This mushroom is the second most extensively cultivated mushroom on the planet. It has been a popular food source in the food of asia for centuries. In america, we have enjoyed it in chinese and japanese restaurants. Following current improvements in cultivating methods, it is rapidly becoming a favorite in markets and on dining tables in the united states and canada. In addition, people can now grow it in the house using simple sets prepared by mushroom specialized business.

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 buy 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 found growing wild in the mountainous areas of china, japan, indonesia, and taiwan. The scattering of shiitake spores has been traced utilizing tropical storm wind patterns as the mushrooms were dispersed 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 extremely treasured and priced specimens donko. These have closed caps. Koshin types (spring season range) have open caps and are cheaper.

The chinese were the very first to cultivate this slightly aromatic mushroom more than 6 hundred years back. Yield and quality differed from year to year till clinical strategies were developed. Japanese researchers established a method of placing pencil-shaped plugs of mycelial generate grown from specially picked ranges of lentinus edodes into holes bored in oak logs. Carefully watched over in the forest, the prepared logs carried out the work that supported the whole shiitake industry. Today it is grown in the united states in addition to in asian nations on a variety of products consisting of cellulose, such as sawdust enhanced with rice bran. It is sold fresh along with dried.

In japan and china the chemicals discovered in shiitakes have actually been analyzed for medical homes. Extracts have been utilized in dealing with cancer, and claims have been made that they minimize cholesterol, improve sexual power, prolong life, eliminate infections, and enhance flow. Most people will be skeptical of such remedies, but at the minimum, this is the most enjoyable method of taking medication we have experienced. Check out mushrooms as natural food by kisaku mori if you want to know more about the subject.

Shop with care when buying dried shiitakes, because there are numerous grades and costs. The caps may be thick and fleshy, or thin; big or small; cracked on the top or smooth. The very thick, cracked-topped donko types are expensive, but worth the rate. They are meaty and can stand up to any food.

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

Common names

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


Lentinan is a polysaccharide originated from the vegetative parts of the edible japanese shiitake mushroom. It is the cell wall constituent drawn out from the fruiting bodies or mycelium of l. Edodes. The light, amber fungis are found on fallen broad-leaf trees, such as chestnut, beech, or mulberry. They have decurrent, even, or ragged gills, a stem, and are covered with fragile white gathering. Shiitake mushrooms are commonly sold in grocery store in asia and are now widely 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 particles 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 direct linkages. Lentinan, which is thermolabile4 is discovered in really low concentrations in fresh shiitake mushrooms (approximately 0.02%); a minimum of 5 additional polysaccharides have been separated from l. Edodes.

Other constituents of interest found in the mushroom consist of 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 pick

Fresh: when looking for fresh shiitakes, prevent those grown in a sawdust medium and go with log-grown mushrooms. You can recognize a shiitake grown on outside 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 need to be securely formed and wet. Sawdust-medium shiitakes have flat tops, are drier, and typically lack 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 can be found in contact with dirt, so the only cleaning generally needed is a mild clean with a wet cloth or a paper towel. Utilize a knife to get rid of the stems where they satisfy the cap. The stems are too fibrous to eat by themselves, but they make an excellent addition to the stockpot.

Shiitakes are quite excellent raw, if you don’t mind their chewiness. Sautéing is the most common treatment for shiitakes. One of the most essential strategies for sautéing shiitakes is keeping the noise of consistent sizzling while they remain in the pan, which means you’re cooking them over lively heat. You desire the shiitakes to develop a brown, crisp exterior, which will improve their flavor.

Dried: prior to utilizing dried shiitakes in a dish, 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 store

Fresh: if you require to store fresh shiitakes, put them in the refrigerator and cover them with damp paper towels. They can last for as long as 2 weeks, however it’s finest to consume shiitakes right after collecting.

Dried: to store dried shiitakes for a short time (a month or less), seal the mushrooms in an airtight container or ziptop bag and shop in a cool, dark place. For long-lasting storage, seal the dried mushrooms in sturdy 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 carbohydrate
  • 2 g protein
  • 304 mcg of vitamin d (5 )

How are they utilized?

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

Shiitake as entire foods

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

Dried shiitake have an umami flavor that’s much more extreme than when fresh.

Umami flavor can be described as tasty or meaty. It’s often thought about the fifth taste, together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

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

Shiitake as supplements

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

In chinese medicine, shiitake are believed to improve health and longevity, along with enhance flow.

Studies suggest that some of the bioactive compounds in shiitake may protect against cancer and inflammation.

However, many of the research studies have been carried out in animals or test tubes instead of people. Animal research studies regularly use doses that far go beyond those that people would normally get from food or supplements.

In addition, a lot of the mushroom-based supplements on the marketplace have not been checked for strength.

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


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

May aid heart health

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

  • This substance inhibits an enzyme involved in producing cholesterol.
  • These molecules help obstruct cholesterol absorption in your gut.
  • Beta glucans. This kind of fiber can decrease cholesterol.

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

A study in lab rats fed a high-fat diet plan demonstrated 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 consume any mushrooms.

Still, these results require to be confirmed in human studies before any strong conclusions can be made.


A number of substances in shiitake assistance lower cholesterol and might reduce your threat of cardiovascular disease.

May increase your body immune system

Shiitake may likewise assist reinforce your body immune system.

One research study provided people two dried shiitake daily. After one month, their immune markers improved and their swelling levels dropped.

This immune result might be partly due to one of the polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms.

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


Eating shiitake mushrooms regularly might help boost your immune system.

Include compounds with possible anticancer activity

Polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms may likewise have an anticancer impact.

