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Exploring 4 Lion’s Mane Anxiety Benefits
Jun 06, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Exploring 4 Lion’s Mane Anxiety Benefits


In today’s fast-paced world of deadlines, traffic, trends, and tasks, catching a breath seems like a difficult feat. Even worse, the current pandemic has detrimentally impacted mental health, triggering a 25% increase(1) in the prevalence of depression and anxiety worldwide.

Many people trying to cope with the clamoring world are unable to do so on their own. While it is best to seek professional help for your frazzled nerves, some natural ways can help you take a breather. One such popular way is Lion’s mane mushroom for anxiety.

You may have heard about the many health benefits of this fascinating shaggy-white mushroom. It makes you sharp, and focused, and enhances your learning(2). But does lion’s mane help with anxiety?

This article here will explore the link between lion's mane and anxiety, the benefits, and how to use it. Keep reading to know more about this incredible superfood mushroom.

What Is Lion’s Mane?

Before we jump to the lion’s mane anxiety benefits, let’s understand what this mushroom is all about!

Lion’s mane mushroom is known by several names like Hericium Erinaceus, mountain-priest mushroom, Pom-pom Mushroom, or Monkey Head mushroom. It is a mushroom native to the northern hemisphere and is found growing in the cracks of beech, oak, walnut, and apple trees.

The traditional healers in Chinese medicine have used Lion’s mane for centuries. Today, there is rising popularity of Lion’s mane mushroom, thanks to its incredible health-boosting effects. Because more people are looking to try it out, these mushrooms can now be easily found in your nearest grocery aisle.

These mushrooms can be consumed at home (try our amazing array of Lion’s mane recipes (16)) or taken in the form of health supplements. Regardless of how you take the mushroom, the benefits of lion’s mane for anxiety are something you cannot miss out on!

Some people even ask: does Lion’s mane cause anxiety?  We can tell you lion’s mane appears to ease the symptoms of anxiety rather than cause it.

So how does it help you calm your anxious mind? Let’s find out!

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Anxiety: 4 Ways It Helps

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Anxiety: 4 Ways It Helps

1. Stimulating The Synthesis Of Brain Cells

Lion’s mane mushroom contains two bioactive compounds: Erinacines and hericenones

These are known to induce the production of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)(3) and brain-derived neurotrophic (BDN) factor(4).

NGF helps build and repair brain cells. It can reach the brain through the blood and promote the differentiation of neurons. NGF supports cognitive functions like learning and memory, thereby playing an important role in behavioral changes, emotions and anxiety(5).

Several clinical studies have found reduced levels of NGF(6) in mental health disorders. In other words, the more the levels of nerve production in the brain, the lower levels of anxiety a person experiences.

Now let's take a look at some of the scientific evidence related to Lion’s mane and anxiety.

Animal studies have shown that extract of Lion’s mane mushroom reduces anxiety and depressive behavior. Researchers found that long-term administration of Hericium Erinaceus showed anxiolytic(7) and antidepressant-like effects which could be possibly related to the increased production of neurons.

Human studies(8) on the benefits of lion's mane for anxiety have also demonstrated similar effects. In a 2010 Japanese study, 30 females were either assigned to receive Lion’s mane cookies or placebo cookies for 4 weeks. Several clinical parameters were used to assess the outcome of the research.

According to the results of the study, Lion’s mane mushroom had the possibility of reducing depression and anxiety. The concentration, irritation and anxiety among the women who took the mushroom cookies were lower than those who did not.

2. Improving Sleep

Psychological distress such as anxiety can wreak havoc on your sleep routine(9).  Excess worry and fear make it harder to fall asleep at night. Not only is sleep disruption a major health issue in people with anxiety, but it can also increase the risk of several other diseases.

The mycelium of Lion’s mane has been found to modulate several pathways in the brain resulting in antidepressant-like effects. Not only does it improve sleep, but it also provides anxiety relief(10) by improving sleep disruptions.

3. Combating Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is the imbalance between harmful oxygen molecules and the body’s ability to neutralize them.

Brain damage caused by oxidative stress leads to impairment of the nervous system function. It has been implicated in anxiety disorders(11) and high anxiety levels. Some studies have even suggested that antioxidant therapy may be a useful treatment option.

