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This mushroom is the second most commonly cultivated mushroom worldwide. It has actually been a popular food source in the cuisine of asia for hundreds of years. In america, we have actually enjoyed it in chinese and japanese dining establishments. Following current improvements in cultivating strategies, it is quickly ending up being a preferred in markets and on dining tables in the united states and canada. In addition, individuals can now grow it at home utilizing easy packages 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 many variations when you shop for this mushroom.

It has actually been estimated that the origin of shiitake mushrooms can be traced to the cretaceous period, over one hundred million years back. 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 in other places.

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 valued and priced specimens donko. These have closed caps. Koshin types (spring season variety) have open caps and are cheaper.

The chinese were the first to cultivate this slightly fragrant mushroom more than 6 hundred years earlier. Yield and quality differed from year to year till scientific methods were developed. Japanese scientists established an approach of inserting pencil-shaped plugs of mycelial spawn grown from specially picked varieties of lentinus edodes into holes bored in oak logs. Carefully monitored in the forest, the ready logs performed the work that supported the whole shiitake market. Today it is grown in the united states along with in asian countries on a range of materials containing cellulose, such as sawdust enhanced with rice bran. It is sold fresh in addition to dried.

In japan and china the chemicals discovered in shiitakes have been examined for medical properties. Extracts have been used in dealing with cancer, and claims have been made that they minimize cholesterol, boost sexual power, lengthen life, eliminate viruses, and improve circulation. Many people will be hesitant of such panaceas, but at least, this is the most enjoyable way of taking medicine we have experienced. Check out mushrooms as organic food by kisaku mori if you want to know more about the subject.

Shop with care when purchasing dried shiitakes, because there are lots of grades and prices. The caps might be thick and fleshy, or thin; large or small; cracked on top or smooth. The very thick, cracked-topped donko types are pricey, however worth the rate. They are meaty and can withstand any food.

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

Common names

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


Lentinan is a polysaccharide derived 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 gathering. Shiitake mushrooms are typically sold in food markets in asia and are now commonly readily available in the united states, canada, and europe. Synonyms include cortinellus edodes, armillaria edodes, cortinellus shiitake, and tricholomopsis edodes.


The shiitake mushroom consists of starch, fiber, chitin, and high amounts of protein.2 lentinan is a water-soluble, high molecular weight polysaccharide in a triple helix structure, containing just glucose particles with mostly (1-3)- beta-d-glucan linkages in the frequently 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 extremely low concentrations in fresh shiitake mushrooms (roughly 0.02%); a minimum of 5 extra polysaccharides have actually been separated from l. Edodes.

Other constituents of interest found 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 buying fresh shiitakes, avoid those grown in a sawdust medium and select log-grown mushrooms. You can acknowledge a shiitake grown on outside logs: it has a dark brown cap that curves under and is almost round. Preferably, connected to the cap’s underside is a thin “veil,” through which the gills are visible. The gills need to be firmly formed and moist. Sawdust-medium shiitakes have flat tops, are drier, and normally do not have the taste of log-grown mushrooms.

Dried: when buying dried shiitakes, look for mushrooms with thick brown caps ridged with white.

How to prepare

Fresh: shiitakes never ever can be found in contact with dirt, so the only washing generally needed is a gentle wipe with a damp cloth or a paper towel. Utilize a knife to remove the stems where they meet the cap. The stems are too fibrous to consume on their own, but they make an excellent addition to the stockpot.

Shiitakes are rather great raw, if you do not mind their chewiness. Sautéing is the most common treatment for shiitakes. One of the most crucial techniques for sautéing shiitakes is keeping the sound of consistent sizzling while they remain in the pan, which indicates you’re cooking them over vibrant heat. You desire the shiitakes to develop a brown, crisp exterior, which will increase their flavor.

Dried: prior to using dried shiitakes in a dish, even if it’s a soup or a stew, it’s finest to rehydrate them in hot water. The stems tend to be woody, so trim them off and discard after soaking.

How to store

Fresh: if you need to save fresh shiitakes, put them in the refrigerator and cover them with wet paper towels. They can last for as long as two weeks, but it’s best to consume shiitakes not long 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 store in a cool, dark place. For long-lasting storage, seal the dried mushrooms in heavy-duty zip-top freezer bags and put them in the freezer where they’ll keep forever. (4 ).


4 whole 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 2 main usages– as food and as supplements.

Shiitake as entire foods

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

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

Umami taste can be referred to as tasty or meaty. It’s often thought about the fifth taste, alongside sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

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

Shiitake as supplements

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

In chinese medication, shiitake are believed to boost health and durability, in addition to enhance flow.

Research studies suggest that a few of the bioactive substances in shiitake might protect versus cancer and swelling.

Nevertheless, many of the research studies have been performed in animals or test tubes instead of individuals. Animal research studies regularly use doses that far surpass those that individuals would typically receive from food or supplements.

In addition, a number of the mushroom-based supplements on the market have actually not been checked for potency.

Although the proposed benefits are appealing, more research is needed.


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 instance, they have three substances that assist lower cholesterol:.

  • This substance hinders an enzyme associated with producing cholesterol.
  • These particles assist block cholesterol absorption in your gut.
  • Beta glucans. This type of fiber can reduce cholesterol.

One study in rats with high blood pressure discovered that shiitake powder prevented a boost in high blood pressure.

A study in lab rats fed a high-fat diet showed that those provided shiitake established 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 impacts require to be verified in human studies prior to any solid conclusions can be made.


