Most people are familiar with mushrooms from certain meals, which they do or sometimes do not like to eat. But have you knew that mushrooms can be used as a supplement or defined as a nootropic that enhances our cognitive performance and mental condition? 

Mushrooms have been used for over 4 thousand years to maintain humans health and heal certain malaise. Ancient civilisations adored mushrooms, some of them even considered it as a meal of god. Nowadays, some types of mushrooms remain beloved as they were before, maybe just a form of consumption changed. Time has passed, but beneficial properties stayed and proved its efficiency. Much more, scientists are trying to tackle the mysterious capability of mushrooms which seems unusual to other nootropics – mushrooms can alleviate and stimulate certain processes in our immune and nervous systems depending on what our body needs. Isn’t it both strange and useful? 

Despite the choices of nootropic-mushrooms are multitude, we will analyze two really praised and wanted mushrooms – Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps. Let’s begin with the first one. 

Lion’s Mane 

If you would like to find this mushroom by yourself, you will need to find American beech, which is normally native to North America but can be found in Europe or Asia as well. The appearance of this mushroom seems uncommon, it does not even remind any plant or usual mushroom. Lion’s mane is white, with shaggy and long spines on it. From the first glance it can even remind the dog or any other animal, but not the mushroom. However, appearance is not that important, let’s move to the benefits.

Benefits of Lion’s Mane

MEMORY

The first benefit in this list is memory improvement or prevention of memory decline. According to several studies, Lion’s Mane contains certain compounds called hericenones and erinacines. These substances ensure an active growth of brain cells that can even protect from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. 

ANXIETY

Scientists claim that Lion’s Mane has anti-inflammatory properties which protect the human brain from stress and depression. Much more, this mushroom might even have an impact on the hippocampus, a brain part responsible for memorizing certain responses and behaviour. In other words, Lion’s Mane may change the usual emotional response to stressful situations from more to less anxious.  

INFLAMMATION AND CANCER

Lion’s Mane is one of those supplements with antioxidant properties. Because of such a feature, Lion’s Mane fights with both inflammation and oxidation. Inflammation comes with serious illnesses related to vital organs, as for oxidation, it contributes to damage that appears in cells and molecular structures. With Lion’s Mane, you might prevent previous cases, even more, you may prevent cancer. According to several studies, this mushroom not only slows down the production of cancer cells but also kills them. Unfortunately, this feature was tested not on human beings, so the benefits are not scientifically proved.

HEART HEALTH

Another benefit that comes with Lion’s Mane is the support of the heart. Several studies confirm reduced cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood. By preventing obesity, Lion’s Mane ensures the maintenance of heart and prevention of serious illnesses related to blood or heart, for instance, a stroke or diabetes.  

NERVOUS SYSTEM RECOVERY

Lion’s Mane has an impact on nerve cells by inducing them to grow and recover faster. After a stroke or another serious malaise, this mushroom can be a great helper in brain recovery and overall well being.

DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Lastly, some studies testify about Lion’s Mane feature to prevent the occurrence of stomach ulcers. Much more, Lion’s Mane might induce the growth of good bacterias which ensures a healthy stomach.

Side effects of Lion’s Mane

There is no thorough research made regarding Lion’s Mane side effects, but we can mention some of them that were reported by users. Firstly, if you are allergic to mushrooms, try to avoid such supplements also, or at least discuss it with your doctor. Among some of the reported side effects, skin rashes, troubles with breathing, it also slows down the blood clotting, reduces blood sugar, so if you are experiencing certain malaise related to it, avoid taking Lion’s Mane. Besides, it is not recommended to take Lion’s Mane for pregnant or breast-feeding women. 

Cordyceps

Cordyceps is a fungus that’s appearance is also exotic. Long and thin orange mushrooms grow in China mostly but are also found elsewhere in Asia. There are more than 400 species of Cordyceps, but when talking about the supplement, we should mention Cordyceps Sinensis

Benefits of Cordyceps

ANTI-AGING 

Cordyceps is often named as an anti-aging supplement. Scientists claim that this benefit is related to antioxidant properties which enhance the memory and sexual drive. However, studies were made only with mice, so it is not scientifically approved how Cordyceps act in human beings.

ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

Another key benefit is related to exercise as Cordyceps has an impact on the production of adenosine triphosphate or better known as ATP, a molecule that provides energy to muscles. By taking Cordyceps you may improve your endurance and capacity during exercise or any other activity that requires strength. 

KIDNEY

A few studies demonstrate Cordyceps’ capability to improve kidney recovery or prevent certain damage. Combining this mushroom with other drugs for kidney might enhance the healing process or ensure the support. However, any combinations should be discussed with your doctor to avoid worsening.

HEART HEALTH AND DIABETES

Scientists tried Cordyceps in arrhythmia treatment and the results seemed really promising. According to findings, Cordyceps can alleviate symptoms of disturbed heartbeat and even reduce certain heart injuries. Much more, this mushroom may clean your blood by eliminating bad cholesterol. Also, Cordyceps takes care of your blood pressure while keeping it in a healthy range, some of the studies show that it can help with type 2 diabetes, so the benefits seem really attractive.

INFLAMMATION

Like Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps fights with inflammation as well. However, again the studies were only made with mice, so there is no scientific proof of how it works with humans.

Side effects of Cordyceps

Firstly, a good news is that Cordyceps is nontoxic, so you possibly won’t overdose on this supplement. However, we recommend to not use it for a long time and take breaks. Avoid using Cordyceps if you are a pregnant or breast-feeding woman, also Cordyceps slows down the blood clotting, so bear that in mind. Do not take Cordyceps at least 1 or 2 weeks before surgery, because it can induce bleeding.