Maitake Mushroom Advantages (and Why You Want It!)

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Enjoyable truth: I’ve an entire basket of mushroom coffees and drinks on my espresso bar. One of many powerhouse mushrooms you’ll discover in there may be maitake. 

This humble mushroom can be referred to as “hen of the woods.” Its overlapping fronds resemble the feathers of a nesting hen, therefore the identify. Over the centuries, maitake’s many advantages have sparked the curiosity of researchers and well being fanatics alike. Not solely is it a medicinal mushroom, however its scrumptious umami taste makes it a prized culinary ingredient. 

What Are Maitake Mushrooms?  

The maitake mushroom, often known as Grifola frondosa, is an edible mushroom native to China. It additionally grows within the mountains of northeastern Japan, Europe, North America, and different components of Asia. In addition to hen of the woods, one other frequent identify for this mushroom is “sheep’s head.”

“Maitake” means dancing mushroom in Japanese. The identify supposedly comes from individuals dancing for pleasure upon discovering it. Folks have identified for hundreds of years how useful any such mushroom is. It’s one of many mushroom varieties thought of a “medicinal mushroom.” Maitake has an extended historical past of each culinary and medicinal use: “Let meals be thy drugs.”

Vitamins in Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms are a wonderful supply of amino acids, B nutritional vitamins, vitamin D, phosphorus, and potassium. Additionally they present dietary fiber to feed useful intestine micro organism. Their cell partitions are wealthy in anti-inflammatory beta-glucans that assist help the immune system.

Vitamin D

Maitake mushrooms are a pure supply of vitamin D, however the quantity can fluctuate as a consequence of rising circumstances, solar publicity, and maturity. When Maitake mushrooms are uncovered to daylight or ultraviolet (UV) gentle throughout their progress, they will synthesize vitamin D. It’s form of like what human pores and skin does when uncovered to daylight. The kind of vitamin D present in fungi is D2 reasonably than D3. 


Maitake mushrooms even have phosphorus. Our physique makes use of this important mineral for many totally different physiological processes. A couple of examples embrace bone well being, vitality metabolism, cell membrane construction, and DNA/RNA synthesis. 


Potassium is current in most crops and fungi and is essential for the human weight-reduction plan. This important mineral performs an vital function in sustaining well being, together with fluid stability.

Together with sodium and magnesium, potassium is an electrolyte. These parts carry an electrical cost and are concerned in hundreds of a number of important processes. Past its function in fluid stability, it helps nerve operate, muscle operate, and coronary heart well being. 

Therapeutic Advantages of Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushroom has gained consideration for its potential well being advantages.

It has many bioactive compounds, together with polysaccharides, beta-glucans, antioxidants, and different phytonutrients. These compounds possible contribute to its medicinal properties, making it a sought-after mushroom. 


Medicinal mushrooms are identified for supporting the immune system. Maitake mushrooms are not any exception. Like different medicinal mushrooms, Maitake mushrooms include beta-glucans. These mushroom-based polysaccharides assist help a wholesome immune response.  Polysaccharides normally are complicated carbohydrates made up of smaller sugar molecules. These sugars could help quite a lot of processes that make the physique extra resilient.

A 2014 animal examine seemed on the immune-enhancing impact of each maitake and shiitake mushrooms. The researchers discovered maitake mushrooms stimulated an intense immune response. Nonetheless, they labored synergistically with shiitake for a stronger impact. The mushroom mix was probably the most highly effective, whereas the maitake alone got here in at an in depth second.

Present Most cancers Help 

As a result of they’re good at modulating the immune system, maitake mushrooms could help the physique in preventing in opposition to most cancers. Analysis exhibits the beta-glucans in maitake have an antitumor immune response. In some scientific research, maitake blocked tumor progress in mice.

The beta-glucans could improve the exercise of particular immune cells, reminiscent of pure killer (NK) cells and macrophages. These cells play an important function in figuring out and destroying most cancers cells. By supporting immune operate, maitake mushrooms could assist our capacity to fight most cancers. 

One other method maitake mushrooms will help with most cancers is by selling apoptosis. Apoptosis is programmed cell loss of life that eliminates broken or irregular cells (like most cancers cells). Some research recommend maitake mushroom extracts might induce apoptosis in bladder and breast most cancers cells. 

A promising extract is maitake D-fraction, which is accessible in complement kind. Vitamin C enhances the motion of each D-fraction and MD-fraction maitake mushroom extracts.

Maitake mushrooms shouldn’t essentially change different most cancers remedies. Nonetheless, they will complement different therapies. All the time comply with the medical recommendation of a healthcare skilled you belief.

Could Stability Ldl cholesterol Ranges 

One other method Maitake mushrooms could assist keep at bay persistent sickness is by balancing levels of cholesterol. Whereas LDL (low-density lipoprotein) ldl cholesterol is also known as “dangerous” ldl cholesterol, it’s not fairly so easy. Lipoprotein skilled Dr. Cromwell explains extra right here in this podcast episode. Different well being components (particularly insulin resistance) play a giant function in our levels of cholesterol. 

