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Maitake Mushroom

 

Natural Standard Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified health care professional before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

Related Terms

  • Beta-glucan, choreimaitake, cloud mushroom, dancing mushroom, D-fraction, edible fungus, exobiopolymers, Grifola albicans, Grifola frondosa (Dicks.) Gray, Grifola frondosa HB0071, Grifola gigantea, Grifola umbellata, Grifola umbellata Pilát, grifolan, Grifron® Pro D-fraction, Grifron-Pro Maitake D-fraction®, hen-of-the-woods, hongo maitake, king of mushrooms, maitake extract, maitake PETfraction, MDF, MD-fraction, Meripilaceae (family), MSX, my-take, Polyporaceae (family), shiromaitake, SX-fraction, tombimaitake, Zhuling.
  • Combination product examples: Grifron-Pro Maitake D-Fraction Extract®, Maitake Gold 404®.
  • Note: Maitake is a Japanese term for Grifola frondosa, the species promoted as having medicinal activity. However, due to confusion in the field, the term may also mean Grifola gigantea, Grifola albicans, and Grifola umbellata. The focus of this monograph is Grifola frondosa.

Background

  • Maitake is the Japanese name for the fungus Grifola frondosa, which has a large, fruiting body and overlapping caps. Although the term maitake may also be used for Grifola gigantea, Grifola albicans, and Grifola umbellata, most available information is based on Grifola frondosa.
  • Maitake has been used as a food and as medicine. Compounds and extracts of maitake have been studied for possible immune benefits, including antitumor effects. However, more human studies are needed.

Evidence

 

Uses based on scientific evidence 

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare professional.

Grade* 

Cancer 

Some early animal studies suggest that maitake extract may stimulate the immune function and have antitumor effects. However, human research is limited. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made on the use of maitake for cancer treatment or prevention.

C 

Diabetes 

Early animal studies suggest that maitake mushroom extract may lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, as well as increase levels of insulin in the blood. However, human evidence is limited. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made on the use of maitake for diabetes.

C 

Immune enhancement 

Some early studies found that a compound in maitake may activate the immune system and possibly have antitumor effects. Reliable human evidence is lacking. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made on the possible immune effects of maitake.

C 

Ovulation disorders 

Early research suggests that maitake mushroom and its extract may benefit women who have polycystic ovary syndrome. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made.

C 

 

*Key to grades: 

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;
B: Good scientific evidence for this use;
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;
D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

For full grading rationale, click here.

Uses based on tradition or theory 

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional

Antifungal, anti-infective, antiviral, arthritis, bacterial infection, chicken pox, diagnostic procedure (agent), hepatitis, high blood pressure, HIV, lipid lowering effects, snake bites, sun protection, warts, weight loss.


Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. 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 professional before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare professional immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people who are allergic or sensitive to maitake mushroom (Grifola spp.), its parts, or members of the Meripilaceae family. There have been reports of lung inflammation in mushroom farm workers and in people who were exposed to maitake mushroom spores.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Maitake is likely safe when used as a food at levels commonly found in food, according to traditional use in nonallergic people.
  • Maitake is possibly safe when used as medicine in otherwise healthy people. However, information on safety and dosing is limited.
  • Maitake may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people with low blood pressure or in those taking drugs or herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Maitake may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Maitake may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in people who have immune disorders or are using agents that may affect the immune system. Maitake may affect the immune system.
  • Use cautiously in people who have skin disorders. Maitake may cause itching and rash.
  • Use cautiously in people who have stomach disorders. Maitake may cause abdominal pain and nausea.
  • Use cautiously in people who have musculoskeletal disorders. Maitake may cause joint swelling.
  • Avoid in people who are allergic or sensitive to maitake mushroom (Grifola spp.), its parts, or members of the Meripilaceae family. There have been reports of lung inflammation in mushroom farm workers and in people who were exposed to maitake mushroom spores.
  • Avoid using in pregnant or breastfeeding women at levels greater than those commonly found in food, due to limited data.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the medicinal use of maitake during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Maitake is likely safe when used as a food at levels commonly found in food.

