Maitake Mushroom Benefits (and Why You Need It!)

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Enjoyable reality: 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 also be known 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 lovers 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 referred to as Grifola frondosa, is an edible mushroom native to China. It additionally grows within the mountains of northeastern Japan, Europe, North America, and different elements 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 folks dancing for pleasure upon discovering it. Individuals have recognized for hundreds of years how useful one of these 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 drugs.”

Vitamins in Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms are a superb 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 differ as a consequence of rising situations, solar publicity, and maturity. When Maitake mushrooms are uncovered to daylight or ultraviolet (UV) gentle throughout their development, they’ll 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 fairly than D3. 


Maitake mushrooms even have phosphorus. Our physique makes use of this important mineral for many totally different physiological processes. A number 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 weight loss plan. This important mineral performs an vital function in sustaining well being, together with fluid steadiness.

Together with sodium and magnesium, potassium is an electrolyte. These components carry an electrical cost and are concerned in hundreds of a number of essential processes. Past its function in fluid steadiness, 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 doubtless contribute to its medicinal properties, making it a sought-after mushroom. 


Medicinal mushrooms are recognized 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 advanced 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 examine appeared 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 Assist 

As a result of they’re good at modulating the immune system, maitake mushrooms might help the physique in combating towards most cancers. Analysis reveals the beta-glucans in maitake have an antitumor immune response. In some scientific research, maitake blocked tumor development in mice.

The beta-glucans might improve the exercise of particular immune cells, corresponding to pure killer (NK) cells and macrophages. These cells play a vital function in figuring out and destroying most cancers cells. By supporting immune operate, maitake mushrooms might assist our skill to fight most cancers. 

One other approach maitake mushrooms can assist 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 counsel 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 substitute different most cancers therapies. Nonetheless, they’ll complement different therapies. All the time comply with the medical recommendation of a healthcare skilled you belief.

Might Steadiness Ldl cholesterol Ranges 

One other approach Maitake mushrooms might assist chase away continual 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 professional Dr. Cromwell explains extra right here on this podcast episode. Different well being components (particularly insulin resistance) play an enormous function in our levels of cholesterol. 

Maitake’s antioxidants may scale 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 Cut back Blood Stress

Discovering methods to devour maitake repeatedly might scale back hypertension. In a single animal examine, researchers gave maitake extract to rats and lowered age-related hypertension. The researchers have been stunned to search out the D-fraction extract additionally improved insulin sensitivity. This might assist clarify why maitake additionally helps with ldl cholesterol steadiness.

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

Helps Blood Sugar Steadiness & 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 period of the examine. 

One other examine appeared 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 comprise follicles, however they don’t repeatedly launch eggs. This ends in rare intervals, lack of ovulation, and extra hair development. Ladies with PCOS might 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 ladies 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 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. Nonetheless, it’s essential to concentrate on potential dangers and negative effects and take mandatory precautions. Listed below are just a few 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 drugs. In some circumstances, maitake lowered blood sugar ranges an excessive amount of, which may result in hypoglycemia. 

How you can Use Maitake 

Your native grocery retailer might carry recent maitake mushrooms within the produce part. If not, you’ll be able to typically discover dried maitake in a pure meals retailer or on-line. To retailer, preserve maitake mushrooms in a paper bag within the fridge to permit them to “breathe” and take up extra moisture.

Maitake mushrooms are scrumptious in soups, stir-fries, omelets, and casseroles. You can too get pleasure from them sauteed in butter or olive oil. This hen of the woods can also 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 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 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) typically 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 typically discover powdered mushrooms or maitake mushroom extract in mushroom coffees. Try this weblog put up 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 moist fabric or use a delicate brush to take away grime or particles. Keep away from washing them as they take up water simply. After they tackle an excessive amount of water, it will probably have an effect on their texture and taste.

Maitake mushrooms can be found recent, dried, or in complement kind. In case 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, you’ll find them in complement kind. Ideally, they’re standardized to 30% D-fraction.

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

What I Do

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

 To study extra about different kinds 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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