Lion’s Mane Vs Cordyceps

Mushrooms are definitely something not all of us are used to consuming. But did you know these little fungal organisms can provide several health benefits? Two of the most popular varieties are Lion’s Mane mushrooms and Cordyceps, both of which have gained a lot of attention due to their potential medicinal effects.

According to research (1) findings, Medicinal Mushrooms (MMs), like these two varieties, contain bioactive compounds that can positively influence our body’s systems. From providing anti-inflammatory benefits to enhancing cognitive function and even supporting our immune systems – it’s no surprise why more and more people are turning to MMs. 

But with all the buzz about Medicinal Mushrooms, how do you know which ones to choose? This article will explore Lion’s Mane vs Cordyceps and compare their potential benefits, effects, and uses. We’ll also talk about when it makes sense to stack these two mushrooms together for maximum benefits. 

Let’s dive in!

What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

Lion’s Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) are a type of edible mushroom, also known as the Yamabushitake or Bearded Tooth Fungus. They get their name from the long, shaggy spines resembling a lion’s mane, which have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

These mushrooms grow in Asia, Europe, and North America mainly on hardwood trees such as maple and oak. They have a unique taste and texture reminiscent of seafood, so they’re often used as a meat alternative in vegetarian dishes.

People who consume Lion’s Mane mushrooms may experience several potential benefits, from cognitive enhancement to improved digestive health.

How Do They Work?

Lion’s Mane mushrooms contain bioactive compounds like polysaccharides, triterpenes, hericenones, and beta-glucans.

According to studies (2), these compounds may stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein involved in the development and maintenance of neurons. NGFs have been linked to improved cognitive functions like memory, learning, and concentration.

Additionally, these mushrooms may also support immune health by stimulating the production of cytokines which help to regulate the body’s response to infections and other inflammatory processes.

Benefits Of Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane mushrooms have been linked to several potential benefits. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Improves Cognitive Function: Lion’s Mane mushrooms are thought to stimulate nerve growth, which may help improve memory, concentration, and focus.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Animal studies (3) have found Lion’s Mane mushrooms to contain anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Supports Immune System: In this research (4) done on mice, Lion’s Mane mushrooms were found to boost the immune system and help protect against pathogens.
  • Potential for Dementia Prevention: The nerve-growth promoting compounds, hericenones and erinacines, have been found to help protect against Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
  • May Help Slow the Spread of Cancer In Mice: Research on mice found that Lion’s Mane extract reduced the spread of cancer cells to the liver by up to 69%.
  • Helps Reduce Heart Disease Risk: In a study of rats, Lion’s Mane mushrooms were found to help improve fat metabolism and reduce triglyceride levels, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • May Protect Against Ulcers: Lion’s Mane mushrooms have been found to help protect against the growth of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria commonly associated with stomach ulcers. While more research needs to be done, this is a promising study area.

As you can see, Lion’s Mane mushrooms have a range of potential benefits that may be useful for anyone looking to improve their health and well-being. Let’s take a look at Cordyceps now.

What Are Cordyceps?

Cordyceps are an interesting type of medicinal mushroom. They are made up of a caterpillar fungus, sometimes called the “caterpillar mushroom.”

There are over 400 different types of Cordyceps, but the most well-known and researched is the Cordyceps sinensis. This fungus was first recorded in 1694 by Wang Ang in Ben Cao Bei Yao and was considered a valuable Chinese medicinal herb for over 300 years.

So, how do they form?

The C. sinensis is created when the larvae of an insect host, typically a caterpillar or moth, become infected by the fungus. The fungus then takes over the insect and slowly grows in its body until it kills it, eventually bursting out of its head like a mushroom. Sounds gross, right? But it turns out that these mushrooms are very beneficial for our health.

In China, C. sinensis is found mainly in the high-altitude regions of the country, such as Sichuan, Tibet, and Yunnan. It was officially named by the Italian scholar Saccardo in 1878 and has been used medicinally ever since.

Other names for Cordyceps sinensis include Yartsa Gunbu, Himalayan Viagra, and Dong Chong XiaCao. The fungus has become increasingly popular due to its impressive health benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is often used to boost energy levels and enhance overall health.

