Enoki Mushroom (Flammulina velutipes): Health benefits and Side effects

Enoki mushroom (Flammulina velutipes; family Physalacriaceae) is popular, edible and medicinal mushroom. Commonly known as enokitake, golden needle mushroom, winter mushroom, lily mushroom, velvet stem, shank mushroom among different countries. Owing to its high nutritional value, aroma and delicious taste ranked 4th in terms of production and consumption in the world and mainly grown in Asian countries, especially China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea. 

Based on cultivation this mushroom has 2 varieties 

  1. White color bean sprout looks with a velvety stem topped with a tiny snowy-white cap because it is grown without the exposure to light.
  2. Wild varieties appear in different colors ranging from orange to brown, and have a larger, shiny cap can be found on dead wood (1).

Enoki mushroom first cultivated in China since 800 AD however in Japan commercial cultivation started in the 1930s with sawdust and rice bran as the substrate. Enoki mushroom commonly available in the market or groceries stores sold in a vacuum package and possess high therapeutic value with significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-tumor, anti-atherosclerotic and thrombosis inhibition, antihypertensive, anti-aging and cholesterol-lowering properties (2).

Nutritional value of Enoki mushroom

Enoki mushroom is highly nutritious with desirable taste and offers a good source of protein, carbohydrate, fiber, amino acids, low calories, vitamins and minerals particularly potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and iron (3).

Compound                                                            Amounts/100 g.
Water 88.34 g
Energy                                                             37 kcal
Protein 2.66 g
Total lipid (Fat)s 0.29 g
Carbohydrates 7.81 g
Dietary Fiber 2.7 g
Sugar 0.22 g
Calcium 0 mg
Iron 1.15 mg
Magnesium 16 mg
Phosphorous 105 mg
Potassium 359 mg
Sodium 3 mg
Zinc 0.65 mg
Folates 48 µg
Niacin 7.03 mg
Riboflavin 0.20 mg
Pantothenic acid 1.49 mg
Thiamin 0.22 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.10 mg
Vitamin D 5 IU
Vitamin E 0.01 mg

Health benefits of Enoki mushroom

1. Enoki mushrooms are low in cholesterol

Dietary fiber and mycosterol present in enoki mushrooms can accelerate the decomposition of cholesterol. Therefore reduces total cholesterol, triacylglycerol, low-density lipoprotein in the serum and liver (4). 

2. Rich in selenium

Enoki mushroom is a potential source of Se supplementation and biotransformation. Selenium possesses beneficial effects on the protection of cells from free radicals and detoxification mechanisms. Thus enoki mushroom is capable to balance selenite tolerance and reduction in the body (5).

3. Prevention of cancer

Flammulinol, flammulinolides, and polysaccharide found in the enoki mushroom increase the proliferation and phagocytic activity of macrophages and prevent the building up of free radicals in the body. Thus intakes of enoki mushroom (especially cap) possess antioxidants with cancer chemopreventive properties (6).

4. Enoki mushrooms help in the prevention of oxidation of meat

Enoki mushrooms contain ergothioneine an antioxidant and show radical scavenging activity, suppressed lipid oxidation (brown color) of bigeye tuna meat and ground beef for more than 12 and 7 days during ice storage (7). 

Furthermore, enoki mushroom acts as antimetabolic agents used to prevent post-harvest melanosis in shrimp and other crustaceans (8). Therefore, enoki mushroom may be useful as a food additive for stabilizing the fresh color of tuna meat during ice storage (9).

5. Immune booster enoki mushrooms

Enoki mushroom is a rich source of polysaccharides enhance the structure and function of thymus and spleen. Which is important for T lymphocytes activation and maturation (10). Moreover, oligosaccharides of enoki mushroom act as a potential immunomodulatory agent and natural antioxidant which shows radical scavenging activities and useful in oxidation and immune applications (11).

6. Eating enoki mushrooms helps in the prevention of constipation

The presence of polysaccharides  (glucan) in enoki mushroom shows the effect of the probiotic. It promotes the proliferation of intestinal bacteria, lactic acid, acetic acid, and other short-chain fatty acids. Thus stimulate peristalsis, increase stool moisture, improve intestinal motility, and improve constipation (12).

7. Keep the brain and gut healthy

Polysaccharides found in enoki mushrooms enhance the production of good bacteria such as Bacteroidia, Erysipelotrichia, and Actinobacteria and decrease the bad bacteria Clostridia and Bacilli. This microbiota improves the learning and memory function and inhibits the progression of cognitive impairment (13).

8. Anti-inflammatory properties

Enoki mushroom contains immunomodulatory protein which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and inhibits house dust mite-induced asthma inflammation and therapeutic role for allergic airway diseases (14).

9. Treat HIV infection

Velutin is a protein found in enoki mushrooms which inhibits the HIV-1 virus. 

The ribosome-inactivating protein of enoki mushroom is beneficial for inhibiting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase, β-glucosidase, and β-glucuronidase. Thus, enoki mushroom may be useful for antiviral activity against HIV infection (15).

10. Antimicrobial properties

Enoki mushroom is a rich source of phenolic, flavonoids and Sesquiterpenoids (terpenoids) are responsible for protecting against different bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Staphylococcus aureus (16).

11. Enoki mushrooms help in weight loss

β-glucan and fatty acid complexes of enoki mushroom inhibit digestion and absorption of fats in the digestive tract and reduce the reabsorption of bile acid by breaking down fats (17).

12. Treat hypertension

The presence of high potassium and low sodium contents of enoki mushroom may be helpful in lowering blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke in people with hypertension (18).

Side effects of Enoki mushroom    

1. Risk of Rhabdomyolysis

A research study suggested that enoki mushroom consumption caused increased activities of plasma creatine kinase which has deleterious effects on both skeletal and cardiac muscle. Therefore, the risk of myo- and cardiotoxicity should be thoroughly investigated before intake of enoki mushroom (19).

2. Allergy

Some people may develop an allergy after eating enoki mushrooms (20). This precaution should be needed before consumption

3. Risk of anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. People who experienced anaphylaxis (severe hypotension) after the ingestion of enoki mushroom should avoid its consumption (21).

Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16204563
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5595706/
  3. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/302448?manu=&fgcd=&ds=SR&q=Mushrooms,%20enoki,%20raw
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4164374/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4986802/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9043939
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21535653
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18841979
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19323731
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25133194/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25542105/
  12. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/chem.2018.16.issue-1/chem-2018-0017/chem-2018-0017.xml
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29431777
  14. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1684118215008233?via%3Dihub
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11324720/
  16. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453018300478#bib0730
  17. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jos/advpub/0/advpub_ess17159/_pdf/-char/en
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5141589/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29495884
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29249758
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25779064


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