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This mushroom is the 2nd most widely cultivated mushroom in the world. It has actually been a popular food source in the cuisine of asia for centuries. In america, we have actually enjoyed it in chinese and japanese restaurants. Following current enhancements in cultivating methods, it is quickly ending up being a favorite in markets and on dining tables in the united states and canada. In addition, people can now grow it at home utilizing basic packages prepared by mushroom specialized companies.

The shiitake has a medium-sized, umbrella-shaped, tan to brown cap. The edges of the cap roll inwards. The underside and stem are white. You will find numerous variations when you purchase this mushroom.

It has been estimated that the origin of shiitake mushrooms can be traced to the cretaceous period, over one hundred million years earlier. It is discovered growing wild in the mountainous areas of china, japan, indonesia, and taiwan. The scattering of shiitake spores has actually been traced using tropical storm wind patterns as the mushrooms were distributed from one to the other of these nations. It is not found wild in the united states or somewhere else.

In china it is called dongo and shanku. When served in chinese dining establishments here it is called “the black forest mushroom.” the japanese call the most highly prized and priced specimens donko. These have actually closed caps. Koshin types (spring season variety) have open caps and are cheaper.

The chinese were the first to cultivate this mildly aromatic mushroom more than 6 hundred years ago. Yield and quality differed from year to year up until clinical strategies were developed. Japanese researchers established a method of inserting pencil-shaped plugs of mycelial spawn grown from specifically picked varieties of lentinus edodes into holes tired in oak logs. Carefully monitored in the forest, the ready logs carried out the work that supported the entire shiitake market. Today it is grown in the united states along with in asian nations on a variety of materials containing cellulose, such as sawdust improved with rice bran. It is offered fresh along with dried.

In japan and china the chemicals found in shiitakes have actually been evaluated for medical residential or commercial properties. Extracts have been used in treating cancer, and claims have actually been made that they minimize cholesterol, enhance sexual power, extend life, eliminate infections, and enhance blood circulation. Many people will be doubtful of such remedies, but at least, this is the most satisfying way of taking medicine we have experienced. Read mushrooms as health foods by kisaku mori if you need to know more about the subject.

Shop with care when acquiring dried shiitakes, since there are numerous grades and rates. The caps might be thick and fleshy, or thin; large or small; split on the top or smooth. The extremely thick, cracked-topped donko types are costly, however worth the rate. They are meaty and can withstand any food.

In the united states bottled extracts of shiitake are cost medicinal purposes, and it is packaged as a powder. (1 )

Typical names

  • Forest mushroom
  • Lentinula
  • Pasania fungi
  • Hua gu (2 )


Lentinan is a polysaccharide stemmed from the vegetative parts of the edible japanese shiitake mushroom. It is the cell wall constituent extracted from the fruiting bodies or mycelium of l. Edodes. The light, amber fungi are found on fallen broad-leaf trees, such as chestnut, beech, or mulberry. They have decurrent, even, or rough gills, a stem, and are covered with delicate white flocking. Shiitake mushrooms are typically offered in grocery store in asia and are now extensively readily available in the united states, canada, and europe. Synonyms include cortinellus edodes, armillaria edodes, cortinellus shiitake, and tricholomopsis edodes.


The shiitake mushroom includes starch, fiber, chitin, and high amounts of protein.2 lentinan is a water-soluble, high molecular weight polysaccharide in a triple helix structure, consisting of just glucose molecules with mainly (1-3)- beta-d-glucan linkages in the regularly branched main chain with 2 beta (1,6)- d-glucopyranoside branchings for each 5 beta-( 1,3)- glucopyranoside linear linkages. Lentinan, which is thermolabile4 is discovered in extremely low concentrations in fresh shiitake mushrooms (around 0.02%); at least 5 extra polysaccharides have been separated from l. Edodes.

Other constituents of interest discovered in the mushroom include the antioxidant phenolic compounds gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, and catechin6; as well as eritadenine selenium (as selenomethionine) ergosterol, vitamin d, and calcium. (3 ).

