Shiitake

Shiitake

Uses

Botanical names:
Lentinus edodes

Parts Used & Where Grown

Wild shiitake mushrooms are native to Japan, China, and other Asian countries and typically grow on fallen broadleaf trees. Shiitake is now widely cultivated throughout the world, including the United States. The fruiting body is used medicinally.

What Are Star Ratings?

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Hepatitis
Refer to label instructions
One study found that shiitake formulations containing Lentinus edodes mycelium may help decrease blood markers of liver inflammation

An uncontrolled trial found that shiitake formulations containing Lentinus edodes mycelium (LEM— the powdered mycelium of the mushroom before the cap and stem grow) may help decrease blood markers of liver inflammation. One marker of hepatitis B infection in the blood (HBeAg) disappeared in 14% of the patients in this trial. Given the preliminary nature of the research, more information is needed to determine if LEM is effective for hepatitis.

1 Star
HIV and AIDS Support
Refer to label instructions
Shiitake is medicinal mushroom immune-modulating effects that may be beneficial for people with HIV infection.

Immune-modulating plants that could theoretically be beneficial for people with HIV infection include Asian ginseng, eleuthero, and the medicinal mushrooms shiitake and reishi. One preliminary study found that steamed then dried Asian ginseng (also known as red ginseng) had beneficial effects in people infected with HIV, and increased the effectiveness of the anti-HIV drug, AZT. This supports the idea that immuno-modulating herbs could benefit people with HIV infection, though more research is needed.

1 Star
Infection
Refer to label instructions
Shiitake supports the immune system and protects against microbes.

Herbs that support a person's immune system in the fight against microbes include the following: American ginseng, andrographis, Asian ginseng, astragalus, coriolus, eleuthero, ligustrum, maitake, picrorhiza, reishi, schisandra, and shiitake.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Shiitake has been revered in Japan and China as both a food and medicinal herb for thousands of years. Wu Ri, a physician from the Chinese Ming Dynasty era (A.D. 1368–1644), wrote extensively about this mushroom, noting its ability to increase energy, cure colds, and eliminate worms.1

How It Works

Botanical names:
Lentinus edodes

How It Works

Shiitake contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, shiitake's key ingredient—found in the fruiting body—is a polysaccharide called lentinan. Commercial preparations employ the powdered mycelium of the mushroom before the cap and stem grow. This preparation is called lentinus edodes mycelium extract (LEM). LEM is rich in polysaccharides and lignans.

One preliminary trial suggested that oral shiitake may be useful for people with hepatitis B.2 A highly purified, intravenous form of lentinan is used in Japan and has been reported to increase survival in people with recurrent stomach cancer, particularly when used in combination with chemotherapy.3 Similar findings have been found in one small clinical trial with people suffering from pancreatic cancer.4 Case reports from Japan suggest that intravenous lentinan may be helpful in treating people with HIV infection.5 However, large-scale clinical trials to confirm this action have not yet been performed.

Oral supplementation of lentinan from shiitake has been shown to significantly reduce the recurrence rate of genital warts (condyloma acuminata). A preliminary trial involving a group of men and women with genital warts found that those who took 12.5 mg of lentinan twice a day for two months after laser surgery had significantly fewer recurrences (10.53% recurrence rate) compared to those who only had the laser surgery (47.06% recurrence rate).6

How to Use It

The traditional intake of the whole, dried shiitake mushroom is 6–16 grams per day.7 The mushroom is typically eaten in soups or taken as a decoction (i.e., boiled for 10–20 minutes, cooled, strained, and drunk). Recommended intake of LEM is 1–3 grams two to three times per day. Purified lentinan is considered a drug in Japan and is not currently available as an herbal supplement in North America.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Lentinus edodes

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions:BeneficialAdverseCheck

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • Didanosine

    Lentinan is a complex sugar found in shiitake mushrooms (Lentinas edodes) and is recognized as an immune modulator. In an early human trial, 88 HIV-infected people received didanosine (400 mg per day) plus a 2 mg lentinan injection per week. Didanosine-lentinan combination therapy improved CD4 immune cell counts for a significantly longer period than didanosine alone. Lentinan is under investigation as an adjunct therapy to be used with didanosine for HIV infection. Oral preparations of shiitake are available, but it is not known if they would be an effective treatment with didanosine for HIV infection.

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • none

Explanation Required

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers' package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Lentinus edodes

Side Effects

Shiitake has an excellent record of safety but has been known to induce temporary diarrhea and abdominal bloating when used in high amounts (above 15–20 grams per day). Its safety during pregnancy and breast feeding has not yet been established.

References

1. Jones K. Shiitake: The Healing Mushroom. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1995.

2. Jones K. Shiitake: A major medicinal mushroom. Alt Compl Ther 1998;4:53-9 [review].

3. Taguchi I. Clinical efficacy of lentinan on patients with stomach cancer: End point results of a four-year follow-up survey. Cancer Detect Prevent Suppl 1987;1:333-49.

4. Matsuoka H, Seo Y, Wakasugi H, et al. Lentinan potentiates immunity and prolongs the survival time of some patients. Anticancer Res 1997;17:2751-6.

5. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 125-8.

6. Guangwen Y, Jianbin Y, Dongqin L, et al. Immunomodulatory and therapeutic effects of lentinan in treating condyloma acuminata. CJIM 1999;5:190-2.

7. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 125-8.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.