Can Lion's Mane Cure Cancer? - Xotic Mushrooms

Can Lion's Mane Cure Cancer?

Lion's Mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has gained significant attention in recent years for its potential health benefits, including its effects on cancer treatment. 

This article aims to explore the research and evidence surrounding Lion's Mane and its possible role in cancer prevention and treatment. 

We will also delve into the other health benefits associated with this remarkable mushroom. So, let's begin our journey into the world of Lion's Mane.

Can Lion's Mane Cure Cancer?

Lion's Mane is considered one of the few medicinal mushrooms with potential effects on cancer treatment. Several studies have explored its impact on different types of cancer, including leukemia, gastrointestinal cancer (gastric and colon cancer), lung cancer, and breast cancer.

This mushroom contains aromatic compounds that have been found to induce apoptosis, a process that leads to the death of cancer cells. 

Moreover, a specific compound called Cerebroside E, which is present in the fruiting bodies of Lion's Mane, has shown significant benefits in cancer treatment. 

Research suggests that Cerebroside E can inhibit the formation of new blood cells in cancer cells and promote apoptosis, making it a valuable component in fighting against cancer.

What is Lion’s Mane?

Lion's Mane, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, is an edible mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. 

This unique fungus is native to northern Europe, Asia, and North America. 

Lion's Mane is often celebrated for its brain-boosting properties and has been linked to the production of nerve growth factors, which can aid in nerve cell repair and cognitive functioning.

Bioactive Compounds Found in Lion’s Mane

The health-promoting properties of Lion's Mane can be attributed to a range of bioactive compounds present in the mushroom. 

Some of these compounds include:

  • Polysaccharides: These complex carbohydrates have shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, contributing to the overall health benefits of Lion's Mane.
  • Beta-glucoxylan: This compound has neuroprotective effects and may play a role in supporting nerve cell health.
  • Digestive enzymes: Lion's Mane contains enzymes that aid in digestion and promote better gut health.
  • Cerebrosides: These compounds have been linked to potential anticancer effects and can influence various cellular processes.
  • Prebiotic fibers: Lion's Mane contains prebiotic fibers that support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, improving digestive health.
  • Hericenones and erinacines: These compounds have shown promising neurotrophic potential, supporting nerve cell growth and repair.

Lion’s Mane and Leukemia

Preliminary research suggests that Lion's Mane mushroom extracts may have therapeutic potential in treating leukemia. 

Both aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Lion's Mane have shown favorable effects on leukemia cells, promoting cancer cell apoptosis. 

However, additional human studies are required to validate these findings.

Lion’s Mane and Gastrointestinal Cancer

Lion's Mane has shown promising anti-cancer effects in various gastrointestinal cancers, making it a subject of interest for researchers. 

A 2014 study suggested that Lion's Mane extracts could protect against colon cancer and gastric cancer, particularly when combined with traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Lion’s Mane and Gastric Cancer

Lion's Mane may hold promise in lung cancer treatment. 

Peptides found in Lion's Mane have been found to induce apoptosis in human lung carcinoma cells. 

Furthermore, animal studies have indicated that Lion's Mane extracts can inhibit the metastasis of colon cancer cells to the lungs.

Lion’s Mane and Colon Cancer

In a study published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Lion's Mane polysaccharide HEFP-2b was found to have the potential to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. 

These effects might be related to Lion's Mane's ability to halt the cell cycle before mitosis or meiosis, but further research is required for a complete understanding.

Lion’s Mane and Lung Cancer

Peptides found in Lion's Mane have been found to induce apoptosis in human lung carcinoma cells. 

Furthermore, animal studies have indicated that Lion's Mane extracts can inhibit the metastasis of colon cancer cells to the lungs.

Lion’s Mane and Lung Cancer Apoptosis

Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a natural process that ensures the removal of damaged or unnecessary cells from the body. 

Some studies suggest that Lion's Mane extracts may promote apoptosis in lung cancer cells, potentially inhibiting their growth and spread. 

However, clinical trials are needed to validate these findings and determine the efficacy in human subjects.

Lion’s Mane and Lung Cancer Metastasis Inhibition

Metastasis is a significant concern in lung cancer, as it involves the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. 

Lion's Mane mushroom extracts may possess inhibitory effects on lung cancer metastasis, potentially reducing the risk of cancer spreading to vital organs. 

Lion’s Mane and Breast Cancer

Although research on Lion's Mane and breast cancer is still in its early stages, promising results have been observed in vitro. 

Hericium erinaceus water extract has shown potential in inducing apoptosis in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) human breast adenocarcinoma cells. ER+ breast cancers, which account for a significant portion of breast cancer cases, grow in response to the hormone estrogen.

Other Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane

Apart from its potential anti-cancer properties, Lion's Mane has been associated with various other health benefits:

  • Cognitive Enhancement: Lion's Mane has been traditionally used to support cognitive function and brain health. Some studies suggest that its bioactive compounds can enhance memory, improve focus, and promote neuroregeneration.
  • Mood Improvement: Lion's Mane may have mood-boosting effects, potentially alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, further research is required to confirm these effects and explore the underlying mechanisms.
  • Nerve Cell Repair: The neurotrophic effects of Lion's Mane may support nerve cell growth and repair, making it a potential treatment option for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
  • Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects: Lion's Mane contains compounds that possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
  • Digestive Health: Lion's Mane contains prebiotic fibers that support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, promoting a healthy digestive system.

Who should not take lion's mane?

Individuals who are prone to allergies, especially to mold, yeast, or other fungi, should exercise caution when considering Lion's Mane supplementation. 

Additionally, although there is no evidence of harm, pregnant individuals may choose to avoid adaptogenic mushrooms like Lion's Mane. 

It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any new supplement, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications.

How quickly does lion's mane work?

The time it takes for Lion's Mane to exert its effects can vary depending on the individual and the specific health condition being addressed. Some individuals may experience noticeable benefits within a few weeks, while others may require longer periods of consistent use. 

It's important to note that individual responses may vary, and it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Are there negative effects of lion's mane?

Lion's Mane is generally well-tolerated by most individuals. However, some people may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort, such as an upset stomach or diarrhea, when consuming Lion's Mane supplements. 

If you experience any adverse effects, it's advisable to discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does lion's mane make you high?

No, Lion's Mane does not contain psychoactive compounds like psilocybin, which is responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of certain mushrooms. Therefore, Lion's Mane does not induce a "high" sensation.

Should you take lion's mane mushrooms every day?

The optimal dosage and frequency of Lion's Mane supplementation may vary among individuals. It is advisable to follow the recommended dosage provided by the manufacturer or consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

What time of day should you take lion's mane mushrooms?

There is no specific time of day that is recommended for taking Lion's Mane mushrooms. It can be taken with meals or on an empty stomach, based on personal preference. However, consistency in dosing is key for potential benefits.

Can I take lion’s mane with the reishi mushroom?

Lion's Mane and Reishi mushrooms can be taken together. In fact, combining different medicinal mushrooms may provide synergistic effects and enhance the overall health benefits. However, it is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional or a knowledgeable herbalist before combining supplements.


While Lion's Mane mushroom shows promise in cancer treatment and offers a range of potential health benefits, more research is needed to establish its effectiveness and safety in humans. 

The bioactive compounds found in Lion's Mane have demonstrated intriguing properties, but rigorous clinical trials are necessary to determine their true potential. 

If you are considering using Lion's Mane or any other supplement, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure its suitability for your individual needs. 

As with any health-related decision, an informed and personalized approach is essential for making the best choices for your well-being.

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