Maitake Mushroom

Grifola frondosa

Edible Parts The maitake mushroom, or Grifola frondosa, is a polypore, or bracket fungus genus that grows on the trunks or stumps of trees or on the ground around them. Maitake (pron."my-tah-keh") is indigenous to northern part of Japan. For hundreds of years, this rare and tasty mushroom has been prized in traditional Japanese herbology. Maitake literally means "Dancing Mushroom." People who found the mushroom in deep mountains starting dancing with joy since they knew its delicious taste and the health benefits. Also, in the feudal era, it could be exchanged with same weight of silver. Maitake was, and still is, one of the most valuable and expensive mushrooms in Japan. This is why this basketball-sized giant is called the "King of Mushrooms."

The legendary mushroom has been available by cultivation since mid 1980ís, which gave opportunities for mycologists and pharmacologists to study the various medicinal properties on maitake as claimed in anecdotes and folklores. In addition to its antitumor effect, anti-hypertension, antidiabetes have been found in maitake. Its anti-HIV activity was also confirmed by U.S. National Cancer Institute in early 1991.

Biochemistry - The proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, and most commonly occurring non-essential amino acids and amides. The fatty acids are largely unsaturated, and maitake are rich in vitamins and minerals. Key therapeutic substances are glucans, a major constituent of the cell walls. G. frondosa yields neutral D-glucans and acidic glucans.

Therapeutic Uses - Helps in reducing the risk of cancer, lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol and general immune response support.

Toxicity, Cautions & Contra-indications - None noted. G. frondosa is edible when young.

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