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Hericium erinaceus – effects and occurrence

Hericium erinaceus

It is a mushroom that has a very strange shape of the fruiting body. It resembles a sea coral.

One of the most important substances contained in this rare mushroom is erinacine, which gave the mushroom its Latin name. This substance can stimulate the nervous system, and it is thanks to this that the use of the mushroom leads to improved memory, concentration and thinking and significantly helps with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.

In Alzheimer's disease, the active ingredient, simply put, helps regenerate brain tissue and thus counteracts the disease causing its decay. Results supporting these effects have been produced by several studies in which, for example, after 16 weeks of use, there was a significant improvement in function in elderly people. However, other studies have also confirmed the positive effect on the nervous system, although the exact mechanism of action is still shrouded in mystery in some cases.

Just to illustrate - taking dried mushrooms for four weeks has been shown to help alleviate depression or improve sleep quality of menopausal women. Laboratory tests have also shown that hericium erinaceus extract helps protect and restore the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells. This insulating layer, which ensures the efficient conduction of nerve impulses, is affected, for example, in multiple sclerosis.

This mushroom is high in protein, potassium, phosphorus and low in sodium. It contains all amino acids important for human health, as well as polysaccharides and polypeptides. It also contains zinc, iron, germanium and selenium.

It is recommended to strengthen the nervous system, optimize cholesterol levels, positively affect the function of the stomach, digestive and urinary tract, helps with fatigue and stress. It helps maintain the elasticity and patency of blood vessels and blood clotting.

What about immunity? Chinese researchers from Zhejiang University have found in laboratory studies that hericium erinaceus extract increases the activity of some of its components (macrophages and lymphocytes) against tumours. Similar stimulation of the immune system has been confirmed by Japanese research. Sometimes the mushroom also helps with autoimmune disorders. Externally, its beneficial effect on skin diseases (eczema, allergies, acne, etc.) is recommended. It also has a positive effect on tissue regeneration in frostbite and burns, helps to improve the condition of joints in rheumatism, maintain the vitality and elasticity of the skin and prevent hair loss.

This mushroom has a wonderful aromatic scent. When it was still allowed to be harvested, it was a renowned delicacy. Nowadays, this mushroom is strictly protected.

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