“Humans only use 10% of their brain, and if you could unlock the other 90% you’d be unstoppable.” This is a fairly common theme, usually in movies showcasing people who become superhuman by finding the full potential of their brain.
As popular as this idea is, it’s not true. Your brain isn’t hiding superpowers from you somewhere deep in its recesses. Different parts of the brain control different factors of your life. They’re not always in use, but they’re not locked behind some secret door, either.
It isn’t surprising that this is a common trope. Wanting to unlock your true potential is normal, as is wanting to find shortcuts to do so. In fact, Bill Gates is known for saying, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
Lions Mane, part of the Hericium genus of mushrooms, won’t make you into a superhuman. It is, however, known for its ability to boost your brain power. In most of the movies involving unlocking the mind, increased focus and concentration are the first improvements people notice, followed by better memory retention. These are some of the benefits that Lions Mane is known for.
Anxiety and depression, which are sometimes debilitating, hold many people back in life. The medications don’t always work, and have some staggering possible side effects, but people have been getting some relief with Lions Mane. To top it off, promising studies have shown that even neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Dementia, and Parkinson’s, may be eased by eating meals with Lions Mane regularly due to its ability to repair damaged brain cells.
Comb Tooth and Bears Head are close cousins to Lions Mane and have many similarities. In fact, while there aren’t any poisonous look-alikes for the Hericiums, they are often hard to tell apart and confused for each other. As such, while Comb Tooth and Bears Head haven’t been studied as much as Lions Mane, it’s reasonable to think they may share the beneficial properties as well.
Growing in the wild, they’ll appear as white toothed clusters on hardwoods. When harvesting, it’s best to use a knife to cut them off at the base, as the delicate branches are likely to fall apart if you aren’t careful. If a yellow tinge has started to show, the mushrooms may have a sour or bad taste, so it’s best to eat them fresh. Removing yellowed mushrooms is still be a good idea, since fresh ones may sprout in their place.
The Hericiums are known for a light nutty taste or a taste similar to crab. Many recipes are out there, particularly for making vegetarian lobster or crab alternatives.
If you want to store them, they do best being frozen after some light cooking. If freezing whole, put in some boiling water for about a minute before removing and freeze on a cookie sheet for up to an hour before switching to an airtight container. If freezing in chunks, you can saute it lightly before freezing in the same manner.