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8 Powerful Benefits of Maitake Mushroom: The Shroom King

Medical mushrooms are finally getting the wide recognition they deserve as some of the most super of all “super foods.” Yet some varieties, such as maitake mushroom, are still flying under the radar in these parts of the world despite their amazing health benefits.

Maitake mushrooms are often referred to as the “king of mushrooms” because they are so nutritious and delicious. Now, they do have some royal competition from chaga mushrooms, which have also been called the “king of mushrooms.”

However, maitake may reign supreme, because they’re truly bursting with powerful nutrients and plant compounds that boost many aspects of your health. In fact, they have been celebrated in Japan for eons because of their off-the-charts health-boosting properties.

Read on to learn about this remarkable mushroom and why you may want to routinely consume it!

What is Maitake? The 10 Pound Dancing Mushroom

Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) grows natively in certain regions of China, Japan, and North America. It’s usually found growing at the base of maple, oak, and elm trees and has a distinct frilly, almost coral-like appearance.

Over the years, maitake has gained many nicknames beyond “king of the mushrooms.”

For example, in Japanese, the word maitake means “dancing mushroom.” This is not because the mushroom dances, however. It’s because of people dancing with happiness after finding the mushroom in the wild!

Yet another common nickname for maitake is “hen of the woods,” and that’s because of its resemblance to a fan-like hen tail.

And back to the “king of mushrooms” nickname. Beyond it’s outstanding health benefits, this moniker also refers to its size, because maitake mushrooms average ten pounds in weight and can grow to over 100 pounds!

Finally, unlike some other medicinal mushrooms that don’t have the best taste, maitake has a delicious, earthy flavor and a delicate texture. This is why it has been prized for both its medicinal and culinary value for centuries.

A Japanese Love for Maitake

benefits of maitake mushroom

Asian cultures have long recognized the outstanding benefits of maitake mushroom. It’s held in high regard in traditional Chinese medicine, but this mushroom has made even more of a mark in Japan.

According to lore, it was a group of Buddhist nuns and woodcutters who first discovered maitake in Japan.

The mushroom would go on to gain such prominence in both Japanese herbal medicine and cuisine that it may have been worth its weight in silver to anyone fortunate enough to find it in the wild (another reason people danced when finding it!) It was also given as a gift to Shoguns by local lords to gain favor and rewards.

The popularity of maitake mushroom, particularly among royalty, led to the development of expert Japanese mushroom foragers who still continue their work today. Even though maitake has become largely cultivated, many believe that the wild-grown fungi are superior.

On the medicinal side, maitake mushroom was especially prized for helping the immune system, blood pressure, and overall vitality.

Interestingly, all of these properties have received confirmation from modern research and more, as you’ll see below!

Top Benefits of Maitake Mushroom

Loaded with Nutrients & Antioxidants

Maitake is sinply loaded with nutrients, powerful plant compounds, and antioxidants.

For example, maitake is a very good source of B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folate), copper, potassium, and phosphorus. The mushrooms also contain smaller amounts of zinc, manganese, selenium, and vitamin B6.

Maitake may provide significant amounts of vitamin D as well, although the amount will vary based on how much sunlight the mushrooms were exposed to.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, a one cup serving of maitake provides you a decent amount of protein and nearly 2 grams of fiber. You’ll also be consuming highly beneficial polysaccharides known as beta glucans. Beta glucans have documented support for immune health and other benefits (more on this below).

Finally, no superfood would be complete without the presence of anti-aging antioxidants, and maitake contains a powerful array of them, including phenols, flavonoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

These specific antioxidants may be quite effective against many age-related diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

Adaptogenic Properties that Fight Stress

One of the best benefits of maitake mushroom for modern times is its adaptogenic properties.

Adaptogens are herbs and foods that help protect you from the effects of both physical and mental stressors. They especially help your body adapt to stress, reducing its impact. If you’re like most people today, you could certainly benefit from this!

The term “adaptogen” was first used in the 1940s. It was originally defined as a natural substance or plant extract that had non-specific action to enhance the human body’s resistance to adverse conditions, particularly stress.

Since that time, multiple studies have been conducted on herbal adaptogens with some impressive results.

Overall, adaptogens have shown the ability to decrease fatigue, ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, sharpen mental performance, and even change the chemical stress response within your body. They have also demonstrated nootropic and neuroprotective properties, meaning they may actually help to enhance and protect your brain.

