Hericium erinaceus has been recognized as medical mushroom since ancient time, but its scientific evidence for human health has been still uncertain. In this study, we tested a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel-group comparative study to evaluate the improvement of the cognitive functions by taking supplements containing fruiting body of H. erinaceus for 12 weeks. We performed three kinds of tests: Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Benton visual retention test, and Standard verbal paired-associate learning test (S-PA). MMSE alone showed that oral intake of H. erinaceus significantly improved cognitive functions and prevented from the deterioration. We speculate that various chemical compounds, including hericenones, in the mushroom have multiple effects to the brain neural networks and improve cognitive functions. Oral intake of H. erinaceus is safe and convenient method for dementia prevention so far.
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