You’ve heard of lion’s mane mushrooms. Now, you’re wondering what they taste like.
Sort of…mushroomy, with a seafood-ish flavor. But there’s a better way to consume lion’s mane if you don’t like the earthy taste. Read on.
What are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
Hericium erinaceus, otherwise known as the tooth fungus or the lion’s mane mushroom, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Lion’s mane mushrooms grow on hardwood trees and prefer a cooler climate found in northern Europe, Asia, and North America.
What are the Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane?
Research on the lion’s mane mushroom’s benefits indicates this fungus has the potential to promote the production of nerve growth factors and repair nerve cells. It appears to ease the symptoms of dementia, mood disorders, and neuropathic pain, as well as improve overall cognitive functioning.
Some of the beneficial effects of Hericium erinaceus:
- reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
- improves cognitive function and overall brain health
- protects against mild cognitive impairment and memory loss in illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease
- reduces inflammation and nerve pains
- encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells
- improves digestive health
- lowers blood sugar levels
- reduces inflammation and provides antioxidant activity
- provides protective effects for the nervous system and reduces symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
What are the Side Effects of Lion’s Mane?
Although there is no research on the risks and side effects of this medicinal mushroom, anecdotal evidence and centuries of use suggest that lion’s mane has few, if any, negative effects.
For example, people who are not used to adaptogenic mushrooms may experience digestive issues such as diarrhea and bloating.
However, these side effects should subside once your body gets used to the medicinal mushroom, and you can always lower the dose you’re taking to lessen these negative effects.
What do Lion's Mane Mushrooms Taste Like?
Lion’s mane mushrooms taste quite similar to seafood. Most people equate the taste of this mushroom to that of lobster or crab meat, with earthier overtones.
Lion’s mane is tender and juicy when cooked, and it's often used as a seafood replacement in vegan recipes.
Can You Eat Lion's Mane Raw?
Yes, it’s completely safe to eat fresh lion’s mane raw, but you may not like the flavor or texture of it. Lion’s mane is quite spongy and chewy, and the flavor is subpar without seasoning. Still, if you can get over these qualities, you can absolutely enjoy lion’s mane mushrooms raw.
What If You Don’t Like the Taste of Lion’s Mane?
What if you don’t like the seafood-like lion’s mane mushroom taste but want to reap the many benefits of this mushroom?
Luckily, nowadays it’s easy to find lion’s mane supplements and fortified foods that mask the flavor of the mushroom quite well.
For example, each serving of our granola contains a daily dose of hyperconcentrated lion’s mane mushroom extract, without the mushroom taste.
Instead, you can choose from three flavors—vanilla almond, sunflower seed cacao, and cinnamon—or get a bundle with all three flavors if you can’t decide on just one.
How to Grow Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Growing mushrooms yourself can be a fun and rewarding hobby if you’re prepared to devote significant time and resources to it.
If you’re going to attempt growing lion’s mane mushrooms, make sure you’ve got the right sort of facilities in your home or apartment.
You’ll need a cool, damp, dark space. Basements work well, though you can also set up a small mushroom growing operation in a cabinet or a closet.
You have three primary options when it comes to growing lion’s mane mushrooms yourself:
- Growing with a mushroom kit. Mushroom growing kits are readily available to purchase from various online retailers. This is the easiest option for someone without mushroom growing experience.
- Commercially made spawn. You can buy lion’s mane mushroom spawn and cultivate it yourself.
- Make your own lion’s mane spawn. This is the most advanced method of growing your own lion’s mane mushrooms. You’ll be spawning your own lion’s mane starting with pure culture on agar, a jelly-like substance derived from algae.
If you want to try it yourself, this handy tutorial shows you how to get started with a growing kit.
Still, fungi can be quite fickle, so don't get discouraged if you don't succeed the first time. Until you get the hang of it, you can find your supply of organic mushrooms at various farmers' markets, with the prices ranging from $8 to $38 per pound.
How to Store and Clean Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane mushrooms are quite absorbent, so you should avoid washing them with water. Instead, gently clean them with a dry paper towel or brush.
Store them in a fridge in a paper bag (the inside of a plastic bag can become too humid) if you plan on using them soon. If you want to preserve them for a while, it’s best to freeze or dry lion’s mane.
Dehydrating (or drying) mushrooms is an easy way to preserve them for a long time. You can air dry lion’s mane (if you live in a hot, dry climate) or dry them in a food dehydrator or an oven. You can use dried lion’s mane as it is or rehydrate it once you want to cook with it.
How to Cook Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
You should cook lion’s mane mushrooms on medium heat with some olive oil and seasoning. Cook time varies depending on how thick the slices are, but cooked mushrooms will turn golden brown on the outside (usually after 2-5 minutes).
You can serve this lion’s mane side dish on its own, add the mushrooms to a stir fry, risotto, or pasta dishes. There’s an abundance of lion’s mane mushroom recipes online to choose from, including vegan crab cakes recreations and vegan ‘seafood’ salad recipes.
Are You Interested in Trying Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
If you want to experience the many benefits lion’s mane mushrooms provide but don’t like the taste of these mushrooms, Forij Superfood Granola may be perfect for you.
In a breakfast granola bowl, you get a hyperconcentrated lion’s mane extract, as well as cordyceps and chaga mushroom extracts.
The granola is gluten-free, vegan, and contains the lowest amount of added sugar on the market. What more can you ask for in a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms FAQ
How does lion's mane make you feel?
Lion’s mane supplements can have a stimulating effect and may therefore make you feel more energized and focused, but may also make you restless if you take them late in the day. People who suffer from anxiety also report feeling more relaxed after taking lion’s mane due to its anxiety-relieving properties.
Does lion's mane make you sleepy?
Hericium erinaceus will not make you sleepy, per se, but it can help alleviate insomnia thanks to its anxiolytic effect. Therefore, you can expect fewer sleepless nights if you’re taking these medicinal mushrooms regularly. However, make sure you don’t take lion’s mane too late in the day, as its stimulant effects could make you restless.
Is lion's mane mushroom a psychedelic?
No, lion’s mane is not psychedelic and can’t get you high. This mushroom does not contain psychoactive compounds, such as psilocybin, which are responsible for the mind-altering properties of magic mushrooms.
Therefore, while you may notice spiritual benefits such as improved clarity and brain function, you don’t have to worry about psychedelic effects when taking lion’s mane.
Is lion's mane addictive?
No, lion’s mane is not addictive, even if you use it for a long time and at a high dosage. You can stop taking it at any time without any repercussions, although you will stop experiencing the many benefits this adaptogenic mushroom provides once you do.
How quickly does lion's mane work?
That depends on what you’re taking the mushroom for. You can notice the short-term effects of lion’s mane after just a few days.
You’ll likely feel less anxious and more energized within the first two weeks of taking lion’s mane mushroom extracts.
However, to reap the long-term benefits of lion’s mane, such as its antioxidant activities, you should be taking it consistently for at least a few months.
Can I take lion’s mane with other adaptogenic mushrooms?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with any medicinal mushroom, including reishi mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms.
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 other adaptogenic fungi.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements contained herein are not evaluated by healthcare professionals or the FDA advisory board and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment information.