The bottom line is that maitake mushroom can be a huge benefit to your body and mind by combating the negative effects of stress. However, like other adaptogens, it does need to be taken for a period of time (at least 2-3 weeks) before you will notice the full effects.

Unique Cancer-Fighting Potential

The idea of using medicinal mushrooms to fight cancer isn’t a new one. Turkey tail mushroom has strong anticancer potential and is even used as an adjuvant cancer treatment in Japan.

Now, research is showing that there are also potential benefits of maitake mushroom for fighting cancer— some very unique ones.

The main anti-cancer component of maitake is the polysaccharides it contains (particularly beta glucans). A specific portion of these polysaccharides can be isolated into an extract known as D-Fraction. This unique extract has shown potential antitumoral and antimetastatic activity and an ability to inhibit human breast cancer cells.

In a very small human trial with cancer patients, D-Fraction appeared to repress cancer progression primarily by stimulating natural killer cells. It has also been able to enhance the action of a cancer-fighting protein in lab studies.

Other preclinical studies have found that maitake extract may even suppress tumor growth, though this has yet to be tested in a human model.

The bottom line is that maitake has shown the potential to fight cancer on its own and enhance other cancer treatments. Hopefully, research will continue to progress and find clinical uses for D-Fraction.

Your Immune Function

One of the ways maitake may fight cancer cells is by stimulating the immune system. This enhanced immune response can be beneficial for your body to fend off normal infections, too.

Yet again, this effect comes from the powerful polysaccharides within maitake, particularly beta glucans. They may stimulate natural killer cells, which go after tumor cells and other infected cells, as well as other defensive immune cells.

In one study, an extract from maitake mushroom produced “significant stimulation of defense reaction” in the immune system. Interestingly, the immune-enhancing effects were even stronger when maitake and shiitake extracts were paired together. A good case for consuming a variety of medicinal mushrooms!

One important note to make is that maitake mushroom doesn’t simply stimulate your immune system and leave it “turned up” all the time (which could be harmful).

In fact, a different study showed that maitake may act more like an immunomodulator than a true immunostimulator, meaning it upregulates or downregulates immune reaction and inflammatory responses as needed.

Digestion and Your Healthy Gut

Another of the benefits of consuming maitake mushroom regularly is for your digestion.

Not only do polysaccharides and beta glucans have powerful health properties, they are also forms of soluble fiber. This means they form a thick, gel-like substance in your digestive tract, which helps to “keep you regular”. As a bonus, beta glucan may also slows the absorption of sugar and reduces cholesterol absorption in your digestive tract.

Even better is the fact that beta glucans are prebiotic fibers. This means they feed the highly important probiotics living within your gut. Studies have shown that they may actually improve the growth and colonization of beneficial microorganisms in the gut, which is extremely valuable!

On another note, some preliminary studies have found that maitake extract may be able to alleviate intestinal inflammation. This could be a huge finding for sufferers of IBD and other inflammatory gut disorders, though more research is still needed in this area.

Heart Health

Some early studies have shown that maitake mushroom may be able to help with two specific areas of heart health: cholesterol and blood pressure.

As mentioned in the previous section, the beta glucans in maitake may have the ability to reduce cholesterol absorption in your digestive tract. This is likely why maitake mushroom was able to lower cholesterol levels in one study. In theory, this would help to keep arteries open and blood flowing to the heart.

In another study, supplementation with maitake was able to reduce age-related hypertension. These results were confirmed in a separate animal model that found maitake significantly reduced blood pressure over a period of 8 weeks.

Unfortunately, high quality clinical trials on maitake and heart health are still lacking. But given the presence of beta glucans in the mushrooms and more, it seems very likely that maitake is outstanding for heart health.

May Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels

Having consistently high blood sugar levels is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. And while a healthy diet is one of the best ways to manage blood sugar, there may be some added benefits of maitake mushroom for blood sugar control.

Once again, we come back to the beta glucans and other polysaccharides found in maitake. By acting as soluble fiber within your digestive tract, they may be able to slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This can help to keep blood sugar more balanced instead of spiking after a snack or meal.

Some preliminary studies have indeed confirmed that maitake has the potential to balance or lower blood sugar.

For example, it was found to improve glucose tolerance and blood glucose levels in one study. A separate animal model also found that a unique maitake preparation was able to improve “diabetes-induced alterations” and positively affected blood glucose levels.

May Even Promote Fertility

benefits of maitake mushroom

Infertility is a frustrating challenge for many people around the world. There’s no one cause of infertility, so it can be difficult to address, even using conventional options.

