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  • Jeff Matrician, Lic. Ac.

The Best Medicine is Food: Maitake and Shiitake Mushrooms

Maitake, Shiitake and Reishi have traditionally been taken for fatigue and to boost the immune system in long term illnesses. Recently Maitake and Reishi have demonstrated anti-tumor effects and have been shown to reduce chemo-toxicity. I usually recommend medicinal mushrooms for all my cancer patients.


In my own home we eat Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms at least twice a week.

They are delicious if well cooked, and they are also affordable. The photo to the left is from our dinner table! Here in New England, Maitake is also known as "Hen-of-the-Woods" and in the fall can be found all over our native forests. I have a friend who has been known to drop of pounds of it on my back porch. Such a good friend!


For those who are not inclined to forage, Whole Foods and Russo's regularly stock both Shiitake and Maitake. Reishi is considered more medicinal and is not commonly eaten in dishes, although it is edible it is woody. Usually, you need to talk to an herbalist before taking it.


All of these medicinal mushrooms contain numerous ploysaccharides that have been shown to have various benefits for the body including increased immune response. For example, Maitake contains Beta 1,6-glucan that may lower blood sugar and early studies show it may help induce ovulation in cases of polycystic ovary syndrome. Shiitake contains Lentinan, 1,3 beta-D-glucan, that when given to healthy young adults for 4 weeks, doubled their number of "killer" cells in the blood.


If you enjoy mushrooms, please consider adding Maitake and Shiitake to your regular diet, especially if you suffer from metabolic problems with blood sugar, hypertension, low immune response, or if you are in treatment for cancer.


Supplements are also available for those who don't cook or who need a more consistent dosing. If you would like help choosing a mushroom supplement for your needs feel free to contact me for advice.

If you would like to order herbs or supplements, I have an account with Wellevate, an online dispensary that carries the complete Emerson Ecologics line of wellness products and supplements. 

Follow this link to get a 20% discount

Please contact me if you have any questions about any of my posts especially if you are thinking of adding supplements and are taking numerous medications.

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