We looked at the latest studies on lion’s mane mushroom and its interactions with prescription drugs. While lion's mane is perfectly safe for most people, it may interact with certain diabetes and blood thinning medications.
Let's dive into the details.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
The lion's mane medicinal mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) goes by many names, including monkey head and Santa’s beard.
Due to their antioxidant activity and health benefits for both the body and the mind, lion’s mane fungi have remained popular adaptogenic mushrooms for centuries, being used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as modern alternative medicine.
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Research on the health benefits of lion’s mane indicates the mushroom has significant potential to promote neurogenesis (nerve growth) and to prevent and repair nerve damage. Lion’s mane mushrooms seem to have protective effects on the brain, as they appear to improve overall mental function and alleviate neuropathic pain, among other neurological effects.
Hericium erinaceus seems to aid in:
- reducing depression and anxiety
- reversing mild cognitive impairment
- protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- reducing inflammation and nerve pains
- encouraging apoptosis of cancer cells
- speeding recovery of nervous system injuries
- lowering blood sugar levels
- reducing symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
Lion's Mane Spiritual Benefits
Lion's mane mushrooms appear to have spiritual benefits. Shaolin monks in ancient China used the lion's mane mushroom in daily practice to improve their concentration. They believed it increased their "Qi," a mystical, energetic life force. Lion's mane's bioactive compounds do indeed seem to improve focus and memory.
Does Lion’s Mane Interact With Any Medications?
Lion's mane mushrooms may interact with medications that work to slow blood clotting, such as antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs.The mushroom can have antiplatelet and antihyperglycemic effects, so lion's mane may be contraindicated for you if you're on antidiabetics or medication that slows blood clotting.
Lion’s Mane and Anticoagulants Interaction
Hericium erinaceus mushroom extracts were shown to have an inhibitory effect on collagen-induced platelet aggregation. Since platelet aggregation is responsible for blood clotting, the extract of Hericium erinaceus could slow down the body’s ability to make blood clots.
While this shouldn’t cause any issues and could even be beneficial for normal, healthy individuals, those who are already on blood-thinning medications, which also slow down blood clotting, may experience issues such as slower wound healing and more bruising if they start taking lion’s mane mushroom extracts.
Some of the most common anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) are:
Lion’s Mane and Antiplatelets
Due to the potential antiplatelet effect of Hericium erinaceus, people who are already on antiplatelet medication should use the mushroom with caution. Antiplatelet medication has a similar effect to blood thinners and is often prescribed by healthcare professionals to slow down the body’s ability to make clots.
Some of the most common antiplatelet medications are:
- acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin, Novasen, Entrophen, etc.)
Lion’s Mane and Antidiabetics
According to an animal study on the effects of lion’s mane supplements on diabetic rats, the activity of aqueous extract lion's mane mushroom supplements seems to include antihyperglycemic potential. Although there are no studies on the effects of lion’s mane extracts on people with diabetes, people who are on antidiabetics should be cautious when taking the mushroom.
Both antidiabetic medications and lion’s mane mushrooms lower blood sugar levels, so you may lower your blood sugar more than you expected if you take both at the same time. In order to prevent this, make sure to check your blood sugar levels frequently if you plan on taking extracts of Hericium erinaceus.
The most common antidiabetic medication includes:
Lion’s Mane Interactions with Antidepressants
Hericium erinaceus is known for its cognitive function and overall brain health benefits. One of the many benefits of lion’s mane for the mind is the mushroom’s ability to ease mild anxiety and depressive disorders.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus on symptoms of depression, and the results show that the participants who were taking lion’s mane dietary supplements showed fewer signs of depression after 4 weeks.
So lion's mane helps depression, but does it interfere with antidepressants? Although more research is needed, so far, no studies suggest that lion’s mane use can reduce or increase the effects of antidepressants. Still, if you want to try the alternative medicine route in addition to traditional antidepressants, make sure to consult a healthcare professional.
Lion's Mane Side Effects
The centuries of use and the research by professional medical reviewers seem to suggest that lion’s mane doesn't have any serious side effects.
However, due to insufficient evidence on the effects of this medicinal mushroom on pregnancy and newborns, we don’t advise taking it if you’re trying for a baby.
Additionally, avoid lion’s mane if you have a bleeding disorder or are scheduled for surgery, as the mushroom might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding due to its antiplatelet effects.
