Things To Know & Note
Also Known As
Hericium erinaceus, Lion's Mane, Monkey's Head, Houtou (infrequent), Igelstachelbart, Pom Pom Blanc, Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard
Caution NoticeExamine.com Medical Disclaimer
As the water soluble extract seems to be less potent than other fractions, it may be best to take Yamabushitake with meals if in supplemental form
If itchy skin occurs, this may be related to an increase in Nerve Growth Factor and unless accompanied by signs of allergy should be benign
How to Take Yamabushitake
Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details
Currently, the only human study has used an oral dose of 1,000mg Yamabushitake (96% purity extract) thrice daily for a cumulative total of 3,000mg extract. While it is unknown if this is the optimal dose or not, it appeared to be effective.
Get access to the latest nutrition research
By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research on over 300 supplements across over 500 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.
Human Effect Matrix
The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects yamabushitake has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
|Grade||Level of Evidence [show legend]|
|Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials|
|Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled|
|Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies|
|Uncontrolled or observational studies only|
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||- See study|
|-||- See study|
Get unbiased information on what works
At Examine.com, we pride ourselves on basing all our recommendations on evidence. It’s why we don’t sell any advertising or supplements — so that you know that our analysis is unbiased.
If you’re tired of wasting time and money on supplements that don’t work, our 17 Supplement Guides will help you figure out precisely what to take — and what to skip — based on your health goals and the latest scientific evidence.
Join over 50,000 people who rely on Examine.com's unbiased and science-based analysis.
I want unbiased recommendations »
Research Breakdown on Yamabushitake
Click on any below to expand the corresponding section. Click on to collapse it.
Yamabushitake is a mushroom that grows on old or dead broadleaf trees, and is consumed in Japan and China without reported harmful effects.
Some common names for this mushroom also include Monkey's Head, Lion's Mane, and Satyr’s Beard and is sometimes called Houtou as that is the name of a sports drink which contained Hericium erinaceus (11th Asia Sport Festival in China of 1990).
The mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) contains:
Orcinol derivatives (Mycelium)
Sialic-acid binding lectin
Sterols, such as ergosterol and beta-sitosterol.
And a polysacchaide component (Hericium erinaceus )
Polysaccharides, named HEF-P and belonging to the beta-glucan family; which can be broken down into four polysaccharides The percentage of polysaccharides in the fruiting bodies seems to be around 20%, with 18.59% found with an ethanol extraction with the overall structure of these polysaccharides comprising xylose (7.8%), ribose (2.7%), glucose (68.4%), arabinose (11.3%), galactose (2.5%) and mannose (5.2%).
Like most medicinal mushrooms, Yamabushitake appears to have bioactive polysaccharides (carbohydrates) in addition to some ethanolic soluble molecules
The total phenolic content of Yamabushitake appears to be in the range of 10.20+/-2.25mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE) per gram (about 1%) with the hot water extract, which appears to be up to 5-fold higher than oven cooked levels and either methanolic or freeze-dried fruit bodies. This 10.20+/-2.25mg GAE/g (phenolic content) is significantly less than the reference drug of Quercetin (194.24+/-7.58) and on a potency basis the overall antioxidant potential of yamabushitake is about 17.7% that of quercetin in vitro.
The polysaccharides themselve are also active in vivo, with 300mg/kg of the polysaccharides daily for 15 days can reduce the oxidative changes induced by ischemia/reperfusion.
The phenolic antioxidant potential of yamabushitake is significantly less than the reference drugs of Quercetin and gallic acid, although the polysaccharide content does also appear to be bioactive
Yamabushitake has been noted to increase mRNA expression of nerve-growth factor (NGF) in isolated astrocytes to around 5-fold that of control at 100-150ug/mL of the ethanolic extract in a concentration dependent manner, with no efficacy noted in the water extract. When testing hericenones C-E, none were found effective in the range of 10-100ug/mL and inhibiting JNK signalling appears to prevent yamabushitake from acting (with p38 MAPK, PKA, PKC, and MEK not being involved).
An increase in NGF mRNA has been detected in the hippocampus, but not cortex, of mice given 5% of the diet as yamabushitake for a period of seven days to around 1.3-fold of control.
