Canada's #1 Source For
                            Everything Mushroom
Medicinal Mushroom Products, Wild Mushrooms, Spawn
Kits, Mushroom LogsCultures, & Mycology Supplies!



/lHericium erinaceus (HE) is a fungus inhabiting the mountainous areas of the northeast territories in Asia. HE has been used in traditional folk medicine and medicinal cuisine in China, Korea and Japan. Evidence has been adduced for a variety of physiological effects, including anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-gastritis, and anti-metabolic disease properties. Hence, HE is an attractive target resource for developing not only medicines, but also functional foods. Basic studies on the physiological functions of HE and on the chemical identification of its active ingredients have progressed in recent decades. In this article, we provide an overview of the biochemical and pharmacological studies on HE, especially of its antitumor and neuroprotective functions, together with a survey of recent developments in the chemical analysis of its polysaccharides, which comprise its major active components.

Hericium erinaceus a culinary and medicinal mushroom is a well established candidate for brain and nerve health. Ganoderma lucidum, Grifola frondosa and Sarcodon scabrosus have been reported to have neurite outgrowth and neuronal health benefits. The number of mushrooms, however, studied for neurohealth activity are few compared to the more than 2 000 species of edible and / or medicinal mushrooms identified. In the on-going search for other potent culinary and / or medicinal mushrooms, indigenous mushrooms used in traditional medicines such as Lignosus rhinocerotis and Ganoderma neo-japonicum are also being investigated. Further, the edible mushroom, Pleurotus giganteus can be a potential candidate, too. Can these edible and medicinal mushrooms be tapped to tackle the health concerns of the aging population which is projected to be more than 80-90 million of people age 65 and above in 2050 who may be affected by age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Scientific validation is needed if these mushrooms are to be considered and this can be achieved by understanding the molecular and biochemical mechanisms involved in the stimulation of neurite outgrowth. Though it is difficult to extrapolate the in vitro studies to what may happen in the human brain, studies have shown that there can be improvement in cognitive abilities of the aged if the mushroom is incorporated in their daily diets.

Sabaratnam V, 2013. Neuronal health - can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?
Mushroom Research Centre, 3(1):62-8.

Neurogenesis, Neurotransmission, & Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium Species

Hericium erinaceus, an edible and medicinal mushroom, displays various pharmacological activities in the prevention of dementia in conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The present study explored the neuroprotective effects of H. erinaceus mycelium polysaccharide-enriched aqueous extract (HE) on an l-glutamic acid (l-Glu)-induced differentiated PC12 (DPC12) cellular apoptosis model and an AlCl₃ combined with d-galactose-induced Alzheimer's disease mouse model. The data revealed that HE successfully induced PC12 cell differentiation. A 3 h HE incubation at doses of 50 and 100 µg/mL before 25 mM of l-Glu effectively reversed the reduction of cell viability and the enhancement of the nuclear apoptosis rate in DPC12 cells. Compared with l-Glu-damaged cells, in PC12 cells, HE suppressed intracellular reactive oxygen species accumulation, blocked Ca2+ overload and prevented mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) depolarization. In the Alzheimer's disease mouse model, HE administration enhanced the horizontal and vertical movements in the autonomic activity test, improved the endurance time in the rotarod test, and decreased the escape latency time in the water maze test. It also improved the central cholinergic system function in the Alzheimer's mice, demonstrated by the fact that it dose-dependently enhanced the acetylcholine (Ach) and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) concentrations in both the serum and the hypothalamus. Our findings provide experimental evidence that HE may provide neuroprotective candidates for treating or preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

Zhang J, et all. 2016. The Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium erinaceus in Glutamate-Damaged Differentiated PC12 Cells and an Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Model. School of Life Sciences, 1;17(11). pii: E1810.

