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Lion's Mane

Botanical Name

Hericium erinaceus, syn. Hericium erinaceum, Hydnum erinaceus

Common Name

Lion’s mane, bear’s head, monkey’s head, comb tooth, bearded tooth mushroom, satyr’s beard, bearded hedgehog mushroom, pom-pom mushroom, bearded tooth fungus.



Parts Used

Fruiting bodies, mycelium

Native To

North America, Europe, China, and Japan.

Harvesting Guidelines

When harvesting lion's mane mushrooms, it's important to let them mature fully or take only one at a time if there are multiple fruiting bodies. These mushrooms are soft and can be easily removed from the host tree with a knife. However, their lifespan is dependent on weather conditions and may last up to 6 weeks. Before consuming, be sure to inspect for insects. Lion's mane can be cooked, stored in the fridge, dried for future use, or tinctured.


Hericium erinaceus, commonly known as lion's mane, has various names in different cultures. In Japan, it is called yamabushitake, which translates to "those who sleep in the mountains," named after the billowy and light-colored garment worn by hermit monks of the Shugendo sect of ascetic Buddhism. In China, it is known as shishigashira, meaning "lion's head," while in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is called hóu tóu, which means "baby monkey," possibly due to its furry exterior and arboreal habitat. In French cuisine, it is referred to as pom pom du blanc, named after its light color and shape, which resembles a decorative pom-pom.(1)

Lion's mane has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for its potential to support gastrointestinal health. It is considered a safe and nutritious food and is often used to treat stomach ailments, including ulcers. In fact, the mycelium of the lion's mane mushroom is used to make pills for this purpose in China. Native American tribes have also used lion's mane as a styptic to stop bleeding from minor cuts and wounds, which may be related to its usefulness in treating bleeding in the stomach or duodenum. Another related species, coral hedgehog, has also been used in folk medicine for its digestive tonic properties and to treat stomach ulcers.(2)

Lion's mane, a type of mushroom, has been studied for its potential to boost the immune system and aid in the treatment of various types of cancer. While most of the research has been conducted in vitro or with animal models, some studies have shown promising results. Water extracts of lion's mane, which have been traditionally used as a food, broth, or powder, have been found to affect macrophage activity and nitric oxide production, both of which are involved in cancer biology. In one study, lion's mane combined with the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin had a positive effect on drug-resistant human hepatocellular carcinoma.(3)

Lion's mane mushroom has been traditionally used as a tonic for the mind and is believed to promote longevity. It is known to preserve normal cognition and improve mood, especially in middle-aged and older adults. Recent research has shown that lion's mane contains unique compounds that can protect and enhance neuronal structure and function. These compounds are small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier intact, making them effective in promoting brain health. While most of the research has been conducted in tissue studies or animal models, there have been some promising human clinical studies as well.(4)

A study conducted in Japan on the effects of lion's mane mushroom on dementia showed promising results. The study involved 100 patients with various conditions such as Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and diabetic neuropathy. The treatment group received 5 grams of freeze-dried Hericium erinaceus mushroom in soup for 6 months. Of the seven patients in the treatment group who suffered from cerebrovascular dementia or Alzheimer's disease, six showed improvement in perceptual capacity, and all seven showed improvement in overall Functional Independence Measure. This suggests that lion's mane mushroom may have potential benefits for those with cognitive decline.(5)


Adult Dose (6)

Powder: 2-5 g powder per dose in food or water.

Decoction: 2.5-5 grams dried or 25-50 grams fresh fruiting body (Chinese Pharmacopeia as cited in.

Tincture: Approximately 1-3 mL (1:3 in 60% for fresh fruiting body, or 1:5 in 40% for dried) (Rogers, 2011).

Capsules: Two capsules of dried powder, 3-6 times per day or equivalent of 3 grams per day as tablets.


Lion's mane is a type of mushroom that has been used as a food and tonic for centuries. While there have been limited human clinical trials on its safety, its long history of traditional use as a food suggests that it is relatively safe when consumed in the recommended adult doses. However, more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits and any potential risks.




(1)Rogers, R. (2011). The fungal pharmacy: The complete guide to medicinal mushrooms and lichens of North America. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

(2)Xu, C., Liu, W., Liu, F., Chen, S., Liao, F., Xu, Z., … Lu, X.H. (1985). A double-blind study of effectiveness of Hericium erinaceus pers therapy on chronic atrophic gastritis. A preliminary report. Chinese Medicine Journal, 98(6), 455-456.

(3)Lee, J., & Hong, E. (2010). Hericium erinaceus enhances doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Cancer Letters, 297(2),144-154.

(4)Nagano, M., Shimizu. K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical Research, 31(4), 231-237.

(5)Kasahara, K., Kaneko, N., & Shimizu, K. (2001). Effects of Hericium erinaceum on aged patients with impairment. Gunma Medical Supplements, 76, 77-78.

(6)Powell, M. (2014). Medicinal mushrooms: A clinical guide (2nd ed.). Dorset, UK: Mycology Press.


Scientific Research:

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