Maitake Mushroom Advantages (and Why You Want It!)

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Enjoyable reality: I’ve a complete basket of mushroom coffees and drinks on my espresso bar. One of many powerhouse mushrooms you’ll discover in there’s 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 title. Over the centuries, maitake’s many advantages have sparked the curiosity of researchers and well being fans 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, also called 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. Apart from hen of the woods, one other frequent title for this mushroom is “sheep’s head.”

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

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 helpful 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 differ on account of rising circumstances, solar publicity, and maturity. When Maitake mushrooms are uncovered to daylight or ultraviolet (UV) mild throughout their progress, they will synthesize vitamin D. It’s type of like what human pores and skin does when uncovered to daylight. The kind of vitamin D present in fungi is D2 quite than D3. 


Maitake mushrooms even have phosphorus. Our physique makes use of this important mineral for many completely different physiological processes. A couple of examples embody 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 food 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 1000’s of a number of important processes. Past its function in fluid stability, it helps nerve perform, muscle perform, 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 seemingly 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 comprise beta-glucans. These mushroom-based polysaccharides assist help a wholesome immune response.  Polysaccharides on the whole are complicated carbohydrates made up of smaller sugar molecules. These sugars might help a wide range of processes that make the physique extra resilient.

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

Present Most cancers Help 

As a result of they’re good at modulating the immune system, maitake mushrooms might help the physique in preventing towards 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 might improve the exercise of particular immune cells, equivalent to pure killer (NK) cells and macrophages. These cells play an important function in figuring out and destroying most cancers cells. By supporting immune perform, maitake mushrooms might assist our skill to fight most cancers. 

One other approach maitake mushrooms might help with most cancers is by selling apoptosis. Apoptosis is programmed cell dying 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 out there 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 therapies. Nevertheless, they will complement different therapies. At all times observe the medical recommendation of a healthcare skilled you belief.

Might Stability Ldl cholesterol Ranges 

One other approach Maitake mushrooms might assist push back power sickness is by balancing levels of cholesterol. Whereas LDL (low-density lipoprotein) ldl cholesterol is sometimes called “dangerous” ldl cholesterol, it’s not fairly so easy. Lipoprotein knowledgeable Dr. Cromwell explains extra right here on this podcast episode. Different well being elements (particularly insulin resistance) play an enormous function in our levels of cholesterol. 

Maitake’s antioxidants can also cut back oxidative stress and irritation. As irritation decreases, there’s much less accumulation of ldl cholesterol within the arteries. The result’s safety towards coronary heart illness.

Might Scale back Blood Stress

Discovering methods to devour maitake usually might cut back hypertension. In a single animal research, researchers gave maitake extract to rats and lowered age-related hypertension. The researchers have been shocked 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 research (1989), researchers fed maitake mushrooms to rats for eight weeks. On the finish of the research, blood stress, triglycerides, and levels of cholesterol all went down. Maitake mushrooms’ skill to decrease these markers implies they might assist cut back the danger of metabolic syndrome and heart problems. 

Helps Blood Sugar Stability & Diabetes 

A Japanese research 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 research. 

One other research regarded 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 research. The researchers concluded that the bioactive compounds within the mushrooms might be able to cut 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 comprise follicles, however they don’t usually launch eggs. This ends in rare durations, lack of ovulation, and extra hair progress. Girls with PCOS might produce other hormone-related signs, however essentially the most discouraging one is infertility. 

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

Dangers & Precautions of Maitake Mushrooms 

Maitake mushrooms are typically thought-about suitable for eating. They’ve an extended historical past of culinary and medicinal use in Asian nations. Nevertheless, it’s important to concentrate on potential dangers and unwanted effects and take obligatory precautions. Listed here are a number of issues 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 circumstances, maitake lowered blood sugar ranges an excessive amount of, which might result in hypoglycemia. 

The way to Use Maitake 

Your native grocery retailer might carry contemporary maitake mushrooms within the produce part. If not, you possibly can 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. You can too take pleasure in them sauteed in butter or olive oil. This hen of the woods can be glorious when paired with an precise hen, like roast hen. Listed here are some extra methods to take pleasure in 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 facet 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 glorious 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 Drugs (TCM) generally makes use of maitake mushrooms in natural teas or broths. These are straightforward methods to get the well being advantages of maitake. 
  • Mushroom Espresso: You’ll usually discover powdered mushrooms or maitake mushroom extract in mushroom coffees. Take a look at this weblog publish to be taught extra about mushroom espresso.

A Few Suggestions For Consuming Maitake

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

Maitake mushrooms can be found contemporary, dried, or in complement kind. When you’re utilizing dried Maitake mushrooms, rehydrate them in heat water earlier than cooking to revive their texture and taste. If you would like the advantages of Maitake mushrooms with out consuming them every 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 usually 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 be taught extra about different varieties of medicinal mushrooms and their advantages see:

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

Maitake Mushroom Advantages (and Why You Want It!)

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