Yamabushitake ethanolic extract appears to increase NGF mRNA levels, and this has been confirmed following oral administration to mice
Secretion of NGF from astrocytes has been noted to be increased with 150ug/mL of the ethanolic extract but not 50-100ug/mL while isolated erinacines (A-C) are known to stimulate NGF secretion at 1mM concentrations, with a potency greatly exceeding that of adrenaline at the same concentrations.
Seceretion of NGF from astrocytes has been noted to be increased with incubation of yamabushitake ethanolic extract
When looking at neurons specifically, yamabushitake appears to promote neuronal prolongation and formation of myelin
Neuronal excitability from glutamic acid appears to be attenuated in the presence of yamabushitake extracts,
An analogue of the Hericenones, called 3-hydroxyhericenone, has been implicated in preserving neurons from death induced by endoplasmic reticulum stress. This mechanism of action is also seen with various benzene compounds in Yamabushitake.
It has also been shown, in vitro, to enhance myelination (production of myelin sheath) of neurons, which may be downstream of NGF.
Yamabushitake appears to protect rats against cognitive decline caused by β-amyloid pigmentation at the same 5% of the diet seen previously.
One human study using 3g of 98% Yamabushitake powder (in capsule form) showed significantly improvements on a rating scale of dementia in persons suffering from general cognitive decline. The supplement increased cognition relative to control, and the degree of improvement increased with time; however, 4 weeks after cessation saw the start of a decline back to normal despite still being significantly elevated above control.
Anxiety and Depressive symptoms have also been reduced in humans fed 2g of Yamabushitake, via cookies, over the course of 4 weeks. There was a significant difference between groups on the measurements of concentration and irritability, favoring the Yamabushitake group.
In one study conducted in rats, Yamabushitake water extract was able to promote neuronal regrowth after crushing injury. Rats that had a gluteal nerve damaged (purposefully) during surgery were able to walk better after ingestion of water containing the extract of the fruits. Two doses used in this study were 10 or 20mL per kg bodyweight daily, but the exact mg or mmol dose was not recorded; the two doses, however, did not differ between each other. This was conducted as a follow-up to an in vitro study suggesting neuronal growth from Yamabushitake, which showed no toxic symptoms.
Hericenone B has been shown to exert anti-platelet actions by inhibiting signalling from collagen through α2/β1 to release arachidonic acid (one of the two receptors that mediates thrombosis via collagen); the mechanism appears to be potent but specific in tested rabbits, with complete inhibition at 30μM (similar to 5μM aspirin as reference drug) and near complete at 10μM. Interestingly, hericenones C-E failed to have any influence on collagen-induced platelet aggregation, and while hericenone B was active on other forms of aggregation (adrenaline and U46619 but not ADP nor thrombin) it was less effective.
Hericenone B appears to potently and specifically inhibit collagen-induced platelet aggregation, with other hericenones not having much of an effect and other forms of aggregation not being significantly affected. The concentration this occurs at suggests that it is biologically relevant
Yamabushitake appears to be an ACE inhibitor (hot water extract of the fruiting bodies) with an IC50 value of 580+/-23µg/mL, significantly less than the most potent tested mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (50µg/mL).
Hot water extracts of mushrooms tends to be more potent ACE inhibitors than ethanolic or methanolic extracts, and mushroom bioactives that have been noted to inhibit ACE include D-mannose (IC50 of 3mg/mL) and L-pipecolic acid (IC50 of 23.7mg/mL). As these molecules themselves are weaker than yamabushitake, it is currently thought that bioactives peptides underlie the ACE inhibitor potential as they have been detected in mushrooms before (Val-Ile-Glu-Lys-Tyr-Pro and Gly-Glu-Pro)
Yamabushitake has ACE inhibiting properties, although they appear to be pretty weak and may not be biologically relevant. The exact molecule underlying these effects is not currently known, but it may be a bioactive peptide
Both a hot water and ethanolic extract of yamabushitake have been tested in hyperlipidemic mice at 2% of the diet (1.896-3.16g/kg hot water and 2.016-3.36g/kg ethanolic) is able to reduce triglycerides (8% hot water and 27.1% ethanolic relative to control) without any apparent effect on HDL-C nor total cholesterol. These hypolipidemic effects were also observed in liver tissue (29.8% hot water and 38.8% ethanolic) and was thought to be related to the ability of the ethanolic extract to act as a PPARα agonist with an EC50 value of 40µg/mL; there was an increase in genes downstream of PPARα but no changes in PPARα expression.
