What is maitake? What is it used for?
Maitake is a giant mushroom found in the mountains of northeastern Japan.
The typical maitake is light or golden-brown in color. Although it can
become quite large (in some cases, it can grow to be the size of a basketball),
it as extremely sensitive to environmental changes, which makes it difficult
to grow in most areas.
Along with other medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake and reishi, maitake
has been used to promote general health and wellness. The body of the
mushroom contains polysaccharides that are well absorbed when consumed
orally. These polysaccharides are thought to enhance immunity and fight
Traditionally, maitake was thought to prevent high blood pressure and
cancer. Contemporary studies suggest that maitake may indeed lower high
blood pressure and reduce levels of fat in the blood. However, these studies
have mostly been conducted on humans and require more research.
How much maitake should I take?
Most TCM practitioners recommend 3-7 grams of maitake daily. Because
the body of the fruit contains more polysaccharides than the leafy sections,
the body is recommended as a supplement.
What forms of maitake are available?
Raw maitake can be found at many Asian markets and specialty stores.
Maitake supplements containing large amounts of polysaccharides can be
found at many health food stores. Liquid maitake products containing high
amounts of polysaccharides are also available.
What can happen if I take too much maitake?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should
If used as recommended, there are no well-known side effects or reports
of drug interactions with maitake. As always, patients should consult
with a health care provider before taking maitake (or any other supplements).
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