Fungus: Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake Mushroom

Medicinal mushrooms have an established history of use in traditional oriental therapies. Contemporary research has validated and documented much of the ancient knowledge. Over the last three decades, the interdisciplinary fields of science that study medicinal mushrooms has sprung up and has increasingly demonstrated the potent and unique properties of compounds extracted from a range of species. Currently, the field is being developed into a very fruitful area. Modern clinical practice in Japan, China, Korea and other Asian countries rely on mushroom-derived preparations. Mushrooms have been studied for nutritional and medical purposes for its various potential anti-tumoral and immunomodulatory components like polysaccharides that have been identified.

For medical purposes, mushrooms have been consumed to prevent cancer and cardiac diseases, to improve blood circulation, and to reduce blood cholesterol level. Some of these mushrooms have also been used for the treatment of physical and emotional stress, osteoporosis, gastric ulcers, and chronic hepatitis, for the improvement of the quality of life of patients with diabetes, and especially for the stimulation of the immune system. Shiitake has a history of medicinal uses. The mushroom has been and is used as anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral, just to name a few.

Studied Benefits of the Shiitake

  • Anticarcinogenic
  • Reduction of Tumors
  • Improve Liver Function
  • Reduces Cholesterol
  • Supports Cardiovascular System
  • Increases Immune Function
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Antiviral properties
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-fungal properties
  • Reduces Thrombosis
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Assists with Weight Loss
  • Improves Skin Appearance

Resources to Dive Into

Chang ST. World production of cultivated edible and medicinal mushrooms in 1997 with emphasis on Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. In China. Int J Med Mushr 1999;1:387-409.

Chihara G, Hamuro J, Maeda YY, Arai Y, Fukuoka F. Antitumor polysaccharide derived chemically from natural glucan (pachyman). Nature 1970; 225: 943-944.

Chihara G, Hamuro J, Maeda YY, Arai Y, Fukuoka F. Fractionation and purification of the polysaccharides with marked antitumor activity, especially lentinan, from Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. (an edible mushroom). Cancer Res 1970; 30: 2776-2781.

Chihara G, Maeda YY, Hamuro J, Sasaki T, Fukuoka F. Inhibition of mouse Sarcoma 180 by polysaccharides from Lentinus edodes (Berk.). Sing Nature 1969; 222: 687-688.

DeVere White RW, Hackman RM, Soares SE, Beckett LA, Sun B. Effect of a mushroom mycelium extract on the treatment of prostate cancer. Urology 2002;60:640-644.

Earle FS. The genera of the North American gillfungi. Bull N Y Bot Gard 1999;5:373-451.

Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, and Culture, 2nd Ed. Botanica Press, Inc.: Santa Cruz, CA, USA. 1995.

Hobbs C. Medicinal value of Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. A literature review. Int J Med Mushr 2000;2:87-302.

Miles PG and Chang ST. Mushroom Biology: Concise Basics and Current Development; World Scientific: Singapore 1997; p 193.

Mizuno T. A development of antitumor polysaccharides from mushroom fungi. Food Ingred J Jpn 1996;167:69-85.

Mizuno T. Shiitake, Lentinus edodes: functional properties for medicinal and food purposes. Food Rev Int 1995;11:7-21.

Mori K, Toyomasu T, Nanba H, Kuroda H. Antitumor activity of fruit bodies of edible mushrooms orally administrated to mice. Mushr J Trop 1987;7:121-126.

Moriyama M. Anti-tumor effect of polysaccharide lentinan on transplanted ascites hepatoma- 134 in C3H/He mice. In Manipulation of Host Defence Mechanisms, International Congress Series 1981; 576

Ngai PHK and Ng TB. Lentin, a novel and potent antifungal protein from shiitake mushroom with inhibitory effects on activity of human immunodeficiency virus-1 reverse transcriptase and proliferation of leukemia cells. Life Sci 2003;73:3363-3

Pegler D. The classification of the genus Lentinus Fr. (Basidiomycota). Kavaka 1975;3:11-20.

Przbylowicz P and Donoghue J. Shiitake Grower’s Handbook: The Art and Science of Mushroom Cultivation; Hunt Publ. Co. Dubugue, Kendall. 1990; p 199.

Royse D. Specialty mushrooms and their cultivation. Horticult Rev 1997; 19: 59-97.

Singer R and Harris B. Mushrooms and Truffles: Botany, Cultivation, and Utilization, 2nd Ed. Koeltz Sci. Books: Koenigstein. 1987.

Smith J, Rowan N, Sullivan R. Medicinal mushrooms. Their therapeutic properties and current medical usage with special emphasis on cancer treatment; Special Report Commissioned by Cancer research UK. The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow 2002; p 256.

Stamets P. Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, 3rd Ed. Ten Speed Press: CA, USA 2000.

Wasser SP and Weis AL. Medicinal Mushrooms. Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Singer; Nevo, E., Ed. Peledfus Publ. House: Haifa, Israel 1997; p 95.

Wasser SP. Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 2000;60: 258-274.

Yap AT and Ng ML. An improved method for the isolation of lentinan from the edible and medicinal shiitake mushroom, Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. (Agaricomycetideae). Int J Med Mushr 2001;3:9-20.

Yap AT and Ng ML. Immunopotentiating properties of lentinan (1-3)-b-D-glucan extracted from culinary-medicinal shiitake mushroom Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Singer (Agaricomycetideae). Int J Med Mushr 2003;5:352-372.

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