Magic mushrooms and learning: a personal experience with Lion’s mane

Taking mushrooms is called “shrooming”. I used this mushroom to try to increase cognitive function after a brain lesion. The results were an improvement but I am not sure if it was as a result of shrooming, that is taking these magic mushrooms.

Hericium Erinaceus in Latin, is a mushroom that grows on wood. I grew these a while back as I read Lion’s mane mushrooms should have a positive affect on your brain, and I had a brain lesion. Also I am always looking for ways to increase cognitive function as it is good for language learning. What Shitake and Reishi mushrooms are supposed to do for your immune system Lion’s mane mushrooms are supposed to do for your brain. They actually in theory stimulate nerve growth factor. What is proven is they have D-threitol, D-arabinitol, and palmitic acid which are antioxidants, this does not impress me, everything now days is an antioxidant. What I really wanted to know is if they help my cognitive function.

If you believe in natures signature, it does look like a brain or complex neural pathways or beard (symbolic of wisdom) if you look at it.

You can buy these for a pretty penny in a whole food store.  This is why if you are serious about potentially long term therapeutic affects, I recommend growing them yourself.  When I lived in Poland and made a pittance compared to my American income, I grew them on my own in my apartment.  Any dark, moist place is the land of mushrooms, and if you do not have this natural environment you can create a growing lab in your home.

They grew pretty fast and over the course of three months if you do it from a starter of sterile sawdust. However, if you want to use fresh cut logs, it is even better and fruiting might take six months or longer but you will get yields over many years. Basically fungus decomposes wood to thrive.  Some mushrooms form a symbiotic relationship with living trees and are inoculated at the roots.

My garden in Florida where I grow lion’s mane in my backyard. To inoculate logs with spore plugs and a drill is cost effective for long term use.

Does Lion’s mane mushrooms work for brain repair

My conclusion was maybe, but no super evidence. I did felt more lucid after using them for about three months, but this was combined with other vitamins and essential fatty acids. It also could have been a huge placebo effect. So the bottom line is it is inconclusive if Lion’s mane mushrooms helped my brain. I might try them again, but I would be interested if anyone else has had any experiences with Lion’s mane mushrooms, and please try to be objective as objectivity is the essences of intelligence.

I have a series of fresh cut lots by the woods edge where it is damp.  Inoculated with the bearded hericium erinaceus growing in a wild crafted fashion.

In vitro this mushroom does appear to help stimulate NGF, per a few studies. But do these mushrooms really work? However, what I might do is try this again with ceteris paribus, that is no other smart drugs or supplements and measure it objectively, with a battery of cognitive tests. I am just one person and this will be my personal experience but I am curious if other people have tried this? Right now all the studies I have seen are more hype than science but based on my initial experience I would try this again. There is no question mushrooms do have chemicals that can affect brain chemistry.

Positive side effects noted

  • While taking mushrooms, almost any medicinal variety I noticed increase dream recall., this included more more vivid and sensory rich dreams.
  • I noticed my chess ranking increased beyond what is a normal rate of increase over time.
  • My typing speed increased.

These are non-subjective indications of increased brain function. If you were to test it with any mobile phone application of elementary cognitive process, I am curious if I would see a positive outcome. However, testing and scientific research of lion’s mane is beyond the scope here, rather I wanted to convey a personal experience.

The question is can Lion’s name effect NGF and in the long term grow new pathways to enhance learning, or does it like so many other vitamins and herbs simply ‘jazz up’ your thinking temporarily while taking the substance?  If  brain placidity is as science claims, why not find a way to help. If it is a temporary increase in cognitive function, perhaps green tea and studying would be as good and more cost effective. On the other hand there is a long term affect than it is worth exploration. I am disappointed with smart drugs that increase function in the short term as they do nothing for true healing on a multidimensional level.

Long term use of Lions Mane mushrooms on the brain

I plan try growing and consuming over the long term.  I have noticed most studies are rather short term and focus immediate neurotrophic and cerebral boasting affect.  However, what if you took them for brain repair over the long-term in sufficient quantity? Would it help even language learning?  Would this  The mushroom itself tastes a little like lobster. I do not like to be a functional eater, that is consuming something just because it is good for you. Therefore, if you want to take this over the log term you might as well learn recipes, raw in salad or even cooked, although I do not know the affect of heat on its active compounds.

I believe the mushroom’s alkaloids are partly responsible for its effects, and I wonder if any contraindications to the liver are a concern over the long term. However, people have been using these for healing and even spiritual purposes for centuries and if you contrast this with real risks like plastic water bottles, radiation from flying in a plan or stepping in your car, it is probably not an issue and some people would argue it has a positive affect on the digestive organs.

