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< class="article__title title"> Chaga And Lion’s Mane: 8 Things You Should Know!>
Chaga And Lion’s Mane: 8 Things You Should Know!
May 08, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Chaga And Lion’s Mane: 8 Things You Should Know!

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) and Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus) are two of the most popular medicinal mushrooms. These are edible mushrooms, naturally available, and provide an array of health-supporting benefits apart from nutrition.

Many people opt for either of the two mushrooms, while some may even consider combining them. Then what can you expect when you combine the two powerhouse mushrooms?

In this article, we will take a closer look at Chaga vs Lion’s mane. Keep reading to find out what makes each of the two stand out from each other and what features make them a part of the same family.

What is Chaga Mushroom?

Chaga mushroom is a large black fungus with an inner soft orange core. The mushroom is found growing on Birch trees in the cold climate forests of the Northern hemisphere. Nicknamed the “king of medicinal mushrooms”, Chaga has many medicinal properties, It is available in the form of supplements, powders, and teas. 

What is Lion’s mane mushroom?

Lion’s mane is an edible medicinal mushroom that resembles the mane of a lion as they grow. Also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, these mushrooms are native to Asia, Europe and North America. You can eat the fruiting bodies of the mushroom or use the extracts as a daily supplement.

Lion's mane and Chaga: Similarities?

  • Nutritional Support

Both Lion’s mane and Chaga are packed with nutritional compounds. They are high in vitamins and antioxidants which can fight DNA damage, balance free radical and oxidant injury, and inhibit cancerous growth.

  • Usage

Both Lion’s mane and Chaga mushroom have been used by healers in traditional Eastern medicine. The mushrooms are edible and can be consumed in their raw, natural form.

Currently, supplements of both the mushrooms are available in the form of powders, capsules, and tinctures which can be added to food and beverages or taken alone. They can also be steeped in teas.

  • Health-Promoting Benefits

Chaga mushroom and Lion’s mane mushroom have these health benefits:

  • Combats inflammation(1)
  • Makes our immune system(2) stronger
  • Improves heart health(3) and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Lowers blood sugar levels(4)
  • Helps maintain a healthy digestive tract(5)  
  • Anti-bacterial(6) properties and
  • Has anti-tumor(7) activity

So, is Chaga the same as Lion's mane? Certainly not. Both these mushrooms are exceptional in their ways.

Lion's mane vs Chaga: Differences?

Lion’s mane mushroom is a nootropic fungus that supports brain and nervous health while Chaga is an adaptogen mushroom. Let’s take a closer look at the unique features of the two mushrooms.  

  • Physical Appearance

Lion’s mane is a shaggy-looking mushroom with the white spines resembling the mane of a lion. Chaga mushroom, on the other hand, is a black charcoal-like fungus.

  • Natural Habitat

Chaga mushroom is native to the cold climate of the northern hemisphere, particularly in Finland, Siberia, Russia, and North America. It is found growing on Alder, Birch, Cherry, and Maple tree amongst others.

Lion’s mane is native to North America, Europe, and Asia (particularly Japan and China). It prefers dead hardwood such as Oak, Beech, and Sycamore.

  • Taste

Lion’s mane has a sea-food-like taste, akin to lobsters and crab. Chaga does not typically taste like other mushrooms. They have a slightly earthy flavor with a subtle hint of bitterness to it.

  • Bioactive Compounds

The principal bioactive compounds in Lion’s mane mushroom(8) are hericenones and erinacines. Chaga mushroom(9) contains beta-glucans, betulin, betulinic acid, inotodiol, lanosterol, and trametonolic acid.

  • Superpower Benefits

Apart from the many benefits already listed here, Lion’s mane and Chaga mushroom have one superpower benefit that sets them apart from each other.

Lion’s mane mushroom, also known as a Brain tonic or Nature’s brain juice, has excellent brain support(10). It supports cognitive function, improving focus, memory, productivity, and focus. It stimulates the production of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which enhances the growth and repair of neurons.

Chaga mushroom belongs to the adaptogen family of mushrooms. They help the body respond to stress(11) and maintain homeostasis. It increases the tolerance to mental exhaustion and boosts resilience.

