Wow! It’s a great mushroom! Maitake mushrooms are a unique mushroom. They belong to the same family as the mushrooms classified today as medicinal mushrooms. It’s like a champion. Maitakes are packed with nutrients, as opposed to the standard button-cap mushrooms that we all know. Miatakes provide a lot of nutrients, including B-Vitamins (including Vitamin C), Niacin (including Vitamin B3), Potassium and Selenium. These mushrooms have an excellent flavor, with a meaty texture. Sauteed this magnificent mushroom to perfection as a side dish is a perfect addition to nearly any menu. For more info you can check out the post right here.
Maitake comes from Japan’s mountains. Their dark fronds, which are slightly crumbly on the edges and have a firm but supple foundation can be easily recognized. This dark foliage, which looks like the tail of a bird’s feathers, is what gives the plant its infamous nicknames such as “hen of woods” or the “dancing butterfly”. You can now see Maitakes growing on deciduous woods in the temperate forests of northern US. Maitake mushrooms are being grown in strict conditions by many different companies. This is done to protect the nutritional benefits of this cherished mushroom.
Natural medicinal properties are making maitake mushrooms famous. This species is reportedly used in many countries to inhibit tumors, treat high blood sugar levels, cholesterol, or high blood pressure and stimulate the immune system. Maitake contains medicinal components in its fruit bodies as well as the mycelium. A result of the use of Maitake mushrooms as a medicine in other countries in US laboratories, and by specialty producers that are devoted to cultivating these active agents for nutraceuticals. Now, medicinal extracts are available in US health food stores and offices for holistic healthcare.
It contains high amounts of a specialized molecule, Beta 1, 3-1, 6 Glucans. This complex molecular compound and other naturally occurring substances are believed to improve the function of the immune systems. Researchers have found that oral intake of Maitake compounds activates immune system cells including macrophages. T-cells. and interleukin 1 cells. Recent research also suggests that natural maitake plant chemicals, which are independent from the Beta compound, could have similar tumor-fighting properties.
Even though research into this magical mushroom, known as Maitake, is only in its early stages of development there is already sufficient evidence that suggests further research should be done to understand the benefits it has to offer. Maitake mushroom interest and that of other members in the family of medicinal mushrooms as a group has increased. Over the past twenty years, interest in all medicinal mushrooms has increased in the US. Harriet Benfield acupuncturist and author says “the movement began in the late 60’s with healthy food.” Now, it’s called health medicine.
The Maitake mushroom is relatively new to US diets, but it has proven to be an excellent addition. Naturally occurring extracts may serve as an important part of any supplement routine. Today, have you eaten your Maitake?