In many traditional medicinal systems, adaptogens are one of the top recommended options for enhancing fertility because they have a balancing and normalizing effect on the body. They also have a balancing effect on hormones (often a factor in infertility) and may even decrease the stress hormone, cortisol.

One study conducted in Japan found that there may be benefits of maitake mushrooms for enhanced fertility, likely due to its adaptogenic effect.

The participants in the study all had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that frequently involves ovarian cysts, decreased or no ovulation, and infertility. By the end of the trial period, over 76% of those taking maitake extract were ovulating again, which is a big step towards fertility.

Of course, this was only one small study, but the results were very promising.

Best Ways to Take Maitake Mushroom

Unless you are a mushroom expert or you are guided by one, it is not recommended that you try to forage for maitake (or any mushrooms) in the wild.

With the surge of interest in medicinal mushrooms, there has also been a surge in inexperienced individuals foraging on their own — and getting poisoned from inedible mushrooms.

Fortunately, specialty stores and an increasing amount of grocery stores do now carry fresh maitake mushrooms if you want to experience their amazing flavor (note that they can still be quite expensive). As always, try to look for organic mushrooms to avoid potentially harmful chemical residue.

Another option— one that is more easily available to most people, and which may be a better choice for the health aspect — is to take maitake as a supplement.

You can find it powdered or as a liquid extract, and this typically means you’re getting a more concentrated amount than you would eating it fresh. Again, though, please choose your supplements carefully to avoid unwanted chemicals!

The Best Maitake “Super-Shroom” Supplement?

As you’ve seen, the “king of mushrooms”, maitake, has many outstanding health benefits for you.

However, the smartest approach when it comes to mushrooms is to routinely consume a variety of them. That’s because different mushrooms each have different compounds that excel at specific benefits.

In my own research, the best mushroom supplement I’ve found is easily Mushroom MindBoost from Purality Health.

This premium quality supplement combines the outstanding properties of maitake with four other very potent mushrooms: king trumpet, turkey tail, reishi, and Antrodia camphorata.

This powerful combination of mushrooms benefits your body in many ways, including and perhaps especially your brain, as you’ll see on the page right here.

Furthermore, Mushroom MindBoost is made using micelle liposomal technology, which means your body can absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from it. As you’ll also see — and unlike some other mushroom supplements out there — it does not contain a bunch of junk ingredients you don’t want in your body.

Finally, Mushroom MindBoost is easy to take and it has a true chocolate taste, which makes consuming your daily dose enjoyable!

Learn more about Mushroom MindBoost here if interested, and however you decide to consume it, enjoy the amazing health benefits of the “king of the mushrooms” — and feel free to dance with happiness while doing so!

43 thoughts on “8 Powerful Benefits of Maitake Mushroom: The Shroom King”

  1. Yes!Yes! I came across them! Bought them! Cooked them with some shiitakes! WONDERFUL!!! Yummy Thanks!

    • Excellent article – am sending it on and on. I have been obsessed with shitake…
      now we know. Elizabeth and David in NH

  2. Thanks a lot for an exhaustive information of this particular mytake mushroom its around benefits from.immune cancer fighting capability etc organic variety is most suitable,cost is immaterial considering benefits, thanks and regards

  3. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for expanding further my already cumulative knowledge about nutritional healthy benefits and side effects of other kinds of mushroom namely : CHAGA, REISHE, LION’S MANE, ShITAKE, CREMINI, PORTOBELLO, BUTTON MUSHROOMS.

    This 8 powerful health benefits of MAITAKE is indeed very informative and educational to those people like me who is always interested of keeping ourselves healthy . And I am grateful also that we have people like you who worked hard on your mission in life to IMPART and SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH US Of HOW TO LIVE HEALTHY, STRONG AND FIT BECAUSE TO BE CENTENARIAN IS A CHOICE NOW AND REACHABLE (maybe up to 120 to 150 years old.)
    I LOVE YOUR JOKES….. Hahaha. It is a RHYME.

  4. Thanks for the article. A good information. I missed a recipes. Your jokes make me happy


  5. Thank you for this informative and timely information. So happy more and more people are getting into the healthy benefits of mushroom and people like yourself that are so willing to share your knowledge and research. Thank you. Mushrooms are our friends and are amazing!

  6. I love your jokes! Sharing them with my students. I’m lucky in Japan, we can buy maitake at any supermarket at low cost. Stir fry with butter and a bit of garlic, and add a few other mushrooms as well.

