Hericium erinaceus or Lion’s mane mushroom is a well-known edible medicinal mushroom with a distinctive appearance, resembling a beard or a monkey’s head. It grows on dead broad-leaf trees, however some species of this genus (e.g., H. abietis) also grow on pine trees. Over the last few years, H. erinaceus has gained in popularity due to its products on the market, obtained from the cultivated fruiting bodies and fungal biomass.
In Asia, the mushroom is also called ‘nature’s nutrient for the neurons’, because it contains erinacines, which stimulate the biosynthesis of nerve growth factor and catecholamines in the central nervous system (Kenmoku et al. 2002, Shimbo et al. 2005, Mori et al. 2008, Kawagishi et al. 2011). Thus, H. erinaceus promotes the regeneration of damaged nerves due to physical injury or various neurodegenerative diseases and therefore have a therapeutic potential for treating Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis and even physical nerve damage (Kolotushkina et al. 2003, Mori et al. 2009).
Over the last two or three decades, numerous studies have shown that H. erinaceus also possesses anti-cancer properties strongly linked to immunomodulation (Liu et al. 2000, Lee and Hong 2010, Khan et al. 2013), acts against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA; Kawagishi 2005) and even exhibits gastroprotective activity against gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori (Xu et al. 1985, Yu et al. 1999) or induced by ethanol consumption (Abdulla et al. 2009).
Kenmoku, H., Shimai, T., Toyomasu, T., Kato, N., Sassa, T., 2002. Erinacine Q, a new erinacine from Hericium erinaceum, and its biosynthetic route to erinacine C in the basidiomycete. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 66 (3), 571-575.
Shimbo, M., Kawagishi, H., Yokogoshi, H., 2005. Erinacine A increases catecholamine and nerve growth factor content in the central nervous system of rats. Nutrition Research, 25, 617–623.
Mori, K., Obara, Y., Hirota, M., Azumi, Y., Kinugasa, S., Inatomi, S., Nakahata, N., 2008. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 31 (9), 1727-1732.
Kawagishi, H., Simada, A., Shizuki, K., Ojima, F., Mori, H., Okamoto, K., Sakamoto, H., Furukawa, S., 2011. Erinacine D, a stimulator of NGF-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum. Heterocyclic Communications, 2 (1), 51-54.
Kolotushkina, E.V., Moldavan, M.G., Voronin, K.Y., Skibo, G.G., 2003. The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro. Fiziol. Zh., 49 (1), 38-45.
Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., Tuchida, T., 2009. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother. Res., 23 (3), 367-372.
Liu, C., Gao, P., Qian, J., Yan, W., 2000. Immunological study on the antitumor effects of fungus polysaccharides compounds. Wei Sheng Yan Jiu, 29, 178–180.
Lee, J.S., Hong, E.K., 2010. Hericium erinaceus enhances doxorubicininduced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Cancer Lett., 297, 144–154.
Khan, A., Tania, M., Liu, R., Rahman, M.M., 2013. Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values. J. Complement. Integr. Med., 10 (1), 1–6.
Kawagishi, H., 2005. Anti-MRSA compounds of Hericium erinaceus. Int. J. Med. Mushr., 7 (3), 350.
Xu, C.P., Liu, W.W., Liu, F.X., Chen, S.S., Liao, F.Q., Xu, Z., Jiang, L.G., Wang, C.A., Lu, X.H., 1985. A double-blind study of effectiveness of Hericium erinaceus Pers therapy on chronic atrophic gastritis. A preliminary report. Chin. Med. J., 98 (6), 455-456.
Yu, C.G., Xu, Z.M., Zhu, Q.K., 1999. Cytoprotective effects of Hericium erinaceus on gastric mucosa in rats. Chinese J. Gastroenterol., 1999-2002.
Abdulla, M.A., Noor, S.M., Sabaratnam, V., Abdullah, N., Wong, K.H., Ali, H.M., 2009. Effect of culinary-medicinal Lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae), on ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in rats. Int. J. Med. Mushr., 11 (3), 325-336.