Lion’s Mane powder refers to the dried and pulverized product made of Lion’s Mane mushroom. It can be purchased directly or within capsules. Lion’s Mane is associated with several health benefits, although these benefits range based on the supplement type.
Before buying Lion’s Mane supplements, be sure to understand what to look for in your supplement: the different mushroom sources (fruiting body vs. mycelium), the extraction methods (none, alcohol, water, or dual). Check out our unsponsored, impartial product review of the top Lion’s Mane supplements in the North American (U.S. and Canada) market.
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane, or hericium erinaceus, is a medicinal mushroom, used in traditional Chinese medicine, and gaining attention more recently in the West for its numerous health benefits [Spelman 2017]. Supplementing daily with Lion’s Mane for an extended period of time is associated with improved memory and better cognitive functioning, particularly for the elderly or those suffering from dementia. It may also help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and boost energy.
Why does Lion’s Mane come in powder form?
Although one can eat Lion’s Mane mushroom directly, the variety of health benefits reported in scientific studies (and those also from a traditional medicine perspective) do not come from ingesting the fruiting body directly. Instead, the mushroom is processed in order to optimize the health-promoting compounds within it. Both the fruiting body (the actual, visible part of the mushroom) and the mycelium have beneficial compounds.
To process the fruiting body, the mushroom is first dried and then pulverized into a powder form. This is generally what Lion’s Mane powder refers to. However, Lion’s Mane powder can also refer to a more processed version of dried mushroom. The mushroom may also undergo an extraction process, where it is soaked (or depending on the temperature, cooked) using water, alcohol, or some combination. The resulting substance from these processes also appears like a powder, sold in pure powder or encapsulated form.
What are the benefits of Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane powder, that of just dried, non-processed mushrooms, is associated with some health benefits. Few studies exist using this form of Lion’s Mane, but some show that it may provide some of the cognition-boosting benefits of the mushroom.
However, the vast majority of research, particularly the research demonstrating the potent health benefits, is based on Lion’s Mane powder from some extraction technique (water, alcohol, or both). These products still look like Lion’s Mane powder, but they’ve under gone certain processing that makes additional bioactive ingredients available.
What to know before buying Lion’s Mane?
Before buying Lion’s Mane powder, be sure to understand what health benefit you are attempting to gain from Lion’s Mane and what the most appropriate supplement type is for your needs. For example, if you are seeking the cognition-boosting effects of Lion’s Mane, then alcohol extracts may be more potent sources of the nerve growth factors (NGF) responsible for these benefits. Additionally, the mycelium may be even more beneficial for this need than the fruiting body.
It’s also important to understand what to look out for in Lion’s Mane supplements (extraction type, quality, reliability) and what dosage you require.
Of course, consult with your trusted healthcare practitioner before making any choices that may affect your health. Although Lion’s Mane is generally safe, there are some possible side effects to be aware of.