How Do They Work?

Cordyceps work by activating the body’s natural defenses to reduce disease and improve health. They contain a wide range of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating compounds that have been shown to help fight off infections, reduce inflammation, and improve overall health.

These mushrooms have also been shown to increase ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, the energy source that powers our cells. This makes them a popular choice for athletes looking to improve their performance.

Benefits Of Cordyceps

Cordyceps are packed with a range of beneficial compounds. Here are some potential health benefits backed by science:

  • Improving Immune System Function: According to the Frontiers in Pharmacology, cordyceps inhibit immunostimulatory properties that help boost the body’s immunity by stimulating the production of immune cells.
  • Enhancing Energy and Stamina: Research (5) has shown that cordyceps can increase ATP production, improving energy levels. This makes them particularly beneficial for athletes and active people.
  • Reducing Inflammation: Animal studies have shown that cordyceps can reduce inflammation. This is due to their anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce the production of inflammatory mediators.
  • Anti-Aging: Due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, researchers believe cordyceps can help slow aging. Studies (6) have shown they can help reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
  • Regulating Blood Sugar Levels: Cordyceps have been studied for their potential to lower blood sugar levels. One study in diabetic mice showed that cordyceps decreased blood sugar levels by mimicking the action of the hormone insulin. Another study found that cordyceps could reduce symptoms of diabetes-related kidney disease.
  • Boosting Libido: Cordyceps has long been used to increase libido and sexual performance. While there is still limited research in this area, history has shown that these mushrooms can benefit sexual health.
  • Anti-Tumor: Some research suggests that cordyceps may help fight against certain types of cancer cells. Test-tube studies have shown they can reduce the growth of lung, colon, liver, and skin cancer cells.

Lion’s Mane Vs Cordyceps: Key Differences

So, how does a lion’s mane stack up against cordyceps? Let’s look at the key differences between these two medicinal mushrooms.


We all know that taste matters. While both mushrooms are edible, they have very different flavors. Lion’s mane has a mild, seafood-like taste that is quite pleasant. The flavor is often compared to lobster or crab.

On the other hand, cordyceps have an earthy, nutty flavor with umami undertones. Some find this flavor quite pleasant, while others find it off-putting.


Both mushrooms are incredibly versatile and can be used in various dishes. Lion’s mane can be used as a meat substitute commonly found in vegan dishes. It can also be dried and powdered in soups, teas, and other beverages.

Cordyceps, on the other hand, is mostly known as an adaptogenic superfood. It can be steeped into a tea or tincture, added to smoothies and elixirs, or used in savory dishes.


The effects of both mushrooms are quite different. Lion’s mane has been linked to improved cognitive function and enhanced nerve health. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.

Cordyceps, however, is known for its energizing effects. It can help boost energy levels, improve athletic performance, and reduce stress and anxiety. Most notably, it is believed to increase the production of ATP in the body, which gives it an edge over other adaptogenic mushrooms.


The two mushrooms look quite different too. Lion’s mane has a furry texture and resembles its namesake. It is usually white or gray in color. On the other hand, cordyceps look more like a small caterpillar with a tan-colored head and a brown or bright orange body.


Lion’s mane mushrooms can be found in temperate regions of the world. They usually grow on dead or decaying hardwood trees like oak and beech.

On the contrary, Cordyceps are found in the Himalayan regions of China, Tibet, and Nepal. They prefer to grow on the bodies of dead insect larvae, such as ants or caterpillars.

Summary Table Showing the Differences Between Lion’s Mane Mushroom Vs Cordyceps

CharacteristicsLion’s ManeCordyceps
Scientific NameHericium erinaceusCordyceps sinensis
AppearanceWhite, shaggy, globe-shaped mushroomElongated, caterpillar-shaped fungus
HabitatFound on hardwood trees in North America, Europe, and AsiaFound on the larvae of certain moths in the mountains of China, Nepal, and Tibet
Health BenefitsSupports brain function, may boost the immune system, may lower inflammationMay boost energy and endurance, may improve respiratory function, may enhance libido
Active CompoundsBeta-glucans, erinacines, hericenonesCordycepin, adenosine, polysaccharides
PreparationOften eaten cooked or used in supplementsTypically dried and brewed as a tea or used in supplements
AvailabilityWidely available in supplement formLess commonly available in supplement form, may be more expensive

Note: This table provides general information and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional before taking supplements or changing your diet.

