MAITAKE MUSHROOM (Grifola frondosa)

Latin: Grifola frondosa
Japanese: Mushikusa
English: Hen-of-the-Woods

WHAT IT DOES: Maitake Mushroom is sweet in taste and neutral in energy.  It is a nourishing adaptogenic tonic that helps nourish the immune system and identify, target and destroy invaders, including cancer cells.



• Fresh mushroom: one-half cup cooked, two to three times per week
• Dried fruiting body capsules: two 500-mg capsules two to three times per day.  
• Extract tincture (one gram mushroom = 30 drops): 15-30 drops two to three times per day
• Proprietary D-fraction liquid: five to 25 drops two times per day.

Maitake mushrooms are a wonderful food tonic, illustrating Nature’s ability to harness her magic.  They have been harvested in Eastern North America for years and sold to restaurants as a delicacy.  The Japanese retrieve them from the mountains of Northeast Japan.  Now that they are becoming available commercially as foods, make sure to include them in your diet.  When eaten whole, they tonify the body, increase energy, keep the immune system healthy, and increase longevity.  We use maitake extracts as a staple in our treatment of immune-compromised cancer patients.  The extracts contain high levels of beta-glucan, a well-researched immune system activating agent.

Research Highlights

• Extracts from maitake show anti-tumor action by directly activating various immune system components, including macrophages, complement, cytokines, natural killer (NK) cells, and tumor necrosis factor (Borchers et al., 1999; Nanba et al., 1997; Kurashige et al., 1997).
• Beta-glucan seems to override the normal resistance of tumor cells to the cytotoxic activation of phagocytes and NK cells.  This allows the complement part of the immune system to function against tumor cells in the same way that it normally functions against bacteria and yeast (Kubo et al., 1999).

• Maitake mushroom has demonstrated an ability to alter fat metabolism in animal studies by inhibiting both the accumulation of liver lipids and the elevation of serum lipids (Kubo et al., 1996).
• The fruiting body of maitake was confirmed to contain substances that exhibit anti-diabetic activity, as illustrated by its ability to lower blood glucose levels (Kubo et al., 1994).

• Feeding studies show that maitake mushroom can lower blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Kabir and Kimura, 1989).

• It is important to note that despite the similarities of the anti-cancer substances (including glucans) found in various mushrooms, they differ in their effectiveness against specific tumors and in their ability to elicit immune responses (Borchers et al., 1999).