Shiitake Mushroom Extract
name synonyms: Black Forest Mushroom, Black Mushroom,
Chinese Mushroom, Donku, Golden Oak Mushroom, Oak Wood
Mushroom, Pasania, Shiang Ku, Shaingu-gu, Xiang Gu
Known alternatively as Black Mushroom or Chinese Mushroom, wild Shiitake grows in Asia only. The name derives from the Shii Tree, its preferred host, although Shiitake may also grow on oaks and beeches. Shiitake mushrooms have been cultivated in China and Japan for a thousand years.
Although most westerners are now familiar with Shiitake as a food mushroom, few know that it's also the most researched health supporting mushroom in Asia. As with other health supporting mushrooms, the research has largely focused on applications against cancer,94 but also on its anti-viral properties. 93
The benefit of using Shiitake mycelium extract as opposed to the mushroom fruit body is that there are compounds in the mycelium that don't exist in the fruiting body or that may be in much higher concentration in the mycelium.
The most researched Shiitake mushroom extract is known as LEM, short for Lentinula Edodes Mycelia. (Shiitake's Latin name is Lentinula edodes.) Research has found LEM to enhance the immune system, 95, 96, 97 especially against bacterial infection. 98,99 It's also been reported to be anti-tumoral. 100 A 2005 study published findings that it killed melanoma cells while sparing non-diseased tissue. 101
Lentinan is the name of another much researched compound isolated from Shiitake mushrooms, named after the Latin genus name Lentinula. Lentinan is a polysaccharide that has been found to stimulate the human immune system to combat cancer. 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110 It is currently used in Asia as an intravenous cancer drug.
Arabinoxylanes, compounds resulting from Shiitake-on-rice fermentation, have also demonstrated significant anti-viral activity. 111, 112, 113
In particular, type 1 herpes simplex virus 114 and HIV 115, 116, 117 have been shown to respond to Shiitake mushroom extracts in clinical trials, although one study found that Lentinan by itself - isolated from the other active compounds of Shiitake - had no noticeable effect on HIV replication. 25
In his book Mycelium Running, health mushroom expert Paul Stamets also lists the following areas where research has shown Shiitake mushroom extract to have a beneficial effect: Blood Pressure; Blood Sugar; Cholesterol; Kidney Tonic; Liver Tonic; Sexual Potentiator; Stress; Breast Cancer; Liver Cancer; Prostate Cancer. 134
Note: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never use any health supporting mushroom or herb without prior approval by medical doctor.
Click the following link to see chart for additional therapeutic properties of Shiitake Mushroom Extract.
Known active compounds:
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Credits: Thank you to Paul Stamets for source material!
Please note that the claims on this page and this web-site have not yet been verified by the FDA. We recommend that you consult a licensed medical practitioner before using any substance for medicinal purposes, including Shiitake Mushroom Extract.