Versatile biological activities of
Hericium erinaceus (HE) have been reported in many brain diseases. However, roles of HE in major psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety remain to be investigated. Therefore, we evaluated whether HE could reduce anxiety and depressive behaviors in the adult mouse and its underlying mechanisms. Male C57BL/6 mice were administered HE (20 or 60 mg/kg, p.o.) or saline once a day for 4 weeks. Open field and tail suspension tests were performed 30 min after the last administration of HE, followed by forced swim test 2 days later. We found that chronic administration of HE showed anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects. To elucidate possible mechanisms, proliferative activity of the hippocampal progenitor cells was assessed by immunohistochemistry of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and Ki67. Moreover, to evaluate neuronal survival in the dentate gyrus, 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) (120 mg/kg, i.p.) was given at the first day of HE administration, followed by isolation of the brains 4 weeks later. HE (60 mg/kg) increased the number of PCNA- and Ki67-positive cells in the subgranular zone of the hippocampus, indicating increased proliferation of hippocampal progenitors. In addition, BrdU- and BrdU/NeuN-positive cells in the dentate gyrus were significantly increased when treated with HE (60 mg/kg) compared with the saline-treated group, demonstrating enhanced neurogenesis by HE treatment. Taken together, the results indicate that chronic HE administration can exert anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects, possibly by enhancing adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

Ryu S, et al. 2017. Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain. Department of Pharmacology,  doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.4006.

Hericium erinaceus is a culinary-medicinal mushroom used traditionally in Eastern Asia to improve memory. In this work, we investigated the neuroprotective and neuritogenic effects of the secondary metabolites isolated from the MeOH extract of cultured mycelium of H. erinaceusand the primary mechanisms involved. One new dihydropyridine compound (6) and one new natural product (2) together with five known compounds (1,3-5,7) were obtained and their structures were elucidated by spectroscopic analysis, including 2D NMR and HRMS. The cell-based screening for bioactivity showed that 4-chloro-3,5-dimethoxybenzoic methyl ester (1) and a cyathane diterpenoid, erincine A (3), not only potentiated NGF-induced neurite outgrowth but also protected neuronally-differentiated cells against deprivation of NGF in PC12 pheochromocytoma cells. Additionally, compound 3 induced neuritogenesis in primary rat cortex neurons. Furthermore, our results revealed that TrkA-mediated and Erk1/2-dependant pathways could be involved in 1 and 3-promoted NGF-induced neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells.

Zhang CC, et al. 2017.  Chemical Constituents from Hericium erinaceus Promote Neuronal Survival and Potentiate Neurite Outgrowth via the TrkA/Erk1/2 Pathway. Labotory of Natural Products & Chemical Biology, 30;18(8).

Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Pers. is a medicinal mushroom capable of inducing a large number of modulatory effects on human physiology ranging from the strengthening of the immune system to the improvement of cognitive functions. In mice, dietary supplementation with H. erinaceus prevents the impairment of spatial short-term and visual recognition memory in an Alzheimer model. Intriguingly other neurobiological effects have recently been reported like the effect on neurite outgrowth and differentiation in PC12 cells. Until now no investigations have been conducted to assess the impact of this dietary supplementation on brain function in healthy subjects. Therefore, we have faced the problem by considering the effect on cognitive skills and on hippocampal neurotransmission in wild-type mice. In wild-type mice the oral supplementation with H. erinaceus induces, in behaviour test, a significant improvement in the recognition memory and, in hippocampal slices, an increase in spontaneous and evoked excitatory synaptic current in mossy fiber-CA3 synapse. In conclusion, we have produced a series of findings in support of the concept that H. erinaceus induces a boost effect onto neuronal functions also in nonpathological conditions.

Brandalise F, et al. 2017. Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice. Brain Research Institute, 2017:3864340.

We investigated the effects of Hericium erinaceus (HEE) on alloxan induced diabetic neuropathic pain in laboratory rats. Alloxan induced diabetic rats were administered orally HEE. After 6 weeks of treatments, treatment with HEE 40 mg/kg in diabetic animals showed significant increase in pain threshold and paw withdrawal threshold and significant decrease in serum glucose and urine glucose. We also observed a significant increase in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), Lipid peroxidation (LPO), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, glutathione reductase (GR) activity, catalase (CAT) activity, Na(+)K(+)ATPase activity, and glutathione S transferase (GST) activity along with significant decreased levels of glutathione (GSH) content in diabetic rats. The total antioxidant status (TAOS) in the HEE-treated groups was significantly lower than that in the alloxan-treated group. HEE can offer pain relief in diabetic neuropathic pain. The improvement in diabetic state after HEE treatment along with the antioxidant activity could be the probable way by which it had alleviated diabetic neuropathy.

