Mushroom 4 – Maitake

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Grifola frondosa. Isn’t she lovely. The beautiful dancing mushroom. Classified as an adaptogen helping the body recover from stress and resist infection.

Maitake is another mushroom that has been used for hundreds of years. It was historically used more in Japan but is easily grown anywhere. The name “dancing mushroom” is not from it’s beautiful flouncing appearance however, but do the the fact that in ancient times it could be exchanged for its weight in silver. This lead to dancing in celebration of a good ‘crop’. On a lucky day the find of one cluster can weigh up to 50 pounds.

The polysacchrides in mushrooms seem to be the consistent active ingredient that gives them their power to nourish and heal. Some feel maitake has the most powerful antitumor activity between it, shiitake and reishi.  It’s polysacchride is resistent to breakdown in the acid of the stomach so it is easy to take orally and be assimilated effectively.

Effects of D-Fraction, a polysaccharide from Grifola frondosa on tumor growth involve activation of NK (natural killer) cells. (Biol Pharm Bulletin. 2002). Our bodies have the ability to do a lot of the work but with stress, overwork and poor nutrition it is challenged.
Japanese studies show that it can be effective against cancer in three ways:
It protects healthy cells preventing them from becoming cancerous
It helps prevent metastasis – the spreading of the cancer.
It slows or stops cancer tumor growth

Other studies in Japan have confirmed its antidiabetic activity – specifically Factor X – which increases peripheral insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients. Additional studies are exploring its use in treating hypertension, elevated cholesterol and aiding in weight loss.

As a general tonic it can be used to prevent colds and flus also. Not a lot to say about this one – just short and sweet. Put it in your arsenal of herbs.

No side effects are known. As always use with caution or avoid if pregnant, or lactating.


Featured photo credit: “Eikhaas” by Pethan from nl. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

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