The Maitake mushroom grows in cool weather forests, especially in the forests of North America, North of Japan, China and Asia. The mushroom can be found at the base of Oak trees, along the shores and on stumps of dead trees. In the past, the Japanese tribes that knew the lair of the mushrooms and where to pick them, kept the locations secret since the payment for the mushroom was their weight in silver. At the end of the 70th the Maitake started to be cultivated commercially. The mushroom is used as a food and health product.
The legend has it that the Maitake is growing in tree cracks created by lightning strikes. In Japanese the meaning of the word “Maitake” is “the Dancing Mushroom”.
Tonic, Strengthening the immune system, enhancing vitality, treating cancer, treating high blood pressure, Strengthening the spleen and the stomach, soothing and hemorrhoids.
The mushroom composition:
100 gram of dry extract:
Proteins – 40.7% – alanine, threonine, aspartic acid, valine, lysine, and arginine
Fats – 7.8%
Carbohydrates – 26.6%
Fiber – 15.5%
Vitamins – B12, B, Ergosterol (pro vitamin D).
Minerals – Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc and more (14)
The Maitake Polysaccharides were proven to have anti cancerous activity. An extract named Grifon-D which contains various polysaccharides especially beta-glucan, heteropolysaccharide and proteoglycan, was demonstrated to activate the immune system, especially macrophages. At first Professor Nanba from Japan isolated the Beta Glucan and registered it as a D-fraction. Following, his studies demonstrated that a combination of the Beta Glucan extracts with the dry powder of the mushroom has stronger biological activity, and termed the combination MD-fraction (1-4).
The polysaccharide Alpha Glucan of the Maitake mushroom was studied recently for its hypoglycemic activity. It was found that a regular administration of Maitake extract increases the blood insulin level, improves the sugar intake of cells, activate GLUT-4, and inhibit Alpha-glycosidase and by that doing the enzyme ability to breakdown starch into glucose is reduced, and as a result the glucose absorption from the intestine into the blood is reduced.
MT-α glucan improves the receptors’ sensitivity to insulin and assists in treating insulin resistance, a condition common in Type 2 diabetes patients (7-8).
Part of the glucans that were originally isolated from Maitake was patented in Japan as having antitumor and anticancer activity, and as balancing the immune system such as: GF-1, Grifolan-N and Grifolan NMF-5N (5).
Diabetes, Insulin resistance (3,7,8,9)
Cancer – anticancer, liver cancer (6), Carcinoma, Prostate cancer, Bladder cancer, reducing the side effects of chemotherapy (2,6)
High blood pressure (11-13)
Immunostimulant, increasing the activity of macrophages (1-4), HIV
In Diabetes patients that inject insulin a low dose should be administrated at first, while continuously monitoring blood sugar levels, and increasing the dose accordingly.
Patients who suffer from low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) should consult their treating doctor when planning a long term use.
1. A polysaccharide extracted from Grifola frondosa enhances the anti-tumor activity of bone marrow-derived dendritic cell-based immunotherapy against murine colon cancer. Masuda Y, Ito K, Konishi M, Nanba H. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2010.
2. Maitake extracts and their therapeutic potential – A review. Mayell M. Alt Med Rev, 2001;6(1)
3. Grifola frondosa (Dicks.: Fr.) S.F. Gray (Maitake Mushroom): medicinal properties, active compounds, and biotechnological cultivation. Boh B, Berovic M.M. Int J Med Mushr. 2007;9(2):10.
4. Anti tumor activity of orally administered d-fraction from Maitake (Grifola frondosa). Nanba H. J Naturopathic Medicine. 1993;1:10-15
5. Maitake D-fraction: healing and preventive potential for cancer. Nanba H. J Orthomolecular Med. 1997;12:43-49
6. Can Maitake MD-fraction aid cancer patients? Kodama N, Komuta K, Nanba H. Alt Med Rev. 2002;(7)3:236-9
7. Anti-diabetic activity present in the fruit body of Grifola frondosa (Maitake). Kubo K, Aoki H, Nanba H. Biol Pharm Bull. 1994;17:1106-1110
8. Anti-diabetic effect of an alpha-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa) on KK-Ay mice. Hong L, Xun M, Wutong W. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007;59(4):575-82.
9. Anticancer and hypoglycemic effects of Polysaccharides in edible and medicinal Maitake mushroom [Grifola frondosa (Dicks.: Fr.) S. F. Gray] Konno S et al. Int J Med Mushr 4:3
10. Anti-hyperliposis effect of Maitake fruit body (Grifola frondosa) Kubo K, Nanba H. Biol Pharm Bull. 1997;20:781-785
11. Blood pressure lowering activity present in the fruit body of Grifola frondosa (maitake). Adachi K, Nanba H, Otsuka M, Kuroda H. Chen Pharm Bull. 1988;36:1000-1006
12. Effect of shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms on blood pressure and plasma lipids in spontaneously
hypertensive rats. Kabir Y, Yamaguchi M, Kimua S. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 1987;33:341-346
13. Dietary mushrooms reduce blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Kabir Y, Kimura S. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 1989;35:91-94
14. Mizuno and Zhuang 1995
15. Oikawa et al.1987