Yi Z. 2015. Protective Effect of Ethanol Extracts of Hericium erinaceus on Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Neuropathic Pain in Rats. Department of Endocrinology,  2015:595480.  
Hericium erinaceus, an edible mushroom, has been demonstrated to potentiate the effects of numerous biological activities. The aim of this study was to investigate whether H. erinaceus mycelium could act as an anti-inflammatory agent to bring about neuroprotection using a model of global ischemic stroke and the mechanisms involved. Rats were treated with H. erinaceus mycelium and its isolated diterpenoid derivative, erinacine A, after ischemia reperfusion brain injuries caused by the occlusion of the two common carotid arteries. The production of inflammatory cytokines in serum and the infracted volume of the brain were measured. The proteins from the stroke animal model (SAM) were evaluated to determine the effect of H. erinaceus mycelium. H. erinaceus mycelium reduced the total infarcted volumes by 22% and 44% at a concentration of 50 and 300 mg/kg, respectively, compared to the SAM group. The levels of acute inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1β, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor á, were all reduced by erinacine A. Levels of nitrotyrosine-containing proteins, phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and CCAAT enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) and homologous protein (CHOP) expression were attenuated by erinacine A. Moreover, the modulation of ischemia injury factors present in the SAM model by erinacine A seemed to result in the suppression of reactive nitrogen species and the downregulation of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), p38 MAPK and CHOP. These findings confirm the nerve-growth properties of Hericium erinaceus mycelium, which include the prevention of ischemic injury to neurons; this protective effect seems to be involved in the in vivo activity of iNOS, p38 MAPK and CHOP.

Lee KF. 2014. Protective effects of Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its isolated erinacine A against ischemia-injury-induced neuronal cell death via the inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and nitrotyrosine. Department of Pathology, 27;15(9):15073-89.


To study the ability of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus mushroom in the treatment of nerve injury following peroneal nerve crush in Sprague-Dawley rats.


Aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus was given by daily oral administration following peroneal nerve crush injury in Sprague-Dawley rats. The expression of protein kinase B (Akt) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways; and c-Jun and c-Fos genes were studied in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) whereas the activity of protein synthesis was assessed in peroneal nerves by immunohistochemical method.


Peripheral nerve injury leads to changes at the axonal site of injury and remotely located DRG containing cell bodies of sensory afferent neurons. Immunofluorescence studies showed that DRG neurons ipsilateral to the crush injury in rats of treated groups expressed higher immunoreactivities for Akt, MAPK, c-Jun and c-Fos as compared with negative control group (P <0.05). The intensity of nuclear ribonucleoprotein in the distal segments of crushed nerves of treated groups was significantly higher than in the negative control group (P <0.05).


H. erinaceus is capable of promoting peripheral nerve regeneration after injury. Potential signaling pathways include Akt, MAPK, c-Jun, and c-Fos, and protein synthesis have been shown to be involved in its action.

Wong KH, et al. 2016. Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., a medicinal mushroom, activates peripheral nerve regeneration. Department of Anatomy, 22(10):759-67.    

Anti-Tumor Properties of Hericium Species


HE extracts (HTJ5 and HTJ5A) are active against liver cancer HepG2 and Huh-7, colon cancer HT-29 and gastric cancer NCI-87 cells in vitro and tumor xenografts bearing in SCID mice in vivo. They are more effective and less toxic compared to 5-FU in all four in vivo tumor models. The compounds have the potential for development into anticancer agents for the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer used alone and/or in combination with clinical used chemotherapeutic drugs. However, further studies are required to find out the active chemical constituents and understand the mechanism of action associated with the super in vivo anticancer efficacy. In addition, future studies are needed to confirm our preliminary results of in vivo synergistic antitumor efficacy in animal models of tumor xenografts with the combination of HE extracts and clinical used anticancer drugs such as 5-FU, cisplatin and doxurubicin for the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers.

Li G. 2014. Anticancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 28;153(2):521-30.

