Lion's Mane vs. Chaga for Stress & Anxiety—Which Is the Best Mushroom
Updated January 7, 2024.
There are many choices of mushroom available to help with stress and anxiety, and so it can be difficult to figure out which mushroom will give you the best results.
Lion's Mane and Chaga have both been shown to help with stress and anxiety. Ordinary western medicine for anxiety carries significant side effects including feeling high, feeling drowsy, and many are known to cause dependence. Mushroom medicines, on the other hand, seem to have comparatively lower risks.
That being said, read on to discover the benefits of two of the most popular functional mushrooms, Lion's Mane and Chaga.
Lion's mane is known for a variety of positive impacts, including stress and anxiety reduction, decreased depression symptoms, better regulation of circadian rhythm, and a reduction in inflammation.
» Learn more: The beginner's guide to Lion's Mane mushrooms
Benefits of Lion's Mane for Stress & Anxiety
- Improved neurogenesis
- Improved functioning of the hippocampus
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced inflammation
Research on Lion's Mane suggests that it may help regenerate brain cells and improve the functioning of the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory (1), which is believed to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, a study conducted on menopausal women demonstrated a reduction in irritation and anxiety from consuming Lion's Mane before bed (2).
» Interested in natural alternatives? Take a look at our stress relief products
» Want to learn more about Lion's Mane? Discover its effect on sleep quality
How to Take Lion's Mane
Lion's mane can be taken cooked, raw, dried, or steeped in tea. Additionally, there are a variety of supplements and extracts. Unlike many other functional mushrooms, Lion's Mane is reported to have a great taste that makes it suitable for many recipes.
To learn all about the chaga mushroom, view our Chaga Mushroom guide for all the details surrounding this incredible ingredient.
Chaga is an adaptogen that helps to naturally calm the nervous system.
Benefits of Chaga for Stress & Anxiety
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved adrenal health and fatigue
- Supports homeostasis
Under stress, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, making it difficult for the body to return to homeostasis—especially with the increasing chronic stress of modern life. Research suggests that Chaga may help reduce inflammation and anxiety, while also improving the health of the adrenal glands, which may potentially decrease fatigue.
How to Take Chaga
Unfortunately, Chaga isn't suitable for cooking due to its rough, woody texture. The best results with Chaga are when taken in hot water as a tea, or by mixing some powdered Chaga extract into a hot beverage. Chaga cannot simply be eaten as it is not bioavailable that way. Additionally, tinctures containing Chaga exist as well.
Which Mushroom Should You Take?
Deciding which mushroom to take can feel complex, which is why it is essential to consult your doctor. However, you aren't limited to choosing one of the other, and many people advocate for combining the two to maximise results. Chaga has a larger impact in terms of overall physical health, while Lion's Mane is seen to have a larger impact on mood, focus, emotions, and cognition.
In fact, these two mushrooms are believed to work well together. The combination of nootropic properties (restoring/building neurons, increasing cognitive function, and decreased inflammation) of Lion's Mane and the truly adaptogenic properties (helping the body to return to homeostasis/balance when stressed) of Chaga provide support to the whole person during times of stress. Regular use promotes a decrease in fatigue, support of the adrenal glands, and an increase in memory and focus.
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