How to choose

Fresh: when purchasing fresh shiitakes, prevent those grown in a sawdust medium and go with log-grown mushrooms. You can recognize a shiitake grown on outdoor logs: it has a dark brown cap that curves under and is almost round. Ideally, connected to the cap’s underside is a thin “veil,” through which the gills are visible. The gills should be firmly formed and moist. Sawdust-medium shiitakes have flat tops, are drier, and normally do not have the flavor of log-grown mushrooms.

Dried: when looking for dried shiitakes, search for mushrooms with thick brown caps ridged with white.

How to prepare

Fresh: shiitakes never come in contact with dirt, so the only washing usually essential is a gentle wipe with a wet fabric or a paper towel. Utilize a knife to get rid of the stems where they satisfy the cap. The stems are too fibrous to consume by themselves, however they make an outstanding addition to the stockpot.

Shiitakes are quite great raw, if you don’t mind their chewiness. Sautéing is the most typical treatment for shiitakes. One of the most important strategies for sautéing shiitakes is maintaining the noise of constant sizzling while they remain in the pan, which implies you’re preparing them over dynamic heat. You want the shiitakes to establish a brown, crisp exterior, which will increase their flavor.

Dried: before utilizing dried shiitakes in a recipe, even if it’s a soup or a stew, it’s best to rehydrate them in hot water. The stems tend to be woody, so trim them off and dispose of after soaking.

How to keep

Fresh: if you need to keep fresh shiitakes, put them in the refrigerator and cover them with damp paper towels. They can last for as long as two weeks, but it’s finest to eat shiitakes soon after harvesting.

Dried: to keep dried shiitakes for a short time (a month or less), seal the mushrooms in an airtight container or ziptop bag and store in a cool, dark place. For long-term storage, seal the dried mushrooms in durable zip-top freezer bags and put them in the freezer where they’ll keep indefinitely. (4 ).


4 entire shiitake mushrooms (76 g):.

  • 26 calories
  • 0 g of fat
  • 5 g of carb
  • 2 g protein
  • 304 mcg of vitamin d (5 )

How are they utilized?

Shiitake mushrooms have 2 main uses– as food and as supplements.

Shiitake as whole foods

You can prepare with both fresh and dried shiitake, although the dried ones are slightly more popular.

Dried shiitake have an umami flavor that’s even more intense than when fresh.

Umami taste can be described as savory or meaty. It’s frequently thought about the 5th taste, along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

Both dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms are utilized in stir-fries, soups, stews, and other dishes.

Shiitake as supplements

Shiitake mushrooms have long been used in standard chinese medication. They’re likewise part of the medical traditions of japan, korea, and eastern russia.

In chinese medication, shiitake are thought to improve health and longevity, as well as improve circulation.

Research studies suggest that some of the bioactive compounds in shiitake might safeguard against cancer and swelling.

Nevertheless, a number of the research studies have actually been performed in animals or test tubes instead of individuals. Animal research studies often use doses that far surpass those that people would generally get from food or supplements.

In addition, much of the mushroom-based supplements on the market have actually not been evaluated for potency.

Although the proposed advantages are promising, more research study is required.


Shiitake have a long history of use, both as a food and in supplements.

May help heart health

Shiitake mushrooms may boost heart health. For instance, they have three compounds that assist lower cholesterol:.

  • This compound hinders an enzyme involved in producing cholesterol.
  • These particles help obstruct cholesterol absorption in your gut.
  • Beta glucans. This kind of fiber can lower cholesterol.

One study in rats with hypertension found that shiitake powder prevented an increase in high blood pressure.

A study in lab rats fed a high-fat diet showed that those given shiitake developed less fat in their livers, less plaque on their artery walls, and lower cholesterol levels than those that didn’t eat any mushrooms.

Still, these effects require to be validated in human studies before any solid conclusions can be made.


Numerous substances in shiitake aid lower cholesterol and might reduce your threat of cardiovascular disease.

May boost your body immune system

Shiitake may likewise assist strengthen your body immune system.

One research study gave individuals two dried shiitake daily. After one month, their immune markers enhanced and their inflammation levels dropped.

This immune effect might be partially due to one of the polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms.

While individuals’s body immune systems tend to damage with age, a mouse study discovered that a supplement stemmed from shiitake assisted reverse some age-related decline in immune function.


Eating shiitake mushrooms routinely might assist increase your body immune system.