Yamabushitake may act as a PPARα agonist and reduce triglycerides without any apparent effect on cholesterol
Although both the hot water and ethanolic extracts have been found inactive on cholesterol and HDL-C, an extract derived from the mycelium of yamabushitake (ethanolic extract which was then lyophilized) appeared to reduce LDL by 45.5% and improve HDL-C by 31.1% when taken at an oral dose of 200mg/kg with 50mg/kg also being somewhat active.
Although the fruiting body of the mushroom (edible portion) does not appear to significantly influence lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism, the mycelium may reduce cholesterol
Supplementation of both the hot water and ethanolic extracts of yamabushitake to mice (1.896-3.16g/kg hot water and 2.016-3.36g/kg ethanolic) has been found to increase the expression of several genes involved in fat metabolism including Acad1, Srebf1, and Slc27a1, which were thought to be due to activating PPARα.
Yamabushitake appears to be a PPARα agonist, which may contribute to fat burning properties
Supplementation of yamabushitake (1.896-3.16g/kg hot water extract or 2.016-3.36g/kg of the ethanolic extract) to mice is able to attenuate weight gain during a high fat diet by 30% (hot water) and 42.4% (ethanolic) associated with less fat accumulation in the liver and mesenteric adipose tissue.
The mycelium extract at 50-200mg/kg in rats, despite having cholesterol reducing properties, has failed to significantly influence body weight over the course of four weeks.
Yamabushitake has been noted to suppress LPS-induced macrophage activation (mostly chloroform fraction, but also seen with water and alcoholic extracts) associated with less activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and less nuclear translocation of NF-kB.
The polysaccharide known as HEF-AP Fr II (a beta-glucan), conversely, has been found to stimulate macrophage activity itself as assessed by TNF-α and IL-β release at a concentration of 1mg/mL. This may be related to the increase in macrophage and T-cell count seen with incubations of this mushroom.
Differing compounds in yamabushitake appear to differently modulate the immune system, with the polysaccharides appearing to be immunostimulatory but other molecules (mostly in the chloroform extract) appearing to suppress macrophage activation
In vitro, the hot water and ethanolic extracts of yamabushitake show anti-metastatic potential in CT-26 colon cancer cells at 500µg/mL associated with less ERK and JNK phosphorylation which resulted in less MMP secretion and lamellipodia formation.
Both the hot water and ethanolic extracts of yamabushitake appear to inhibit metastasis of colon cancer cells to the lung by 66-69% with 10mg/kg injections of extracts made of the fruiting bodies.
Toxicology studies in rats suggest that doses up to 5g/kg bodyweight are safe in rats when given as MUNOPHIL, which is a combination of Yamabushitake and Panax Ginseng. The percentage of this compound by weight that is Yamabushitake was not listed.
There has been one case study of a 63 year old man who suffered acute respiratory failure, and the excess lymphocytes in his lungs showed high reactivity to Yamabushitake daily for 4 months in dosages commonly bought. The connection between the two, when rated, is seen as a 'probably' connection.
- Tanaka A, Matsuda H. Expression of nerve growth factor in itchy skins of atopic NC/NgaTnd mice. J Vet Med Sci. (2005)
- Mori K, et al. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biol Pharm Bull. (2008)
- Wong KH, et al. Neuroregenerative potential of lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review). Int J Med Mushrooms. (2012)
- Bioactive Substances in YAMABUSHITAKE, the Hericium erinaceum Fungus, and its Medicinal Utilization.
- Yaoita Y, Danbara K, Kikuchi M. Two new aromatic compounds from Hericium erinaceum (BULL.: FR.) PERS(1). Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). (2005)
- Chromans, hericenones F, G and H from the mushroom Hericium erinaceum.
- Ueda K, et al. An endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-suppressive compound and its analogues from the mushroom Hericium erinaceum. Bioorg Med Chem. (2008)
- Erinacines J and K from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum.
- Erinacines E, F, and G, stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum.