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 professional before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Maitake may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Maitake may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Maitake may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
  • Maitake may also interact with agents that may affect the immune system, agents that may affect light sensitivity, anticancer agents, antivirals, cholesterol-lowering agents, clomiphene citrate, fertility agents, and interferons.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Maitake may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Maitake may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Maitake may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Maitake may also interact with anticancer herbs and supplements, antivirals, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, chromium, fertility herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that may affect the immune system, and herbs and supplements that may affect light sensitivity.

Authors

Selected References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a 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.

  1. Bae JT, Sim GS, Lee DH, et al. Production of exopolysaccharide from mycelial culture of Grifola frondosa and its inhibitory effect on matrix metalloproteinase-1 expression in UV-irradiated human dermal fibroblasts. FEMS Microbiol.Lett 10-15-2005;251(2):347-354.
  2. Chen JT, Tominaga K, Sato Y, et al. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) extract induces ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a possible monotherapy and a combination therapy after failure with first-line clomiphene citrate. J.Altern.Complement Med. 2010;16(12):1295-1299.
  3. Cui FJ, Li Y, Xu YY, et al. Induction of apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells by polysaccharide-peptide GFPS1b from the cultured mycelia of Grifola frondosa GF9801. Toxicol In Vitro 2007;21(3):417-427.
  4. Deng G, Lin H, Seidman A, et al. A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects. J.Cancer Res.Clin.Oncol. 2009;135(9):1215-1221.
  5. Gonmori K. and Yokoyama K. [Acute encephalopathy caused by cyanogenic fungi in 2004, and magic mushroom regulation in Japan]. Chudoku.Kenkyu 2009;22(1):61-69.
  6. Gu CQ, Li JW, Chao F, et al. Isolation, identification and function of a novel anti-HSV-1 protein from Grifola frondosa. Antiviral Res 2007;75(3):250-257.
  7. Gu CQ, Li J, Chao FH. Inhibition of hepatitis B virus by D-fraction from Grifola frondosa: synergistic effect of combination with interferon-alpha in HepG2 2.2.15. Antiviral Res 2006;72(2):162-165.
  8. Hanselin MR, Vande Griend JP, and Linnebur SA. INR elevation with maitake extract in combination with warfarin. Ann.Pharmacother. 2010;44(1):223-224.
  9. Lin JT and Liu WH. o-Orsellinaldehyde from the submerged culture of the edible mushroom Grifola frondosa exhibits selective cytotoxic effect against Hep 3B cells through apoptosis. J Agric Food Chem 10-4-2006;54(20):7564-7569.
  10. Lindequist U, Rausch R, Fussel A, et al. [Higher fungi in traditional and modern medicine]. Med.Monatsschr.Pharm. 2010;33(2):40-48.
  11. Spelman K, Burns J, Nichols D, et al. Modulation of cytokine expression by traditional medicines: a review of herbal immunomodulators. Altern Med Rev 2006;11(2):128-150.
  12. Tanaka H, Tsunematsu K, Nakamura N, et al. Successful treatment of hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by Grifola frondosa (Maitake) mushroom using a HFA-BDP extra-fine aerosol. Intern.Med. 2004;43(8):737-740.
  13. Ulbricht C, Weissner W, Basch E, et al. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa): systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. J.Soc.Integr.Oncol. 2009;7(2):66-72.
  14. Wu MJ, Cheng TL, Cheng SY, et al. Immunomodulatory properties of Grifola frondosa in submerged culture. J Agric.Food Chem 4-19-2006;54(8):2906-2914.
  15. Yang BK, Gu YA, Jeong YT, et al. Chemical characteristics and immuno-modulating activities of exo-biopolymers produced by Grifola frondosa during submerged fermentation process. Int J Biol Macromol. 8-1-2007;41(3):227-233.
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