Consist of substances with possible anticancer activity

Polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms may likewise have an anticancer impact.

For instance, the polysaccharide lentinan helps fight growths by activating your body immune system.

Lentinan has actually been shown to prevent the growth and spread of leukemia cells.

In china and japan, an injectable type of lentinan is used alongside chemotherapy and other significant cancer treatments to enhance immune function and lifestyle in individuals with stomach cancer.

Nevertheless, proof is insufficient to figure out whether eating shiitake mushrooms has any result on cancer.


Lentinan is a polysaccharide in shiitake mushrooms that may help battle cancer.

Other prospective benefits

Shiitake mushrooms may likewise assist combat infections and promote bone health.

Promising antibacterial and antiviral impacts

A number of compounds in shiitake have anti-bacterial, antiviral, and antifungal impacts.

As antibiotic resistance is growing, some scientists believe it is essential to check out the antimicrobial potential of shiitake.

That stated, while isolated substances show antimicrobial activity in test tubes, consuming shiitake is not likely to have any effect on viral, bacterial, or fungal infections in people.

Might strengthen your bones

Mushrooms are the only natural plant source of vitamin d.

Your body needs vitamin d to build strong bones, yet really couple of foods contain this crucial nutrient.

The vitamin d levels of mushrooms vary depending upon how they’re grown. When exposed to uv light, they establish greater levels of this substance.

In one study, mice fed a low-calcium, low-vitamin-d diet established signs of osteoporosis. In comparison, those offered calcium and uv-enhanced shiitake had greater bone density.

However, keep in mind that shiitake offer vitamin d2. This is an inferior type compared to vitamin d3, which is discovered in fatty fish and some other animal foods.


Compounds in shiitake have antimicrobial properties, though you’re not likely to gain benefits from eating the mushrooms themselves. Shiitake with greater vitamin d levels may improve your bone density. (6 ).

Shiitake mushrooms vs. Other mushrooms

How does the shiitake stack up with other mushrooms? Let’s take a quick picture.

Shiitake: battles cancer cells and transmittable disease, boosts the body immune system, promotes brain function, and functions as a source of b vitamins.

Maitake: can assist improve the health of help patients and regulates blood sugar levels of diabetics. May reduce high blood pressure and increases the body immune system.

Reishi: battles inflammation, liver illness, tiredness, tumor growth and cancer. Enhances skin conditions, and relieves digestion problems, stomach ulcers and leaking gut syndrome.

Cordyceps: has anti-aging results and increases immune function. Improves stamina and athletic performance, serves as a natural aphrodisiac, fights diabetes, and improves liver function.

How to prepare?

The shiitake is a versatile food that can be incorporated into a range of meals. You can buy these mushrooms raw, cooked or dried.

Due to the fact that they’re ending up being more popular due to their nutritional value, you can find shiitake mushrooms at most supermarket.

When purchasing your shiitakes, look for mushrooms that are firm and plump. Avoid mushrooms that look slimy or old and wrinkly– those aren’t fresh.

Storing fresh mushrooms in the fridge in a closed bag or container with a cover keeps them fresh for about a week. If you use dried mushrooms, keep them in a sealed bag and store them in the fridge or freezer, where they can remain fresh for as much as year.

When preparing shiitake mushrooms, you wish to cut off the stems due to the fact that they’re too woody to eat, however you do not have to toss them out. Add the stems to a veggie stock to absorb all of those nutrients.

Make sure to rinse the mushrooms thoroughly. They can be positioned in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes to eliminate any residue and after that washed.

Now you’re ready to add them to your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here are some ideas to get you started:.

Include them to an omelet with veggies. Try this tasty veggie omelet dish. You can even add avocado to the top for some healthy fats.

Produce a brown rice or quinoa bowl with shiitake mushrooms, garlic, grated lemon zest and extra-virgin olive oil.

Usage shiitake mushrooms in this green bean casserole recipe.

Prepare lettuce or collard green wraps with a mixture of natural ground turkey, shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts.

Make a hearty spinach and shiitake mushroom quiche.

Make a tasty soup by combining peeled shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, fresh ginger, cilantro, lime juice, chicken stock and coconut milk.

Produce a stir-fry with shiitake mushrooms, lots of veggies and your favorite source of protein, like shrimp, chicken or beef. (7 ).