For instance, the polysaccharide lentinan assists combat growths by triggering your body immune system.

Lentinan has actually been revealed to inhibit the development and spread of leukemia cells.

In china and japan, an injectable kind of lentinan is used together with chemotherapy and other major cancer treatments to enhance immune function and lifestyle in people with gastric cancer.

However, proof is insufficient to identify whether eating shiitake mushrooms has any impact on cancer.


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

Other prospective benefits

Shiitake mushrooms may also assist battle infections and promote bone health.

Appealing antibacterial and antiviral results

A number of substances in shiitake have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal results.

As antibiotic resistance is growing, some scientists believe it’s important to explore the antimicrobial capacity of shiitake.

That stated, while separated substances reveal antimicrobial activity in test tubes, consuming shiitake is not likely to have any result on viral, bacterial, or fungal infections in individuals.

May enhance your bones

Mushrooms are the only natural plant source of vitamin d.

Your body needs vitamin d to build strong bones, yet really few foods include this important nutrient.

The vitamin d levels of mushrooms differ 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 contrast, those given calcium and uv-enhanced shiitake had higher bone density.

Nevertheless, remember that shiitake offer vitamin d2. This is an inferior form compared with vitamin d3, which is discovered in fatty fish and some other animal foods.


Compounds in shiitake have antimicrobial residential or commercial properties, though you’re unlikely to acquire gain from consuming the mushrooms themselves. Shiitake with greater vitamin d levels might enhance your bone density. (6 ).

Shiitake mushrooms vs. Other mushrooms

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

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

Maitake: can assist improve the health of help clients and controls blood sugar levels of diabetics. May minimize hypertension and increases the immune system.

Reishi: fights inflammation, liver illness, fatigue, tumor growth and cancer. Enhances skin conditions, and relieves gastrointestinal problems, stomach ulcers and leaking gut syndrome.

Cordyceps: has anti-aging effects and boosts immune function. Improves stamina and athletic efficiency, acts as a natural aphrodisiac, fights diabetes, and improves liver function.

How to prepare?

The shiitake is a versatile food that can be included into a variety of dishes. You can buy these mushrooms raw, cooked or dried.

Due to the fact that they’re becoming more popular due to their dietary worth, you can find shiitake mushrooms at most grocery stores.

When buying your shiitakes, search for mushrooms that are firm and plump. Avoid mushrooms that look slimy or wrinkled– those aren’t fresh.

Keeping fresh mushrooms in the fridge in a closed bag or container with a lid 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 approximately year.

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

Make certain to rinse the mushrooms thoroughly. They can be put in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes to get rid of any residue and after that rinsed.

Now you’re ready to include them to your breakfast, lunch or supper. Here are some concepts to get you started:.

Include them to an omelet with veggies. Attempt this tasty veggie omelet dish. You can even include 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 organic ground turkey, shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts.

Make a hearty spinach and shiitake mushroom quiche.

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

Develop a stir-fry with shiitake mushrooms, great deals of veggies and your preferred source of protein, like shrimp, chicken or beef. (7 ).

Shiitake mushroom side effects to be knowledgeable about

1. Digestive problems

The shiitake mushrooms you get from the grocery store are typically safe to eat. But wild-picked mushrooms can sometimes include contaminants that cause vomiting and diarrhea, according to colorado state university.

Shiitake mushrooms are also hard to absorb for people with an intolerance, which can happen when your body has problem processing a specific food, per the american academy of allergic reaction, asthma & immunology (aaaai). Food intolerance signs include:.

  • 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 in biomolecules. However, they do include other amines (like putrescine), which is why they’re often omitted from low-histamine diet plans for people with a histamine intolerance.

2. Allergy

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

An allergic reaction happens when your body immune system overreacts to a food, per the aaaai. Signs can include:.

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

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


Some people can have a serious allergy called anaphylaxis, which can make it difficult to breathe or result in 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 may experience.

Indeed, eating the fungus raw or undercooked can likewise result in a shiitake mushroom rash called shiitake dermatitis, according to november 2016 research study in pharmacognosy review.

A shiitake rash generally develops a day or more after you eat the mushrooms, and shiitake dermatitis pictures show that the rash looks like whiplash marks. It’s triggered 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 sunshine, though new research is needed to better understand if this holds true.

fix it: shiitake mushroom dermatitis can be treated with anti-histamine or corticosteroid medicines, and typically gets better within about 2 weeks, per the pharmacognosy evaluation research.

4. Food poisoning

There aren’t numerous recorded outbreaks of gastrointestinal disorder 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 hold true if you eat mushrooms that were polluted with bacteria throughout the growing or processing phase, per colorado state university. Rotten mushrooms that were then canned, dispersed and eaten have likewise 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 prevention (cdc).

Mushrooms are also perishable, according to the fda. Simply put, old mushrooms can make you sick if they haven’t been effectively kept.

So, what takes place if you consume ruined mushrooms here are mushroom food poisoning symptoms:.

  • Nausea
  • Throwing up
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fever

fix it: to prevent foodborne disease, follow these tips from the cdc:.

  • Clean your hands, utensils, surfaces and food prior to preparing and eating a meal
  • Shop and deal with raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs individually
  • Thoroughly cook food
  • Without delay cool disposable food

Are shiitake mushroom stems harmful?

Possibly you’ve heard the myth that shiitake mushrooms stems are hazardous and can even trigger extreme responses like mushroom paralysis. However this isn’t true– the stems are edible and safe to eat, per colorado state university, so long as you follow correct food security protocol to prevent foodborne disease. (8 ).


Medications that reduce the body immune system (immunosuppressants) connects with shiitake mushroom

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

The bottom line

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


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