Lion’s mane mushroom contains antioxidant compounds(12) like phenols that may help ease the symptoms of anxiety. Additional clinical studies are however required to explore this mechanism of action.

4. Anti-Inflammatory And Immune-Boosting Actions

Preliminary evidence(13) suggests that anxiety disorders are associated with increased inflammation. Disruption of the immune system has also been implicated.

Clinical studies have shown an increase in inflammatory markers in people with anxiety. The inflammation present in the body may be able to enter the brain which can cause direct and indirect toxic effects. This makes a person vulnerable to anxiety disorders.

Lion’s mane mushroom(14) has been known to combat inflammation and make our immune system stronger. It contains phytochemical substances like beta-glucans that can modulate the immune system.

Because of the close relationship between inflammation and anxiety, the anti-inflammatory properties of the mushroom may have the potential to help fight frazzled nerves.   

Final Thoughts

Hericium Erinaceus or Lion’s mane mushroom has the potential to ease symptoms of anxiety.

This white and fuzzy-maned fungus helps tackle anxiety disorders by stimulating the synthesis of new brain cells. It can help you sleep better all the while protecting your body from the damages caused by free radicals, inflammation, and a weakened immune system.

A handful of clinical research based on animals and humans has linked these lion’s mane anxiety benefits, although additional information is still needed. Remember to always seek help from a licensed medical practitioner if you are having anxiety issues and mushrooms are not intended to replace anti-anxiety medications.


  1. World Health Organization. (2022, March 2).COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. 
  2. ‌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 erinaceusIncreases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice.Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2017, 1–13. 
  3. ‌Huang, H.-T., Ho, C.-H., Sung, H.-Y., Lee, L.-Y., Chen, W.-P., Chen, Y.-W., Chen, C.-C., Yang, C.-S., & Tzeng, S.-F. (2021). Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its small bioactive compounds promote oligodendrocyte maturation with an increase in myelin basic protein.Scientific Reports,11(1). 
  4. Li, T. J., Lee, T. Y., Lo, Y., Lee, L. Y., Li, I. C., Chen, C. C., & Chang, F. C. (2021). Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo.BMC complementary medicine and therapies,21(1), 295. 
  5. Martins Salles, F. H., San Martin Soares, P., David Wiener, C., Mondin, T. C., Moraes da Silva, P., Jansen, K., Dias de Mattos Souza, L., Azevedo da Silva, R., & Oses, J. P. (2016). Mental disorders, functional impairment, and nerve growth factor.Psychology Research and Behavior Management,Volume 10, 9–15. 
  6. Barbosa, I. G., Huguet, R. B., Sousa, L. P., Abreu, M. N., Rocha, N. P., Bauer, M. E., Carvalho, L. A., & Teixeira, A. L. (2011). Circulating levels of GDNF in bipolar disorder.Neuroscience letters,502(2), 103–106.
  7. Ryu, S., Kim, H. G., Kim, J. Y., Kim, S. Y., & Cho, K. O. (2018). Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain.Journal of medicinal food,21(2), 174–180. 
  8. Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan),31(4), 231–237. 
  9. Mellman T. A. (2006). Sleep and anxiety disorders.The Psychiatric clinics of North America,29(4), 1047–x. 
  10. Li, T. J., Lee, T. Y., Lo, Y., Lee, L. Y., Li, I. C., Chen, C. C., & Chang, F. C. (2021). Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo.BMC complementary medicine and therapies,21(1), 295. 
  11. Fedoce, A., Ferreira, F., Bota, R. G., Bonet-Costa, V., Sun, P. Y., & Davies, K. (2018). The role of oxidative stress in anxiety disorder: cause or consequence?.Free radical research,52(7), 737–750. 
  12. Ghosh, S., Nandi, S., Banerjee, A., Sarkar, S., Chakraborty, N., & Acharya, K. (2021). Prospecting medicinal properties of Lion's mane mushroom.Journal of food biochemistry, e13833. Advance online publication. 
  13. Won, E., & Kim, Y. K. (2020). Neuroinflammation-Associated Alterations of the Brain as Potential Neural Biomarkers in Anxiety Disorders.International journal of molecular sciences,21(18), 6546. 
  14. Sheng, X., Yan, J., Meng, Y., Kang, Y., Han, Z., Tai, G., Zhou, Y., & Cheng, H. (2017). Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Food & function,8(3), 1020–1027.