Lion’s mane (Hericium Erinaceus) and Cordyceps are two of nature’s most potent medicinal fungi. Today they are some of the most sought-after and hugely popular mushrooms as they provide numerous health benefits.
You may have experienced Lion's mane mushroom benefits or you may have taken advantage of the cordyceps health benefits. Also, you may be planning to take the two mushrooms together so that you can derive maximum benefits from their bioactive compounds.
If you intend to take the two functional mushrooms together, you may be wondering what happens when you mix them. You may have questions like "does the combination stack up each of their benefits?" Do you enjoy antioxidants from each mushroom extract or do you get the benefit from both at the same time?
In this detailed guide, our major focus will be on answering these questions. Whether you are looking to use the capsules or extracts for recovery from specific diseases or your goal is to use the mushroom species to maintain your currently optimal health, read on. We will help you understand how the two mushrooms can help you.
Lion's Mane Vs Cordyceps: What Sets Them Apart?
Lion’s mane and Cordyceps are two mushrooms that are worlds apart. Not only do they look and taste different, but people also use these mushrooms for different purposes.
One of the best mushrooms for brain health, Lion’s mane does wonders to your brain, increasing the production of the nerve growth factor to boost your cognitive function, while Cordyceps boosts exercise performance and the immune system. The combination of these two powerful medicinal mushrooms is going to fire all the cells of your brain and body.
If you’re considering adding these mushrooms to your daily life, let's first understand what’s unique to each of these mushrooms. Then we will move on to Cordyceps vs Lion’s mane and the benefits of the mushrooms when taken together!
Below, we will start by looking at the differences between these two powerful medicinal mushrooms, including cordyceps mushroom vs lion's mane benefits.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits
One of the most potent medicinal mushrooms, Lion’s mane mushroom is a shaggy-looking white mushroom with a taste comparable to a crab or lobster. The mushroom’s taste is often enjoyed when people use Lion’s mane recipes to prepare a full meal.
The mushroom, native to the cool climates of the Northern hemisphere, is a powerful nootropic that supports the nervous system and mental health.Lion's mane is typically used by people looking to get a mental edge and cognitive benefits. Lion's mane clears brain fog and helps people process information and make decisions faster.
The Lion's mane medicinal mushroom extracts have a high concentration of polysaccharides, beta-glucans, anti-oxidants, and other powerful substances that helps:
- Recover from nervous system injuries.
- Protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Enhance memory and learning
- Improve symptoms(1) of dementia, depression, and anxiety.
- Combat inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Protect(2) the liver and intestines
- Boost the immune system.
- Protect against cancer.
- Lower blood pressure
Below, we will take a deeper look at the main health benefits of Lion's mane:
1. Lion's Mane Treats ADHD
ADHD is a long-term condition that impairs one's capacity for processing information, paying attention, and self-control. It is one of the most widespread neurological illnesses that affect both children and adults.
While currently there are no specific studies that have looked at the direct relationship between ADHD and Lion's mane, most of the lion's mane benefits help patients dealing with ADHD.
Lion's mane is known for its neurogenesis benefits—this means that the mushroom increases the production of neurons in the brain. Encouraging the production of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF), Lion's mane has a very positive impact on ADHD. The lack of adequate amounts of NGF and BDNF increases the risk of ADHD and also worsens the symptoms in people with the condition.
2. Lion's Mane Treats Depression
Major depressive disorder, usually referred to as depression, is a serious but relatively common mental health condition. Depression symptoms adversely impact your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Numerous mental and physical issues affecting your performance at work and/or at home can result from depression.
Luckily, using Lion's mane at the right time can fix these issues. A research study conducted in 2018(3) showed that lion's mane increases the happy hormone—dopamine—in human beings. The Lion's mane benefits for depression also come from the mushroom's ability to increase the production of healthy neurons and to regenerate brain cells.
3. Lion's Mane Treats Anxiety
Lion's mane is known to help with anxiety. The benefits of Lion's mane supplement for anxiety result from the mushroom's ability to increase the production of the NGF and BNDF. What's more, when Lion's mane is taken before bed, it promotes better sleep.
A research study published in 2022(4) concluded that non-pharmacological sleep therapies can reduce anxiety and sleep-related thoughts, and these effects may be stronger in anxious patients. The researchers indicated that this has therapeutic ramifications for how we think about using sleep therapies to treat anxiety.
4. Lion's Mane Protects Against—and Fights—Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative brain ailment associated with aging that results from the loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the brain.
Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls bodily movement, decreases as a result of this. Lion's mane extract has a beneficial impact on both the brain and nervous system—this protects and treats neurodegenerative diseases.
Human studies and animal studies have shown that Lion's mane mushroom products are effective in reversing the harmful effects of Parkinson's disease and improving immune function.
A research study conducted in 2015(5) determined that in the brain, spinal cord, and retinal cells, Lion’s mane mushroom extract at 50 g/mL induced neurite outgrowth at 20.47 percent, 22.47 percent, and 21.70 percent.
