Maitake

History

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is commonly known as Hen of the Woods or the Dancing Mushroom. It was highly valued in Japanese and Chinese traditional medicine for the support of the immune system.* During Japan’s feudal era, Maitake was used as currency; the daimyo, or provincial nobles, would exchange Maitake for its weight in silver from the shogun, the military ruler of Japan.

This is a perennial fungus that grows in the same place year after year, if undisturbed. It is prolific in the northeastern deciduous forests of North America and Japan. As an edible mushroom, it has an interesting texture and earthy flavor. Fresh and dried Maitake mushrooms are now readily available in larger supermarkets. A mushroom goes through many stages during its life cycle, just like any plant or animal. Each part of a mushroom has unique attributes that support wellness and serve a different purpose for the organism, but it’s the fruiting bodies that receive the most attention and are the most familiar. Fruiting bodies emerge from the substrate on which they grow — such as trees or fallen logs — to become the part of the mushroom we recognize. They’re the above-ground part that we can see when we walk through the woods, and they’re also what have been traditionally foraged and consumed, in food and supplements.

Function

The fruiting bodies of this mushroom contain polysaccharides, specifically a type called beta-glucans, which have been studied to support immune health and overall wellness, as well as normal, healthy cell growth and turnover.* The fruiting body extracts we use contain these polysaccharides, without unnecessary fillers or starches.

Maitake promotes cellular health for immune support by providing building blocks for metabolic activity; it also offers synergistic support for other Mushrooms.*

Multiple clinical trials have been conducted on Maitake extracts for support of immune function, healthy blood sugar metabolism, a healthy inflammatory response and antioxidant properties.* Several species, long used in traditional herbalism, have been the subject of modern research for their ability to support the immune system.*

Uses of Maitake

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Polysaccharides, Beta (1>3),(1>6)-glucans

Parts Used

  • Fruiting bodies

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Inoue, A., N. Kodama, and H. Nanba. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 25 (April 2002): 536-540.

Kodama, N., K. Komuta, and H. Nanba. Alternative Medicine Review 7 (June 2002): 236-239.

Herb Reference Guide

 
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Ecologically Harvested is a term that describes all herbs sold by Gaia Herbs that are not Certified Organic. Ecologically Harvested herbs include herbs that are harvested in their natural habitat, (i.e., wild harvested) according to specific guidelines for harvesting these herbs (i.e., away from roads and industry, as well as guidelines to avoid overharvesting). Our term, Ecologically Harvested, also includes herbs that are grown in managed woodland areas, fields designated for specific herbs, and herbs that are grown by indigenous growers, such as Kava Kava. All Ecologically Harvested herbs pass pesticide and heavy metal testing as well as microbial testing, prior to release.