Hericium erinaceus a culinary and medicinal mushroom is a well established candidate for brain and nerve health. Ganoderma lucidum, Grifola frondosa and Sarcodon scabrosus have been reported to have neurite outgrowth and neuronal health benefits. The number of mushrooms, however, studied for neurohealth activity are few compared to the more than 2 000 species of edible and / or medicinal mushrooms identified. In the on-going search for other potent culinary and / or medicinal mushrooms, indigenous mushrooms used in traditional medicines such as Lignosus rhinocerotis and Ganoderma neo-japonicum are also being investigated. Further, the edible mushroom, Pleurotus giganteus can be a potential candidate, too. Can these edible and medicinal mushrooms be tapped to tackle the health concerns of the aging population which is projected to be more than 80-90 million of people age 65 and above in 2050 who may be affected by age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Scientific validation is needed if these mushrooms are to be considered and this can be achieved by understanding the molecular and biochemical mechanisms involved in the stimulation of neurite outgrowth. Though it is difficult to extrapolate the in vitro studies to what may happen in the human brain, studies have shown that there can be improvement in cognitive abilities of the aged if the mushroom is incorporated in their daily diets.
Keywords: Ganoderma neo-japonicum; Hericium erinaceus; Lignosus rhinocerotis; Mushrooms; Nerve regeneration; Neurite outgrowth; Neuronal health; Pleurotus giganteus.