Stem cells and the use of Mushrooms for TBI healing

I recently received ethical Stem cells from my own fat tissue for a series of injuries relating to my joints. However, I noticed the intravenous feed of stem cells had a positive affect on my brain function.  This was manifest objectively in an increase in my chess ranking. I know this all sounds speculative, and this is new territory in medical research and use.  I simply put it out there and I invite you to research and explore as I want to be of  real value to people.  I consider the combination of the two perhaps synergistic.  It could simply be a nutrient rich diet supporting the stem cell activity.

If you have questions please ask. My knowledge is evolving and being updated.  Are mushroom helpful in healing, memory and cognitive processing? Based on my experience I would give it a resounding yes. However, the long-term efficiency is what I would like to see explored. So  I have new information beyond the older comments. I am not a doctor and not giving medical advice. Simple, this is a story of my personal experience with various legal types of mushrooms and other medical techniques to repair ones brain from injury or bring it to optimal efficiency.

28 Replies to “Magic mushrooms and learning: a personal experience with Lion’s mane”

  1. Lion’s mane ? Translate into Polish, please, What’s this?

  2. @ A “Lion’s Mane” is called “małpia głowa”. In English we use Lion’s mane because the mushroom looks like the beard of a lion. In Polish you use “monkey’s head”.

  3. Thanks, I found, in Polish : soplówka jeżowata=małpia głowa.

  4. Hello Mark,
    I have found better healing with Peyote (legal in Arizona) I am travelling to Krakow on Sunday and was wondering if you could help me with a train ticket to Kiev?

  5. @Mike, When are you leaving for Kiev? If you want the cheapest way, take a train to the boarder, then a minibus to Lviv (Lvov) and from Lviv to Kiev. Ukrainian trains are about 80% cheaper. However, I would recommend if you have the cash to keep it simple and buy a train ticket from Krakow to Kiev direct, its a sleeper train and can be bought at Orbis in the main market square or at the train station. At Orbis in the center I think they speak English and its the same price. “do Kijowa” Or “do keyovera” is how it sounds in Polish.

  6. @ Mike at you recommendation for healing mushrooms, I think Lion’s mane would work much better than what you mentioned as I think that is for alternative experiences not healing.

  7. I also have some issues (not to different from yours) and as such got interested and have been growing professionaly for about 20 years now. I use P.Cubensis mushrooms. However I have found that a super small dose (.3grams or less) has healing properties and provides very noticable and lasting effects. It is hard to describe but the body and mind feel smooth and silky, mental function is increased as well as sight sound and smell without the “trip” associated with larger doses of 1.5 to 4.5 grams.

    No side effects except for one….your body will have no idea it is tired so sleep is not an option for about 5 hours.

    1. Is that a species of Mane, or a different mushroom?

      1. I am not sure what is Mane? Here are the classifications.
        Plant – Hericium erinaceus
        Kingdom: Fungi
        Division: Basidiomycota
        Class: Agaricomycetes
        Order: Russulales
        Family: Hericiaceae
        Genus: Hericium

        I would guess it is the same name if it has Mane in it as that is the only mushroom I know with this name.

  8. Interesting. I see P.Cubensis mushrooms is also found in Thailand. Finding it will be another problem.

    1. I grow these Lion’s Mane myself, all you need is a starter for any mushrooms and they grow pretty fast, like a mushroom.

      1. Hi There,
        Would really love some feedback or a link for growing at home? Is Lions Mane helpful for ADHD? Thank-you for your help.

        1. I believe it can be. I have heard the affects are only when you are taking it. When you stop the affects go away. I am going to grow it and see if for the long term will stay when not consumed. Currently there are so many natural alternatives from phosphatidyl serine to Ginko to Bacopa.

  9. I have white matter hyperintensities (lesions)and constant headaches and have been experimenting with many different holistic approaches. I have tried taking a low doses of typical mushshroom you get off the streets here in California and noticed increases cogitative function while high but no lasting effects. One thing that has had a lasting effect on my cognitive abilities is light and sound therapy. I am also currently investigating hyperbaric chamber, cranial electric stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I will report back if I am blessed with a breakthrough.

    my current regimen is a healthy diet and lifestyle (no drugs, yoga & exercise), supplements for the brain, regular mediation (l&s therapy), cognitive exercises, control stress and depression.
    I am about to add hyperbaric chamber 2-3 times a week and transcranial magnetic stimulation to help stimulate growth and regulate depression.