Choosing Which One Is Better For You

So, how do you choose between lion’s mane and cordyceps mushrooms? Although both are amazing fungi that can positively impact your health, you may prefer one over the other depending on your specific needs. 

Lion’s mane is a great choice if you want to increase your cognitive function. It’s been studied for its potential to enhance memory concentration and nerve regeneration benefits. It’s also been used to reduce inflammation in the brain, which can help with mood and mental health. 

Conversely, Cordyceps is the go-to choice to boost your energy levels. It’s considered an adaptogen, which helps you better manage stress and enhances your body’s ability to respond to various physical and emotional challenges. 

Furthermore, Cordyceps has been found to support respiratory health, as it can help open up your airways and reduce mucus production. It’s also said to increase physical endurance, so if you’re an athlete or someone who likes to stay active, this could be your choice.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which mushroom is best for you. As seen above, both have unique benefits; either could be the perfect supplement for your health journey. Be sure to research before you decide, and consult with your physician if you have any medical concerns.

Stacking Mushrooms: Benefits Of Taking Them Together

Can you take cordyceps and lion’s mane together? The answer is yes! Combining the two mushrooms is known as “stacking,” and it can be a great way to get the most out of your health journey. 

When taken together, cordyceps and lion’s mane can provide synergistic effects. Here are some potential benefits of stacking mushrooms:

Boosts Your Immune System

Combining cordyceps and lion’s mane extract can help support the body’s natural immune response. Lion’s mane has polysaccharide molecules. According to research (7), these molecules are believed to help stimulate the body’s natural ability to fight off infection.

Meanwhile, cordyceps mushrooms are known for their antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Combining them can help your body stay better prepared against potential health threats.

Possible Cancer Benefits

  1. Anti-tumor effects: Both cordyceps and lion’s mane have been shown to possess anti-tumor properties, which means they may help prevent or slow the growth of cancer cells. When taken together, they may have a more powerful effect on cancer cells than individually.
  2. Boost the immune system: Both mushrooms have been found to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off cancer and other diseases. Cordyceps has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells in the body, while the lion’s mane contains polysaccharides that stimulate the production of immune cells.

Adaptogen Benefits

Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and enhance overall well-being. Lion’s mane and cordyceps are both considered adaptogens. Combining them can increase their efficacy and provide the body with more adaptogenic effects.

Pre-Workout Energy Boost

These two mushrooms can also be a great pre-workout boost, giving the body an energy kick. Cordyceps is known to increase physical endurance, while lion’s mane can help reduce fatigue and cognitive fog. Stacking them together can give your workout routine an extra edge.

Protection Against Cardiovascular Diseases

Mushrooms are known to be good for the heart. They can help lower cholesterol and improve circulation. When cordyceps and lion’s mane are combined, they may provide even greater protection against cardiovascular diseases.

Cordyceps can help improve blood flow and oxygen uptake, while lion’s mane can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the blood vessels. These combined benefits may help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Improves Concentration And Cognitive Functions

Another potential benefit of stacking these two mushrooms is improved focus and cognitive function. Cordyceps can help boost mental clarity, while lion’s mane has been found to improve memory and focus. Combining the two can help provide an even more powerful cognitive boost.

How To Take Lion’s Mane And Cordyceps Together

To get the most out of cordyceps and lion’s mane, the following tips can help:

  1. Choose a high-quality supplement: Look for a reputable brand that uses pure and potent extracts of Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps.
  2. Follow the recommended dosage: Each supplement will have a recommended dosage on the label. Follow the instructions carefully, and do not exceed the recommended dose.
  3. Take them with food: Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps supplements are best taken with a meal or snack to aid digestion and absorption.
  4. Take them at different times of the day: To maximize their benefits, it is recommended to take Lion’s Mane in the morning and Cordyceps in the afternoon or evening.
  5. Be consistent: Consistency is key when taking supplements. Take them daily as recommended for several weeks to see the best results.
  6. Consult with a healthcare professional: If you’re pregnant, lactating, dealing with a medical issue, or taking medication of any kind, it is always best to consult your healthcare provider before adding any supplement to your routine.