Who Should Not Take Lion's Mane?
Lion's mane mushrooms are generally safe for most people. However, if you are allergic or sensitive to mushrooms, you should avoid lion's mane. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction (a skin rash or difficulty breathing), stop taking lion's mane and contact a healthcare professional.
Is Lion's Mane Psychedelic?
No, lion’s mane is not a psychedelic and can’t get you high. Mushrooms that can cause a high contain a compound called psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic that can alter your state of mind.
As lion’s mane does not contain psilocybin or other psychoactive compounds, there is no risk of you getting high from consuming the fungus.
Interested in Trying Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is generally safe for most people. Still, if you want to take lion’s mane and use any of the medications mentioned above, it’s best to consult with a medical professional before you start taking a supplement.
Once your doctor gives you the green light, incorporate the helpful mushroom into your diet with our Forij Superfood Granola. In addition to a hyperconcentrated extract of lion’s mane, our granola contains extracts of chaga and cordyceps mushrooms.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and delicious. What more could you want in a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Drug Interactions FAQ
How much lion's mane mushroom is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane extract made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated lion's mane extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular lion’s mane supplement. Therefore, you get as much lion's mane potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg mushroom powder supplement, all in one bowl of granola.
Is lion’s mane good for the lungs?
Animal research suggests that lion’s mane may be quite beneficial for the lungs. An in vitro study examined the effects of the Hericium erinaceus mycelium on cancer metastasis to the lung cells. The results show that the mushroom extract inhibited metastasis of cancer cells to the lung in mice.
Can lion’s mane cause stomach ulcers?
No, lion’s mane does not cause stomach ulcers. Quite the contrary, the medicinal mushroom seems to improve digestive health and have gastroprotective properties, and it may even protect against ulcers, according to an animal study.
Can lion’s mane help with sleep disorders?
Research suggests that lion’s mane supplements may improve sleep quality, especially in sleep disorders caused by acute stress. A study examined the effects of lion’s mane on insomnia caused by exam-related stress in students. Compared to the control group, students who took the supplement reported feeling less anxious and having fewer sleepless nights after 4 weeks.
Do mushroom supplements interact with medications?
Yes, certain mushroom supplements can interact with medications. For example, supplements that contain the reishi mushroom can interact with medication that treat high blood pressure, since this mushroom has blood pressure lowering properties.
Certain medication can also interact with lion's mane mushrooms. These mushrooms may interact with blood clotting and anti-diabetes medication. However, they don't appear to interact with depression medication.
Can lion's mane cause anxiety?
No, lion's mane does not cause anxiety. Moreover, lion's mane may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorders. In addition to its ability to make you feel more relaxed and focused, Hericium erinaceus mushroom extracts may be able to improve sleep problems, a common symptom of anxiety disorders.
Should you take lion's mane before bed?
You should avoid taking lion's mane before bed. Extracts of Hericium erinaceus were shown to have memory-boosting properties, so it's best to take these mushrooms in the morning or early afternoon to reap the benefits throughout your work day. Taking lion's mane before bed may make you feel restless and unable to fall asleep.
Can lion's mane treat Parkinson's disease?
Lion's mane could be beneficial for Parkinson's disease patients. This mushroom was shown to promote nerve cell growth, and Parkinson's disease is caused by nerve cell degeneration. As there are no side effects to taking lion's mane, it's advisable to start taking this fungus as a way to prevent and treat Parkinson's disease.
What is the best lion's mane dosage for neuropathy?
Lion’s mane mushrooms have the potential to alleviate neuropathic pain. To reap these benefits, it's best to take about 500-1000 mg of Hericium erinaceus 1-3 times a day. The exact dosage will differ from person to person, so you should experiment until you find the perfect dosage for you.
Does lion's mane mushroom affect blood pressure?
Yes, the lion's mane mushroom can affect blood pressure. Specifically, this mushroom may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. By lowering blood pressure, lion's mane alleviates the strain your heart has to go through to pump blood, thus preventing heart disease in the long run.
Can I take reishi and lion's mane together?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with any medicinal mushroom, including cordyceps, turkey tail, maitake mushroom, and reishi mushroom. When it comes to medicinal mushrooms, the whole is better than the sum of its parts, so you’ll likely reap more benefits of lion’s mane if you take it with any other adaptogenic fungus, and even herbs (such as St. John's Wort).
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to inform about medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).