The term “lion’s mane” sounds like something you’d find roaming the plains of the Serengeti. Yet did you know it’s also the common name for an edible mushroom with promising medicinal properties?
Lion’s mane, or Hericium erinaceus, is one of the more interesting looking types of mushrooms out there. In place of the traditional mushroom cap is a large clump of teeth, which are spine-like structures a few millimeters long.
The lion’s mane mushroom – Hericium erinaceusThe purpose of these teeth is to manufacture and release spores, the “seeds” of a mushroom that allow the fungal organism to reproduce. Many different types of mushrooms have teeth instead of a cap, but lion’s mane and other members of the Hericium genus are some of the most recognizable.
These mushrooms provide more than just a visual treat. They’re considered by many to be a gourmet edible, with a wonderfully chewy texture and taste slightly reminiscent of seafood.
Lion’s mane has also been the subject of more and more medical studies in the past decade. They appear to have nerve regenerating properties, stimulating nerve growth and aiding those with cognitive impairments. Yesterday’s funny looking mushroom may be part of tomorrow’s dementia treatment.