Maitake: an edible and medicinal mushroom is a perennial fungus that grows in clusters at the base of trees. It is native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, where it grows from an underground tuber-like structure. In Japan, it can grow to more than 50 pounds in size. Maitake means “dancing mushroom,” and it is also commonly referred to as “hen of the woods” due to its resemblance to the fluffy tail feathers of a nesting hen. It is used for its delicious taste (it is one of the major culinary mushrooms in Japan), as well as its anti-cancer, anti-viral, and immune-enhancing properties in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. (1)
- The maitake mushroom is a polypore. This means they have no gills on their undersides and release spores through small pores.
- Grifola frondosa is mainly found at the base of oak trees but will appear under other trees such as maple or elm.
Maitake is seen to avert the advancement of cancer by enhancing the production of interleukins and also lymphokines, with the impact of slowing down the growth of tumour. Also in 2009, a trial conducted on humans by Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center showed Maitake as being able to stimulate the immune systems of patients suffering from breast cancer. (2)
Since the Maitake mushroom is rich in polysaccharides, regular consumption will go a long way in enhancing your body’s immune system. This is usually accomplished with the help of antioxidants in Maitake. These ensure there are no free radicals trying to destabilize the body.
Strong immunity means that a person who regularly consumes meals containing the Maitake mushroom is assured of general body health with optimal blood pressure. (2)
I would like to go into more detail about D-Fraction-a beta-glucan and i think i will do that in a follow-up blog post in the next couple weeks as well as more info on the culinary aspect of cooking with maitake. Today I really wanted to give you an overview of this mushroom.