New Zealand Lion's mane mushroom

Unveiling the Spiritual Journey of Ancients: Exploring Lion's Mane Mushroom


Mousa Kazemi, PhD, Kamand Kazemi



For thousands of years, exotic mushrooms have served as functional foods and potent medicines, offering a pathway to balance, longevity, and protection against diseases. Among these unusual fungi, the lion's mane mushroom is a renowned variety with well-established benefits. Its cascading white spines, resembling a lion's majestic mane, have captivated the attention of researchers. In addition to the lion's mane, other exotic varieties, such as Hericium novae-zealandiae, commonly known as New Zealand Lion's Mane, hold the potential to transform our well-being. As our global population continues to grow, viruses and other pathogenic diseases mutate, posing increased risks to our health. To navigate this evolving landscape, bolstering our immune systems and harnessing the tremendous benefits of these mushrooms becomes paramount.

In this blog, we will embark on a journey to explore the captivating world of lion's mane mushrooms, focusing on the renowned Hericium erinaceus and its lesser-known counterpart, Hericium novae-zealandiae. We will delve into their unique properties, from cognitive enhancement to immune support, while also recognising the vast potential offered by other exotic mushroom varieties. By uncovering their secrets, we can empower ourselves with the tools to harmonise our bodies, promote longevity, and protect against the ever-changing landscape of diseases, including potential future pandemics.


Throughout history, humans have been captivated by the wonders of nature, discovering hidden treasures that hold the power to transform our lives. Lion's mane mushrooms, with their remarkable appearance and potential health benefits, have been a part of this captivating journey. Within the esteemed Hericiaceae family lies the extraordinary genus Hericium, encompassing a variety of edible mushroom species. One such species, H. erinaceus, has been revered in Eastern Asia since ancient times for its remarkable culinary and nutritional properties. Beyond its gastronomic appeal, this captivating fungus has also found a place in traditional folk medicine, where it has been utilised for treating ailments such as dyspepsia, gastric ulcers, and enervation. Join us on a journey to unravel the hidden potentials of H. erinaceus and delve into its rich historical significance and diverse range of uses. 

The consumption of lion's mane mushrooms dates back centuries, with early records tracing their use to ancient civilisations. In traditional Chinese medicine, lion's mane mushrooms have been revered for their potential to promote vitality and enhance cognitive function. The lion's mane was believed to be reserved for emperors and royalty due to its precious nature and esteemed properties.

Interestingly, Buddhist monks were also known to consume lion's mane mushrooms to improve focus during meditation. The mushroom's ability to enhance concentration and clarity made it a valuable tool for spiritual practices.

Beyond Asia, indigenous cultures in North America recognized the importance of lion's mane mushrooms as well. Native American tribes held these fungi in high regard for their medicinal properties, often incorporating them into traditional remedies.

Hericium novae-zealandiae, commonly known as New Zealand Lion's Mane, holds a special place in the culinary traditions of the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand who named it pekepekekiore. This native mushroom has been valued and consumed by local communities for generations. Its unique flavour and potential health benefits have made it an integral part of their traditional cuisine. The rich cultural heritage surrounding the consumption of New Zealand Lion's Mane highlights its significance as a local culinary treasure.


Figure: You could order one of Pekepekekiore or New Zealand Lion's mane Grow Kit here

There is limited knowledge regarding H. novae-zealandiae, Previous studies have explored the water extract of H. novae-zealandiae and identified it as a good source of nucleoside compounds. Additionally, bioactivities were observed in three polysaccharide fractions extracted from this species. The ethanol extract of H. novae-zealandiae demonstrated notable anti-proliferative and antioxidant activities, along with a weak inhibitory effect on AChE (acetylcholinesterase). Lipid-soluble compounds were also identified in the ethanol extract.

The New Zealand native mushroom is a valuable natural source of ergosterol and hericene B, comprising nearly 7% of its dry weight. Ergosterol is a primary sterol present in the fungal cell membrane and serves as a precursor to vitamin D. When exposed to UV light, ergosterol can be converted into vitamin D. Ergosterol has been associated with various pharmacological activities, such as alleviating inflammation-induced pain, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzyme, and exhibiting antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticomplementary, and antitumor properties.

Hericene B, present in both H. erinaceus and H. novae-zealandiae, has been a subject of research for its potential to promote nerve growth factor (NGF) activity. Furthermore, hericene B has demonstrated moderate protective effects against stress-induced cell death. H. novae-zealandiae and H. erinaceus belong to the same genus, it is possible that their chemical profiles share similarities. Therefore, it is plausible that unique compounds found in H. erinaceus may also be present in H. novae-zealandiae.