Considering that Parkinson's disease is a result of unbalanced neurotransmitters, this research study essentially shows that Lion's mane helps with Parkinson's disease. When people take Lion's mane at an ideal dosage, it can help in the prevention and treatment of Parkinson's disease.
5. Lion's Mane Offers Testosterone Benefits
The male hormone, testosterone, is an extremely vital hormone for men. Low levels of the hormone can lead to a range of health conditions, including depression, and anxiety, and can increase the risk of cardiovascular health problems.
Lion's mane offers testosterone benefits. While there are no direct research studies investigating the relationship between Lion's mane and testosterone, the benefits offered by Lion's mane have a direct impact on testosterone levels—they increase the hormone in the human body.
6. Lion's Mane Helps with Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a condition that affects more than 20 million Americans. Neuropathy causes nerve damage. This nerve damage can be a result of a wide range of health problems, including diabetes, trauma, and autoimmune diseases.
Luckily for people with neuropathy, Lion's mane mushroom supplement can be used for treatment. Animal studies have shown that both the mycelium and fruiting body of the Lion's mane mushroom can help in the healing and regeneration of nerve cells.
Cordyceps Mushroom Benefits
Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that grows on caterpillar larvae. The mushroom, native to the Himalayan region, is used for increasing endurance as well as energy and is widely preferred by athletes. It has a mild mushroom-like taste that ends on a sweet note.
Here are some of the benefits(7) of using cordyceps:
- Inhibits the growth and spread of cancer cells
- Enhances energy through its anti-fatigue properties
- Exerts anti-aging effects
- Lowers blood sugar and lipid levels
- Improves heart health
- Has anti-fungal actions
- Has anti-inflammatory effects
- Modulates the immune system
- Increases the metabolism
- Lowers blood pressure
- Combats oxidant injuries
- Has anti-allergic effects
- Aids the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain
Below, we will take a deeper look at some of the benefits associated with cordyceps:
1. Cordyceps is Used as a Cancer Treatment
Cordyceps mushroom offers cancer benefits—one of the potential benefits of using Cordyceps is reducing the rate of tumor growth. Also, the mushroom has powerful anti inflammatory properties which fight chronic inflammation. Since inflammation is one of the leading precursors to cancer, the ability of the caterpillar fungus to reduce inflammation reduces cancer risk.
Research shows that the mushroom can treat a wide variety of cancers, including:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
- Lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Bladder cancer
The mushroom does not just treat and offer protection against cancer—the mushroom also fights side effects of tumor treatment, including tradition and chemotherapy. This means that cordyceps can be used by both cancer patients for its benefits on treatment and non-cancer patients for its benefits on cancer prevention.
2. Cordyceps Boosts Libido
One of the few functional mushrooms that boost performance in bed, cordyceps offers libido benefits. Known as an aphrodisiac in traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps offers advantages like an increased orgasm, arousal, and sexual potency.
A research study performed in 2016(8) showed that cordyceps can help fix a wide range of sexual disorders ranging from problems with orgasms to issues with low sperm count.
3. Cordyceps Fights High Blood Pressure
Research has shown that taking cordyceps offers blood pressure benefits. A research study conducted in 2010(9) showed that cordyceps may be effective in treating high blood pressure in adults.
The fact that the mushroom can help with the treatment of high blood pressure means that it can also help with the prevention of heart disease. The beneficial compounds in cordyceps prevent heart disease since it is one of the complications of having high blood pressure for an extended period.
4. Cordyceps Helps with Diabetes
Data from the CDC(10) shows that 1 in 10 Americans—about 37.3 million Americans—has diabetes. Research shows that these people can benefit from cordyceps. The cordyceps mushroom powder features insulin-like properties—these properties can help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. The impact of cordyceps medical mushrooms has been studied and proven by researchers.
A research study conducted in 2014(11) showed that the traditional Chinese medicine cordyceps is effective in balancing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. A research study conducted in 2010(12) showed similar results.
What Are The Benefits Of Lion's Mane And Cordyceps When Taken Together?
When comparing cordyceps vs lions mane, we have to look at what happens when Lion’s mane and Cordyceps are taken together. When lion's mane and cordyceps are taken together, it is only natural for their benefits to add up.
The same case applies when lion's mane reishi mushroom and turkey tail are taken together—to know the potential health benefits you will get from the mushrooms, you have to add up the individual benefits of lions mane mushroom, those of reishi mushrooms, and those of turkey tail mushrooms. This means that when you use cordyceps and lion's mane together, you will get the health and nutritional benefits that are particular to each mushroom in one go.
However, when you research lion's mane vs cordyceps, one of the things that become clear is that certain properties are similar to both mushrooms. These effects can be further potentiated when lion's mane cordyceps are used in combination.
In the following section, we will take a deeper look at the shared cordyceps lion's mane benefits:
1. Lion's Mane and Cordyceps Offer Adaptogen Benefits
Both mushrooms are adaptogens, which means they can help our bodies adapt to stress. They not only reduce the negative effect of physical, chemical, and biological stress but also increases the body’s resistance to it.
