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Modern research has indicated that shiitake mushroom may stimulate the immune system, possess antibacterial properties, reduce platelet aggregation, and possess antiviral properties, possibly through anti-viral agents known as proteinase inhibitors.
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Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula Edodes) have been highly valued as a food and in Japan, China and other Asian countries since ancient times where they have been cultivated for more than 1,000 years.
Shiitake are the second most common edible mushroom in the world after the white button mushroom.
Shiitake have long been recognized as a healing food, a quality researchers attribute in part to their abundance of complex carbohydrates known as polysaccharides.
Lentinan and lentinula edodes mycelium (LEM) are two polysaccharides in shiitake that research scientist are finding can help the body with diseases involving suppressed immune system function, including various types of cancer.
Researchers believe these two polysaccharides may stimulate the immune system cells to clear the body of cancer cells.
Shiitake are believed to have anti-viral properties, helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and to support liver function.
Used for thousands of years as a staple in Asian cooking, shiitake were highly valued for their ability to counteract the effects of excess salt and animal food.
Shiitake Mushrooms are an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamin D (25% of the daily value per serving), and a good source of niacin (B3).
They also provide quality protein, potassium, riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1), iron, magnesium and zinc.
They are fat free, sodium free and low carb.
To use Shiitake, soak in cold water for two to five hours before cooking, for maximum softness and release of flavor.
Remove the tough tip of the stem and use it to flavor soup stocks and sauces or discard them.
The soaking water can be saved for soup stock.
Shiitake Sauteed Pyogo Muchim a Korean Dish
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Shiitake and Maitake have been used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine for general well being.
Fried Shiitake Mushrooms
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Shitake mushrooms are a legendary gourmet treat, used for centuries in Asia as both food and remedy.
Shitake recipes are innumerable and delicious.
Shitake is also one of the most thoroughly researched and documented medicinal mushrooms.
Not only do they have excellent nutritive value; they also are the source of at least two important components with proven pharmacological effects--LEM (Lentinula edodes mycelium extract) and Lentinin.
These two components have demonstrated strong antitumor activity.
The initial antitumor research was performed in 1969 by Tetsuro Ikekawa at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, along with colleagues at the National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo. The researchers found that water extracts of shiitake and several other mushrooms collected in the wild produced high rates of tumour inhibition in mice (72 to 92%).
Ikekawa later identified a polysaccharide in shiitake called lentinan as having powerful antitumor activity.
Part of any positive medicinal effects of shiitake may result from it serving as a dietary supplement, particularly the provision of various amino acids such as isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, and valine, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B12 and also mineral salts.
Regular intake may prevent rickets, especially in infants, which could be due to a disorder of phosphorus and calcium metabolism caused by vitamin D deficiency.
Lentinula edodes is very rich in the provitamin - not present in quantity in vegetables.
Ergosterol is converted to vitamin D in presence of sunlight.
Vitamin D increases resistance against illnesses and has preventive and curative effects on colds.
Lentinula edodes also contains adenine and choline, which may prevent the occurrence of cirrhosis of the liver as well as vascular sclerosis.
Tyrosinase contained in Lentinula edodes tends to lower blood pressure.
Two other constituents which have been isolated from Lentinula edodes tend to reduce serum cholesterol.
Like many medicinal mushrooms, Shiitake acts by enhancing various immune system functions rather than attacking the tumor cells directly.
Shiitake is used medically for any and all diseases involving depressed immune function including cancer, AIDS, environmental allergies, yeast infections, and frequent flu and colds.
In addition, contains compounds effective in lowering cholesterol and treating high blood pressure.
Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
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In rare cases, there is an allergic dermatological reaction to Shitake.
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Shiitake mushrooms have been hailed for both their culinary and medicinal benefits in Japan and other parts of Asia for hundreds of years, and their popularity worldwide increases every year.
Found primarily on thicker-barked hardwoods like oak, they also do well on ''scrub'' hardwoods like alder although longevity of the logs will be less than that of other hardwoods.
Logs or stumps can be inoculated; after incubating the logs may be partially buried, vertically-oriented, to conserve water during fruiting.
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The Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries, as well as being dried and exported to many countries around the world. It is a feature of many Asian cuisines including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai. In the East, the shiitake mushroom has long been considered a delicacy as well as a medicinal mushroom.
