Lions Mane Health Benefits for Cancer

July 3, 2023 4 mins to read

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), known as hóu tóu gū in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is a medicinal mushroom which has been used in TCM for centuries, and is now being studied by western medicine for its health benefits including potent cognitive and nerve health supporting characteristics. Studies also suggest Lion’s Mane may hold potential benefits for cancer patients. However many studies are in-vitro (cultured cells) or animal models, and more robust studies on humans are needed to fully understand and quantify these health benefits.


Lion’s Mane (aka Hericium erinaceus), is a medicinal mushroom that has been a part of traditional medicine for centuries, particularly in China, Japan & Korea. Its unique appearance, resembles that of a cluster of white spines or a shaggy mane of a lion, and has made it easily recognizable throughout its history. Traditionally, Lion’s Mane was used to treat a variety of health conditions, including: digestive issues, inflammation, and cancers. It was also considered a tonic for maintaining overall health and longevity. The mushroom has also often been used in culinary applications for its seafood-like taste. In traditional Chinese medicine, Lions Mane is revered for its purported nerve-regenerative properties and was used for centuries to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Modern scientific interest in Lion’s Mane has skyrocketed in the last few decades, especially concerning its potential to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) and enhance cognitive function, such as memory. Today, Lions mane is widely recognized for its potential neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing effects, further building on its historical use and reputation in traditional Chinese medicine.

Health Benefits

  1. Anti-Cancer Properties: Various studies have demonstrated that Lion’s Mane may have anti-cancer properties, particularly against liver, colon, and gastric cancers. In vitro and animal studies show it may inhibit the proliferation and spread of cancer cells [1,2].
  2. Immune Support: Lion’s Mane may help boost immune function, potentially enhancing the body’s defense against cancer. In a mouse study, Lion’s Mane increased the activity of the intestinal portion of the immune system, which helps protect against pathogens entering the body [3].
  3. Reduction of Side Effects from Cancer Treatments: Some research suggests Lion’s Mane may reduce the side effects of cancer treatments, such as a lack of appetite & nausea, although more research is needed [4].

Where to Buy Lions Mane?

I only recommend two brands: Host Defense by Pail Staments and Real Mushrooms (Available on my Amazon Affiliate Store or Pinterest). Both of which are certified organic, and ensure the best growth medium and extraction techniques and testing for maximum potency.


Lions mane has a variety of uses and purported health benefits in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Now western medicine is beginning to catch up, and prove through studies what Chinese medicine has known for thousands of years. When it comes to cancer, Lions mane can be a great option both as a preventative measure and possibly as a way to help manage some of the side effects associated with traditional chemo or radiation treatment. Take Lions Mane as a supplement or add it to your morning tea or coffee and reap the immune fortifying benefits of this medicinal herb.


  1. Kim, S. P., Kang, M. Y., Choi, Y. H., Kim, J. H., Nam, S. H., & Friedman, M. (2011). Mechanism of Hericium erinaceus (Yamabushitake) mushroom-induced apoptosis of U937 human monocytic leukemia cells. Food & function, 2(6), 348-356.
  2. Li, G., Yu, K., Li, F., Xu, K., Li, J., He, S., Cao, S., & Tan, G. (2013). Anticancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 149(2), 563-573.
  3. Sheng, X., Yan, J., Meng, Y., Kang, Y., Han, Z., Tai, G., Zhou, Y., & Cheng, H. (2017). Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Food & function, 8(3), 1020-1027.
  4. Rossi, P., Cesaroni, V., Brandalise, F., Occhinegro, A., Ratto, D., Perrucci, F., … & Girometta, C. (2020). Dietary Supplementation of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), and Spatial Memory in Wild-Type Mice. International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 22(5).

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