Maitake is a medicinal mushroom used in Japan as a general promoter of robust health.
(all fungi), innumerable healing powers have been attributed to maitake, ranging from curing cancer to preventing heart disease. Unfortunately, there hasn't been enough reliable research yet to determine whether any of these ancient beliefs are really true.
What Is Maitake Used for Today?
Contemporary herbalists classify maitake as an adaptogen, a substance said to help the body adapt to
and resist infection (see the article on
for further explanation about adaptogens). However, we lack definitive scientific evidence to show us that maitake (or any other purported adaptogen) really functions in this way.
Most investigation has focused on the polysaccharide constituents of maitake. This family of substances is known to affect the human immune system in complex ways, and one in particular, beta-D-glucan, has been studied for its potential benefit in treating
Highly preliminary studies also suggest that maitake may be useful in treating
(high blood pressure), and
However, there is no real evidence as yet that maitake is effective for these or any other illnesses.
Maitake is an edible mushroom that can be eaten as food or made into tea. A typical dosage of dried maitake in capsule or tablet form is 3 to 7 g daily.
Maitake is widely believed to be safe, although formal safety studies have not been performed. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Yamada Y, Nanba H, Kuroda H. Antitumor effect of orally administered extracts from fruit body of
Nanba H. Immunostimulant activity in vivo and anti-HIV activity in vitro of 3 branched b-1-6-glucans extracted from maitake mushrooms (
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Kubo K, Nanba H. Anti-hyperliposis effect of maitake fruit body
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Kubo K, Aoki H, Nanba H. Anti-diabetic activity present in the fruit body of
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Konno S, Maitake SX-fraction: Possible hypoglycemi effect on diabetes mellitus.
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Last reviewed August 2013 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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