Shiitake are native to China but have been grown in both Japan and China since prehistoric times. They have been cultivated for over 1,000 years. The oldest record regarding the shiitake mushroom dates back to AD 199 at the time of Emperor Chūai in Japan.However, the first written record of shiitake cultivation can be traced to Wu Sang Kwuang, born during the Sung Dynasty (AD 960–1127).
During the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368–1644), physician Wu Juei wrote that the mushroom could be used not only as a food but as a medicinal mushroom, taken as a remedy for upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness, and to boost qi, or life energy. It was also believed to prevent premature aging.
The Japanese cultivated the mushroom by cutting shii trees with axes and placing the logs by trees that were already growing shiitake or contained shiitake spores. Before 1982, the Japanese variety of these mushrooms could only be grown in traditional locations using ancient methods. In 1982, Gary F. Leatham published an academic paper based on his research on the budding and growth of the Japan Islands variety; the work helped make commercial cultivation possible in United States. Dr. Leatham is known in the industry as the "father of shiitake farming in the USA."
In the United States, shiitake cultivation got off to a slow start, due to the USDA confusing the mushroom with an invasive species known as Lentinus lepideus. The USDA realized their mistake in 1972 and allowed importation and cultivation.
Lentinan, a beta-glucan isolated from the shiitake mushroom.
Modern research has indicated that shiitake mushroom may stimulate the immune system, possess anti bacterial properties, reduce platelet aggregation, and possess antiviral properties, possibly through anti-viral agents known as proteinase inhibitors.
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Shiitake isolate AHCC
Main article: Active Hexose Correlated Compound
Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is an α-glucan-rich compound isolated from shiitake. In Japan, AHCC is the second most popular complementary and alternative medicine used by cancer patients. AHCC is a well tolerated compound and is metabolized via the CYP450 2D6 pathway.
In addition, animal research has shown that AHCC may increase the body's resistance to pathogens as shown in experiments with the influenza virus, West Nile encephalitis virus, and bacterial infection. Animal research has shown AHCC may enhance immune function. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 21 people supported the idea that AHCC may enhance immune function. Clinical research has shown AHCC may benefit patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. A published case study reported AHCC benefited a patient with prostate cancer.
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Shiitake isolate Lentinan
Lentinan, a compound isolated from shiitake, is used as an intravenous anticancer agent in some countries. Studies have demonstrated lentinan possesses antitumor properties, and human clinical studies have associated lentinan with a higher survival rate, higher quality of life, and lower recurrence of cancer. Clinical research with lentinan includes studies with 78 hepatocellular carcinoma patients, 32 gastric cancer patients, a multi-institutional study of lentinan and gastric cancer, a meta-analysis of lentinan and gastric cancer, 80 colorectal cancer patients, 20 gastric cancer patients, 36 hepatocellular carcinoma patients, and 29 pancreatic cancer patients. The City of Hope National Medical Center is currently conducting clinical trials to determine if a select portion of the shiitake mushroom, which includes lentinan, can inhibit lung cancer. Lentinan is currently used in Australia as part of a commercially available pharmacological blend MC-S to suppress cancer cell proliferation and to promote proliferation of peripheral blood lymphocytes.
The Korea Food & Drug Administration approved on January 2000 that the extracts of the mycelium of shiitake mushrooms can protect and help the liver recover from substances such as alcohol. The main chemical for this effect is the beta-glucan. The research showed that injecting the extracts of the mycelium in vitro raised the survival rates of liver cells and increased protein synthesis.
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Recently it was noticed that shiitake mushrooms contain high amounts of Vitamin D after brief exposure to sunlight or UV light.
The Shiitake is also eaten by caterpillars of the fungus moth Triaxomera parasitella.
* Read the article in Wikipedia with references and links October 16,2010
* Shiitake. (2010, October 6). In Wikipedia,
The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:42, October 16, 2010,
** Read the article in Wikipedia with references and links August 7, 2012
Wild Shiitake Mushrooms are native to Japan, China, and other Asian countries.
They typically grow on fallen broadleaf trees.
Usually the fruiting body is used for medicine purposes.
Chinese physicians have said for years that the mushroom has the ability to increase energy, cure colds and eliminate worms.
Today Shiitake is majorly medically used for HIV support and Hepatitis.
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