If you're struggling with hair loss or simply want to improve the health of your hair, the lion's mane mushroom may be worth adding to your diet.
Though there is no research on lion’s mane and hair growth, the effects of Hericium erinaceus on testosterone and other hormones, as well as its overall health benefits, indicate that this mushroom may aid in preventing hair loss and improving hair quality.
To learn more about the amazing Hericium erinaceus, read our guide to lion’s mane mushrooms.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
The lion's mane mushroom is an extremely healthy mushroom with numerous medicinal characteristics.
It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is still adored by alternative health practitioners. Lion’s mane thrives in the lush forests of North America, Europe, and Asia and prefers cooler climates.
To learn more about how lion’s mane works, take a look at our detailed guide to adaptogenic mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Research on the health benefits of lion’s mane indicates this fungus may promote nerve regeneration through the production of nerve growth factors, and hence repair brain cells.
The lion’s mane mushroom provides crucial nutrients and appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, alleviate inflammation and oxidative stress, lower blood sugar levels, as well as lead to improved cognitive functioning.
Some of the beneficial effects of lion’s mane include:
- reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression (lion’s mane supplements appear to improve mild symptoms of depressive disorders)
- reduces inflammation and oxidation
- improves overall brain health and mental functions—including learning and memory—through hippocampal neurogenesis
- improves mental clarity and protects against mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
- lowers blood sugar levels and aids in diabetes treatment
- encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells, and has the potential to fight cancer
- improves digestive health and prevents stomach ulcers
- provides antioxidant activity and improves immune function
- has neuroprotective properties and reduces nerve damage in nervous system injuries and neurodegenerative autoimmune disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
Taking lion's mane has no known long-term side effects. Centuries of use in alternative medicine and available research imply that this mushroom is safe to take.
However, asthma and allergies to other fungi, mold, or yeast can be contraindications to taking lion's mane. If you have any signs of an allergic reaction, like rashes or trouble breathing, you should stop taking lion's mane and talk to a doctor.
Does Lion’s Mane Help with Hair Growth?
There is currently no research on the effects of lion’s mane on hair growth. However, its beneficial effects on overall health and a plethora of nutrients it provides make it safe to assume this mushroom may aid in hair growth, as well.
According to research, lion’s mane appears to promote circulation. Better blood flow means more blood is coming to your hair follicles, which should help your hair grow and stay healthy. While this is in no way enough to claim with certainty that lion’s mane can help with hair growth, it does seem promising and warrants further human studies.
Does Lion’s Mane Help with Hair Loss?
Lion’s mane mushrooms may reduce hair loss through the effects they have on hormones. Adaptogenic mushrooms, including lion’s mane, are hormone stabilizers. Since hair loss is often affected by hormonal changes, it’s safe to say that this property of lion’s mane warrants further research into the effects of this mushroom on hair loss.
Does Lion’s Mane Affect Hormones?
By making nerve cells grow, especially in the hypothalamus, lion's mane mushrooms can change how hormones are made.
Hericium erinaceus seems to enhance neurogenesis. According to a recent Japanese study on the neurogenetic potential of lion's mane, this mushroom can help with cognitive deficits by boosting nerve cell development.
The lion’s mane mushroom contains compounds that enhance the generation of brain-derived neurotrophic factors and nerve growth factors. BDNFs and NGFs, in turn, affect hypothalamic hormone synthesis (growth hormone, vasopressin, adrenocorticotropic hormones, and more).
As a result, by increasing BDNFs and NGFs, these adaptogenic mushrooms may modulate hormone production. This calls for more investigation into the effects of Hericium erinaceus on hormones, particularly in humans.
Lion’s Mane, DHT, and Hair Loss
DHT is a hypothalamic hormone and an offshoot of testosterone. Excess of both DHT and testosterone in the body can cause hair loss.
Luckily, research studies suggest that lion’s mane can stabilize the production of hypothalamic hormones, including DHT. That means these functional mushrooms may raise DHT levels in people with low levels of the hormone, and reduce DHT in people with high levels.
High DHT levels are the main culprit of hair loss, so taking a mushroom that can stabilize this hormone may be a way to prevent or lessen hair loss. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of lion’s mane on hair loss.
If you want to learn more about the effects of this mushroom or hormone production, check out our article on the effects of lion’s mane mushrooms on DHT.
What Mushroom Is Good for Hair Growth?
Plenty of mushrooms can promote healthy hair growth. In addition to lion’s mane, some mushrooms that can have beneficial effects on hair growth include chaga, cordyceps, and reishi mushrooms.
Cordyceps Hair Growth Properties
Cordyceps mushrooms are known for antiinflammatory effects and their ability to improve exercise performance and lead to increased energy levels. However, cordyceps mushroom benefits also include hair growth promotion and hair damage prevention.
A 2013 study examined the effects of Cordyceps militaris on damaged hair. The strength of damaged hair treated with this mushroom increased by 168% compared to hair that was not treated with cordyceps.
Chaga Mushroom Hair Growth Properties
For decades, chaga spores have been used as traditional hair shampoo in Mongolia, and chaga mushrooms appear to bring tremendous benefits for your hair. A 2019 study looked into whether the fungus has any effect on promoting hair growth and maintaining hair health.
Triterpenes discovered in chaga were administered to human hair follicles. According to the findings, four of the five substances showed anti-alopecia properties. Although more research is needed, chaga mushrooms appear to stimulate hair growth.