  7. Nice well written research is much appreciated! And I love that you include jokes to bring some lightness to the serious topic!

  8. I’m going to ask someone to help me find them at the local Asian grocer. They have lots of dried and fresh mushrooms, but I need help deciphering some of the labels.

  9. Brian Thankyou so much for the multi mix of your sharing. I’m not on social media platforms so can’t spread the compliments.
    Love your Dad jokes, yes – personal extra that you give 💕
    Something even more that I grateful for, is that you don’t inundate with emails 24/7 hence I get to Fully Read & Enjoy your Articles ✨🤗✨
    Wanda (Oz) 🐸

  10. Great article! I love Maitake mushrooms and have been lucky that my local co-op has them. Unfortunately the link for buying the micelle liposomal form does not go to a simple page telling how to order and how much it costs. Instead it presents me with a very long advertisement telling me information I already know. I gave up and scrolled quickly through very many screens but still failed to find the key information.

  11. Thanks for such an informative article. You’re such a Fun Gi !
    Did you know mushrooms have over 2000 genders and they can only exchange spores with compatible mushrooms ?

  12. This article made me so excited about all the possibilities of curing some dreadful diseases. It is amazing that we’re continuing to honor our Asian ancestors. Thank you for posting!

  13. I am the MUSHROOM QUEEN and have a recurring order of Mushroom 🍄 Mindboost. Many clients and friends that marvel at my “Mushroom Brain 🧠 ” are constantly having me make 3-way call to Purality to get them started with recurring orders of it 🙏🏽😇🙏🏽🥰

  14. Thank you very much for this very informative article. I am now learning how beneficial mushrooms are for our health.

  15. a very educational article.
    .it’s always inspires me..
    how little we know about magical the things that ‘s exists

  16. I have heard a lot about the benefits of all other mushrooms ,
    but little on Maitake . I am so glad you did a research on it. I sometimes found organic Maitake mushrooms at Whole Food, Sprouts, 99 Ranch in Irvine, California. Thank you so much .

  17. In the article you mention several studies with interesting findings, however, you do not include citations from which one can actually access and read the studies, determine where they were published, the nature and design of those studies, the researchers involved, etc. As a Research Engineer myself, anything that I publish always has the citations from which I derived my information, it is standard practice in scientific publishing. Therefore, I would respectfully request a list of the citations from which you derived the stated benefits.

    • Hi Martin, please scroll up, see the article again, and look for anything linked. We follow this more immediate and convenient convention to link to the studies.

  18. Thanks for such a good article. I am eager to taste those mushrooms and will forward this article to friends.

  19. Interesting . I already do use Chaga mushroom powder as a supplement in my coffee and tea for health benefits, so learning more about mushrooms for medicinal purposes is always helpful

  20. Thank you so much for this wonderful, informative article on the variety and health benefits of mushrooms. Love and appreciate it !!!

  21. Excellent article. I have heard good things about Purality products. Good to hear more. One thing I wanted to ask you- does cooking these mushrooms destroy some of their nutrients?

  22. I was wondering which mushroom was the most beneficial. You have really provided a lot of information here. Thank you.

  23. I love all the medicinal mushrooms. The maitake is especially delicious when cooked in butter, salt and pepper. I take Lions mane, cordycepts and Reishi extracts daily. I will be adding others shortly.

  24. Eat them everyday and am still alive after my colon cancer surgery over 5 years ago! Thank you for your info and support!

  25. I am around the seventy mark and have managed to avoid the downfall of medication having maintained a healthy lifestyle initiated by my parents. It is only until very recent that I have started using mushrooms and your article has actuated me to consume more varieties of these amazing fungi. Hopefully your excellent articles inspires more people to steer away from toxic diets and rely on the natural world for good health. Continue the good work

  26. I am not a lover of mushrooms, sad to confess. However, I do believe they are good for us as they are truly good for our entire earthbound environment! So glad you are sharing Purity brand! Thank you!

  27. Thank you very much for your very informative article. Will be searching for these now along with as many of the others mentioned. Also love your jokes!

  28. thanks for the information you provided, about the mushroom, benifits, i love muahroom, use to eat mushroom as a child and yes the mushrooms have to be harvest from certain kind of wood, but only the mayas would know the diffrent mushrooms that are not toxic here in my country, but they taste like meat after they are cooked,

  29. Love Hen of the Woods, sautéed with onions & garlic! Thanks for the thorough information on their amazing benefits!


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