Nerve Damage and Hericium Erinaceus — Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom
Peripheral nerve damage is a common complication of traumatic injuries, infections, diabetes and metabolic problems. Characterized as damage to the nerve and surrounding connective tissues, peripheral nerve injury symptoms can include numbness and tingling that starts in the limbs, pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, and muscle weakness, to name a few. In a study conducted by University of Malaya in Malaysia, researchers found that medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus can help in regenerating damaged peripheral nerves.
Hericium erinaceus, also known as Lion’s Mane mushroom and yamabushitake mushroom, has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine due to its antioxidant properties. Studies have shown Hericium erinaceus can help regulate blood glucose levels, slow the onset of dementia and enhance metabolism. Left untreated, peripheral nerve injury can result in loss of motor, sensory and autonomic functions in the affected parts of the body. According to researchers Kah-Hui Wong et al. methods of treatment such as nerve grafts and neurotrophin drugs can cause negative side effects, so investigation into natural forms of therapy are valuable.
For the experiment, the researchers hypothesized that Hericium erinaceus would be able to stimulate neurons for regeneration in subjects with crush injury. Forty female rats were randomly divided into four groups. One group would act as the negative control and be given distilled water. The experimental groups would receive either a low or high dose of Hericium erinaceus daily. The fourth group would act as the positive control and be given mecobalamin, a popular treatment for peripheral nerve damage. The subjects were treated for 14 days before a surgical procedure to create a crush injury on the peroneal nerve. After injury, the subjects were treated with their assigned form of therapy for another 20 days.
The Effect of Hericium erinaceus on Peripheral Nerve Injury
Wong et al. assessed the functionality and recovery of the subjects’ limb using a walking track analysis and peroneal function index (PFI). They found that groups given Hericium erinaceus and mecobalamin started their recovery process by day four, while the group given the placebo of water showed no recovery. Using PFI, the subjects treated with mecobalamin or Hericium erinaceus function of the limb returned 10-14 days after injury. The control group’s functionality did not return until 14-17 days.
Based on these results, the researchers believe that Hericium erinaceus stimulates peripheral nerve regeneration and worked as fast as mecobalamin, an existing method of treatment for nerve damage. The researchers suggest Hericium erinaceus has potential in treating ailments such as Alzheimer’s and neurological trauma stemming from strokes. Since the medicinal mushroom was shown to improve the rate of recovery for nerve regeneration, Wong et al. believe Hericium erinaceus can likely improve cognitive function and muscle response.
Please check with your doctor before taking any mushroom supplements. Do not discontinue or make changes to your medication without consulting with your physician first! The author of this story is a staff writer for National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at http://www.aminoacidinformation.com and Vancouver Health News at http://www.VancouverHealthNews.ca. National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also operates a personal development portal at http://todayswordofwisdom.com.