    Let me know if you have any input or questions?

    I am wondering if there is any place for very controlled use of c_nnab_s or mushrooms anywhere in my regimen? I am considering an oil extraction edible intake of THC every week or two to help stimulate the brain/growth and help reduce stress and depression. I have read that regular use of ca_n_bis can lower the plasticity of your neurons but occasional use can actually have a productive effect..

    I saw you had another post “How computer games helped repair my brain lesion.”

    claritaslux.com/blog/computer-games-rehabilitate-brain/

    So do you still have brain lesions or are you cured?

    1. On my last MRI I did not see one brain lesion but I still have my other. I did not use contrast, so the other lesion might still be there, just not not affecting me anymore. I still have symptoms from my other leasion but not as much. Basically the effects are almost gone and I think I am normal (almost).
      From a cognitive standpoint my brain functions better than ever. So yes you can say cured. However, I still have headaches. But headaches do not come from the brain as the brain has no sensory nervous system. It comes from the mass of sensory nerves around the brain, and gives us signals to protect our brains and take it easy.
      Headaches are cause by changes in pressure, internal or external on the skull/brain. Many causes. I still get these so from a cognitive rehab standpoint I am cured but from a sensory standpoint I need work.
      I have tried everything and I think the only thing that works on the brain today is a holistic approach. In the future they will have really good drugs to help the brain heal, but not now, they are all kind of lame things to take with great sounding names but they do not do much other then jazz up your brain while you take them.
      Its the future.
      But holistically in most cases is all you need.
      Vitamins, herbs and other things, very good diet, swimming, yoga, walking or whatever, positive attitude and faith.
      I do not recommend c_an_ab_s. Why? I just do not think it is any magic solution. I think money and energy is better spend on a good diet and vitamins, and plenty of relaxation than that. I have nothing generally against it other than I think, it is more flashy and high profile than it is effective. Many other better things.
      I think the brain can and does rewire and heal. It needs to be tricked into doing this by having a good base and then some. Next stimulating it. The base is as I mentioned above. Stimulating is depends on your issues. Most anything done in a lab or a rehab center can be done 10 times better with the right computer games.
      My sensory issues I will have to think about.

  10. Thanks for your reply, I will take your advice into consideration.
    I have been doing a lot of research on lion’s mane and founds some very interesting information. In summary there are beneficial molecules in both the mycelium and fruit body of the lions mane. From studies I will reference there is certain formulations that promote the production of a certain protein that stimulates the nerve growth factor. This protein is unable to pass through the blood brain barrier but its precursors are. It has been found that extracts through both alcohol and water have made these precursors more bio available for the brain, in comparison to fresh fruit body or even fresh fruit body + the mycelium. There are all sorts of studies on this topic along with very promising reviews of these select extracts.

    After reading this entire thread (imminst.org/forum/topic/37707-benefits-real-or-illusory-and-side-effects-to-stimulating-ngf/page__st__140)
    which investigates the most legitimate and effective supplementation of lion mane, it seem that fungi perfecti has the most superior product of choice. cordycepsreishiextracts.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=82&osCsid=c3a7dee7be9fc38a42b44ffe39a3a694

    Here is a list of the studies on the matter: cordycepsreishiextracts.com/hericium_erinaceus_medical_research.htm

    I ordered the extract and will be posting my results on that thread.

    @mark: I have to say I was pretty discouraged to hear that you still have headaches. Could you please describe them to me.

    How often?

    What symptoms do you still have from your lesion?

    What do you mean when you say “from a sensory standpoint you need work?”

    I feel that my constant dull headaches are directly correlated to my cognitive deficiencies. When I do get those brief windows of reduced swelling and pain I experience an increase in cognition.

  11. Well do not be disappoint about head pain. I do not care that much about pain as much as cognitive problems. If you can get to a point of being as good or better than you ever were, but still have headaches, I think that is a very good position to be in.

    I mean what is a headache compare to brain problems. I think I could work on the headaches with massage or something. Its most likely minor inflammation, from diet or changes in weather or something acting on this injury.

    Look if you try the lions mane, why not put yourself on a little rehab routine?

    Think of it this way, some bodybuilders take amino acids and work out. Some just workout and some just take amino acids. Who do you think will get the best results and who will get the least?
    You need to focus on the area of the brain that needs to be healed. It could be with brain exercises in the areas you have problems with. Or in a more exotic way do meditation for healing for that area.

    I know what I am talking about in that regard, you need to stimulate your brain to rebuild, it will work better than just taking something.

