2016 Volume 37 Issue 4 Pages 227-232
Hericium erinaceus (HE), an edible mushroom, has been used as a herbal medicine in several Asian countries since ancient times. HE has potential as a medicine for the treatment and prevention of dementia, a disorder closely linked with circadian rhythm. This study investigated the effects of the intake of HE extracts on behavioral rhythm, photosensitivity of the circadian clock, and clock gene mRNA expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a central clock, in mice. Although the HE ethanol extract only affected the offset time of activity, the HE water extract advanced the sleep–wake cycle without affecting the free-running period, photosensitivity, or the clock gene mRNA expression in SCN. In addition, both extracts decreased wakefulness around end of active phase. The findings of the present study suggest that HE may serve as a functional food in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and delayed sleep phase syndrome.