Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) and Nerve Regeneration

By Dr. Markho Rafael

Out of the kitchen, into the pharmacy, the gourmet mushroom Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) with its unique flavor resembling lobster or shrimp appears to also possess likewise unique medicinal properties. It has been found to stimulate nerve and myelin regeneration, which may be beneficial in many neurological conditions. World renowned medicinal mushroom expert Paul Stamets suggests its potential application in conditions such as Alzheimer's, dementia, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. (134)

In the wild, Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) grows on hardwood trees, especially oak, sycamore, maple, walnut and beech. It can be found throughout the temperate areas of the world, from North America and Europe to Japan and China.

The active compounds that have received the most attention for their nerve regenerating properties are named erinacines, a series of low molecular weight molecules that are able to pass through the blood brain barrier - an essential attribute for any medicinal compound expected to be able to effect healing on myelin or nerve tissue. (152, 153, 154)

There are currently two Japanese patents on different extracts of Hericium erinaceus. One was filed in the 1990's for an extract named "Nerve Growth Stimulant Factor." (150, 151) The other, filed in 2004, is for a water extraction process, yielding a product that is likewise used for nerve and myelin healing. (155)

In addition to its effect on nerve regeneration, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also prescribes Hericium erinaceus extract for stomach and digestive conditions, as well as cancers of the digestive tract and related organs.

Two modern studies have confirmed this ancient wisdom. One done in 1985 showed positive results for treating atrophic gastritis. Another conducted a decade later, in 1995, showed some ameliorating effect on hepatoma, with a marked life extension of treated patients. (156)

Note: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never use any medicinal mushroom or herb without prior approval by medical doctor.

Credit to Paul Stamets for research and source material.

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