Lion’s mane mushroom is one of the most distinctive mushrooms in the world. Native to North America, Asia and Europe, it resembles a luxurious, creamy white lion’s mane and can be found growing on dead or dying hardwood trees such as oak, walnut and beech. It’s also known as ‘Yamabushitake’ or ‘mountain priest fungus’ – named after the Yamabushi Buddhist monks who, like this mysterious mushroom, prefer a solitary life.
Lion’s mane has been prized as a food in Asian countries for centuries; it can be eaten raw, cooked or dried – many people say it tastes like seafood. It’s also drunk as a tea and taken as a powdered supplement. It is often described as a ‘functional mushroom’ – a type of mushroom especially prized for its health and nutritional benefits. But what exactly does that mean? Allow us to explain.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Health Benefits
Health supplements – or, in our case, healthy additions to your favourite coffee – should never substitute conventional medical treatment, a healthy diet, frequent exercise and efforts to take time out and relax. Remember to look after yourself on all counts. However, this mushroom can be taken as additional support for your healthy lifestyle – and, when added to coffee, as a delicious treat.
Lion’s mane has long been used in Ancient Chinese and Japanese culture as a nutritive substance that helps to maintain the five main internal organs: the heart, liver, lungs, spleen and kidneys. As a food source, it was considered a good source of nutrients helping to maintain digestion. Containing carbohydrates, fibre and some protein, lion’s mane mushrooms also provide an important source of antioxidants and minerals, such as potassium and iron.
When we are deficient in particular nutrients, such as iron, our body becomes less efficient in fighting off colds and illnesses. Taking nutritional substitutes is a good way to ensure your body is energised from a balanced diet and well-equipped to sustain daily functions. Most of us are able to reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure with a healthy, balanced diet. However, if you are ever concerned, a visit to your local GP should be your first point of contact.
Having recognised the role nutrients play in supporting our overall health, it should come as no surprise that when lion’s mane is used in a mushroom coffee blend, it is regarded as a beneficial addition in helping to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Overall, helping to fortify your body by boosting your nutritional intake.
Relationship With Brain Function
Modern life brings many pressures, and these can take their toll on our well-being. Lion’s mane is believed to have a soothing and health-supporting effect on the body and the mind. It won’t sedate you, however; one of its nicknames is ‘the smart mushroom’ as it is believed to support your mental focus. Buddhist Shaolin monks are known to have used it to help them in their meditation and to cultivate the mystical life force known as chi, or Qi.
Nowadays, studies are still ongoing into the effect on the body and mind, so whether this is a key lion’s mane mushroom benefit is not medically supported. However, its long history of being taken to support mental clarity and focus still stands. And, when the nutritional makeup of lion’s mane mushrooms is considered, antioxidants have been found to maintain brain function alongside other factors.
How Can I Increase My Intake of Lion’s Mane?
If you live in North America or Canada, you can go foraging for this variety of mushrooms in late summer and autumn (be sure to get decent guidance on how to identify them). But, in the UK these mushrooms are rare – and they are protected, so even if you do stumble on one, leave it be. All is not lost, however, you can buy lion’s mane mushroom growing kits and harvest your own at home, and you can buy dried lion’s mane mushrooms from some shops, especially online.
Once you get your hands on some, there are more ways to incorporate them into your daily intake than you may think.
Cooking With Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Cooking these mushrooms is a great way to ingest them as the heat helps to break down their cell walls and release their nutrients. As lion’s mane tastes similar to seafood, it’s a great substitute for ingredients such as squid, lobster or scallops. You can enjoy it simply pan-fried – add butter if you’re feeling decadent and flavour it with anything from soy sauce to lemon and garlic. You can make these mushrooms the star of a dish or serve them as an accompaniment to meat, fish or vegetables.
You can also steam lion’s mane mushrooms in hot water to make a tasty tea; again, the heat will maximise the benefit you get from the mushroom by extracting its health-supporting ingredients. But we think there’s something better - mushroom coffee.
The Joys of Mushroom Coffee
Attribution: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) - Marco Verch Professional Photographer
Mushroom coffee is an excellent way to harness the power of functional mushrooms, and it’s gloriously easy to make. Simply brew it up as you would normal coffee. Then just sit back and enjoy, knowing that it’s been infused with mushrooms for a touch of extra charisma. There’s nothing mushroomy about it, by the way – our mushroom coffees are exceptionally smooth. They’re made with the finest Colombian, Rainforest Alliance-approved coffee beans – we make sure we scrutinise our sourcing and supply chain to bring you brews that are ethically sound as well as delicious.
Are There Any Side Effects of Lion’s Mane Coffee?
Our lion’s mane coffee blends provide great lower caffeine and caffeine-free alternatives; our lion’s mane latte blend has no caffeine content. Due to the mushroom addition, there’s no need to worry about that caffeine buzz as it has a milder effect on hormonal health. However, when you look to find a nutritional supplement to incorporate into your diet, if you have doubts it is best to consult your GP. Especially, if you regularly take other medication. Once reassured, you are free to enjoy the soothing effects of these blends, whilst also gaining additional lion’s mane mushroom benefits.
Up Your Intake with Cheerful Buddha
One of the simplest ways to enjoy lion’s mane mushroom is, of course, in our lion’s mane coffee, or our lion’s mane superfood latte – an instant and vibrant latte that can be made up with water, or with milk for extra creaminess. Order your products today or get in touch to find out more.
Do lion’s mane mushroom products work immediately?
It’s very much a personal thing. Drinking a cup of lion’s mane coffee may help you feel the benefits right away, but some people feel drinking it regularly, over a period of time, brings the best results.
Is lion’s mane a cure-all?
No, and don’t believe anyone who tries to market it as a panacea. Lion’s mane does contain certain key nutrients and should be taken to support a healthy lifestyle, not as a medicine or a replacement for healthy living.
What does science say about lion’s mane mushrooms?
Scientific understanding of how this remarkable mushroom affects human health is still developing – have a quick look around the internet and you’ll find many intriguing findings and theories.
Can I drink lion’s mane mushroom coffee every day?
Yes, as long as you have no intolerance or allergy, a daily dose will help you maximise the benefits.
Is lion’s mane mushroom coffee suitable for everyone?
If you have an allergy to mushrooms or experience an allergic reaction such as a rash after taking lion’s mane mushrooms, it’s best to avoid them.