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This mushroom is the second most extensively cultivated mushroom worldwide. It has been a popular food source in the food of asia for hundreds of years. In america, we have actually enjoyed it in chinese and japanese restaurants. Following current enhancements in cultivating strategies, it is quickly becoming a preferred in markets and on dining tables in the united states and canada. In addition, people can now grow it in the house utilizing basic sets prepared by mushroom specialty 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 ago. It is discovered growing wild in the mountainous areas of china, japan, indonesia, and taiwan. The scattering of shiitake spores has been traced using hurricane wind patterns as the mushrooms were dispersed from one to the other of these countries. It is not discovered wild in the united states or elsewhere.

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

The chinese were the very first to cultivate this mildly fragrant mushroom more than six a century back. Yield and quality differed from year to year until clinical strategies were developed. Japanese researchers established an approach of placing pencil-shaped plugs of mycelial generate grown from specifically selected varieties of lentinus edodes into holes tired in oak logs. Carefully watched over in the forest, the prepared logs carried out the work that supported the whole shiitake market. Today it is grown in the united states in addition to in asian nations on a variety of products including cellulose, such as sawdust enhanced with rice bran. It is offered fresh along with dried.

In japan and china the chemicals discovered in shiitakes have actually been analyzed for medical homes. Extracts have been used in treating cancer, and claims have been made that they decrease cholesterol, improve sexual power, prolong life, kill infections, and improve circulation. Most people will be doubtful of such remedies, however at least, this is the most pleasurable way of taking medication we have experienced. Read mushrooms as organic food by kisaku mori if you would like to know more about the subject.

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

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

Common names

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


Lentinan is a polysaccharide stemmed 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 discovered on fallen broad-leaf trees, such as chestnut, beech, or mulberry. They have decurrent, even, or ragged gills, a stem, and are covered with delicate white gathering. Shiitake mushrooms are frequently offered in grocery store in asia and are now extensively available in the united states, canada, and europe. Synonyms consist of 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 molecules with mainly (1-3)- beta-d-glucan linkages in the regularly branched main chain with 2 beta (1,6)- d-glucopyranoside branchings for every single 5 beta-( 1,3)- glucopyranoside direct linkages. Lentinan, which is thermolabile4 is found in extremely low concentrations in fresh shiitake mushrooms (roughly 0.02%); at least 5 additional polysaccharides have actually been separated from l. Edodes.

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

How to pick

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. Preferably, connected to the cap’s underside is a thin “veil,” through which the gills are visible. The gills must be firmly formed and moist. Sawdust-medium shiitakes have flat tops, are drier, and usually do not have the flavor of log-grown mushrooms.

Dried: when looking for dried shiitakes, try to find 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 wipe with a moist cloth or a paper towel. Use 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 exceptional addition to the stockpot.

Shiitakes are quite good raw, if you do not mind their chewiness. Sautéing is the most common treatment for shiitakes. Among the most important strategies for sautéing shiitakes is preserving the sound of continuous sizzling while they’re in the pan, which implies you’re cooking them over lively heat. You want the shiitakes to establish a brown, crisp exterior, which will boost their taste.

Dried: prior to utilizing 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 save

Fresh: if you require to keep fresh shiitakes, put them in the refrigerator and cover them with moist paper towels. They can last for as long as two weeks, but it’s best to consume shiitakes not long after gathering.

Dried: to save 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 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 whole 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 a lot more intense than when fresh.

Umami flavor can be described as savory or meaty. It’s often thought about the 5th taste, together 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 utilized in traditional chinese medicine. They’re also part of the medical customs of japan, korea, and eastern russia.

In chinese medicine, shiitake are thought to enhance health and longevity, along with enhance blood circulation.

Studies suggest that some of the bioactive compounds in shiitake may protect versus cancer and swelling.

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

In addition, many of the mushroom-based supplements on the marketplace have not been tested for potency.

Although the proposed advantages 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 might improve heart health. For example, they have three substances that assist lower cholesterol:.

  • This compound inhibits an enzyme involved in producing cholesterol.
  • These particles help block cholesterol absorption in your gut.
  • Beta glucans. This type of fiber can reduce cholesterol.

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

A research study in lab rats fed a high-fat diet plan demonstrated that those provided 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 need to be verified in human studies prior to any solid conclusions can be made.


A number of compounds in shiitake help lower cholesterol and may minimize your danger of heart disease.

May enhance your body immune system

Shiitake may likewise assist strengthen your body immune system.

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

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

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


Consuming shiitake mushrooms regularly may assist boost your body immune system.

Consist of compounds with possible anticancer activity

Polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms may also have an anticancer impact.

For example, the polysaccharide lentinan helps battle tumors by triggering your immune system.

