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Maitake Mushroom Health Benefits & Nutrition | Research-Backed

Research-Backed Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts Hen Of The Woods Maitake Mushrooms (Grifola Frondosa)

Maitake (dancing) mushroom, a.k.a. the Hen of the Woods mushroom, is a highly valuable functional or medicinal mushroom found in Japan, China, and North America; so in this article, we outline the Maitake mushroom’s health benefits & Maitake mushroom’s nutrition facts.

Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa) a.k.a. Hen of the Woods: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

Maitake is popular for its ability to promote good health and treat a wide variety of diseases.

In particular, some of its benefits include boosting the immune system’s functioning, helping to lower blood pressure, and fighting cancer cells.

But these are not just tales. Because aside from Maitake’s thousand-of-years-long history of traditional use, there are research studies to back up its amazing medicinal properties.

1. Brief History of Maitake’s Functional Use

Maitake Grifola frondosa History of Medicinal Use - Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing - Qi Life Force

For millennia, Hen of the Woods (Maitake) has been used in Japan and China for its nutritional and medicinal properties (1).

1.1 Traditional use of Maitake

Going back, the earliest record of Maitake’s functional use comes from the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing. It is an ancient book of herbal medicine compiled between 200 BC and 200 AD (2).

In this book, it is stated that Keisho (a type of remedy made with Maitake) can treat various illnesses including stomach problems, hemorrhoids. Also, it improves the spleen, and calms the nerves or mind (3).

1.2 Maitake as adaptogen

Further, traditional Chinese medicine uses Hui Shu Hua (other terms for Maitake) as an adaptogen. Simply, it is a substance that helps the body recover from fatigue and boost the immune response.

Also, ancient records claim that Maitake can stimulate the “qi” (life force). It is said to nourish the spleen, moisten the lungs, and protect the liver (4).

Meanwhile, only in the early 2000s did U.S. researchers become interested in studying Maitake’s alleged medicinal properties.

2. Research-Backed Health Benefits of Maitake

In recent years, modern science has begun to confirm what ancient healers already knew. Hen of the Woods mushroom (Maitake) is indeed a powerful medicinal mushroom with a wide range of health benefits.

Here, we list 4 well-established Health Benefits of Maitake mushrooms:

2.1. Boosts immune function

Maitake Grifola frondosa beta-glucans support immune health

Maitake mushroom’s health benefits mainly comes from its rich beta-glucans (β-Glucans) content. Simply, β-Glucans are compounds that have been shown to boost immune function and help fight off infections (5).

mushroom grow kit from spores

Besides, Β-glucans are established as effective in activating immune reactions in all species—from earthworms to humans (6).

A 2014 study (Vetvicka, et. al.) shows that orally administered glucans from Maitake strongly stimulate immune defense reactions of animal subjects (7).

2.2. Supports cancer treatment

Maitake Grifola frondosa D-Fraction appears to repress cancer progression

A 2013 study (Masuda, et. al.) suggests that Maitake’s extract called D-Fraction is a useful oral therapeutic. It helps enhance immune function and inhibit tumor growth in patients with cancer (8).

Likewise, a 2016 study (Roldan-Deamicis, et. al.) postulates that the more specific Maitake’s D-Fraction Pro4X can prevent the development of breast cancer in people with a high risk of developing the illness (9 ).

2.3. Regulates blood sugar levels

Maitake Grifola frondosa SF-Fraction or SFX supports healthy insulin function for diabetics

Maitake’s fruiting bodies contain healthy compounds that can help to regulate blood sugar levels. This is especially helpful for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

As shown in a 2012 study (Preuss, et. al.), Maitake’s bioactive glycoprotein called SXfraction (SFX) may be useful for treating disturbances in glucose and insulin metabolism. Also, SFX helps with elevated BP in type-1 diabetes (10).

In addition, a more recent study in 2020 (Konno) shows that SFX shows promise for the novel treatment of type 2 diabetes. It also appears to be a safe, natural agent in improving diabetic conditions (11).

2.4. Lowers bad cholesterol

Maitake Grifola frondosa beta-glucans can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and support heart health

A 2021 study (Fukushima, et. al.) suggests that Maitake’s fiber significantly lowers the cholesterol level (12). Consequently, it improves overall cardiovascular health to lower your risk for heart disease.

Likewise, an earlier study in 2013 (Sato, et. al.) shows that dietary Maitake can prevent and improve the symptoms of obesity, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis (13).

3. Maitake Mushroom Nutrition Facts

Maitake (Hen of the Woods) Mushroom Nutritional Content by USDA - Energy, Protein, Carbohydrate, Vitamins

Aside from its curative properties, the Hen of the Woods mushroom is considered a healthy food. Especially that it is a rich source of Vitamin D2 , protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and minerals (K, P, Na, Ca, Mg) (14).

mushroom grow kit from spores

All the more, Maitake mushrooms are even found to be more nutritious than Shiitake mushrooms (15). Remarkably, Maitake contains little to no fat (16). With only ~0.1 gram of fat per 1 cup serving, and none of which is trans fat (17).

How to Identify Hen of the Woods (Maitake) Edible Wild Mushroom Hunt

Further, USDA’s data shows that Maitakes provide 1123 IU (28 mcg) of vitamin D per 100 grams (18). For one thing, this amount is equal to 140% of the recommended vitamin D daily value (19).

1 cup raw diced Maitakes (70 g):

  • Water = 63.3 g
  • Energy = 21.7 kcal
  • Protein = 1.36 g
  • Carbohydrate = 4.88 g
  • Fiber = 1.89 g
  • Glucose = 1.22 g
  • Vitamin B-6 = 0.039 mg
  • Vitamin E = 0.007 mg
  • Vitamin D2 = 19.7 µg
  • Potassium, K = 143 mg
  • Phosphorus, P = P 51.8 mg
  • Sodium, Na = 0.7 mg
  • Calcium, Ca = 0.7 mg
  • Magnesium, Mg = 7 mg

See full nutrition data of raw Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) in USDA’s FoodData Central online database.

Summary of Maitake Mushroom Health Benefits and Nutrition

  • Initially, Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) has a long history of use in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine.
  • Moreover, recent animal studies and clinical trials suggest that Maitake shows promise in the prevention and treatment of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Even so, Maitakes are an excellent source of  antioxidants, beta-glucans, vitamins, and minerals that supports overall health and immunity.

So if you’re looking for a delicious way to improve your health, you can add Maitakes to your diet. You can find them fresh or dried at most grocery stores. You can fry, sautee, add to soups, or simply enjoy them on their own.

References - Hen of the Woods Maitake Mushroom - Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

 

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FDA DISCLAIMER

Curative Mushrooms has to post the standard FDA Disclaimer…The statements made regarding medicinal mushrooms have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. Curative Mushrooms is not making claims intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before consuming the medicinal mushrooms. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Curative Mushrooms nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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Jess is a feature writer and a Psychometrist by profession, exploring emerging mental health and wellness trends. She came across the fantastic world of medicinal mushrooms through the Curative Mushrooms online community. Since then, she has taken an interest in growing medicinal mushrooms, exploring their medicinal and therapeutic potential and the current ethical and legal issues surrounding them.

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