more info on the amazing properties of mushrooms as listed above, check out pg. 242 Mycelium Running, also you can go to fungi.com for grow kits!

More to come on this fantastic fungi!