- Antimicrobial chlorinated orcinol derivatives from mycelia of Hericium erinaceum.
- A sialic acid-binding lectin from the mushroom Hericium erinaceum.
- Li JL, et al. A comparative study on sterols of ethanol extract and water extract from Hericium erinaceus. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. (2001)
- Mizuno T, et al. Antitumor-active polysaccharides isolated from the fruiting body of Hericium erinaceum, an edible and medicinal mushroom called yamabushitake or houtou. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. (1992)
- Xu H, et al. Chemical analysis of Hericium erinaceum polysaccharides and effect of the polysaccharides on derma antioxidant enzymes, MMP-1 and TIMP-1 activities. Int J Biol Macromol. (2010)
- Lee JS, et al. Study of macrophage activation and structural characteristics of purified polysaccharides from the fruiting body of Hericium erinaceus. J Microbiol Biotechnol. (2009)
- Dong Q, Jia LM, Fang JN. A beta-D-glucan isolated from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus and its aqueous conformation. Carbohydr Res. (2006)
- Han ZH, Ye JM, Wang GF. Evaluation of in vivo antioxidant activity of Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides. Int J Biol Macromol. (2013)
- Abdullah N, et al. Evaluation of Selected Culinary-Medicinal Mushrooms for Antioxidant and ACE Inhibitory Activities. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2012)
- Effects of cultivation techniques and processing on antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Hericium erinaceus ( Bull .: Fr .) Pers . Extracts.
- Erinacines A, B and C, strong stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum.
- Neurotropic and Trophic Action of Lion's Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extracts on Nerve Cells in Vitro.
- Ueda K, et al. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-suppressive compounds from scrap cultivation beds of the mushroom Hericium erinaceum. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. (2009)
- Kolotushkina EV, et al. The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro. Fiziol Zh. (2003)
- Mori K, et al. Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. Biomed Res. (2011)
- Mori K, et al. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. (2009)
- Nagano M, et al. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. (2010)
- Wong KH, et al. Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2011)
- Activity of Aqueous Extracts of Lion's Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) on the Neural Cell Line NG108-15.
- Farndale RW, et al. The role of collagen in thrombosis and hemostasis. J Thromb Haemost. (2004)
- Mori K, et al. Inhibitory effect of hericenone B from Hericium erinaceus on collagen-induced platelet aggregation. Phytomedicine. (2010)
- Angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitor from Grifola frondosa.
- Isolation and characterization of a novel angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitory peptide derived from the edible mushroom Tricholoma giganteum.
- Hagiwara SY, et al. A phytochemical in the edible Tamogi-take mushroom (Pleurotus cornucopiae), D-mannitol, inhibits ACE activity and lowers the blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. (2005)
- Inhibitory effects of l-pipecolic acid from the edible mushroom, Sarcodon aspratus, on angiotensin I-converting enzyme.
- Antioxidative and ACE inhibitory activities in enzymatic hydrolysates of the cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis.
- Hiwatashi K, et al. Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. (2010)
- Yang BK, Park JB, Song CH. Hypolipidemic effect of an Exo-biopolymer produced from a submerged mycelial culture of Hericium erinaceus. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. (2003)
- Kim YO, et al. Hericium erinaceus suppresses LPS-induced pro-inflammation gene activation in RAW264.7 macrophages. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. (2011)
- Wang JC, et al. Antitumor and immunoenhancing activities of polysaccharide from culture broth of Hericium spp. Kaohsiung J Med Sci. (2001)
- Abdulla MA, et al. Potential activity of aqueous extract of culinary-medicinal Lion's Mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) in accelerating wound healing in rats. Int J Med Mushrooms. (2011)
- Kim SP, Nam SH, Friedman M. Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) mushroom extracts inhibit metastasis of cancer cells to the lung in CT-26 colon cancer-tansplanted mice. J Agric Food Chem. (2013)
- Park ID, et al. Toxicological study on MUNOPHIL, water extract of Panax ginseng and Hericium erinaceum in rats. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. (2008)
- Nakatsugawa M, et al. Hericium erinaceum (yamabushitake) extract-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome monitored by serum surfactant proteins. Intern Med. (2003)
- A method for estimating the probability of adverse drug reactions.