Ihor J. Basko, DVM, Laurie Dohmen, VMD, MS
Issue: Volume 70 Winter 2023
Online Publication Date: 6 April 2023
The use of the culinary and medicinal mushroom Lion’s Mane (LM) (Hericium erinaceus) has been extensively researched. Much of the recent research has been fueled by interest in using LM to prevent and treat neurological diseases such as cognitive decline, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease and to stimulate peripheral nerve regeneration. This mushroom is rich in physiologically important components. The main bioactive phytochemicals extracted from LM’s fruiting body and mycelia are hericenones, erinacines, polysaccharides, and dilinoleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine (DLPE). β-glucan polysaccharides are immuno-active and responsible for LM’s anti-cancer, immunomodulating, hypo-lipidemic, antioxidant, and neuroprotective actions. The hericenones and erinacines can cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF). Since NGF keeps the brain and nervous system regenerating and repairing itself, research has been focused on the effect of these compounds on brain and nervous system conditions. In veterinary medicine, supplementation of LM has potential in the treatment of many conditions, including peripheral nerve damage, dementia, cognitive decline, anxiety, and spinal cord trauma and degeneration.