Hericium erinaceus has long a history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. A 2005 rat study showed some compounds in the mushroom, like threitol, D-arabinitol, and palmitic acid, may have antioxidant effects, regulate blood lipid levels and reduce blood glucose levels. A 2012 study on rats that had suffered brain injury showed that “daily oral administration of H. erinaceus could promote the regeneration of injured rat peroneal nerve in the early stage of recovery.” More recently and more relevant to human use, is a 2013 review of scientific studies, which asserted the medical benefits of the mushroom by saying “This mushroom is rich in some physiologically important components, especially β-glucan polysaccharides, which are responsible for anti-cancer, immuno-modulating, hypolipidemic, antioxidant and neuro-protective activities of this mushroom. H. erinaceus has also been reported to have anti-microbial, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, wound healing properties among other therapeutic potentials.” A 2014 scientific review on the therapeutic effects of H. erinaceus concluded that “it is helpful to various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, immunoregulatory, and many types of cancer.”
Primary research has demonstrated the following:
- Stimulated animal nerve cells
- A double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial showed improved cognitive ability in individuals with mild cognitive impairment
- Stimulated nerve growth factor in an in vitro experiment with human astrocytoma cells Nerve growth factor stimulated by phenol-analogous Hericenone.
- Stimulated myelination in an in vitro experiment
- Regenerated peripheral nerves following crush injury
Long-term safety and effects of withdrawal seem to be unknown.