HEG-5 is a novel polysaccharide-protein purified from the fermented mycelia of Hericium erinaceus CZ-2. The present study aims to investigate the effects of HEG-5 on proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis of human gastric cancer cells SGC-7901. Here, we first uncover that HEG-5 significantly inhibited the proliferation and colony formation of SGC-7901 cells by promoting apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at S phase. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis suggested that HEG-5 could decrease the expressions of Bcl2, PI3K and AKT1, while increase the expressions of Caspase-8, Caspase-3, p53, CDK4, Bax and Bad. These findings indicated that the Caspase-8/-3-dependent, p53-dependent mitochondrial-mediated and PI3k/Akt signaling pathways involved in the molecular events of HEG-5 induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Thus, our study provides in vitro evidence that HEG-5 may be taken as a potential candidate for treating gastric cancer.

Zan X, et al. 2015. Hericium erinaceus polysaccharide-protein HEG-5 inhibits SGC-7901 cell growth via cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. School of Food and Biological Engineering76:242-53. 

Anti-Fatigue Properties of Hericium 

Hericium erinaceus (HEP) is a notable medicinal fungus grown in China and other oriental countries. Polysaccharides from HEP have recently attracted considerable attention due to their numerous physiological activities. The objective of this study was to evaluate the anti-fatigue activity of HEP in a mouse model. After one week of acclimation, mice were randomly divided into four groups: a control group, a low-dose HEP-treated group, a moderate-dose HEP-treated group, and a high-dose HEP-treated group. The treated groups received HEP (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg, ig), while the control group received saline solution. Following treatment for 28 days, the mice performed a forced swimming test until they were exhausted, then the exhaustive swimming time was recorded along with certain biochemical parameters related to fatigue, including blood lactic acid (BLA), serum urea nitrogen (SUN), tissue glycogen, superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and malondialdehyde (MDA). These results suggested that HEP has significant anti-fatigue activity by decreasing BLA, SUN and MDA content, as well as increasing tissue glycogen content and antioxidant enzyme activity. Based on these results, this study provided theoretical support for the application of HEP in the field of sports nutrition.

Liu J, et al. 2015. Anti-fatigue activities of polysaccharides extracted from Hericium erinaceus. Wuhan Institute of Physical Education, 9(2):483-487.   

Anti-Oxidant Properties of Hericium Species

Oligosaccharide are carbohydrate molecules, comprising repeating units joined together by glycosidic bonds. In recent years, an increasing number of oligosaccharides have been reported to exhibit various biological activities, including antitumor, immune-stimulation and antioxidation effects. In the present study, crude water‑soluble oligosaccharides were extracted from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceuswith water and then successively purified by diethylaminoethyl‑cellulose 52 and Sephadex G‑100 column chromatography, yielding one major oligosaccharide fraction: Hericium erinaceus oligosaccharide (HEO‑A). The structural features of HEO‑A were investigated by a combination of monosaccharide component analysis by thin layer chromatography, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and high‑performance gel permeation chromatography. The results indicated that HEO‑A was composed of D‑xylose and D‑glucose, and the average molecular size was ~1,877 Da. The antioxidant activity of HEO‑A was evaluated using three biochemical methods to determine the scavenging activity of HEO‑A on 1,1‑diphenyl‑2‑picrylhydrazyl, hydrogen peroxide and 2,2'‑azino‑bis(3‑ethylbenzthiazoline‑6‑sufonic acid) diammonium radicals. The results indicated that HEO‑A may serve as an effective healthcare food and source of natural antioxidant compounds.

Hou Y, et al. 2015. Composition and antioxidant activity of water-soluble oligosaccharides from Hericium erinaceus. Laboratory of Southwest China,   11(5):3794-9.

Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) has been strongly suggested as the key factor in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Mushrooms have been implicated in having preventive effects against chronic diseases due especially to their antioxidant properties. In this study, in vitro inhibitory effect of Hericium erinaceus on LDL oxidation and the activity of the cholesterol biosynthetic key enzyme, 3-hydroxy-3-methyl glutaryl coenzyme A (HMG Co-A) reductase, was evaluated using five liquid-liquid solvent fractions consisting of methanol : dichloromethane (M : DCM), hexane (HEX), dichloromethane (DCM), ethyl acetate (EA), and aqueous residue (AQ). The hexane fraction showed the highest inhibition of oxidation of human LDL as reflected by the increased lag time (100 mins) for the formation of conjugated diene (CD) at 1 µg/mL and decreased production (68.28%, IC50 0.73 mg/mL) of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) at 1 mg/mL. It also mostly inhibited (59.91%) the activity of the HMG Co-A reductase at 10 mg/mL. The GC-MS profiling of the hexane fraction identified the presence of myconutrients: inter alia, ergosterol and linoleic acid. Thus, hexane fraction of Hericium erinaceus was found to be the most potent in vitro inhibitor of both LDL oxidation and HMG Co-A reductase activity having therapeutic potential for the prevention of oxidative stress-mediated vascular diseases.

