From the Vendor: Lentinula edodes is an edible mushroom native to East Asia and is consumed and cultivated in many Asian countries. Lentinula edodes is more commonly known as Shiitake mushroom and has been used in various Traditional Chinese practices for centuries. Shiitake mushrooms also have a role in traditional health practices of Korea, Japan, and parts of Russia. In the 12th century, people began growing shiitake mushrooms in the mountains of central China. Shiitake mushroom cultivators would then use the plant spores from dead trees and wood logs to speed up the shiitake mushroom growth cycle. Once harvested, cultivators would use fresh and dried shiitake mushrooms for culinary and health purposes.
The Shiitake mushroom is different than most mushrooms used for supplementation because many people all over the world describe shiitake as fragrant and delicious. For those looking to take advantage of shiitake mushroom benefits, oral consumption is easy. In fact, you might even look forward to it. Learning how to cook shiitake mushrooms is very common today. People will typically use dried shiitake mushrooms and describe shiitake mushroom taste as an umami flavor. Many describe umami flavor as a ‘meaty’ or ‘savory’ taste and use both fresh and dried shiitake mushrooms in stir fries, stews, and many other dishes developed with shiitake mushroom. Today, shiitake is the second most popular cultivated mushroom in the world and consumed for its unique flavor and shiitake mushroom health benefits.
Shiitake Mushroom Benefits and Uses
May help promote positive emotional outlook
May help support inflammation levels
May help promote metabolic function
May help support dental health
May help promote immune system function
Shiitake Mushroom Health Benefits and Research
Much research has been done on Shiitake mushroom over the last few decades to determine which compounds are responsible for shiitake mushroom benefits. During the 1970’s, the Japanese mushroom industry conducted extensive research into the medicinal and nutritional properties of shiitake. Scientist Gora Chihara fractionated shiitake polysaccharides and named the most active fraction lentinan a pure beta-1-3-glucan. A few isolated studies found that lentinan supports cellular health and promotes immune system function.
Research conducted on animals determined that Lentinan also interacts with AMPA receptors and may support feelings of well being. Results of a few rat trials led scientists to believe that Lentinan’s interaction with AMPA receptors appears to be the source of mood and cognitive promoting effects. Although, more research is ongoing, Lentinan is currently used for some health practices in China and Japan.
Another unique thing about Lentinula edodes is that it is also studied extensively for oral health benefits. Small studies utilizing a shiitake mushroom extract came up with positive relationships between shiitake mushroom supplementation and oral shiitake mushroom health benefits. Even though this trend was consistent in several trials, further research is needed to identify and isolate other active ingredients and explore alternative delivery systems.
Small scale animal studies were done to observe the outcome of shiitake mushroom dense diets. Results from these studies found that animals whose diets contained shiitake mushroom extracts appeared to experience improved metabolic function, in addition to enhanced cardiovascular health. Even though these results support evidence from Traditional Chinese practices and anecdotal reports from shiitake mushroom consumers, modern studies are currently being conducted in order to gain a firm understanding of shiitake mushroom benefits on our health.