Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a mushroom that stands out for its peculiar shape, reminiscent of the mane of a lion. It does not have a hat, plates or differentiated foot, but a rounded body with long white filaments similar to thick hair that come out of its fleshy center. The whitish color that it has when it sprouts over time turns yellowish and then brown. This mushroom grows in nature on hardwoods such as oak, beech or maple.
Buddhist monks are said to have consumed lion’s mane tea for centuries before meditation in order to enhance their powers of concentration, and traditional Chinese medicine uses it to strengthen the five organs: the kidney, liver, spleen, the heart and stomach. Its cultivation began in the 50s of the 20th century in Shanghai.
IN THE KITCHEN
The gastronomic use of the lion’s mane mushroom is widespread in Eastern countries, but the growing awareness of its culinary possibilities is making it gradually gain ground in Western cuisine as well.
The texture of this mushroom is fleshy and its flavor is pleasant, sweet and mild, with something reminiscent of crab and lobster. This delicious flavor and its nutritional properties make it one of the most appreciated gourmet alternatives to meat in high-end restaurants.
Preliminary studies suggest that Lion’s mane:
Helps promote the formation of new neurons
Enhances memory by reducing cognitive impairment.
Protects the immune system
Increases fat metabolism
Helps to regenerate the epithelium of the gastrointestinal mucosa
Has antioxidant properties