Can you mix Chaga and Lion's Mane?

While it is perfectly ok to take either of the mushrooms, combining Chaga and Lion’s mane will give you the best of both worlds!

The adaptogenic benefits of the Chaga mushroom will be combined with the nootropic benefits of Lion’s mane mushroom. When you take both the mushrooms together, it will lead to increased well-being, focus, and energy. The combination of Chaga and Lion’s mane will holistically support your mental and physical well-being.

You can incorporate these powerful mushrooms in a variety of manner. To get a head start on your day, mix Chaga and Lion’s mushroom powder with your morning cup of coffee. If you want to unwind after a long and tiring day, mix a spoonful of each mushroom powder into a cup of hot water. This will help you destress, relax and promote a night of restful sleep. Alternately, you can start the day with Lion’s mane and end it with Chaga! 

Final Thoughts

Is Chaga or lion's mane better? It’s a question on many people’s minds. Both Chaga and Lion’s mane is functional superfood mushrooms with unique properties. While Lion’s mane, dubbed the Smart mushroom, has garnered global attention due to its brain-boosting abilities, Chaga is a stress reliever mushroom. 

Both fungi have incredible health benefits that make them equally preferred in the medicinal mushroom world. And if you want the best of both the mushrooms, combine Chaga and Lion’s mane!

References

  1. Abdullah, N., Ismail, S. M., Aminudin, N., Shuib, A. S., & Lau, B. F. (2012). Evaluation of Selected Culinary-Medicinal Mushrooms for Antioxidant and ACE Inhibitory Activities.Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2012, 1–12. (1) https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/464238 
  2. ‌S., W. (2002). Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology,60(3), 258–274. (2) https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-002-1076-7 
  3. ‌Rahman, M. A., Abdullah, N., & Aminudin, N. (2014). Inhibitory effect on in vitro LDL oxidation and HMG Co-A reductase activity of the liquid-liquid partitioned fractions of Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Persoon (lion's mane mushroom).BioMed research international,2014, 828149. (3) https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/828149
  4. Sun, J. E., Ao, Z. H., Lu, Z. M., Xu, H. Y., Zhang, X. M., Dou, W. F., & Xu, Z. H. (2008). Antihyperglycemic and antilipidperoxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan-diabetes mice.Journal of ethnopharmacology,118(1), 7–13. (4) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2008.02.030 
  5. Zhang, Z., Lv, G., Pan, H., Pandey, A., He, W., & Fan, L. (2012). Antioxidant and hepatoprotective potential of endo-polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus grown on tofu whey.International journal of biological macromolecules,51(5), 1140–1146. (5) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2012.09.002 
  6. Erjavec, J., Ravnikar, M., Brzin, J., Grebenc, T., Blejec, A., Gosak, M. Ž., Sabotič, J., Kos, J., & Dreo, T. (2016). Antibacterial Activity of Wild Mushroom Extracts on Bacterial Wilt Pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum.Plant Disease,100(2), 453–464. (6) https://doi.org/10.1094/pdis-08-14-0812-re 
  7. Khan, M. A., Tania, M., Liu, R., & Rahman, M. M. (2013). Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values.Journal of complementary & integrative medicine,10, /j/jcim.2013.10.issue-1/jcim-2013-0001/jcim-2013-0001.xml. (7) https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2013-0001 
  8. Friedman M. (2015). Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds.Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,63(32), 7108–7123. (8) https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b02914 
  9. Lu, X., Chen, H., Dong, P., Fu, L., & Zhang, X. (2010). Phytochemical characteristics and hypoglycaemic activity of fraction from mushroomInonotus obliquus.Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture,90(2), 276–280. (9) https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.3809 
  10. Brandalise, F., Cesaroni, V., Gregori, A., Repetti, M., Romano, C., Orrù, G., Botta, L., Girometta, C., Guglielminetti, M. L., Savino, E., & Rossi, P. (2017). Dietary Supplementation ofHericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,2017, 3864340. (10) https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3864340 
  11. Panossian, A., & Wikman, G. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland),3(1), 188–224. (11) https://doi.org/10.3390/ph3010188
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