Hericium erinaceus (lion’s mane in English, yamabushitake in Japanese, Hou Tou Gu in Chinese)
Hericium got its English name from the shape of its fruiting body which resembles a coral or lion’s mane. The fruiting bodies are 7–15 cm, but can be much bigger in some cases, growing up to be almost 40 cm. They’re cumulous in shape and ”frayed” at the bottom, with thorn-like overhangs. Hericium grows on the trunks of wounded leafy trees or stumps, especially in Northern hemisphere regions. This means it can be found in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Hericium is an edible, delicious mushroom which has earned its place in Asian gastronomy. However, it’s not only food, but most importantly a medicinal fungus too, used especially by traditional medicine in Asia, i.e. also by the Chinese one, though it was known to Native Americans as well; there’s evidence that they constantly carried it around as a powder and harnessed its medicinal power to treat open wounds, particularly to disinfect cuts and stop bleeding. The first ”scientific” exploration of hericium was conducted as late as in the 18th century, by two mycologists: J. B. F. Bulliard, who termed the mushroom Hydnum erinaceus, and Ch. H. Persoon from whom it received its current name in 1797.
Knowledge of hericium’s medicinal effects quickly spread which is why the fungus became a subject of scientific research. There are many studies and experiments which confirm its effectiveness. This caused the demand to increase, resulting in commercial cultivation.
EU legislation prevents us from making health claims about fungi and herbs. You can find more information about fungi and herbal blends online, for example on cinskyherbar.cz or tcmencyklopedie.cz.