The lion’s mane mushroom is a powerful adaptogenic fungus that offers a whole wealth of potential health benefits. Yet if you’re not familiar with medicinal mushrooms, it can be tricky to know how to harness those benefits. So in this article, we’ll discuss how and when to take lion’s mane. By the end, we hope that you’ll feel more confident about including this amazing wellness-enhancing fungus in your diet.March 09, 2023 7:15 pm March 08, 2023 4:37 pm
What is lion’s mane?
Lion’s mane is a striking mushroom that grows on dead hardwood trees in Asia, Europe, and North America. It gets its name from its multitude of cream-colored tendrils, which hang together in shaggy clumps on the tree trunks. The resulting shape is reminiscent of a wise old man’s beard or a proud lion’s mane. As such, people also refer to it by names like the ‘bearded tooth fungus’ and ‘pom-pom mushroom’.
Similar to other medicinal mushrooms, the use of lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is still relatively new in western medicine. However, practitioners of traditional medicine in countries like China and Japan have been using this fabulous fungus for centuries. The whole of the mushroom is edible, although you can also take it in supplement and powder form.
Traditionally, people have harnessed the power of lion’s mane to help with everything from improving digestion to boosting general vitality. It’s even said that some monks use lion’s mane to enhance their concentration when meditating.
What’s really interesting is that modern scientific research is now finding evidence to support this ancient wisdom. We’ll discuss this in more detail below, then get into the specifics of how and when to take lion’s mane.
What are the benefits of lion’s mane?
Before talking about when to take lion’s mane, it’s important to know how the mushroom could benefit you. Evidence is emerging that suggests it could offer a wealth of different advantages. We have a whole article about the benefits of lion’s mane if you want more detail, but here’s an overview.
One of the key areas in which lion’s mane can be beneficial for us is our cognitive health. Studies indicate the mushroom could stimulate the growth of certain brain cells and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.(1) Likewise, research suggests that lion’s mane may ease symptoms of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.(2)
There is also evidence that lion’s mane might enhance your body’s natural defences. For example, studies have found the fungus could promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut that strengthen immunity.(3) Speaking of the gut, research additionally suggests lion’s mane could protect against IBS and ulcers in the digestive system.
Similarly, lion’s mane is also effective at fighting inflammation and oxidative stress. This is key because experts have linked both to a range of chronic medical conditions. As an example, the mushroom helps protect the health of your heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in your bloodstream.(4)
Research has additionally discovered that lion’s mane may have cancer-fighting properties. Early results suggest it could both slow the spread of the disease and kill cancer cells.(5) However, further study is required to clarify this.
And cancer isn’t the only condition lion’s mane could be useful in tackling. Evidence also indicates that the fungus may help with diabetes by aiding the body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels.(6)
Let’s move on to how and when to take lion’s mane, to help you get the maximum benefits from this potent mushroom.
When to take lion’s mane
Interested in giving lion’s mane a try? The best thing to do is to make it a part of your daily routine. You shouldn’t expect to see results overnight, so consistency is key.
Thinking specifically about when to take lion’s mane, there’s currently a lack of evidence regarding which time of day is most effective. Having said that, the consensus among many users is that it’s best to take the mushroom in the morning or afternoon rather than in the evening to see the greatest benefit.
One factor to bear in mind when deciding when to take lion’s mane is the results you’re hoping to get. As an example, you could have it early in the day to boost your brain health and productivity. Alternatively, some people like to take it after work as a way to reduce anxiety and improve their mood. Happily, there’s no caffeine in lion’s mane, so you don’t need to worry about it keeping you awake at night.
The answer to the question of when to take lion’s mane also depends on what suits your routine and how you’re consuming it. For instance, if you’re using powder, you could stir a teaspoon into your morning coffee or an afternoon hot chocolate. Meanwhile, those using fresh mushrooms might prefer to cook them in place of regular mushrooms for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Whichever options you choose for how and when to take lion’s mane, try to use it regularly for optimum results.
How to prepare lion’s mane
As well as knowing when to take lion’s mane, you need to understand how to prepare it. The main factor to consider is whether you want to use fresh mushrooms or lion’s mane powder. Both have their advantages, and the best option for you will depend on factors like your routine and personal preferences.
To help you decide, we’ll now look at how to prepare lion’s mane both ways.
