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SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Grifola frondosa (Dickson ex Fr.) S.F. Gray (Polyporaceae)
COMMON NAME(S): Maitake, "king of mushrooms," dancing mushroom, "monkey's bench," shelf fungi
The Maitake mushroom is a highly regarded Japanese mushroom in both the culinary and medicinal world. Wild Maitake have been over harvested in Japan however it can be found in Northern temperate forests of Europe, North America and parts of Asia.
The maitake mushroom is a plant that is very sensitive to environmental changes making it a very difficult plant to cultivate outside of it natural surrounding. However, Japanese farmers have discovered new ways to cultivate the plant in captivity making it easier for both Japan and U.S. to cultivate maitake.
In China and Japan, maitake mushrooms have been consumed for 3000 years. Years ago in Japan, the maitake had monetary value and was worth its weight in silver. This mushroom was offered to Shogun, the national leader, by local lords. In the late 1980s, Japanese scientists identified the maitake to be more potent than lentinan, shiitake, suehirotake, and kawaratake mushrooms, all used in traditional Asian medicine for immune function enhancement.
Botany :- The maitake mushroom is from northeastern Japan. It grows in clusters at the foot of oak trees and can reach 50 cm in base diameter. One bunch can weigh up to 45 kg. Maitake has no cap but has a rippling, flowery appearance, resembling "dancing butterflies" (hence, one of its common names "dancing mushroom").
Uses of Maitake
Maitake has been used for cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity.
Side Effects of Maitake
Most studies report no side effects.
Maitake can be used as a food or tea and is also available as a capsule or tablet containing the entire fruiting body of the mushroom. For maitake, the fruit body is higher in polysaccharides than the mycelium, which is why it is recommended. Whole-mushroom maitake supplements, 3-7 grams per day, can be taken. Liquid maitake extracts with variable concentrations of polysaccharides are available, and should be taken as directed.
Little or no information regarding maitake toxicity is available. Most studies report no side effects. Because potential toxicity exists from mistaken mushroom identity. use caution when obtaining this particular natural product.
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