Spiritual Benefits of Lion's Mane: Mental Clarity, Concentration, Mood

You walk through a densely wooded ancient forest, searching intently, the light of early day cutting through the tree canopy in places. And suddenly, you spot exactly what you came here for: a pale puff of mushroom with the ability to enhance your spiritual experience and mental wellbeing. 

For centuries, epicures, healers, and naturalists have foraged the spongy lion’s mane mushroom (H. erinaceus) from the bark of trees and fallen logs in forests across the northern hemisphere. This aromatic, flavorful fungus has found its way into culinary masterpieces (like this mouthwatering lion’s mane mushroom recipe) and medicinal remedies alike, regarded as a functional superfood and lauded for its healing properties in traditional Chinese medicine

But lion’s mane spiritual benefits go even further, supporting mind, memory, and more, allowing us to stay more present and fully experience all life has to offer.   

Mental Clarity 

For an organ weighing in at only three pounds, it’s incredible to think that the brain can hold every memory, all of the information and experiences we’ve taken in throughout our lives, and still seamlessly choreograph the movements of our bodies and functions of our minds. So it’s no wonder the brain requires a great deal of nutrients, oxygen, blood flow, and essential chemicals to stay in constant action. And when something falls out of balance, preventing this powerhouse from receiving the energy and nourishment it needs to function at optimal levels, we can experience elements of brain fog like fuzziness, confusion, forgetfulness, indecision, and difficulty processing information. 

A powerful therapeutic for those seeking keener perception, improved critical thought, and greater mental clarity, lion’s mane supports brain health and cognition by helping to form stronger neural connections. Certain connections deep within the brain’s neural networks can impact how we learn, our capacity to make informed decisions, and according to neuroscientists at MIT, may affect our ability to access information and balance emotional and logical responses. In other words, lion’s mane can help us to fight the fog and think more clearly.   

We can also experience brain fog as a result of high stress levels, which lion’s mane is known to help regulate (more on this below). “If your brain is a computer,” says Healthline, “anxiety and stress are those programs that run in the background and make everything else run slowly.” One reason for this is the ability of stress to lower the flow of blood and oxygen to our brains, which can create a state of chaos in our minds. Lion’s mane has been shown to balance the effects of this “oxidative stress” in the brain, helping us to reach a clearer, sharper state of mind.   

To help you see things more clearly and harness the most meaningful decision making, thought processes, and mental composure to guide you on your path, try mixing a few drops of tincture into your evening tea.      


Concentration

Losing focus? 

Lion’s mane is a natural cognitive enhancer, or nootropic (and a safer alternative to pharmaceutical concentration drugs). The bioactive compounds in this shaggy shroom, like erinacines, work to stimulate the growth and health of neural pathways and brain cells called neurons. The brain is constantly receiving an unimaginable amount of sensory information, and responds by directing focus to whatever it determines as important in any given moment. Supporting our neural health with the right fuel helps the electrical activity in our brains that drives focus and helps us concentrate to point our attention in the right direction.      

Research shows this mighty mushroom has been found to help improve mild cognitive impairment, is widely reported to positively affect overall brain health, and is known to enhance cognitive function, even demonstrating neuroregenerative properties that help to strengthen memory and improve mental performance. And, its antioxidant properties help to stimulate blood flow and deliver the oxygen our neurons need to fire correctly. With all mental systems go, we can better zero in on the present, whether we’re mindfully spending moments with loved ones or exploring a new subject we’re passionate about.  

For a boost of focus to begin your day with presence, try adding these (delicious) lion’s mane mushroom infused gummies into your practice. 


High Spirits 

A blue state can be a drain on our energy and leave us feeling low, overwhelmed, and disconnected. As a potent adaptogen (naturally helping the body adapt to and manage stress) and spirit lifter, lion’s mane supports an even mood by helping to ease stress, anxiety, and depression.  

When we become stressed, our bodies respond as if we’re in danger, producing a hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone means well, showing up to put our body’s systems on alert for perceived threats. But spikes in cortisol are responsible for the racing heart and overwhelm you might feel during stressful moments, and left unchecked, can lead to a host of challenges for mental, emotional, and physical health. These can include trouble sleeping, anxiety, and depression. 

In a Biomedical Research study, extracts of this medicinal mushroom were shown to calm anxiety and reduce stress. Participants who ate cookies containing lion’s mane, says Forbes, specifically from the mushroom or fruiting body, reported lower anxiety levels after a four week study. Because lion’s mane helps to regulate the production of cortisol, the stress response and related anxiety are naturally eased, signaling the body and mind to lower perceived threat levels and return to a balanced state. 

Lion’s mane has also emerged as a potential natural treatment for depression. When we experience low mood or depression, our bodies may be lacking in neurotransmitters (like serotonin or dopamine), experiencing lowered growth of nerve cells (which help to regulate our mood), or struggling with depression-linked inflammation. This mood mushroom has been shown to address all of these factors, helping to increase nerve growth, boost the production of mood-lifting neurotransmitters, and reduce inflammation. 

In a 2018 study out of Taiwan, researchers found that lion’s mane increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, while also lowering the brain’s inflammatory response. According to research out of Malaysia, it’s also packed with neuroprotective bioactive compounds like hericenones, promoting growth in nerve cells. These compounds support the nerve growth factor in the brain, helping with the cellular synthesis of serotonin to relieve symptoms of depression. And, lion’s mane contains probiotics, which help to grow good bacteria and balance health in the gut, where 95% of the body’s serotonin is made.  

For an elevated mood with an added boost of energy, try this pick-me-up mushroom power couple

Whatever we are seeking, we need often look no further than what is offered to us by the natural world. If you’ve been searching for nature’s answer to building a sharper mind, greater sense of clarity, and lighter mood, you just might have found it.
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