Lion's Mane and the Doctrine of Signatures

Lion's Mane and the Doctrine of Signatures

For thousands of years, people have used a plant’s appearance to divine its medicinal properties. A broad concept called the “doctrine of signatures” holds that features of plants resemble, in some way, the condition or body part that the plant can treat. The doctrine of signatures has probably existed as long as people have looked at plants.

Resmbling a brain and neurons, Lion's Mane mushroom, with roots in traditional Chinese medicine has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunostimulant properties.

Your brain naturally slows down over time. The symptoms associated with aging—like memory loss and lack of focus—are caused by factors in your nervous system like shrinking neurons and damaged brain cells. Animal studies show that lion’s mane mushroom extract may actually support brain health by stimulating the creation of two important compounds: nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor(BDNF).

NGF and BDNF are proteins that stimulate the production of new cells and strengthen existing ones. NGF also plays an important role in forming myelin, the sheath around nerve cells that helps brain cells do their job. BDNF increases brain plasticity, which helps your brain cells stay resilient in the face of stress or aging.

In 2008, a double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial found that lion’s mane effectively improved cognitive function in a randomized group of 15 older adults. Rodent studies found that lion’s mane potentially may have protective effects on brain cells, improve memory and promote the creation of new neurons.

Lion’s mane may boost focus, too. Reduced inflammation improves blood flow, which provides your brain with more oxygen. The side effect of more oxygen in your brain is better brain performance. The antioxidants in lion’s mane may help promote learning and memory, possibly by strengthening your brain cells and stimulating the growth of new neurons.