"If you want to enjoy the maximum benefits of lion’s mane, the best thing to do is make it part of your daily routine."
How to eat lion’s mane mushroom
Lion’s mane mushrooms have quite a soft texture and mild flavor. In fact, people often compare them to seafood such as crab and lobster. That means you can cook and eat them in the same way as many other mushrooms you get at the supermarket. You could add lion’s mane to stews, stir-fries, risotto, and pasta dishes, or use it to make soup or gravy.
Tucking into fresh mushrooms is a fantastic way to ensure you get all the beneficial nutrients in a natural manner. For flexibility around when to take lion’s mane, you can use them in your breakfast, lunch, or evening meal and still enjoy a hearty dose of nutrition.
The only downside to using fresh lion’s mane is that the mushrooms are not always easy to source. Depending on where you live, they might not be a common sight in the supermarket. Having said that, it’s usually possible to find them in specialist shops or buy your mushrooms online. Just make sure that you choose a reputable supplier that sells organic lion’s mane.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that you might not want to eat fresh mushrooms every single day! Indeed, many people don’t like the texture or taste of them at all. If that’s the case, you do have other options for how to eat lion’s mane mushroom.
For example, we’ve created savory Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom Snacks, which have a 1g dose of the fungus. We make these delicious crackers with a base of activated seeds, so they’re also great for your gut microbiome. The taste of the lion’s mane is gentle and earthy, so even if you’re not a fan of fresh mushrooms, we’re confident you’ll love them!
How to use lion’s mane powder
Alternatively, you could try using a powder as a convenient, versatile method for how and when to take lion’s mane. Lion’s mane powder is made by drying the mushrooms and then grinding them. As such, when you use it, you get all the same wellness-boosting nutrients as you would from consuming whole mushrooms. At the same time, whatever you decide about when to take lion’s mane, a powder is easy to include in your diet.
For starters, you can use powder to make traditional lion’s mane tea by stirring half a teaspoon into hot water. One top tip is to put the powder in an empty teabag. That ensures you won’t have any undissolved powder in the bottom of your cup. Mushroom tea is an effective way to take lion’s mane because the hot water helps extract all the nutrients in the fungus. Then you know you’re getting the most out of your powder.
Because lion’s mane has such a mild taste, you’re able to add it to all sorts of other hot drinks without spoiling their flavor. For instance, including it in your morning tea or coffee is a fabulous way to start your day. Alternatively, treat yourself to an indulgent yet health-enhancing mushroom hot chocolate made with cinnamon, chilli, or vanilla. The best beverage option for you will depend on your choice about when to take lion’s mane!
As well as drinks, you can also use our Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder in your cooking. Its earthy flavor makes it a perfect addition to savory dishes like soups, stews, and gravies. So have fun with it! Try adding lion’s mane to your favorite meals, and you’re sure to find lots of delicious ways to include this fabulous fungus in your diet.
How much lion’s mane to take
Just as there’s no rule on when to take lion’s mane, there’s currently no standard accepted dosage indicating how much lion’s mane to take daily. Therefore, it’s best to always follow the guidelines that are given on the specific product you buy.
Let’s use our lion’s mane powder as an example. We recommend stirring between half a teaspoon and a whole teaspoon of powder into your favorite hot drink. You can do this up to twice a day. This is a comfortably safe amount, and sufficient to enjoy the mushroom’s many potential benefits to your wellbeing.
Remember to take a break after six to eight weeks of using lion’s mane. This is because the mushrooms activate your immune cells, and it’s important to give your body time to rest and rebalance after a cycle of using them. Those in good health can do three or four of these cycles a year.
A note on quality
Whichever option you pick for how and when to take lion’s mane, it’s important to choose a high-quality product. Specifically, it’s best to avoid any powders or capsules that are bulked out with fillers. Look for ones which are 100% mushroom, like our lion’s mane powder.
In addition, you want to make sure that your lion’s mane is high in beta-glucans. That’s because these are responsible for many of the fungus’s health benefits. We’re passionate about mushrooms, so grow our lion’s mane in small batches on organic lignocellulosic substrates under carefully controlled conditions. An independent and accredited tester also quality-checks them for us, to ensure each batch is rich in beta-glucans.
As a result, we can say with confidence that our lion’s mane contains over 32% beta-glucans – which is considered very high.