Rahman MA. 2014. Inhibitory effect on in vitro LDL oxidation and HMG Co-A reductase activity of the liquid-liquid partitioned fractions of Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Persoon (lion's mane mushroom). Institute of Biological Sciences, 2014:828149.  

Hepa-Protective & Gastroprotective Properties of Hericium 

We investigated the effects of Hericium erinaceus (HEM) on liver injury induced by acute alcohol administration in mice. Mice received ethanol (5 g/kg BW) by gavage every 12 hrs for a total of 3 doses. HEM (200 mg/kg BW) was gavage before ethanol administration. Subsequent serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level, aspartate aminotransaminase (AST) level, Maleic dialdehyde (MDA) level, hepatic total antioxidant status (TAOS), and activated nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) were determined by ELISA and immunohistochemistry, respectively. HEM administration markedly (P < 0.05) decreased serum ALT, AST, and MDA levels. The hepatic histopathological observations showed that HEM had a relatively significant role in mice model, which had alcoholic liver damage. In conclusion, we observed that HEM (200 mg/kg BW) supplementation could restrain the hepatic damage caused by acute alcohol exposure. 

Hao L, et al. 2015. Protective Effect of Hericium erinaceus on Alcohol Induced Hepatotoxicity in Mice. Department of Gastroenterology, 2015:418023.   

Hericium erinaceus is a famous tonic in oriental medicine. The gastroprotective effects of aqueous extract of H. erinaceus against ethanol-induced ulcers in Sprague Dawley rats were investigated. The possible involvements of lipid peroxidation, superoxide dismutase, and catalase were also investigated. Acute toxicity study was performed. The effects of aqueous extract of H. erinaceus on the ulcer areas, ulcer inhibition, gastric wall mucus, gross and histological gastric lesions, antioxidant levels, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents were evaluated in ethanol-induced ulcer in vivo. In acute toxicity study, a high dose of 5 g/kg did not manifest any toxicological signs in rats. The extract promoted ulcer protection as ascertained by a significant reduction of the ulcer area. Furthermore, it exhibited a significant protection activity against gastric mucosal injury by preventing the depletion of antioxidant enzymes. The level of MDA was also limited in rat stomach tissues when compared with the ulcer control group. Immunohistochemistry showed upregulation of HSP70 protein and downregulation of BAX protein in rats pretreated with the extract. The aqueous extract of H. erinaceus protected gastric mucosa in our in vivo model. It is speculated that the bioactive compounds present in the extract may play a major role in gastroprotective activity.

Wong JY, 2013. Gastroprotective Effects of Lion's Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats. Mushroom Research Centre, 2013:492976.

Anti-Osteoporotic Properties of Hericium Species

Hericium erinaceum, commonly called lion's mane mushroom, is a traditional edible mushroom widely used in culinary applications and herbal medicines in East Asian countries. In this study, a new sterol, cerevisterol 6-cinnamate (6), was isolated from the fruiting bodies of H. erinaceum together with five aromatic compounds 1-5 and five sterols 7-11. The chemical structures of these compounds were elucidated using chemical and physical methods and comparison of HRESIMS, ¹D-NMR (¹H, 13C, and DEPT) and 2D-NMR (COSY, HMQC, HMBC, and NOESY) spectra with previously reported data. The antioxidant and anti-osteoporotic activities of extracts and the isolated compounds 1-11were investigated. All compounds exhibited peroxyl radical-scavenging capacity but only compounds 1, 3, and 4 showed potent reducing capacity. Moreover, compounds 1, 2, 4, and 5 showed moderate effects on cellular antioxidant activity and inhibited the receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastic differentiation. These results suggested that H. erinaceum could be utilized in the development of natural antioxidant and anti-osteoporotic nutraceuticals and functional foods.

Li W, et al. 2017. Antioxidant and Anti-Osteoporotic Activities of Aromatic Compounds and Sterols from Hericiumerinaceum. Korean Medicine (KM) Application Center, 11;22(1). pii: E108.    