    Let me know if you have any effect, I like to stay objective about all this so it will be of benefit to others who have the same issues.

  12. It you want to really amp up your take a couple table spoons of flaxseed oil a day and drink a liter of pomegranate juice. I do not know if the latter is in your budget, but at least consider the flaxseed oil as it is high in essential fatty acids, and ours brain is mostly fat after all. You can also eat a lot of Sardines.
    I know it does not sound as radical as taking a drug, but again with brain problems you have to be very patient and give your body what it needs to have the chance to heal. Brains are very flexible you know.

  13. I agree, with full cognition my pain would be a minimal issue. Like I said, it seems for me these two are very correlated, but hopefully with time I will be able to reach your state of health.

    For the past 16 months I have been trying to provide my body with all tools it needs to repair and have had no noticeable progress. This is why I am pursuing new means of treatment.

    I totally agree with your bodybuilder metaphor and confess this is the biggest weakness in my regimen. Not liking video games hasn’t helped, but when I sit down to play chess or tetris my pain increases discouraging long or regular sessions.

    One thing that has helped my pain and cognition is this mixture of antioxidants, It is known as a glutathione accelerator. Let me know what you think of this. I have recently been debating whether these supplements could be hindering my body’s ability to rehabilitate due to possible negative interactions with glial cells..

    max-gxl.org/

    I have tried weeks without these supplements and have noticed nothing other that more pain and less cognition.

    1. In personal experience 16 months is not too long. I think the most important thing is to be patient. My headaches almost went away but I had something happen, which is another story.
      Do not worry about video games, do the thing you love the most, it could be reading, or even watching movies. Anything that is really engrossing and engages your brain. I play chess.
      As far as antioxidants go, I tried them all. The more natural the better. That is, grape skin or seed extract and pomegranate juice in my opinion is better than an isolated amino acid. I have tried all this stuff. A strong multi vitamin like daily 3 from the Vitamin shop plus some natural anti oxidant like grape skin extract, a reasonable amount and lots of dark drinks like berries etc is a good reasonably priced approach. I have tried the shot gun approach, that is taking everything I could, it cost a lot and your body tends to over load and there are diminishing returns to scale.
      So I try to take a multi plus grape skin extract and then experiment with a few things here and there. But basically I think I am healed pretty well. I will continue to work on all this and experiment and research more.

  14. My son has been diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy 6 months ago. He lost most of his functions and his nervous system is shutting down. He often suffers from a very painful muscle spasm. I read about Lion’s Mane Mashroom and its benefits in regeneration of nerves. The problem is that he is on a lot of medication (Epilem-for the seizures, Lyrica for pain, Baclofen – muscle relaxant and Valium). I’d love to introduce Lion’s Mane and see what it does but when asking his neurologist she advised not to. Her concerne is possible convulsions due to an interaction between Baclofen and Lion’s Main. I can not find any information on the internet about the two used at the same time in ALD patients and possible problems but am hesitant to give it to him now.
    Does anyone have any knowledge of this or knows of who to ask?
    Thank you

    1. I would go exactly with what your doctor says. I also think Lions Mane is not a cure all or for serious conditions. I do think genetic cures are more in line with what you might look into. This includes how to turn on or off genetic codes.
      I think look into adult stem cells. They are ethical and the future. Adult stems cells are taken from your own bodies blood, fat or bone marrow and cultured and reinjected.
      I think you could consult a very good nutritionally oriented MD, to put together a whole program. I would say Lion’s Mane is something I use from time to time, but I think for ALD you need to find something like a stem cell cure. I would read everything you can about it from all angles.
      I believe there is a cure. I do not know what it is, but I believe it is just a matter of time. Do not give up.

      1. Hi Mark,

        Thank you for your reply. I have done all the above and more. I have taken my son straight after the diagnoses and flown to Europe (Paris) to see Professor Aubourg and then to the States to see Dr. Ryamond who are the few doctors out of the world ALD team. Currently, ALD can be treated with BMT if disease early detected. But that seems to be the problem. Kids are born normal and without any family history (in my case) you won’t know anything is wrong until a first seizure occurs etc. Currently, BMT is the way to treat ALD. Unfortunately,the mortality despite the treatment is still too high so they are looking more into a gene therapy which seems to be the future. Sadly, non of these can be done if your child is symptomatic. Shane has shown symptoms already because that’s how his diagnoses have been reveled. So it looks like it’s too late for us but as a parent, I refuse to sit still. I keep searching online day and night. I know I don’t have a cure for him but the least I can do is to find something to help his body to cope with this all the best way it can. I will never give up on him.