Reishi Mushroom and Hair Loss Prevention
The reishi mushroom also shows potential when it comes to hair loss prevention and hair growth. A 2014 animal study examined the effects of a reishi ethanol extract on hair growth in mice.
Results of this study show that hair follicles and hair root growth were significantly improved in mice that were given the mushroom, suggesting that reishi can be a potential agent in hair loss prevention and hair growth stimulation.
Are You Interested in Taking Lion’s Mane for Hair Growth?
If you're looking to improve hair health and speed up hair growth with lion’s mane, try our medicinal mushroom granola.
In one serving of our delicious granola, you get your daily dose of premium lion’s mane extract. Plus, the granola is vegan, gluten-free, and filled with amazing, nutritious ingredients. What more could you want from a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Dosage for Hair Growth
Since there are no human studies on the effects of lion’s mane on hair growth, it’s hard to land on a perfect dosage for you. If you are taking Hericium erinaceus for healthy, strong hair, start with a low lion’s mane dosage (500-750 mg per day) and work your way up to 2000 mg or more over time, until you are happy with the effects.
How Much Lion’s Mane Is in Forij Granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane mushroom 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 the 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 regular lion’s mane mushroom supplements. Therefore, you get as much potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg lion’s mane mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
FAQ on Lion’s Mane and Hair Growth
Do mushrooms help with hair growth?
Yes, mushrooms contain nutrients and amino acids crucial for hair growth. Health benefits of mushrooms for hair growth have not been well-explored in human research but anecdotal evidence and some animal studies suggest that some of them, such as lion’s mane, chaga, and reishi, may prevent hair loss and help you grow thick, healthy hair.
Which is better: ashwagandha or lion’s mane?
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb and lion’s mane is an adaptogenic mushroom. Both of these adaptogens have amazing beneficial properties, with lion’s mane being incredible for mental and cognitive health and ashwagandha aiding in stress-relief and healthy sleep. It’s best to take both supplements if you can’t decide on just one.
What is the most powerful herb for hair growth?
Some amazing herbs for hair growth include lavender, rosemary, peppermint, horsetail, and aloe vera.
Is it bad to take lion’s mane everyday?
Taking lion's mane mushrooms every day is completely safe. Long-term effects of lion's mane, such as its capacity to prevent diabetes and treat Parkinson's disease symptoms, become more apparent the longer you take this fungus. Lion's mane can be taken with or without food, or through foods infused with lion's mane extract (such as Forij granola).
Does lion’s mane have permanent effects?
Lion’s mane does have permanent effects, so long as you take this functional mushroom regularly. A high-quality lion’s mane supplement can aid in the prevention and treatment of multiple medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Is lion’s mane mushroom constipation possible?
Whether you’re eating fresh lion’s mane or taking a lion’s mane supplement, constipation is a possible short-term side effect of this adaptogen. However, this side effect should subside with regular lion’s mane use.
Long-term lion’s mane use should not cause constipation. On the contrary, studies published on the effects of lion’s mane on digestion show that this mushroom significantly reduced digestive discomfort and chronic inflammatory bowel issues.
To learn more about the benefits of lion’s mane on the digestive system, read our article on all the ways lion’s mane can improve digestion.
What blocks DHT?
Some foods—such as pumpkin seed oil, kale, coconut oil, and spinach—were shown to contain natural DHT blockers. Medication that blocks DHT includes Finasteride and Minoxidil. DHT blockers may cause hair loss and symptoms such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and weight gain.
Can I take lion’s mane with other functional mushrooms?
Yes, you can combine lion's mane with any other type of functional mushroom, such as shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, turkey tail, and many others. The whole is always larger than the sum of its parts when it comes to adaptogenic mushrooms. As a result, the benefits of lion's mane can only be enhanced by combining it with other mushrooms, and vice versa.
What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is a type of an autoimmune disorder that affects the hair follicles, causing hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. Research shows that this disorder caused hair loss by attacking the hair follicles, leading to hair loss in small, round patches.
- Jiang, S. (2014). Medicinal properties of Hericium erinaceus and its potential to formulate novel mushroom-based pharmaceuticals. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 98(18), 7661–7670. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-014-5955-5
- Mori, K. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 23(3), 367–372. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2634
- Hiraki, E. (2017). Anti-obesity activity of Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) powder in ovariectomized mice, and its potentially active compounds. Journal of Natural Medicines, 71(3), 482–491. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11418-017-1075-8
- Kash, N. (2021). Clinical Patterns of Hair Loss in Men. Dermatologic Clinics, 39(3), 361–370. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.det.2021.03.001
- Kim, J. H. (2013). Chemical and Mechanical Improvement of Damaged Hair Treated with Cordyceps militaris Extract. KSBB Journal, 28(3), 191–195. https://doi.org/10.7841/ksbbj.2013.28.3.191
- Sagayama, K. (2019). Lanostane-type triterpenes from the sclerotium of Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushrooms) as proproliferative agents on human follicle dermal papilla cells. Journal of Natural Medicines, 73(3), 597–601. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11418-019-01280-0
- Ju, B. H. (2014). Effects of Ganoderma Lucidum Extract Ethanol Extract and Microneedle Therapy System on Hair Growth in an Alopecia Model of C57BL/6N Mice. The Journal of Korean Oriental Pediatrics, 28(2), 72–87. https://doi.org/10.7778/jpkm.2014.28.2.072
- Gilhar, A. (2012). Alopecia Areata. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(16), 1515–1525. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmra1103442
Forij FDA Disclaimer
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).