The allure of lion's mane mushrooms has continued to captivate the modern world, where scientific research has shed light on their potential benefits. The discovery of bioactive compounds, such as hericenones and erinacines, has further piqued the interest of researchers and health enthusiasts alike.

Today, the popularity of lion's mane mushrooms extends beyond cultural traditions, with a growing appreciation for their potential cognitive enhancement, immune support, and overall well-being. As our understanding of these mushrooms deepens, more and more individuals are incorporating lion's mane into their diets and supplement routines.

In recent years, the availability of lion's mane mushroom supplements has made it easier than ever to harness the potential benefits of this fascinating fungi. With options ranging from capsules to powders, individuals can conveniently incorporate lion's mane into their daily wellness practices.

Table 1: general comparing Hericium erinaceus (international Lion's Mane) and Hericium novae-zealandiae (New Zealand Lion’s Mane) based on some key characteristics



  erinaceus (Lion's Mane)





  shaggy, "pom-pom" like appearance


  shaggy, "pom-pom" like appearance



  in North America, Europe, Asia


  in New Zealand




  and used in cooking


  and used in cooking




  for potential cognitive benefits


  for potential immune-boosting properties




  hericenones and erinacines


  hericenones and erinacines


  Health Benefits


  support cognitive function and memory


  support the immune system and overall health




  slightly sweet, seafood-like taste


  slightly sweet, seafood-like taste

Research and Studies


  studied for its medicinal uses

Limited research, but shows potential benefits

While lion's mane mushrooms have a rich historical background and a growing scientific understanding, it is essential to note that further research is needed to unlock the full spectrum of their potential benefits. As with any supplement or dietary change, it is advisable to consult with healthcare professionals to ensure that it aligns with your needs and health circumstances.


In the realm of mushroom supplements, the power of lion's mane mushrooms shines brightly. Whether you choose the renowned Hericium erinaceus or the intriguing Hericium novae-zealandiae, these mushrooms offer many benefits that can enhance your well-being. However, the potential for even greater effectiveness lies in blending lion's mane with other mushroom varieties, such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

By combining the unique properties of lion's mane with the nutritional richness of other mushrooms, you can create a potent synergy of health benefits. Shiitake mushrooms, known for their immune-boosting properties and potential anti-cancer effects, and oyster mushrooms, with their abundance of vitamins and minerals, complement the cognitive and immune support provided by lion's mane. Together, these mushrooms create a powerful blend that can further amplify the benefits of mushroom supplements.

Figure: You could order one of Lion's mane powder blend here. For customised orders please get in touch with Us.

As the popularity of mushroom supplements continues to grow, more and more people are discovering the immense advantages of incorporating lion's mane and other mushroom varieties into their daily routines. From supporting cognitive function and nerve health to boosting the immune system, these supplements offer a natural and holistic approach to well-being.

While considering mushroom supplements, it's always wise to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure they align with your specific health needs. By harnessing the collective power of lion's mane and other mushrooms, you can tap into these fungi's remarkable potential and experience a profound transformation in your overall health and vitality.

So, why wait? Embrace the magic of the lion's mane and its harmonious partnership with other mushrooms, and embark on a journey of well-being that transcends expectations. Unlock the full potential of mushroom supplements and discover a new level of vitality and thriving in your life.

Read more about Lion’s Mane

  1. Chen, Z., Buchanan, P., & Quek, S. Y. (2022). Identification and determination of compounds unique to Hericium in an edible New Zealand mushroom Hericium novae-zealandiae. Food Analytical Methods, 15(1), 67-74.
  2. Chen, Z. G., Bishop, K. S., Tanambell, H., Buchanan, P., Smith, C., & Quek, S. Y. (2019). Characterization of the bioactivities of an ethanol extract and some of its constituents from the New Zealand native mushroom Hericium novae-zealandiae. Food & function, 10(10), 6633-6643.
  3. Mori, K., Obara, Y., Hirota, M., et al. (2008). Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 31(9), 1727-1732.
  4. Wong, K. H., Naidu, M., David, R. P., et al. (2013). Peripheral nerve regeneration following crush injury to rat peroneal nerve by aqueous extract of medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 1-9.
  5. Lai, P. L., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., et al. (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 15(6), 539-554.
  6. Phan, C. W., David, P., Naidu, M., et al. (2014). Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., a medicinal mushroom, activates peripheral nerve regeneration. Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, 14(4), 389-395.
  7. Lee, K. F., Chen, J. H., Teng, C. C., et al. (2014). Protective effects of Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its isolated erinacine A against ischemia-injury-induced neuronal cell death via the inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and nitrotyrosine. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(9), 15073-15089.
  8. Kawagishi, H., Shimada, A., Hosokawa, S., et al. (1991). Erinacines A, B and C, strong stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum. Tetrahedron Letters, 32(35), 4561-4564.
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