Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries to help alleviate a wide range of ailments. We’ve all heard of mushroom varieties like Chaga mushrooms and Reishi mushrooms, but have you considered the Maitake mushroom for health benefits?
Maitake means dancing mushroom in Japenese. This mushroom received its moniker after it was said that people danced with joy upon finding it in the wild. The advantages of using this herb will have you leaping for joy as well.
Botanical Source Name and Family of Maitake
Maitake is known botanically as Grifola frondosa. It belongs to the fungi family Meripilaceae and has been referred to as Dancing Mushroom, Monkey’s Bench and Shelf Fungi.
What Is Maitake?
Maitake is a mushroom that has been traditionally used in Japan and China as food as well as medicine. It is also found in North America, growing as a perennial fungus from a tuber-like structure that grows underground or on the bottom of Oak, Elm and Maple trees.
It can even be grown at home, even though it won’t grow as well as it does in the wild. These mushrooms flourish during the warm August months. Maitake is sometimes known as “hen of the woods” because its structure is similar to a fluffed chicken’s feathers.
This mushroom is known as a type of adaptogen. Adaptogens protect the body against mental and physical difficulties. The chemical constitutes of maitake also work to regulate bodily systems that have become out of balance.
Active Ingredients Found in Maitake
Maitake is a rich source of flavonoids, a beta-glucan compound, and minerals such as the following:
- Vitamins B and C
- Amino Acids
These mushrooms are also fat-free, low in sodium and calories and cholesterol free. Research is currently being conducted to study the unique way this mushroom fights illness and supports overall health.
Health Benefits of Maitake
Maitake has been used in traditional Japanese and Chinese systems of medicine to improve ailments such as the following:
- Immune system function
- Treating diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
All these uses are being substantiated through recent research findings. More studies need to be concluded to confirm its effects on humans, but the current findings are promising, especially when it comes to the treatment of cancer.
According to a study conducted in 2013, maitake mushrooms have been proven successful in preventing and treating cancer. A study conducted prior to this finding concluded that this mushroom can help fight the growth and reproduction of cancerous cells.
An extract of maitake called D-Fraction has been proven effective in killing human cancer cells and when taken in conjunction with protein that also fights cancer has been shown to increase the protein’s effectiveness.
How to Use Maitake
If you are looking to use maitake to help get you closer to your optimum health, you can add it to any food you would normally add mushrooms to. It has a strong earthy taste that can be added to your stir-fry, salad, pizza, omelets or soup.
Maitake is also available as a liquid concentrate or in a dry supplemental form. If you choose to take this mushroom as a daily supplement, look for maitake D-Fraction, which is an extract of maitake.
The appropriate amount of dosing, however, depends on your weight, age and health, so be sure to read the directions carefully to ensure you’re getting the accurate doses.
Side Effects of Maitake
The benefits of this medicinal mushrooms are nothing short of exceptional, but even though it proposes a list of health advantages, there are factors you should take into consideration before consuming the maitake mushroom.
There are no reported side effects. However, due to its blood glucose and blood pressure lowering properties, this mushroom must be used with caution by those on anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive drugs.
Make sure to have a conversation with your doctor before consuming any new herbal treatment. If they give you the go-ahead to use it, always look for 100-percent extract with no fillers to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Yeh JY, Hsieh LH, Wu KT, Tsai CF. Antioxidant properties and antioxidant compounds of various extracts from the edible basidiomycete Grifola frondosa (Maitake). Molecules. 2011 Apr 15;16(4):3197-211. doi: 10.3390/molecules16043197. PubMed PMID: 21499220.
Kodama N, Komuta K, Nanba H. Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the activation of NK cells in cancer patients. J Med Food. 2003 Winter;6(4):371-7. PubMed PMID: 14977447.