Immunomodulatory Properties of Lions Mane

This study was aimed at investigating the immunomodulating activity of Hericium erinaceus polysaccharide (HEP) in mice, by assessing splenic lymphocyte proliferation (cell-mediated immunity), serum hemolysin levels (humoral immunity), phagocytic capacity of peritoneal cavity phagocytes (macrophage phagocytosis), and NK cell activity. ELISA of immunoglobulin A (SIgA) in the lamina propria, and western blotting of small intestinal proteins were also performed to gain insight into the mechanism by which HEP affects the intestinal immune system. Here, we report that HEP improves immune function by functionally enhancing cell-mediated and humoral immunity, macrophage phagocytosis, and NK cell activity. In addition, HEP was found to upregulate the secretion of SIgA and activate the MAPK and AKT cellular signaling pathways in the intestine. In conclusion, all these results allow us to postulate that the immunomodulatory effects of HEP are most likely attributed to the effective regulation of intestinal mucosal immune activity.

Sheng X, et al. 2017. Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Laboratory on Chemistry and Biology,  22;8(3):1020-1027.

A single-band protein (HEP3) was isolated from Hericium erinaceus using a chemical separation combined with pharmacodynamic evaluation methods. This protein exhibited immunomodulatory activity in lipopolysaccharide-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages by decreasing the overproduction of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6, and downregulating the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and nuclear factor-κB p65. Further researches revealed that HEP3 could improve the immune system via regulating the composition and metabolism of gut microbiota to activate the proliferation and differentiation of T cells, stimulate the intestinal antigen-presenting cells in high-dose cyclophosphamide-induced immunotoxicity in mice, and play a prebiotic role in the case of excessive antibiotics in inflammatory bowel disease model mice. Aided experiments also showed that HEP3 could be used as an antitumor immune inhibitor in tumor-burdened mice. The results of the present study suggested that fungal protein from H. erinaceus could be used as a drug or functional food ingredient for immunotherapy because of its immunomodulatory activities.

Diling, C. 2017. Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota. Laboratory of Applied Microbiology, 12;8:666.

A novel polysaccharide fraction (HEP-S) was extracted and isolated from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus. Structural characterization revealed that HEP-S had an average molecular weight of 1.83 × 104 Da and consisted of rhamnose, fucose, mannose, glucose and galactose at a molar ratio of 1.47 : 0.93 : 1.36 : 8.68 : 4.08. Periodate oxidation-Smith degradation and NMR analysis showed that the main linkage types of HEP-S were composed of (1→)-α-d-Glc, (1→3,4)-α-d-Glc, (1→6)-α-d-Gal, (1→3,4)-β-d-Man, (1→3,6)-α-Rha and (1→2)-β-l-Fuc. The immunomodulatory assay indicated that HEP-S could significantly enhance the pinocytic and phagocytic capacity and promote the secretion of nitric oxide and pro-inflammatory cytokines by activating the corresponding mRNA and protein expression in RAW 264.7 cells involving a toll-like receptor 2 membrane receptor. Besides, HEP-S was also found to improve the adaptive immune function by enhancing T and B lymphocyte proliferation and increasing the interleukin-2, interleukin-4 and interferon-γ secretion in spleen lymphocytes. These results suggested that HEP-S could be used as a potential immunoregulatory agent in functional foods.

Wu F, et al. 2017. Structure characterization of a novel polysaccharide from Hericium erinaceus fruiting bodies and its immunomodulatory activities. School of Food Science and Engineering, doi: 10.1039/c7fo01389b.

Hericium erinaceus (HE), a traditional edible mushroom, is known as a medicine food homology to ameliorate gastrointestinal diseases. To investigate whether HE is clinically effective in alleviating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), HE extracts (polysaccharide, alcoholic extracts and whole extracts were prepared using solvent extraction methods) were administrated for 2 weeks in rats with IBD induced by trinitro-benzene-sulfonic acid (TNBS) enema (150 mg/kg). Significant clinical and histological changes in IBD rats were identified, including damage activity, common morphous and tissue damage index scores in colonic mucosa and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity. The damage activity, common morphous and tissue damage index scores in colonic mucosa (P <0.05) were improved, MPO activities were decreased. Inflammatory factors were also differentially expressed in colonic mucosa in IBD rats, including serum cytokines, Foxp3 and interleukin (IL)-10 were increased while NF-κB p65 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were decreased (P <0.05), and T cells were activated (P <0.05), especially in the alcohol extracts-treated group. We also found that the structure of gut microbiota of the H. erinaceus extracts-treated groups changed significantly by compared with the model group. Further studies revealed that the polysaccharides in HE extracts may play a prebiotic role, whereas the alcoholic extracts show bactericidin-like and immunomodulatory effects. Taken together, we demonstrated that H. erinaceus extracts could promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and improve the host immunity in vivo IBD model, which shows clinical potential in relieving IBD by regulating gut microbiota and immune system.

