Maitake mushroom

Scientific names: Grifola frondosa

Other common names: Dancing mushroom, king of mushrooms, monkey’s bench, shelf fungi

Maitake is a mushroom found in Japan.
Maitake, along with other mushrooms, has been used for thousands of years in Asia for a variety of purposes. It is considered a “miracle herb’’ by many in the Orient.


Immune Support, Energy support, Stress Support, Brain & Cognitive support, Heart & Vascular support, Men, Women

WHAT IS Maitake mushroom USED FOR?

Maitake has been used to treat hypertension, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, and obesity

Maitake is an immune modulator, helping to normalize the immune system. It exerts its action by activating interleukin-1 and increasing T-cells, both of which inhibit the proliferation of cancers (Adachi et al, 1987). Besides activating interleukin-1 and increasing T-cells, maitake also increases cytokine production and boosts the action of macrophages. Antiobesity Action Although its mechanism of action is unclear, maitake is responsible for weight loss when taken over an extended period of time. In one study, 30 overweight clients were given maitake powder for 2 months. The clients lost between 7 and 26 pounds when taking various dosages ranging from 20 to 500 mg daily (Yokota, 1992). Another study using laboratory animals showed weight loss after 41⁄2 months. The amount of weight lost was significant when compared with that of the control group (Ohtsuru, 1992). Other Actions One study has shown that the use of maitake reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and improves diabetes. After hypertensive laboratory animals were fed maitake powder, their blood pressure was evaluated and a small reduction was noted (Kabir et al, 1989). Other researchers found that maitake inhibits lipid metabolism. Rats given maitake showed a reduction in serum lipids, total cholesterol, and very-lowdensity lipoprotein (VLDL) (Fukushima et al, 2001; Kabir et al, 1987; Kubo et al, 1996, 1997). The antidiabetes action of maitake is believed to result from its ability to reduce insulin resistance and possibly increase sensitivity to insulin (Horio et al, 2001; Lo et al, 2008). Other studies (Kodama et al, 2008; Wang et al, 2008) identify the immunity against foreign pathogens without eliciting adverse infl ammatory response. One novel study (Gu et al, 2007) identifi ed an anti-HSV-1 protein from maitake. Therefore maitake may possess antiviral activity. (1)

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The principle chemical constituents consist of:

Polysaccharide – Beta-glucan

Parts Used

fruiting body, mycelium

Additional Resources

[1] Skidmore-Roth, L. Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements, 4th ed.  2010:411-412.

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.