We love looking into the science of mushrooms here at Vesper Mushrooms, rather than leaving the consumer to take our word for it. In a world where cognitive health is increasingly becoming a concern, researchers are tirelessly exploring new avenues to improve and maintain brain function. We looked into a few of such studies in a prior blog post, comparing the use and benefits of two of those mushrooms. The two unconventional yet intriguing options that have gained attention are the use of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) as an extract and the psychedelic compound psilocybin. Let's delve into the findings of studies that have investigated the potential benefits of these substances.
We always like to preface by reminding readers that if they should have any questions regarding the use of these mushrooms for any medical purpose, they should defer to the judgement of their healthcare providers as we at Vesper Mushrooms aren't qualified to make medical recommendations on their behalf.
Mushroom Power: Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus)
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that often serves as a precursor to more serious cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have long been intrigued by natural remedies that might slow down or even reverse this cognitive decline. One such remedy that has been investigated is the mushroom Hericium erinaceus, commonly known as Yamabushitake.
Two clinical trials, conducted independently by Mori et al. (2010) and Hong et al. (2015), shed light on the potential cognitive benefits of Hericium erinaceus. Both trials employed a double-blind placebo-controlled approach, considered the gold standard in clinical research. This method ensures that neither the participants nor the researchers know who is receiving the actual treatment, eliminating biases in the results.
The trials found that participants who received Hericium erinaceus demonstrated improvements in mild cognitive impairment when compared to those who received a placebo. This suggests that the compounds present in the mushroom might have a positive impact on cognitive function. Although the exact mechanisms behind these effects are not yet fully understood, Hericium erinaceus holds promise as a natural intervention for cognitive health.
Beyond the Norm: Psilocybin for Treatment-Resistant Depression
In a groundbreaking study, Carhart-Harris et al. (2016) explored the potential of psilocybin—a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms—for treating treatment-resistant depression. This study took a different approach, focusing on mental health rather than cognitive function, but the findings are equally intriguing.
The study involved individuals with severe depression who had not responded to conventional treatments. Psilocybin was administered in a controlled and supportive environment, and participants received psychological support throughout the experience. The results were promising, with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms that persisted for weeks after the psilocybin sessions. While the exact mechanisms of how psilocybin exerts its antidepressant effects are not fully understood, this study highlights the potential of unconventional approaches in mental health treatment.
These studies underscore the importance of exploring unconventional options in the pursuit of cognitive and mental well-being. Whether it's the mushroom Yamabushitake (Lion's Mane) with its potential cognitive benefits or the psychedelic compound psilocybin showing promise in depression treatment, these findings encourage us to look beyond traditional approaches.
While these studies give us a peek into the amazing ability lion's mane and other mushrooms might have to aid in mindfulness etc., it's advisable to consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating such interventions into your health regimen.
As the world of science continues to evolve, we may find that nature's secrets hold even more potential than we could have ever imagined. From the depths of the forest floor to the compounds within psychedelic mushrooms, the quest for improved cognitive health and mental well-being takes us on a journey of exploration and discovery.
- Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2010). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 24(8), 1407-1413.
- Hong, S. H., Lee, S. H., Kim, J. H., Kim, H. J., & Kim, Y. C. (2015). Hericium erinaceus improves mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Medicinal Food, 18(12), 909-916.
- Carhart-Harris, R. L., Bolstridge, M., Rucker, J., Day, C. M., Erritzoe, D., Kaelen, M., ... & Nutt, D. J. (2016). Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study