Final Thoughts

Medicinal mushrooms such as Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps have a long history of medicinal use. While both mushrooms offer unique health benefits, they have some distinct differences. Lion’s Mane are known for their ability to boost cognitive function, improve focus and concentration, and even reduce anxiety.

By contrast, Cordyceps are known for their ability to boost energy and endurance, as well as protect the heart and improve blood flow. Combining the two MMs can be a great way to get the best of both worlds, with the added bonus of fewer side effects.

So if you’re looking for an all-natural way to enhance your overall well-being, Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps could be a great choice. Just consult a healthcare provider before taking them, and always follow the recommended dosage for the best results. Happy supplementing!


Should You Take Lion’s Mane or Cordyceps Everyday?

Yes, Lions Mane and Cordyceps can be taken daily. They are both safe and natural. However, it is always best to consult your doctor and check the recommended dosage before taking either supplement.

What Mushroom Is Best for Brain Health?

Several types of mushrooms are known to have potential benefits for brain health, but the most well-studied ones are:

Lion’s Mane Mushroom: This mushroom contains compounds that may help promote the growth and repair of nerve cells, which could potentially improve cognitive function and memory.

  • Cordyceps Mushroom: This mushroom has been shown to have neuroprotective effects and may help improve cognitive function, memory, and learning ability.
  • Reishi Mushroom: This mushroom has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could potentially protect the brain from oxidative stress and age-related cognitive decline.
  • Chaga Mushroom: This mushroom is rich in antioxidants and may have neuroprotective effects, which could potentially help prevent cognitive decline and improve brain function.
  • It’s important to note that while mushrooms may have potential health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand their effects on the brain and overall health.

Does Lion’s Mane Increase Dopamine?

Some evidence suggests that Lion’s Mane mushroom may increase dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an essential role in mood, memory, motivation, and other cognitive functions. However, more research is needed to understand its potential effects on human dopamine levels.

Does Cordyceps Increase Testosterone?

Yes, research indicates that Cordyceps has the potential to increase testosterone secretion. It contains cordycepin, a bioactive component with immunomodulatory effects that may stimulate testosterone secretion.

What Mushroom Is Best for Anti-aging?

Reishi mushroom is one of the most popular mushrooms for anti-aging. Also known as the “mushroom of immortality,” it contains compounds that can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress associated with premature aging. Chaga, Lion’s Mane, and Cordyceps are other mushrooms with potential anti-aging benefits.

Can I Take CBD With Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps?

CBD gummies, Lion’s Mane, and Cordyceps are all-natural supplements that have gained popularity for their potential health benefits. While there is limited scientific research on their combined effects, no evidence suggests that taking CBD with Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps would be harmful.


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  2. Lai, P., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., Wong, K., David, R. P., Kuppusamy, U. R., Abdullah, N., & Malek, S. N. A. (2013). Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 15(6), 539–554.
  3. Chiu, C., Chyau, C., Chin-Chu, C., Lee, L., Chen, W., Liu, J., Lin, W., & Mong, M. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(2), 341.
  4. Sheng, X., Yan, J., Meng, Y., Kang, Y., Han, Z., Tai, G., Zhou, Y., & Cheng, H. (2017b). Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Food & Function, 8(3), 1020–1027.
  5. Nagata, A., Tajima, T., & Uchida, M. (2006). SUPPLEMENTAL ANTI-FATIGUE EFFECTS OF CORDYCEPS SINENSIS (TOCHU-KASO) EXTRACT POWDER DURING THREE STEPWISE EXERCISE OF HUMAN. Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, 55(Supplement), S145–S152.
  6. Tan, N., Barger, J. L., Zhang, Y., Ferguson, S., Wu, Z., Prolla, T. A., Bartlett, M., & Zhu, J. (2011). The lifespan-extending effect of Cordyceps sinensis Cs-4 in normal mice and its molecular mechanisms. The FASEB Journal, 25.
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