        1. I think use the web until you have left no stone unturned. On the web people give reviews of what works and does not, sometimes faster than individual doctors know. I mean the number of doctors that consider stem cells as an alternative to joint replacement is small, but there are tested and solid companies like Regenerx (great company, you can look them up) in the USA that use this treatment. Yet most doctors are only vague aware of this as a real medical practice that is advanced and tested.

          So do not give up.
          Join every twitter and online support group as I am sure you have. Information is decentralized.

          I do think natural things can support your son. I think you can explore this on your own as I do not want to give advice. I have somethings that helped me with a brain lesion.

          More I learn about my own health problems and body, the body functions as a whole. People with paralysis start get function back because of healthy living rather than a cure. There is one famous person that tried everything but then was able to start to get function back after exercises. There are some cases of regeneration.

          I know you do, but continue to pray.

          Foreign Medical sometimes better

          I was at Harvard and Yale medical and they had ideas but not until I was in Poland, yes Poland, a doctor who treated veterans coming back from the Middle east did I get some new ideas. The guy did not have a fancy office and the visit in US dollars was 30 dollars, yet he helped me more than any Harvard or Yale medical doctor. He recommended things I had never thought of and when I went back to the USA again, doctors had never considered this. It really helped. I was blow away that some Polish military doctor in a small office for 30 dollars gave me better advice than Harvard and Yale doctors.

          I am a big believer finding the best treatment and being cost effective about it. A lot of medical people in the USA and abroad really just want your money. So no need to try everything, just things that work.

          In seven years medical knowledge will basically double (OK maybe I am exaggerating but you get my point) as research is like an S curve and accelerating. I think things will be cured we do not have a clue about now. Even though medical research is conservative as it requires years of research the world from China to Europe to India are all researching.

          I would not give up and ask God to guide you.

          1. Hi Mark, thank you for your words. I am a desperate mother who can not imagine life without her son. Continuous search for some sort of improvement in his condition, a little bit of faith (growing up in the Czech Republic under a comunist system didn’t allow to plant the seed of religion too deeply in me but I am learning) and his smiles are the only things that keep me going. Some days are better than others but overall I do believe/hope I can prolong his time here with me.
            Thanks once again for your help.
            All the best, Romana

    2. I was prescribed baclofen for a dystonia in my shoulder from a nerve injury in my neck. Baclofen over time stopped having therapeutic benefits(meaning my spasms started to reappear) and really began to drag me down. To be honest it barely even worked in the beginning.. just heavy body load but still anxious tendencies to spasm and grap my neck and shoulder all the time. So i discontinued a few months ago. Did not consult my physician, just looked up how to taper properly and after tapering i turned to lions mane. You cant really sell a neurologist on an herbal or organic remedy. They have to rely upon knowledge of only pharmaceutical drugs. I have been using lions mane for the past few weeks and just a couple days ago my girlfriend and room mate and me all noticed that I have not been doing the incessant stretching and massaging of my shoulder and clavical that used to really effect my day to day.I mean i would take frequent breaks during work to go upstairs and just lay on my back because my neck hurt so bad. I cannot say if it works for depression, but as far as neuropathy is concerned, I am a believer. I use host defense lions mane because mycologist Paul Stamets founded the company and he is one of the most credible sources with regards to mushrooms and mycology in general. I do not feel the need to get up from my desk every few minutes and go to the bathroom to stretch, i am calm and even keeled and do not believe it to be placebo at this point.

      1. Your feedback has been helpful. I would research Stem Cells. Their regenerative properties are science fiction like. I have used stem cells for an almost miraculous cure for my back pain. Lions mane is easy to grow if you have patience. You can inoculate hardwood logs.

  15. I have been taking mushrooms extracts such as Reishi, Chaga and Lion’s Mane for over 6 month now. For sure, these mushrooms are good for immune support. But for brains these mushrooms are quite mild. I have not felt any significant improvement in my cognitive functions or get supernatural IQ. For honesty I have to say that Lion’s Mane is the most effective one of those mushrooms. I buy my mushroom supplements from internet (see my homepage for more information). It depends also who is manufacturing the Lion’s Mane supplements. Nowadays I take Lion’s Mane liquid supplements, because I feel those more efficient than capsules. I see the Lion’s Mane effect specially in my digestive system. I can’t deny that Lion’s Mane have not cleared my mind. But I hoped that it would enhance my cognitive abilities even more.

    In USA You might get nootropics such as Noopept and different Racetams, that could be better solutions for Your brain lucid. Please consult to Your doctor first before taking nootropics.

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