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If asked to choose their favorite, many mushroom lovers can’t help but name lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus), a shaggy-looking mushroom most known for its potential in memory and brain health. (Although, it’s worth mentioning that scientific research on the fungus lags behind its brain-boosting reputation. So, while early trials suggest that lion’s mane may aid cognition, we still have much to learn about this mushroom.)
We eat, sleep, and breathe all things mushrooms here at DoubleBlind. But, we get that a lot of people don’t think growing your own shrooms is as cool as we do. Maybe you’d rather buy a supplement and call it good—we’re all for it! To help you find reputable products, we asked herbalists for their expert recommendations. After all, who knows better than those who work with this funky fungus every day?
What Makes a Good Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplement?
According to our herbalists, a good lion’s mane supplement contains mycelium and the mushroom fruiting body (stem and cap). Mycelium is the invisible “brain” of the mushroom underneath the fruiting body. If possible, preference supplements with both mycelium and fruiting bodies, or one or the other, instead of myceliated grain alone. This ingredient is what the mushroom grows out of, and you’ll likely see it listed as brown rice or oats on the product label.
“Myceliated grain means less mushroom content,” says mushroom grower and advocate James McConchie of Haight Street Shroom Shoppe. He also encourages buyers to shop locally and seek out smaller businesses, when possible.
Herbalist Mikaela de la Myco, behind the education brand MushWOMB Consciousness calls lion’s mane a “sacred mushroom.” She is fond of stacking lion’s mane with microdoses from other mushrooms, like reishi and cordyceps.
Famously paired with coffee, you’ll find a lot of lion’s mane supplements featuring more than one plant substance. So when deciding which product is “best,” it inevitably comes down to choosing a delivery method that is most ideal for you. De la Myco suggests the following:
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- Tinctures: Long-lasting and a great travel companion, lion’s mane tinctures are easy to dose. They also support different body systems when made with complementary ingredients (like more mushrooms!).
- Capsules: Lion’s mane capsules don’t have that pungent mushroom flavor, which makes them easier to get down.
- Powders: For those who don’t mind a little extra legwork, experimenting with lion’s mane powder in smoothies and lattes is one way to make a ritual out of microdosing mushrooms.
As you work with lion’s mane, listen to your body and give the supplement time, says McConchie. “Eat more fresh mushrooms, consume dried powders, and take tinctures for an extra boost here and there weekly.” You may also want to look for supplements that are independently lab-tested for quality and safety.
The Best Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplements
Considering what our herbalists like, ease of dosing, and product versatility, here are five lion’s mane supplements to exploring:
Herbalist’s Pick: Om Lion’s Mane Capsules
Unlike other mushroom companies, Om cultivates its mushrooms locally in California and uses both the fruiting body and mycelium in its products. de la Myco is a fan of these lion’s mane supplements because they’re certified organic. She also appreciates the ethos behind the Om brand. “The mental clarity afforded to me gave me great focus for the many projects I choose to be a part of,” she says after taking them for over a month. “My mood was balanced, and I felt mentally resilient to life’s challenges.”
DoubleBlind’s Pick: Four Sigmatic Ground Lion’s Mane Coffee
This ground coffee from Four Sigmatic definitely isn’t your average bag of store-bought coffee. Featuring both lion’s mane and chaga, the thought process behind this supplement is simple: smooth sailing energy without the caffeine jitters or crash. Four Sigmatic’s lion’s mane supplement makes it easy to microdose medicinal mushrooms in a familiar, customizable way. On top of the many latte recipes you could create with this product, it’s free of myceliated grain, so you know these mushrooms are going to be potent.
“As an herbalist who has tried growing my own mycelium at home, I’d rather just purchase a product of the stuff,” says Lian Bruno, clinical herbalist and founder of Puff Herbals. There’s absolutely no shame in taking the easy route with this lion’s mane maple syrup from Fat of the Land. Drizzled over pancakes may be the obvious way to use this product, but Bruno likes to bake with the maple syrup and pour it into coffee. The syrup has five other forest-grown mushrooms in addition to lion’s mane, giving it real medicinal status.
Hericium Labs is so confident in its lion’s mane, they decided to name the company after the mushroom’s Latin name. This tincture is made of the fruiting bodies from lion’s mane after a double-extraction process. The Pennsylvania-grown lion’s mane tincture is sold in one, two, or three-ounce bottles, taking some of the pressure off if you’re not ready to commit to the bigger size. Taste-wise, the tincture is fungus-forward since lion’s mane and ethanol are the only ingredients, so consider mixing it into tea or coffee if you’d like to dilute the strong taste.
Mousam Valley Mushrooms is a small business operating on a family-owned farm in Maine. We love these dried lion’s mane mushrooms for those who don’t have access to fresh lion’s mane, because you can rehydrate them to make a savory vegetarian meal. Lion’s mane has a seafood-like taste that’s easy to incorporate into different flavor profiles. Even better, all of Mousam Valley’s products come in 100 percent recyclable packaging! Supplementing with this product is a great way to support small businesses committed to sustainable mushroom growing.