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Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), Agaricus edodes, basidiomycete, beta-glucan, black forest mushroom, C-fraction, C-lipid-fraction, Chinese black mushroom, Coprinopsis ciner, Cortinellus shiitake, D-fraction, d-glucopyranose, D-lipid-fraction, delicious mushroom, eritadenine, F-249, flower mushroom, forest mushroom, fragrant mushroom, hagu (Chinese), hed hom (Thai), heteroglycan fraction, hua gu (Chinese), huagu (Chinese), JLS-18, JLS-S001, king of mushrooms, L. edodes (Berk.) Pegler, LC-1, LEM, lemtemin, lenthionine, lentiane, lentin, Lentinan®, Lentinan enodes, lentinan (LNT), lentinula, Lentinula edodes, Lentinus edodes,Lentinus edodes mycelium, Lentinus edodes mycelium (LEM) extract, linoleic acid, LNT, Marasmiaceae (family), mentemin, monarch of mushrooms, mushroom, mycelia, mycelium, pasania fungus, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, polyphenols, Polyporaceae (family), polysaccharide L-II, pyogo (Korean), shii mushroom, shiitake medical mushroom, shiitake mushroom extract (SME), shiitake mushroom mycelial extract, shiitake mycelium, shitake, snake butter, Tricholomopsis edodes, winter mushroom, xianggu (Chinese), xylanase enzymes.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are thought to have originated in Japan and China. The mushrooms are large and black-brown with an earthy, rich flavor and are commonly eaten in stir-fries and soups, and as a meat substitute. Shiitake may have been cultivated for over 1,000 years and can be traced to the Song Dynasty (960-1127). The uncultivated mushroom may have been eaten as early as the year 199.
  • Shiitake contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One main constituent of interest in the fruiting body is the polysaccharide lentinan. Some commercial preparations employ the powdered mycelium of the mushroom before the cap and stem grow. This preparation is called Lentinula edodes mycelium (LEM) extract and is rich in polysaccharides and lignans.
  • Shiitake is traditionally taken orally for immune system stimulation, cholesterol lowering, and antiaging. Lentinan, the polysaccharide derived from shiitake, has been injected intravenously, intramuscularly, and intraperitoneally as an adjunct treatment for cancer and HIV infection (1;2;3;4;5;6;7). Lentinan has also been shown to modulate the immune system in human studies (8;9;10;11;12;13;14;15;16;17;18). High-quality human scientific evidence is lacking for many proposed indications.
  • A potential use of lentinan is as a combination therapy with BCG (a preparation consisting of attenuated human tubercle bacilli used for immunization against tuberculosis) in the treatment of tuberculosis (19). The antimicrobial activity of lentinan suggests that there may be other uses as well (20;21;22).

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.