Shiitake mushroom side effects to be aware of

1. Digestive problems

The shiitake mushrooms you receive from the supermarket are normally safe to eat. However wild-picked mushrooms can sometimes contain toxic substances that trigger throwing up and diarrhea, according to colorado state university.

Shiitake mushrooms are also tough to digest for people with an intolerance, which can happen when your body has trouble processing a particular food, per the american academy of allergy, asthma & immunology (aaaai). Food intolerance signs consist of:.

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea

fix it: if you have an intolerance to this food, it’s finest to opt for a shiitake mushroom replacement in your meals (like veggies) rather.

Is mushroom high in histamine?

Mushrooms are low in histamines, according to august 2020 research study in biomolecules. Nevertheless, they do include other amines (like putrescine), which is why they’re in some cases excluded from low-histamine diet plans for individuals with a histamine intolerance.

2. Allergic reaction

Though it’s not one of the most common food irritants, it’s possible to have a shiitake mushroom allergic reaction or allergies to other wild mushrooms, according to the harvard t.h. Chan school of public health.

An allergy occurs when your body immune system overreacts to a food, per the aaaai. Signs can consist of:.

  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling
  • Wheezing
  • Throwing up
  • Diarrhea

fix it: if you understand you have a mushroom allergic reaction, avoid consuming shiitakes and any related products.


Some people can have a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can make it challenging to breathe or lead to loss of awareness, per the aaaai. Look for treatment right away if this happens to you.

3. Skin rash

When it comes to shiitake mushroom adverse effects, a mushroom allergy rash isn’t the only skin reaction you might experience.

Certainly, consuming the fungus raw or undercooked can also cause a shiitake mushroom rash called shiitake dermatitis, according to november 2016 research in pharmacognosy evaluation.

A shiitake rash normally establishes a day or more after you eat the mushrooms, and shiitake dermatitis photos reveal that the rash looks like whiplash marks. It’s brought on by a hazardous reaction to lentinan, a substance in the mushroom, per the pharmacognosy review research study.

One older 1993 study in dermatology discovered that this rash might be sensitive to sunlight, though new research is needed to better comprehend if this is the case.

fix it: shiitake mushroom dermatitis can be treated with anti-histamine or corticosteroid medications, and typically improves within about two weeks, per the pharmacognosy review research study.

4. Food poisoning

There aren’t numerous recorded break outs of food poisoning from mushrooms in the u.s., according to colorado state university.

Still, it’s possible to get foodborne health problem from bad shiitake mushrooms. This might be the case if you eat mushrooms that were infected with germs throughout the growing or processing phase, per colorado state university. Rotten mushrooms that were then canned, dispersed and eaten have also caused food poisoning in the past.

Pathogens from raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs can also move onto mushrooms (or any other food, for that matter) if dealt with in close proximity, according to the centers for illness control and avoidance (cdc).

Mushrooms are likewise disposable, according to the fda. In other words, old mushrooms can make you ill if they haven’t been properly stored.

So, what occurs if you consume ruined mushrooms here are mushroom gastrointestinal disorder signs:.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fever

fix it: to avoid foodborne illness, follow these pointers from the cdc:.

  • Clean your hands, utensils, surface areas and food before preparing and consuming a meal
  • Shop and manage raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs independently
  • Completely cook food
  • Promptly cool disposable food

Are shiitake mushroom stems toxic?

Maybe you’ve heard the misconception that shiitake mushrooms stems are poisonous and can even cause severe responses like mushroom paralysis. But this isn’t true– the stems are edible and safe to eat, per colorado state university, so long as you follow proper food security protocol to avoid foodborne illness. (8 ).


Medications that decrease the body immune system (immunosuppressants) engages with shiitake mushroom

Shiitake mushroom can increase the activity of the body immune system. Some medications, such as those used after a transplant, reduce the activity of the immune system. Taking shiitake mushroom in addition to these medications may reduce the results of these medications. (9 ).

The bottom line

Shiitake mushroom extract is a natural and safe supplement that can provide plenty of benefits. Whether you are taking it for a healthy heart or to strengthen your body immune system, shiitake mushroom extract can make a visible distinction. (10 ).


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