Most writers and artists turn to coffee for energy and a creative boost. But coffee’s chronic use stresses the body leading to that classic caffeine crash. The added strain of an overstimulated and polluted civilization only worsens the outlook for creativity.
A nootropic mushroom, lion’s mane, may be the key. It has emerged as a popular, gentler alternative to classic stimulants with its properties that regenerate the brain.
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are a class of “smart drugs” taken to enhance one’s brain power. They can be either natural, like mushrooms, or synthetic pills to treat issues like ADHD. Herbs and mushrooms are ideal, as they’re the most organic forms of nootropics. Whole foods have a broader array of benefits and cofactors than synthetic supplements or isolated extracts.
Hericium erinaceus, the Latin name for lion’s mane, has a shaggy, white appearance as shown above. They’re native to mountains of Asia, Europe, and North America. Chinese medicine has used them for thousands of years under the name hou tou goh.
Two compounds in lion’s mane, erinacines and hericenones, support cognitive function and nerve health. These chemicals cross the blood-brain barrier. Research proves lion’s mane can regenerate brain cells.
Others benefits of lion’s mane include:
- improves focus, concentration, memory, and mood
- topical vulnerary for mucus membranes, particularly the eyes
- improves energy
- high in antioxidants
Unlike synthetic nootropics, lion’s mane can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and nourish neurons deep within the brain.
Taking Lion’s Mane
A popular way to take this nootropic is in a hot tea. Use either whole mushroom, a powder, or a prepared tea bag. Sublingual tinctures are another preferred method, as this gets the herb into the bloodstream quick. Tinctures can be bought or made at home.
The next section is for herbology nerds. Skip over if desired.
Making a Tincture
Weigh the amount of product. Measure out twice the weight in alcohol (40% or more) in a separate container. Combine the ingredients and blend in a food processor. Add the blended product to an air-tight jar. Store in a dark room and shake the jar every couple days.
After roughly three weeks, the alcohol extraction is finished. Filter the product from the extraction, and store the tincture in a dark room.
Because mushrooms contain water-soluble and alcohol-soluble nutrients, performing an additional extraction concentrates the tincture’s power.
Take the discarded mushroom debris from the first extraction and shimmer it in water for 8 to 12 hours. Discard the twice-boiled debris and combine the water and alcohol extractions.
Shake before use and enjoy the nootropic properties of lion’s mane.
Using Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane is best used during activities that require intense focus, analysis, and creativity. It’s great for writers and artists when they hit a snag. Unlike coffee, which is stimulating, lion’s mane is soothing to the nerves. It’s also great for dealing with the pressure of deadlines. Lion’s mane can be mixed with coffee to balance the brew’s effects.
My Experience with Lion’s Mane
I take lion’s mane daily in an herbal formula, and stack those with brain.fm during my writing sessions. Whenever I feel tired or uninspired, lion’s mane has my back.
I use a brand called Fractal Forest, which offer high-quality, alchemical extractions. From day one, I noticed a shift in my writing ability—and I had already been on a healthy lifestyle for years. It’s given me great energy, motivation, and clarity in my writing sessions. No side effects either.
Lion’s mane may be the new ‘smart drug’ for writers. With an overly stimulated society, lion’s mane brings balance to a chaotic mind, while offering solutions from Mother Nature. The next time we struggle with a creative project, maybe we’ll reach for some mushrooms with our coffee.