Not only does it taste delicious, having the texture and consistency as some seafood like scallops or lobster, but it also has powerful neurotrophic abilities. Hericium erinaceus, is an edible fungus that has been long used by Chinese practitioners, touting users to have "nerves of steel and the memory of a lion."
Lion's mane mushrooms can literally take on the appearance of a mane, with cascading spores growing to great lengths before they are harvested. (see photos)
Lucky for us, we were able to see first hand, the life cycle of these protein packed fungi, during our tour of Hazel Dell Mushrooms in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Farm Manager, and mushroom guru, Jared, led us through the growth and harvest process for their five varieties of mushrooms: Crimini (most common, Large Portobello), Lions Mane, Cinnamon Cap, Shiitake, and Oyster (King Oyster).
The Growth Cycle (Copied from James Hammond 1/18/09)
Mushrooms are the spore (seed) producing part of a fungus. Like all living things Mushrooms can have many different shapes and colors depending on the variety. Some mushrooms are edible and choice *Like Ours!* and some are poisonous or simply just don't taste good.
The vegetative state of a fungus is called mycelium and this is typically white and cottony looking. Fungi do not manufacture their own food like plants. The mycelium grows through whatever material the fungus is feeding on and derives its nutrion from it.
A fungus can live for years in the vegetative state. Changes in certain environmental conditions will stimulate the fungus to produce the spore producing mushroom as a way of reproducing itself. Spores are produced and blow in the wind to some new spot to regrow into mycelium and start the fungal process over again.
At Hazel Dell, we grow our mushrooms on hardwood sawdust and mimick indoors what happens in nature. The sawdust is mixed with water and wheat bran and packed into special mushroom growing bags. These bags are steam sterilized and innoculated with pure cultures of the mycelium for the variety of fungus we are trying to grow. The mycelium grows throughout the bag in a period of 4-13 weeks at about 70 degrees F.and binds the sawdust together.
The block of sawdust is then removed from the bag and placed in a humidified and well lit harvest room which is about 60 degrees F. and has plenty of fresh air. This change in environment stimulates the block of mycelim impregnated sawdust to produce mushrooms. It takes about 1-2 weeks in our harvest rooms for the mushrooms to develop and they are then picked and sorted by trained harvesters. Because we use pure cultures of mycelium, we only get the mushrooms we are trying to grow.
Think of the change from a dry summer to a wet fall and thats what our farm is. Except that it is all done indoors under sterile conditions which creates consistant year round production of our wonderful mushrooms.
(see pictures from petri dish, to plate, below)
Now. For what you've been really looking to find out...how to make your brain cells grow and more powerful. For years, studies have been conducted (mostly on animals) to see the affects these mushrooms have on brain cells. It has been concluded that they have antibacterial, anti-hypertensice and anti-diabetic and would-healing properties.
Two novel bioactive compounds – known as hericenones and erinacines – in these mushrooms have been shown to activate a peptide found naturally in our bodies, known scientifically as “nerve growth factor” or NGF. NGF is critically important and necessary for the growth, maintenance, and survival of our brain cells, known as neurons.
These naturally occurring lion’s mane compounds also stimulate a process known as re-myelination. This proces helps to keep brain cells healthy, prevents them from being damaged, and increases their ability to conduct electrical signals efficiently.
This ability of lion’s mane to protect, heal, and regenerate brain cells may one day make it very useful for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, muscular dystrophy, senility, Parkinson’s disease, and other debilitating neurological conditions.
Since 1991, many studies have been published on the brain regenerative properties of lion’s mane mushrooms. For instance, a small clinical study published in 2009 showed that when lion’s mane was given to 50- to 80-year-old Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), their brain capacity improved significantly – but only as long as they kept consuming the mushrooms.
In this study, 15 men and women took four tablets containing 96 percent Yamabushitake (the Japanese name for lion’s mane) three times daily for 16 weeks. These subjects were then observed for a further four weeks after the therapy period ended.
The study researchers noticed that the Yamabushitake group had significantly higher scores on their cognitive function. In other words, their ability to use their brains to learn and remember were better when compared with the control group. The longer they consumed the lion’s mane mushrooms, the better their scores were.
However, 4 weeks after the study ended and their consumption of mushrooms had stopped, the scores of the Yamabushitake group went down significantly. No adverse effects of Yamabushitake were reported throughout the study or afterwards.
This study shows that lion’s mane could potentially be used to reverse some of the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in elderly people. MCI can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment and is considered to be an intermediate stage between normal mental decline seen with aging and the more serious brain function deficits seen in dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.
(Copied from https://organixx.com/lions-mane-mushroom-brain-protector/)
Pretty rad stuff!! Let us know what you think in the comments below! Be sure to check out Hazel Dell Mushroom farms and be on the lookout for out next pop-up dinner featuring these fabulous fun guys!!;)