Top 5 Mushrooms for Brain Health

Top 5 Mushrooms for Brain Health

Medicinal mushrooms offer many benefits for health and wellbeing. Each medicinal mushroom has its own unique set of compounds and associated benefits for health, and many mushrooms contain properties that support brain health and cognitive functioning.

Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may have a direct effect on the risk of cognitive decline, other compounds like the hericenones and erinacines in lion’s mane also appear to contribute to cognitive functioning.

Incorporating mushrooms for brain health can be a transformative addition to your wellness routine. Let’s discover which mushrooms offer the most benefits for brain health…


Top 5 Mushrooms for Brain Health

1# Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion’s mane is the most revered mushroom for cognitive health. It has a long history of use for cognitive support and was used by Buddhist monks to enhance brain power and heighten focus during meditation.

Its unique properties and benefits for brain health are due to the two families of compounds it produces: the erinacines and the hericenones. Studies have found these compounds stimulate production of nerve growth factor (NGF) which helps to maintain the neurons, which are the brain cells responsible for helping us to process and transmit information.

It is useful for learning and memory and helps to optimise neurogenesis; the creation and growth of new brain cells, making it an ideal nootropic for supporting focus and productivity (1).

Lion’s mane is also neuroprotective, it helps to rebuild myelin, the protective coating surrounding nerve fibres which act as insulation for the nervous system and speed up brain cell communication (2). A 2020 study found people with mild Alzheimer’s disease who took lion’s mane daily saw significant improvements in brain health. Meanwhile, those who took a placebo experienced a decline in several markers of cognitive function (3).

Lion’s mane appears to offer support for some of the most common mood disorders. Studies suggest it can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by modulating the levels of specific neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play crucial roles in regulating mood, motivation, and stress response (4).

You can add lion’s mane powder to smoothies, shakes, porridge, energy balls or try our nootropic Lion’s Mane Matcha Latte.

#2 Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi is classified as an adaptogen, a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress and exerts a normalising effect upon bodily processes, which may potentially reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Reishi has a long history of use in ancient China for reducing stress, calming the mind, and combatting sleep issues. It contains triterpenes, a type of compound that may support restful sleep and overall mental wellbeing.Triterpenes have a sedative action, reishi has traditionally been valued in cases of insomnia (5).

As well as triterpenes, reishi’s polysaccharides have been shown to have neuroprotective effects (6). This means they can help protect the brain and nervous system from damage from various factors, including ageing, disease, and injury.

Reishi has been shown to influence mood and anxiety levels positively. It contains compounds that can help regulate the production of neurotransmitters which play a crucial role in mood regulation. By improving neurotransmitter production, reishi can promote calm and wellbeing and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression (7).

You can add reishi powder to smoothies, hot chocolate or try our Reishi Zen Coffee for relaxation and calm.

#3 Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps also shows much promise for brain health and has been used as a nootropic for centuries in Asia. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce stress response.

Cordyceps–like reishi–is an adaptogen, and studies have shown participants were better able to withstand stress when they took cordyceps compared to when they didn’t (8). Chronic inflammatory stress on the body, creates inflammation in the brain and impairs memory, cognitive processing, judgement and reasoning.

One early study suggests that polypeptides in cordyceps may improve memory impairments and offer neuroprotective benefits by preventing damage from oxidation and protecting the nervous system (9).

Try adding to a pre-workout smoothie for a boost or try our Cordyceps Adaptogen Coffee for an energising lift.

#4 Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Chaga contains high amounts of antioxidants which neutralise the damage done by free radicals which we face in our environment, and from our diet and lifestyle choices.

It has been postulated that its antioxidant properties may be beneficial for brain health, protecting neurons from damage and decreasing neural oxidative stress. One early study has suggested that chaga extract may improve learning and memory due to its antioxidant qualities (10).

Chaga has been shown to be protective against Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration and inflammation by acting as an antioxidant and upregulating the Nrf2 pathway–one of the key anti-inflammatory pathways in the body (11).

Chaga is also helpful in supporting a healthy gut microbiome which can support the gut-brain axis. Studies suggest when balance is restored to the gut barrier, this also helps restore balance to the blood brain barrier (12).

Add chaga to coffee or tea or try our delicious Chaga Turmeric Latte for an extra antioxidant hit.


#5 Tremella (Tremella fuciformis)

Tremella is another mushroom with proven cognitive health benefits, its rich polysaccharide content seems to offer neuroprotective benefits. Studies suggest it may improve memory and enhance cognition in those with subjective cognitive impairment (13).         

Other research suggests it might potentially be used as a precautionary agent in neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's disease (14).

Add Tremella to your smoothies, shakes and yoghurt bowls.

Incorporating Mushrooms into Your Diet

Eating mushrooms has recently been shown to offer many benefits for brain health. Research found that people who regularly consumed small amounts of mushrooms in their diets had a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment which can lead to neurodegenerative conditions (15).

While fresh mushrooms are certainly a healthy addition to your diet, consuming mushroom extracts is often a more effective and convenient way to access the full potential of these powerful fungi.

Mushroom extracts concentrate the beneficial compounds, so it is much easier to consume a meaningful amount of these compounds in an easily absorbed form. 


Medicinal mushroom powders are a convenient way to harness the healing properties of mushrooms and support cognitive health. Add them to your smoothies, soups, coffee, or tea for a brain boost. 1g is a therapeutic dose of mushroom nutrition, so we recommend starting there and tailoring your dose based on personal health needs.

While mushrooms are generally safe for consumption, there are a few considerations to keep in mind including mushroom allergies, interactions with pregnancy, breastfeeding and certain medications.

The Future of Mushrooms in Brain Health

Cultures around the world have traditionally used mushrooms to promote health and modern-day scientific research is now beginning to back up their healing properties. Mushroom research is ongoing, and we are still discovering the incredible benefits of our fungi friends, there are likely substances that are not yet fully identified, nor their potential benefits.

We recommend incorporating medicinal mushrooms as part of a holistic approach to cognitive health. Making simple lifestyle changes like eating a well-balanced diet, prioritising sleep, and getting regular exercise can also be beneficial for your mind.


Mushrooms offer many unique compounds and benefits for cognitive health. Consider adding some of these remarkable mushrooms to your wellness routine to experience their brain health benefits for yourself.

Let us know if you have had success with using medicinal mushrooms to support your cognitive function and discover our range of mushrooms for brain health here…