Hedgehog Hydra, the good mushroom for the brain
BENEFITS OF THE HEDGEHOG HYDRA
- Relieves depressive disorders
- Improves cognitive functions
- Relieves digestive and intestinal disorders
- Stimulates the immune system
- Potentially anti-cancer
- What is hedgehog hydra?
- Nutritional Composition
- The benefits of Hedgehog Hydra
- How to consume the hedgehog hydra?
- You are well registered, see you soon!
- Contraindications and side effects
- History, culture and market of the Hedgehog Hydra
- You may be interested:
What is hedgehog hydra?
The hedgehog hydra, which belongs to the Hericaceae family, has many nicknames. It is also called "lion's mane", "satyr's beard", "bearded hedgehog" or "monkey head".
It is also called "Yamabushitake" in Japan and "Hou Tou Gu" in China. Each of these names refers to the same fungus: Hericium erinaceus.
They all refer to their appearance. In fact, the hedgehog hydra has long white/creamy bites that cascade down from 4 to 6 cm.
They can be up to 25 cm wide and look like a lion's mane. This original appearance makes it easily recognizable. In the forest, it is also recognizable by its strong smell of curdled milk.
Hedgehog Hydra growing at the foot of a tree in a European forest
The hedgehog hydra grows naturally throughout Asia (China, Japan, Korea...) but also in North America (Caroline, California...) and even in Europe (Portugal, France...).
It is generally found in deciduous forests and has a preference for hardwoods: oaks, beeches, maples, walnuts... In late summer and autumn, the fungus grows on dead or dying trees, more rarely on live wood.
It then feeds on their nutrients to grow. But in its natural state, it is still a relatively rare fungus.
While the consumption of hedgehog hydra in the West is quite recent, the fungus has been known in Asia for millennia. Like ginseng and reishi, hedgehog hydra is mentioned in ancient treatises on traditional Chinese medicine.
It appears notably in the "Shennong bencao jing" (372-288 BC) in which it is indicated to alleviate digestive disorders and improve cognitive functions.
Scientific research then contributed to the popularity of the hedgehog hydra throughout the world.
Little by little, the incredible composition of this fungus and its beneficial effects on the body were discovered. Today, studies focus mainly on its antidepressant effects.
But this mushroom is also interesting for improving cognitive functions, relieving digestive and intestinal disorders and stimulating the immune system.
It is also showing promising results in the fight against cancer. As such, it is considered a functional mushroom, which means that beyond its nutritional properties, it has real effects on the body.
- Amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids
- Vitamins: B2
- Minerals and trace elements: zinc, phosphorus, selenium, iron, potassium, germanium
- Polysaccharides: beta-glucans
- Other assets : D-arabinitol, D-Threitol
- Phenolic derivatives: erinacins, herbizinones
- Fatty acids: palmitic acid
- Sterols: ergosterol, beta-sitosterol
The benefits of Hedgehog Hydra
Relieves depressive disorders
Hedgehog hydra is a precious ally for the nervous system. In particular, it has been shown to alleviate depressive disorders and associated symptoms: loss of interest, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sleep disorders, pessimism...
These effects are due to certain compounds present in hedgehog hydro, such as errinacins and herbizinones.
In fact, these phenolic derivatives have the capacity to stimulate the synthesis of NGF (Neuronal Growth Factor). Responsible for the development of new neurons, it is also involved in depression.
In addition, these compounds have a beneficial effect on BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), whose low levels are associated with depression.
Researchers now want to test whether the fungus' errinacins and herbizinones are able to restore BDNF levels in depressed people.
This fungus can also relieve depression by exerting anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, depression can be directly associated with inflammation.
The inflammatory process disrupts brain function and alters the release of neurotransmitters essential for mood regulation, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Its compounds can also reduce depressive behavior by promoting neurogenesis, i.e., the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus.
However, the loss of volume of the hippocampus is known to be greater in cases of depression. By limiting neurogenesis deficit, hedgehog hydra helps reduce the frequency and severity of depressive episodes.
Finally, hedgehog hydra can have an anxiolytic effect, relieving anxiety and distress.
This study from the University of Hong Kong, conducted on mice, shows the therapeutic potential of hedgehog hydra to alleviate depressive disorders.
This other study from the University of Pisa (Italy), conducted with rodents, examined the antidepressant effects of hedgehog hydra and Rhodiola rosea.
Improves cognitive functions
The Hedgehog Hydra is an especially effective mushroom for improving cognitive functions: concentration and memory, attention, learning...
Therefore, its consumption could be indicated in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
By stimulating the production of new neurons, hericones and errinacin contribute to nerve regeneration and limit the progressive loss of neurons.
But the polysaccharides present in the mushroom also play an important role in improving cognitive functions.
On the one hand, they reduce the abnormal accumulation of amyloid plaques β (Aβ) that occurs in Alzheimer's disease and causes cognitive loss.
On the other hand, polysaccharides exert neuroprotective effects against free radicals, which are responsible for neuronal damage.
This study from Jilin University (China), conducted on mice, shows the neuroprotective properties of hedgehog hydra.
This other study from National Yang-Ming University (Taiwan), conducted on mice, shows the potential of the fungus in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Relieves digestive and intestinal disorders
The hedgehog hydra is not only an ally for the brain: it is also a friend of the stomach and the intestinal sphere.
First, it is interesting to protect the mucous membranes of the stomach against certain bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori, responsible for gastritis and ulcers.
To eradicate it, the fungus can rely on its antibacterial activity. This is one of its main indications in traditional Chinese medicine.
Hedgehog Hydra significantly inhibits the growth of bacteria, reduces inflammation of the stomach and participates in the reconstruction of the gastric mucosa.