Maitake’s antioxidants might also scale back oxidative stress and irritation. As irritation decreases, there’s much less accumulation of ldl cholesterol within the arteries. The result’s safety in opposition to coronary heart illness.

Could Scale back Blood Strain

Discovering methods to eat maitake recurrently could scale back hypertension. In a single animal examine, researchers gave maitake extract to rats and decreased age-related hypertension. The researchers have been stunned to seek out the D-fraction extract additionally improved insulin sensitivity. This might assist clarify why maitake additionally helps with ldl cholesterol stability.

In an older animal examine (1989), researchers fed maitake mushrooms to rats for eight weeks. On the finish of the examine, blood strain, triglycerides, and levels of cholesterol all went down. Maitake mushrooms’ capacity to decrease these markers implies they could assist scale back the danger of metabolic syndrome and heart problems. 

Helps Blood Sugar Stability & Diabetes 

A Japanese examine examined a powdered maitake fruiting physique on diabetic mice. The maitake mushroom powder had highly effective anti-diabetic properties. The enhancements occurred over 4 months — the length of the examine. 

One other examine seemed on the results on diabetic rats. Feeding this mushroom to the rats improved their glucose tolerance and blood glucose ranges by the top of the examine. The researchers concluded that the bioactive compounds within the mushrooms might be able to scale back the signs of diabetes.

Promotes Fertility 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a situation that causes the ovaries to develop cysts round their outer edges. These fluid-filled cysts include follicles, however they don’t recurrently launch eggs. This leads to rare durations, lack of ovulation, and extra hair progress. Ladies with PCOS could produce other hormone-related signs, however probably the most discouraging one is infertility. 

Maitake mushrooms might be able to assist. A 2010 Japanese examine adopted girls with PCOS who took both maitake extract or the drug clomiphene citrate. The outcome was that maitake extract induced ovulation for 77% of PCOS sufferers. The mushroom was nearly as efficient because the prescription drug.

Dangers & Precautions of Maitake Mushrooms 

Maitake mushrooms are usually thought of suitable for eating. They’ve an extended historical past of culinary and medicinal use in Asian international locations. Nonetheless, it’s important to pay attention to potential dangers and uncomfortable side effects and take mandatory precautions. Listed below are just a few concerns for maitake mushrooms: 

As a result of maitakes can decrease blood sugar ranges, it’s important to watch out when on blood sugar-lowering medicines. In some instances, maitake lowered blood sugar ranges an excessive amount of, which might result in hypoglycemia. 

Find out how to Use Maitake 

Your native grocery retailer could carry recent maitake mushrooms within the produce part. If not, you may usually discover dried maitake in a pure meals retailer or on-line. To retailer, hold maitake mushrooms in a paper bag within the fridge to permit them to “breathe” and soak up extra moisture.

Maitake mushrooms are scrumptious in soups, stir-fries, omelets, and casseroles. It’s also possible to get pleasure from them sauteed in butter or olive oil. This hen of the woods can be wonderful when paired with an precise hen, like roast rooster. Listed below are some extra methods to get pleasure from Maitake mushrooms:

  • Sauteed or Stir-Fried: Prepare dinner them in butter or olive oil over medium warmth till tender and barely browned. Use as a aspect dish or add them to salads, rice (risotto), or your favourite sort of pasta. 
  • Roasted: Roasting maitake mushrooms enhances their taste and creates a pleasant texture. Toss the mushrooms with olive oil, garlic, and herbs, then unfold them out on a baking sheet and roast within the oven till golden brown and crispy on the edges.
  • Grilled: Maitake mushrooms are wonderful for grilling. Merely brush them with oil and season with salt and pepper. Then grill them till tender and barely charred. Grilled maitake mushrooms make a scrumptious and savory addition to any BBQ or cookout.
  • Tea and Broths: Conventional Chinese language Medication (TCM) generally makes use of maitake mushrooms in natural teas or broths. These are simple methods to get the well being advantages of maitake. 
  • Mushroom Espresso: You’ll usually discover powdered mushrooms or maitake mushroom extract in mushroom coffees. Try this weblog submit to study extra about mushroom espresso.

A Few Ideas For Consuming Maitake

When cooking with Maitake mushrooms, clear them correctly earlier than use. Gently wipe them with a humid material or use a gentle brush to take away dust or particles. Keep away from washing them as they soak up water simply. Once they tackle an excessive amount of water, it could have an effect on their texture and taste.

Maitake mushrooms can be found recent, dried, or in complement kind. In the event you’re utilizing dried Maitake mushrooms, rehydrate them in heat water earlier than cooking to revive their texture and taste. If you need the advantages of Maitake mushrooms with out consuming them each day, yow will discover them in complement kind. Ideally, they’re standardized to 30% D-fraction.

Maitake and different medicinal mushrooms are a wonderful addition to your well being routine.

What I Do

I recurrently drink medicinal mushrooms in tasty mushroom “coffees” and teas. The children and I additionally love 4 Sigmatic’s sizzling chocolate and Golden Chai Latte that includes medicinal mushrooms!

 To study extra about different forms of medicinal mushrooms and their advantages see:

Have you ever eaten or taken maitake mushrooms in some kind? What have been your outcomes? Share under!

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