Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati
Know in one minute about Maitake mushroom
Maitake mushrooms are known as Hen of woods. Most valuable and expensive mushrooms because of excellent texture, taste, and nutrition.
Health benefits of Maitake mushrooms
Name: Maitake mushroom
Scientific name: Grifola frondosa; family Polyporaceae
Common name: Hen of the woods, Ram’s Head, Sheep’s head
Cultivated in: Asia, China, Japan, Korea, USA, Canada, Australia and some countries in Europe.
Maitake mushrooms are the most valuable, expensive and medicinal mushrooms. Mainly consumed by Chinese and Japanese people for hundreds of years because of their excellent taste, texture, and nutrition. Maitake is a heavy mass (20 inches in diameter and weigh up to 100 pounds) at the base of stumps and on the roots of oaks, elms, beech, chestnut, maple persimmons, and other trees (1)
Interesting History of Maitake mushroom
Grifola frondosa name derived from the beast from Greek mythology known as the griffin. Frondosa, meaning leaf-like. Whereas Maitake in Japan is derived from two words “mai” means dance and “take” means mushroom. Therefore it is also known in the name of “dancing mushroom.”
The name dancing mushrooms of Maitake is also because of the appearance and its vulnerability in the wild. The large fruiting body characterized by overlapping caps like butterflies in a wild dance, or because mushroom seekers who were lucky enough to come upon maitake in the wild would dance for joy (2).
Nutritional value of Maitake mushroom
Maitake mushrooms are highly nutritious and offer a good source of polysaccharides, proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, trace elements and other components as follows (3, 4).
|Compound||Amounts per 100g.|
|Total lipid ( Fat)s||0.19 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2.7 g|
|Vitamin B-6||0.056 mg|
|Vitamin B-12||0 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.01 mg|
|Vitamin D (D2+D3)||28.1 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.030 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.030 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.090 g|
Health benefits of Maitake mushrooms
Maitake mushrooms possess immense biological activities such as anti-cancer, antiviral, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol properties. It also helps in lowering the blood pressure and protect the liver (5).
1. Maitake mushroom an immune booster
Polysaccharides in mushroom such as glucans and D-fraction stimulate strong cellular and humoral immunity. Therefore Maitake mushroom helps in protecting the body against foreign pathogens (6 & 7).
2. Eating Maitake mushrooms helps in lowering the cholesterol level
Maitake mushrooms act as an antihyperlipidemic agent which lowers serum cholesterol level. The cholesterol gets converted into bile acid and increases the fecal cholesterol excretion (8).
Dried maitake powder inhibits lipid accumulation in the body and improves the lipid metabolism which further increased by the ingestion of high-fat diet (9).
3. Antidiabetic properties of Maitake mushrooms
Maitake mushrooms polysaccharides help in lowering the blood glucose level by activating insulin receptors to overcome insulin resistance. Thus reduces weight and improve glycaemic control. Therefore, beneficial for hypoglycaemic effect on Type 2 diabetic patients (10). Furthermore, α-glucan oleic acid and linoleic acid present in maitake mushroom, reduce body weight and levels of fasting plasma glucose, inhibit starch digestion and α-glucosidase activity thus its protective effect of pancreatic β-cells (11,12).
4. Protect from herpes simplex virus
A novel antiviral protein obtained from Maitake mushroom inhibits the growth and replication of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Thus intake of this mushroom directly inactivates HSV-1 while simultaneously inhibiting HSV-1 penetration into the cells (13).
5. Presence of antioxidants in Maitake mushrooms
Total phenols, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, and α-tocopherol are the major antioxidant components present in maitake mushroom which display potent antioxidative properties. Includes free radical scavengers, the iron-chelating capacity which reduces lipid peroxidation. Thus this mushroom may be the potential scavengers of superoxide anions to prevent lipid oxidation (14).
6. Maitake mushrooms help in reducing body weight
Maitake mushrooms act as an anti-obesity agent which prevent body weight gain and reduce fat accumulation. Moreover maitake mushroom increases the expression of genes related to fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscles and ameliorated glucose intolerance thus obesity and diabetes (15).
7. Anti-allergic properties of Maitake mushrooms
Ergosterol (50 mg/100 g) found in Maitake mushroom possess anti-allergic effects. This compound helps in the inhibition of allergic inflammation caused by mast cells (antigen-induced) with immediate symptoms of IgE-mediated allergic diseases, including allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, food allergy, and anaphylaxis. Therefore, this mushroom ergosterol and its derivatives as active compounds may be beneficial in the prevention or treatment of mast cell-dependent allergic diseases (16).
8. Treat hypertension
Maitake mushroom powder rich source of natural bioactive compounds which reduce blood pressure, total cholesterol level and prevent hypertension thus prevent blood pressure increase in hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (17).