Its consumption can also help to relieve inflammatory diseases of the intestine: ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease...
This study from the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (China), conducted on a human cell line, shows the anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of the hedgehog hydra.
This other study from the University of Georgia (USA), carried out on mice, shows how the fungus inhibited the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
Stimule the immune system
Hedgehog Hydra is an excellent immune stimulant. It activates the body's natural defenses against pathogens and prevents their damage.
In particular, the fungus stimulates the activity of T and NK cells, the natural killer cells. To this end, it acts directly on the intestinal microbiota, which plays a key role in supporting immunity.
Polysaccharides and HEP3, one of the beta-glucans in hedgehog hydro, are believed to be at the origin of this immunostimulatory activity.
In addition, the D-tritol, D-arabinitol and palmitic acid contained in the mushroom have antioxidant properties.
This study from the Guangdong Institute of Microbiology (China), conducted on mice, shows how hedgehog hydra stimulates immunity through the intestinal microbiota.
This other study from Northeast China Normal University, conducted on mice, demonstrated the beneficial effects of the fungus on the immunity of the intestinal mucous membranes.
Potentially against cancer
Some studies devoted to hedgehog hydra have highlighted its anti-cancer potential, particularly against liver, colon, stomach and blood cancers.
On the one hand, the beta-glucans of the fungus directly attack the cancer cells and induce apoptosis, that is, programmed cell death. On the other hand, they significantly slow down their growth and therefore the spread of cancer.
This study from Changchun University of Chinese Medicine (China), conducted on precancerous cells, shows how hedgehog hydra caused their apoptosis.
This other study from Shanxi Agricultural University (China), conducted on cells, shows that polysaccharides from the fungus inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
How to consume the hedgehog hydra?
Hedgehog Hydra in tablet form
After the harvest, the hedgehog hydra is dried and then ground to a powder. The powder is then used to make tablets and capsules, which are easily found in stores or on the Internet.
If you are worried about its strong taste (between the lobster and the eggplant), choose this format, which has the advantage of being insipid.
To take full advantage of the benefits of the mushroom, choose tablets and capsules with sufficient polysaccharide titration (30% minimum).
Today, there are a large number of functional mushrooms available in tablet form, including lion's mane
Hedgehog Hydra Powder
It is also possible to find hydra hedgehog powder. The mushroom is dried, ground and marketed. If you are not afraid of its taste, it is an interesting format because it is convenient to consume.
Powdered lion's mane is easily mixed in hot water, milk, fruit juice, soups and broths.
Hedgehog Hydra in mother tincture
Hedgehog Hydra mother tincture is obtained by double extraction. It is easily mixed with water or any other beverage.
But it is a more difficult format to find and has the disadvantage of containing a lot of alcohol. Therefore, it is not recommended for pregnant women, children or people suffering from certain pathologies.
The dry hedgehog hydra
Some online stores offer dry hedgehog hydra cut into strips. It is a very good edible mushroom that can be used in broths or soups. It is also a common food in Chinese and Japanese cuisine.
Hedgehog Hydra and medicinal plants
Hedgehog Hydra combines very well with medicinal plants that are good for the brain. These include ginkgo biloba, rhodiola, and bacopa (Bacopa monnieri).
It can also be consumed in association with cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis), another fungus that contributes to nervous balance.
Supplement your intake of lion's mane with B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9) that help the nervous system function properly.
Hedgehog Hydra combines very well with medicinal plants that are good for the brain.
Sustainable consumption: promoting organic agriculture, fair trade and local hedgehog water
✓ Like all fungi, hedgehog hydra tends to absorb pollutants from the air and soil.
That is why we advise you to choose a certified organic mushroom, grown without chemicals and far from sources of contamination. It must also be guaranteed that it does not contain GMOs or radiation.
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✓ Today, most of the production comes from Asia. But France also has some mushroom growers who have started to cultivate the hedgehog hydra. It then develops into substrates of sorghum, rye or wheat. If possible, choose a mushroom of French origin.
✓ Finally, in order not to encourage intensive collection in the wild, favour fair trade or small businesses.
The recommended dose ranges from 500 mg to 1.5 g of hedgehog hydrogen per day. Because it is a powerful fungus, we recommend starting with small doses. Then gradually increase the intake according to the effects you feel.
Ideally, it should be taken in the form of a 1-4 month cure. The first results appear after a few weeks.
Consume the mushroom before or after meals.
In tablets: up to 3 per day for 250 mg capsules.
In powder form: 1 to 2 teaspoons per day.
In mother tincture: 1 teaspoon, twice a day.
Contraindications and side effects
Consumption of hedgehog hydra has certain contraindications:
- As a precaution, young children and pregnant or nursing women should avoid taking them.
- People with fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, polycystic ovaries, or high levels of NGF should also avoid taking it.
- Because it can affect blood clotting, it is not recommended for people undergoing surgery.
- It is not recommended for people who are allergic or sensitive to fungi.
Excessive consumption of Hedgehog Hydra may cause the following side effects:
- Allergies (breathing difficulties, skin rashes)
If you experience side effects, stop taking the medication and consult a physician.
History, culture and market of the Hedgehog Hydra
According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, the world population of the hedgehog hydra is declining dramatically.
The species is even protected in some countries and is subject to conservation measures.
There are several threats to this fungus today. Among them: the destruction of its natural habitat by the felling of old oaks and beeches, the elimination of dead wood, logging, the advance of agriculture and intensive harvesting.
Therefore, it is more than ever a rare fungus that must be protected. Therefore, one of the solutions to consume it in a sustainable way is to obtain extracts from mushroom farms.
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