2. Cordyceps and Lion's Mane Support the Immune System
Likewise, both Cordyceps and Lion’s mane has the potential to support the body’s immune system. Lion’s mane does so by reducing oxidative stress, and inflammation as does Cordyceps. When combined, these effects will help you achieve stronger and better-functioning immunity.
3. Lions Mane Cordyceps Offer Cancer Benefits
Similarly, each of these mushrooms can help fight cancer cells. Lion’s mane(13) can kill cancer cells as well as slow down its spread.
In the same way, Cordyceps has also been shown to inhibit the growth of many types of human cancer cells. When taken together, these mushrooms are going to help build a fortress against the nasty disease.
4. Lion's Mane Cordyceps Can be Used Pre-Workout
When Lion's mane is used pre-workout, the ingredients in the mushroom provide an energy boost that lasts through the entire workout session. The mushroom also fights fatigue, allowing people to work out for longer periods.
When cordyceps is used pre-workout, it offers almost similar benefits. Whether you are using cordyceps sinensis or militaris, you will enjoy an energy boost and a reduced chance of dealing with fatigue.
5. Cordyceps Lion's Mane Offer Protection Against Cardiovascular Diseases
Both Lion's Mane and cordyceps have a positive impact on high blood pressure. Cordyceps mushrooms and mushroom powders reduce the blood pressure and balance it out at an ideal level. One of the health benefits of the lion's mane mushroom is that it ensures blood is circulating properly.
When the mushroom's benefits on blood circulation are combined, the mushrooms reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
6. Lion's Mane Cordyceps Help with Diabetes
Both Lion's mane and cordyceps can help people with diabetes maintain ideal blood sugar levels. By keeping the blood sugar levels in a healthy range, the mushrooms reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
7. Lion's Mane and Cordyceps Prevent Oxidative Damage
Both lion's mane and cordyceps are antioxidants. These prevent oxidative damage in the human body.
It is worth noting that Oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA, which can contribute to aging. Therefore, the ability of the two mushrooms to fight oxidation offers anti aging properties.
Things to Keep in Mind When Taking the Two Medicinal Mushrooms
Both Lion’s mane mushroom and Cordyceps have also been known to lower blood pressure, sugar, and lipid(14) levels. While these are certainly beneficial, combining the two may potentiate the anti-hyperglycemic and hypertensive effects. This means that you may end up with extremely low blood sugar levels (especially, if you are diabetic) and extremely low blood pressure.
Always consult your healthcare provider if you plan to take the mushrooms together or if you are already taking other medications with similar effects.
How Can I Take Cordyceps With Lion's Mane Mushroom?
Medicinal mushroom supplements like Lion’s mane mushroom and Cordyceps are available in easy-to-use powder form. Simply add a scoop of each of the superfood fungus into a cup of hot water, teas, or your favorite juice, soups, post-workout smoothies, or any recipes. Alternatively, you can use either one of Lion’s mane or Cordyceps in the morning and switch it up in the evening.
Lion’s mane and Cordyceps are two unique and popular medicinal mushrooms. By combining the two mushrooms, you can benefit from both the brain-health-boosting effects of Lion’s mane with the Cordyceps’ ability to enhance physical activity.
Additionally, it can help make your immune system stronger, adapt to stress better, and fight against cancer cells.
Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder (1) https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010163
- Antioxidant and hepatoprotective potential of endo-polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus grown on tofu whey (2) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2012.09.002
Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice, (3)https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020341
Do non-pharmacological sleep interventions affect anxiety symptoms? A meta-analysis, (4) https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13451
Lion's Mane, Hericium erinaceus and Tiger Milk, Lignosus rhinocerotis (Higher Basidiomycetes) Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulate Neurite Outgrowth in Dissociated Cells of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Retina: An In Vitro Study, (5)https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i11.40
- Healing effect of Hericium erinaceus in experimental peripheral neuropathy model. (6)https://web.p.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=13078798&AN=137698148&h=gtdI8Ql50P8cXjVECtD%2f2e32f7wotlBbi1rOyMs1GDUSZcB9MyvowlpmVSx9J3PA8sQ3hJATSpTFVdJW4QrPcg%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d13078798%26AN%3d137698148
Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Medicinal Fungus Cordyceps with Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential, (7) https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122735
Review of Naturopathy of Medical Mushroom, Ophiocordyceps Sinensis, in Sexual Dysfunction, (8)https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.176566
Cordyceps sinensis for hypertension in adults, (9)https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008894
- The Facts, Stats, and Impacts of Diabetes, (10)https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/diabetes-facts-stats.html
Studies on the Antidiabetic Activities of Cordyceps militaris Extract in Diet-Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Sprague-Dawley Rats, (11)https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/160980
A Contemporary Treatment Approach to Both Diabetes and Depression by Cordyceps sinensis, Rich in Vanadium (12) https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nep201
Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values (13) https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2013-0001
- Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet (14) https://doi.org/10.1271/bbb.100130