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Research seeds: Lion’s Mane

In this article, we discuss the article “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial

Lion's mane mushroom on an oak tree
Lion’s mane mushroom on an oak tree

Plant name and species

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Aim of study

A double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial was performed on 50-80 year old people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment to see if lion’s mane improved the quality of their mind.

Study method

The subjects took four 250mg tablets containing 96% lion’s mane powder, three times a day for 16 weeks. Cognition was measured using the cognitive function scale based on the Revised Hasegawa Dementia Scale (HDS-R).  After they had stopped taking the capsules they were still observed for the next 4 weeks.

Herbal preparation: The subjects took four 250mg tablets containing 96% lion’s mane powder, though the available part of the study does not share the extraction solvent.

Sample size: 30 subjects were split into two groups of 15. One group were given placebo capsules and the other lion’s mane.

Results of study

At weeks 8,12 and 16 the group taking lion’s mane showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale when compared to the placebo group. The longer they took the lion’s mane, the more their quality of mind increased. However, after 4 weeks of not taking the lion’s mane their scores decreased again.


Other studies show that the active compounds hericenones and erinacines stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis. NGF is a protein found in the nervous system which stimulates nerve growth, differentiation and survival. This may be one of the causes of lion’s mane’s positive effects on memory and cognition. Lion’s mane has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression because of this.


This study shows that lion’s mane is effective at improving mild cognitive impairment.

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