Numerous compounds in shiitake help lower cholesterol and might lower your threat of cardiovascular disease.

May boost your body immune system

Shiitake might also help strengthen your immune system.

One study offered individuals 2 dried shiitake daily. After one month, their immune markers improved and their swelling levels dropped.

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

While people’s immune systems tend to compromise with age, a mouse study discovered that a supplement stemmed from shiitake helped reverse some age-related decline in immune function.


Consuming shiitake mushrooms routinely might assist increase your immune system.

Consist of compounds with potential anticancer activity

Polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms might likewise have an anticancer result.

For example, the polysaccharide lentinan helps combat tumors by activating your body immune system.

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

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

However, proof is insufficient to determine whether consuming shiitake mushrooms has any impact on cancer.


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

Other potential benefits

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

Promising anti-bacterial and antiviral effects

Numerous substances in shiitake have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects.

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

That said, while separated substances reveal antimicrobial activity in test tubes, eating shiitake is unlikely to have any result on viral, bacterial, or fungal infections in people.

May enhance your bones

Mushrooms are the only natural plant source of vitamin d.

Your body needs vitamin d to build strong bones, yet very couple of foods include this important nutrient.

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

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

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


Compounds in shiitake have antimicrobial homes, though you’re not likely to acquire 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 illness, boosts the immune system, promotes brain function, and serves as a source of b vitamins.

Maitake: can help enhance the health of aids clients and manages blood glucose levels of diabetics. May lower high blood pressure and enhances the body immune system.

Reishi: fights inflammation, liver illness, fatigue, tumor development and cancer. Improves skin conditions, and soothes digestive issues, stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.

Cordyceps: has anti-aging results and increases immune function. Enhances stamina and athletic efficiency, acts as a natural aphrodisiac, battles diabetes, and enhances liver function.

How to prepare?

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

Since they’re ending up being more popular due to their nutritional worth, you can find shiitake mushrooms at most supermarket.

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

Saving fresh mushrooms in the fridge in a closed bag or container with a lid keeps them fresh for about a week. If you utilize dried mushrooms, keep them in a sealed bag and store them in the refrigerator or freezer, where they can stay fresh for up to year.

When preparing shiitake mushrooms, you wish to cut off the stems since they’re too woody to eat, however you do not have to throw them out. Add the stems to a veggie stock to soak up all of those nutrients.

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

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

Add them to an omelet with veggies. Attempt this tasty vegetable omelet dish. You can even add avocado to the top for some healthy fats.

Develop a wild rice or quinoa bowl with shiitake mushrooms, garlic, grated lemon passion and extra-virgin olive oil.

Usage shiitake mushrooms in this green bean casserole dish.

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

Make a hearty spinach and shiitake mushroom quiche.

Make a delicious soup by integrating 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 familiar with

1. Gastrointestinal concerns

The shiitake mushrooms you get from the grocery store are usually safe to eat. However wild-picked mushrooms can in some cases consist of toxins that cause throwing up and diarrhea, according to colorado state university.

Shiitake mushrooms are also hard to digest for individuals with an intolerance, which can take place when your body has trouble processing a specific food, per the american academy of allergic reaction, asthma & immunology (aaaai). Food intolerance symptoms include:.

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea

repair it: if you have an intolerance to this food, it’s best to select a shiitake mushroom replacement in your meals (like veggies) instead.

Is mushroom high in histamine?

Mushrooms are low in histamines, according to august 2020 research in biomolecules. Nevertheless, they do consist of other amines (like putrescine), which is why they’re in some cases omitted from low-histamine diet plans for individuals 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 allergy or allergic reactions to other wild mushrooms, according to the harvard t.h. Chan school of public health.

An allergy takes place when your body immune system overreacts to a food, per the aaaai. Symptoms can include:.

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

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


Some people can have a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can make it challenging to breathe or result in loss of consciousness, per the aaaai. Seek medical care instantly if this happens to you.

3. Skin rash

When it comes to shiitake mushroom adverse effects, a mushroom allergic reaction rash isn’t the only skin response you might 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 establishes a day or 2 after you consume the mushrooms, and shiitake dermatitis photos show that the rash looks like whiplash marks. It’s brought on by a toxic reaction to lentinan, a substance in the mushroom, per the pharmacognosy evaluation research.

One older 1993 study in dermatology found that this rash might be sensitive to sunshine, though brand-new research is needed to better understand if this is the case.

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

4. Food poisoning

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

Still, it’s possible to get foodborne disease from bad shiitake mushrooms. This might hold true if you eat mushrooms that were polluted with germs during the growing or processing stage, per colorado state university. Rotten mushrooms that were then canned, distributed and consumed have actually likewise triggered food poisoning in the past.

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

Mushrooms are likewise disposable, according to the fda. Simply put, old mushrooms can make you ill if they haven’t been appropriately saved.

So, what occurs if you eat spoiled mushrooms here are mushroom food poisoning signs:.

  • Nausea
  • Throwing up
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Stomach discomfort and cramping
  • Fever

fix it: to avoid foodborne disease, follow these ideas from the cdc:.

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

Are shiitake mushroom stems harmful?

Possibly you have actually heard the myth that shiitake mushrooms stems are hazardous and can even cause severe reactions like mushroom paralysis. But this isn’t true– the stems are edible and safe to consume, per colorado state university, so long as you follow proper food safety procedure to prevent foodborne illness. (8 ).


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

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

The bottom line

Shiitake mushroom extract is a natural and safe supplement that can offer 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 difference. (10 ).


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