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“Maitake” means dancing mushroom in Japanese. The mushroom is said to have received its name after people danced with happiness upon finding it in the wild due to its incredible healing properties, especially in cancer therapy. Maitake is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly Oak, Elm, and Maple trees.
This fungi is commonly known in North America as "hen-of-the-woods" and is a delicious and prized mushroom in Japanese Cuisine, having a rather sweet flavor and soft texture. It compliments just about any culinary dish.
Like many other medicinal mushrooms, Maitake mushroom has been used in Japan and China for thousands of years, but has only gained popularity in the United States over the last twenty years. Maitake is increasingly being recognized as a potent source of polysaccharide compounds and several myco-nutrients with dramatic health-promoting potential.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Maitake was used as a tonic, strengthening the immune system, enhancing vitality, treating high blood pressure, strengthening the spleen and stomach, as a remedy for hemorrhoids, and an adjunct therapy against cancer.
|Polysaccharides (over 20 active β-glucans), heteropolysacharides, and several proteoglycan fractions (more importantly D-fraction, MD-fraction, and Sx-fraction) demonstrating anti-tumor activities, simulation of NK cells, T-lymphocyte and macrophage functions, increase in thymus and spleen weights, anti-metastasis, anti-oxidative and reduction in cholesterol.|
|α-glucosidase: showing hypoglycemic activity, improves the receptors’ sensitivity to insulin and assists in treating insulin resistance, a condition common in Type 2 diabetes patients.|
|Exopolysaccharides: potent anti-proliferative on HeLa cervical cancer cells, anti-tumor and anti-oxidant.|
|Ergosterols: a fungal cell membrane molecule converted into vitamin D2, helps maintain and build strong bones, development of the brain and plasticity, immunity and autoimmunity by assisting the body in absorbing calcium.|
|Vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C, and D. Providing the highest level of vitamin D of any non-animal food source.|
|17 amino acids, especially rich in aspartic acid, methionine, and glutamic acid.|
|Main Mineral Elements: Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Zn, K, P, and Se. Selenium being the most noteworthy, playing an important role as an antioxidant, preventing degeneration of cells by free radicals.|
|The mushroom is also: low-sodium, low-calorie, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-sugar. Mushrooms contain little to no sugar and are low GI making them a great food choice for everyone's diet, but particularly diabetics. (FYI: The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in food according to how they affect blood glucose levels)|
Click a condition below to explore some promising studies done on Maitake:
According to the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, there have also been reports of positive effects for other health complications, such as: Arrhythmia, Barysomatia, and Intestine dryness