9. Protect the gastrointestinal tract
Maitake mushroom polyphenols have the ability to prevent intestinal inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Thus this mushroom may be used as an alternative medicine for IBD (18).
10. Antibacterial properties of Maitake mushrooms
Polysaccharides present in Maitake mushrooms are responsible for protection against different bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli , Listeria monocytogenes and Bacillus megaterium (19).
11. Radioprotective properties due to exopolysaccharides
Maitake mushrooms are good source of exopolysaccharide which is made up of proteoglycan (85.6% carbohydrates and 7.3% proteins) that restore hemoglobin, white blood cell counts and red blood cell counts and showed 50% survival post-irradiation. Thus polysaccharide from maitake fungus possesses the desirable properties of an ideal radioprotector from ultraviolet-A (UVA) light (20).
12. Protects liver
A continuing inflammatory response can cause the development of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in which lipid abnormal metabolism occurs in the liver. However, intake of Maitake mushroom reduces lipid accumulation and reactive oxygen species production thus reduces inflammatory responses and ameliorating NASH and show hepatoprotective effects (21).
13. Treat Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
MDS is a clonal bone marrow stem cell disorders characterized by a low amount of blood cells and/or dysfunctional blood cell lines, risk of infection, and progression to acute myelogenous leukemia.
Therefore consumption of Maitake mushroom stimulates hematopoietic progenitor cell differentiation, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor production, and recovery of peripheral blood leukocytes after bone marrow injury, improvement in granulocyte and monocyte function and enhance immune responses in MDS patient (22).
14. Treat polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorders in reproductive women, in which different problems include menstrual dysfunction, hyperandrogenism, and metabolic complications is occur. However, the presence of water-soluble glycoprotein is useful as a monotherapy for induction of ovulation in women with PCOS disease (23).
15. Detoxify mercury from the body because of polysaccharide-peptide in Maitake
As we know that mercury is a global pollutant which is dangerous because when mercury enters the body, it will be distributed all over the body and accumulate in the brain, kidney, and liver. Research study supported that Maitake mushroom (7.44 g dried or 74.4 g fresh) contain polysaccharide-peptide that possess mercury adsorption capacity which accelerates the decline of blood mercury level and promoted elimination of the burden of mercury in the liver and kidneys (24).
16. Anti-aging properties of Maitake mushrooms
Aging mainly caused by neurological impairment, decreased activity of antioxidant enzymes and poor immune responses as a sign of senescent manifestation, such as low body weight, hair pull-off, slow behavior, and lassitude. MT-α-glucan found in maitake mushroom act as an anti-aging agent which delay senescence and improve antioxidation or immunomodulation (25).
17. Treat HIV infection
β-glucan obtained from Maitake mushrooms enhanced the activities of immunocompetent cells such as macrophages, cytotoxic T cells or helper T cells which kill or suppress the multiplication of HIV. Thus maitake mushroom may be beneficial in the treatment of HIV infection (26).
18. Anti-stress properties of Maitake mushrooms
Now a day’s stress is a common problem which reduces the abilities of the immune system to fight infections. Therefore glucan-rich Maitake mushroom with Ashwagandha may stimulation of phagocytic activity and block corticosterone production due to stress further strengthen the immune system and reduce stress (27).
Maitake mushrooms are a good source of natural bioactive compounds which stimulate neurite outgrowth. Therefore, regular consumption of mushroom promotes nerve and brain health by improvement in cognitive abilities of the aged (28).
20. Anti cancerous properties of Maitake mushrooms
Polysaccharides, α-glucan, and glycoprotein complexes which possess immune-stimulatory capacity like decreases cell viability, increases cell adhesion and reduces the migration and invasion of tumor cells such as breast, hepatoma, melanoma, colon, bladder cancer cells and monocytic cells (29).
Studies suggested that 5 mg/kg per day of Maitake mushroom beta‐glucan is able to block more than 60% breast cancer development, increases the overall survival from 10 to 75%, block tumor invasiveness, reduce angiogenesis, and increase overall survival (30).
Therefore Maitake mushroom may act as a cytotoxic agent for not only alleviate various side effects and improve the quality of life of patients under chemotherapy but also have a possible chemosensitizing effect to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy.
Side effects of Maitake mushroom
1. All the studies done on the health benefits of Maitake mushrooms are mainly animal-based research. No human trials have been done so far. Therefore Maitake mushrooms consumption
2. Risk of hypersensitivity pneumonitis
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by maitake mushroom spores inhalation with respiratory symptoms occurs after 3 months work on a mushroom farm. However treatment also available but precautions like wearing masks should be needed (31).