Diling C, et al. 2017. Extracts from Hericium erinaceus relieve inflammatory bowel disease by regulating immunity and gut microbiota. Laboratory of Applied Microbiology,  6;8(49):85838-85857.

Immunostimulating Properties: 

In this study, polysaccharides extracted from Hericium erinaceus were modified to obtain its nine selenium derivatives, sHEP1-sHEP9. Their structures were identified, yields and selenium contents were determined, the phenotypic and functional maturation of murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DCs) and relevant mechanisms were compared taking unmodified HEP as control. The results revealed that the selenylation were successful. sHEP1, sHEP2 and sHEP8 treatment of DCs increased their surface expression of MHC-II and CD86 and indicated that sHEP1, sHEP2 and sHEP8 induced DC maturation. Furthermore, sHEP2 and sHEP8 also significantly decreased DCs endocytosis and significantly enhanced cytokine (IL-12 and IFN-γ) production. In line with TLR4 activation, sHEP2 increased the phosphorylation of ERK, p38, and JNK, and the nuclear translocation of p-c-Jun, p-CREB, and c-Fos. sHEP2 also activated NF-κB signaling, as evidenced by degradation of IκBα/β and nuclear translocation of p65 and p50. Together, these results suggest that sHEP is a strong immunostimulant.

Qin T, et al. 2017. Selenizing Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides induces dendritic cells maturation through MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways. Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, 97:287-298.



Anti-hyperglycaemic Properties of Hericium Species

The present work was designed to investigate the antihyperglycaemic and protective effects of two Hericium erinaceus intracellular polysaccharide (HIPS) purified fractions (HIPS1 and HIPS2) from mycelia of H. erinaceus SG-02 on pancreas, liver and kidney in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice. The supplementation of HIPS1 and HIPS2 significantly decreased the blood glucose (GLU) levels; suppressed the abnormal elevations of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (CRE) levels in serum; improved the antioxidant enzymatic (superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and catalase (CAT)) activities; and attenuated the pathological damage to these organs. The HIPS1 showed superior effects in antihyperglycaemia and organic protection than HIPS2 possible owing to the abundant functional groups (-NH2, -COOH and S=O) in HIPS1, indicating that H. erinaceus SG-02 could be used as a functional food and natural drug for the prevention of diabetes and its complications.

Zhang C, et al. 2017. Antihyperglycaemic and organic protective effects on pancreas, liver and kidney by polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus SG-02 in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. College of Life Science, 7;7(1):10847.  

Hericium & Anti-Obesity Properties

Hericium erinaceus (H. erinaceus) improves the symptoms of menopause. In this study, using ovariectomized mice as a model of menopause, we investigated the anti-obesity effect of this mushroom in menopause. Mice fed diets containing H. erinaceus powder showed significant decreases in the amounts of fat tissue, plasma levels of total cholesterol, and leptin. To determine the mechanism, groups of mice were respectively fed a diet containing H. erinaceus powder, a diet containing ethanol extract of H. erinaceus, and a diet containing a residue of the extract. As a result, H. erinaceus powder was found to increase fecal lipid levels in excreted matter. Further in vitro investigation showed that ethanol extract inhibited the activity of lipase, and four lipase-inhibitory compounds were isolated from the extract: hericenone C, hericenone D, hericenone F, and hericenone G. In short, we suggest that H. erinaceus has an anti-obesity effect during menopause because it decreases the ability to absorb lipids.

Hiraki, E. 2017. Anti-obesity activity of Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) powder in ovariectomized mice, and its potentially active compounds. Department of Agro-environmental Sciences, 71(3):482-491.