Maitake should be recognized as a potential therapeutic adjunct for persons with HIV/AIDS.


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight infection and disease.


The anti-HIV effect of Maitake has given the mushroom its greatest notoriety for its highest impact of all research studies. Studies have shown that maitake improves the helper T-cell count of those with HIV. Since then, a number of practitioners involved in AIDS/HIV treatment have reported favorable responses in patients, including increases in helper T-cells and reversal of HIV-positive status to HIV-negative. This feedback supports what the studies show. Some physicians are also applying D-fraction extract topically as a treatment for Kaposi’s sarcoma, a skin cancer which often develops in AIDS patients.

Clinical Study: The effects of MD-Fraction, a β-glucan extracted from Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa), on the health status of individuals suffering from HIV infection were evaluated in a long-term trial. The HIV status of the 35 respondents who participated in the study was followed by monitoring CD4+cell counts, viral load measure, symptoms of HIV infection, status of secondary disease, and sense of well-being. Twenty patients reported an increase in CD4+ cell counts to 1.4–1.8 times, and 8 patients reported a decrease to 0.8–0.5 times. Viral load was reported to increase in 9 patients and decrease in 10 patients. However, 85% of respondents reported an increased sense of well-being with regard to various symptoms and secondary diseases caused by HIV. These results suggest that Maitake D-Fraction had a positive impact in HIV patients. (1)

in-vitro Study: Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) said that maitake extract is as powerful as the AIDS drug AZT, but without its toxic side effects. In tissue culture studies, D-fraction was found to enhance the activity of other immune cells as well as T-lymphocytes. (2)

in-vitro Study: Additionally, the National Bureau of Health Care of Japan showed similar reports demonstrating that D-fraction can prevent HIV-infected helper T-cells from being destroyed by as much as 97 percent in vitro. This is very important because measuring a patient’s helper T-cell count is considered as a benchmark in monitoring the progression of HIV to full-blown AIDS. (3)


Patient Report: In the book Maitake Magic, Dr. David Hughes (HIV/AIDS Physician at Hyperbaric Oxygen Institute, San Bernardino, California) includes a report in Chapter 4 (Maitake and Optimal Immune Function) of one of his HIV positive patients. The report claims the male patients' HIV-positive status was turned to negative by his use of Maitake. On July 14, 1994, he tested positive for HIV, but a follow-up test result dated August 23 showed that he was HIV-negative. His diary in the report shows the progress of his improvement.

Many more reports conclude Maitake mushrooms as a supportive tool for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection, attracting the scientific community to consider its therapeutic application. 


2. (Shari Lieberman PhD and Ken Babal CN, Maitake Mushroom and D-Fraction. Woodland Health Series. Sep 23, 2004)
3. (Harry Preuss, M.D., Sensuke Konno, Ph.D., Maitake and Optimal Immune Function. Maitake and Viruses: HIV/AIDS Maitake Magic. Chapter 4. Apr 20, 2010)
4. (Harry Preuss, M.D., Sensuke Konno, Ph.D., Maitake and Optimal Immune Function. Maitake and Viruses: HIV/AIDS Maitake Magic. Chapter 4. Apr 20, 2010)