This press release was written for the Journal of Restorative Medicine to promote newly-released content.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Shows Promise For Treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has traditionally been used in Chinese and Japanese medical systems to fortify the spleen, nourish the gut, and also as an anticancer drug. But new research published in the Journal of Restorative Medicine shows that the mushroom is also a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
H. erinaceus produces two unique classes of terpenoid compounds – hericenones and erinacines. Both easily cross the blood-brain barrier and have been found to have neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects. Erinacines have been shown to increase production of nerve growth factor, according to an article published in the December issue of the Journal of Restorative Medicine.
Alzheimer’s disease studies in mice have demonstrated that H. erinaceus compounds generate numerous benefits, including prevention of memory impairments. Compounds from Lion’s mane also led to significant improvement in animal studies of Parkinson’s disease. Not many clinical studies have been conducted yet, but a small clinical trial of Japanese men and women showed significant improvement in cognitive function after patients took H. erinaceus tablets for 16 weeks.
While researching the Journal of Restorative Medicine article, lead author Kevin Spelman, PhD, also heard anecdotal evidence of the power of lion’s mane mushroom. “Almost everyone I talked to had a story about someone being in Alzheimer’s disease and putting them on lion’s mane, and them coming out of the Alzheimer’s disease, enough to at least be functional, if not even better than that,” he says.
Dr. Spelman is an internationally-recognized expert on the molecular biology and clinical therapeutics of botanical medicines. He is an adjunct assistant professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, an adjunct professor of botanical medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine, and a distinguished lecturer at the Maryland University of Integrative Health.
Based on his review of the scientific literature, Spelman says he is confident that lion’s mane mushrooms can be used to successfully treat a variety of neurological diseases. “Looking at the research and the data generated from that, it is strongly indicative of a very beneficial therapeutic effect,” he says. Lion’s mane mushroom can be used to improve memory and reduce neurological deficits, he adds.
Because the mushroom has been used in medicine for centuries, it has been proven to be safe. However, Spelman says that more clinical research into H. erinaceus is needed. “The clinical trials would really help inform physicians and other practitioners that this mushroom and its mycelia can actually be very effective for a number of neurological conditions.”
The article “Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane” is available for free online at the Journal of Restorative Medicine website, restorativemedicine.org/journal.