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

In china and japan, an injectable kind of lentinan is used along with chemotherapy and other major cancer treatments to improve immune function and quality of life in individuals with gastric cancer.

However, evidence is insufficient to determine whether consuming shiitake mushrooms has any result on cancer.


Lentinan is a polysaccharide in shiitake mushrooms that might assist combat cancer.

Other prospective benefits

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

Promising antibacterial and antiviral impacts

Numerous compounds in shiitake have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal results.

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

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

Might enhance 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 include this essential nutrient.

The vitamin d levels of mushrooms differ depending upon how they’re grown. When exposed to uv light, they develop higher levels of this compound.

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

However, bear in mind that shiitake provide vitamin d2. This is an inferior type compared with vitamin d3, which is found in fatty fish and some other animal foods.


Substances in shiitake have antimicrobial properties, though you’re unlikely to get take advantage of eating the mushrooms themselves. Shiitake with higher 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 fast photo.

Shiitake: fights cancer cells and contagious disease, improves the body immune system, promotes brain function, and functions as a source of b vitamins.

Maitake: can assist improve the health of aids clients and controls blood sugar level levels of diabetics. May lower high blood pressure and increases the immune system.

Reishi: battles swelling, liver illness, tiredness, tumor growth and cancer. Improves skin disorders, and soothes digestion problems, stomach ulcers and leaking gut syndrome.

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

How to cook?

The shiitake is a flexible food that can be integrated into a variety of dishes. You can purchase these mushrooms raw, prepared or dried.

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

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

Saving fresh mushrooms in the refrigerator in a closed bag or container with a cover keeps them fresh for about a week. If you utilize dried mushrooms, keep them in a sealed bag and shop them in the fridge or freezer, where they can stay 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, however you don’t need to toss them out. Include the stems to a veggie stock to absorb all of those nutrients.

Ensure to rinse the mushrooms thoroughly. They can be positioned in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes to remove any residue and then rinsed.

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

Add them to an omelet with veggies. Attempt this scrumptious 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 passion and extra-virgin olive oil.

Use shiitake mushrooms in this green bean casserole dish.

Prepare lettuce or collard green covers with a mix 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.

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

Shiitake mushroom side effects to be aware of

1. Gastrointestinal issues

The shiitake mushrooms you receive from the supermarket are generally safe to consume. But wild-picked mushrooms can sometimes contain toxic substances that cause throwing up and diarrhea, according to colorado state university.

Shiitake mushrooms are likewise hard to digest for people with an intolerance, which can occur when your body has difficulty processing a specific food, per the american academy of allergic reaction, asthma & immunology (aaaai). Food intolerance symptoms consist of:.

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea

fix it: if you have an intolerance to this food, it’s best to go with 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 study in biomolecules. However, they do contain other amines (like putrescine), which is why they’re often left out from low-histamine diet plans for individuals with a histamine intolerance.

2. Allergic reaction

Though it’s not one of the most typical 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 takes place when your body immune system overreacts to a food, per the aaaai. Symptoms can consist of:.

  • Hives
  • Scratchy skin
  • Swelling
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

repair it: if you know you have a mushroom allergy, prevent consuming shiitakes and any related products.


Some individuals can have a serious allergy called anaphylaxis, which can make it challenging to breathe or cause loss of consciousness, per the aaaai. Seek healthcare immediately if this takes place to you.

3. Skin rash

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

Indeed, consuming the fungus raw or undercooked can also cause 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 eat the mushrooms, and shiitake dermatitis photos reveal that the rash appears like whiplash marks. It’s triggered by a toxic response to lentinan, a compound in the mushroom, per the pharmacognosy review research study.

One older 1993 study in dermatology found that this rash may be sensitive to sunlight, though new research study is required to much better understand if this is the case.

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

4. Food poisoning

There aren’t numerous recorded outbreaks 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 hold true if you consume mushrooms that were infected with germs throughout the growing or processing phase, per colorado state university. Rotten mushrooms that were then canned, distributed and consumed have also triggered gastrointestinal disorder in the past.

Pathogens from raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs can also transfer 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 also perishable, according to the fda. Simply put, old mushrooms can make you sick if they haven’t been properly kept.

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

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

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

  • Tidy your hands, utensils, surface areas and food before preparing and consuming a dish
  • Shop and deal with raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs independently
  • Completely cook food
  • Quickly cool perishable food

Are shiitake mushroom stems harmful?

Perhaps you’ve heard the myth that shiitake mushrooms stems are hazardous and can even trigger severe reactions 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 appropriate food security procedure to avoid foodborne disease. (8 ).


Medications that decrease the body immune system (immunosuppressants) communicates 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 immune system. Taking shiitake mushroom in addition to these medications might reduce the impacts of these medications. (9 ).

The bottom line

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


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