Shiitake (Lentinula edodes, or Chinese black mushroom)
Shiitake mushrooms are very popular these days. With their meaty texture and taste, they appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The mushrooms have been a part of Asian cuisine and medicine for centuries. The mushrooms are very nutritious, containing protein, fiber, minerals like calcium, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Shiitake mushrooms help build immunity and promote longevity. They contain lentinan, which helps prevent cancer and has anti-tumor abilities. Mushrooms can produce interferon, which is used to fight cancer. Studies in Japan have shown that when lentinan is taken before chemotherapy, there is no reduction of white blood cells. The herb will help relieve fatigue and increase energy levels. Studies have shown them to be effective at lowering cholesterol, even when you are consuming foods that increase cholesterol.
They can also lower blood pressure and contain anti-coagulant compounds. They are good for colds. They can eliminate parasitic worms in the system and can actually decrease chronic hepatitis B infections and other viral infections like HIV. Some studies are showing that certain compounds found in the shiitake mushroom are more effective at killing the HIV virus than the current medication, AZT. These remarkable mushrooms also produce a compound that absorbs fat to help in reducing weight.
Externally not used externally
Other Uses Shiitake is a major part of many Asian diets. It is a good meat substitute. They are not only a medicine, but are also a very nutritious food that fulfills many of our body's needs. The mushroom contains all eight essential amino acids that we need in more beneficial proportions than meat, soy beans, milk or eggs. They also contain vitamins and minerals like A, B, B12, C, D and Niacin.
Mushroom cap The mushroom cap is the portion usually consumed. The stem is usually too fibrous.
Pregnant or lactating women should consult a qualified health professional before taking shiitake supplements. However, eating the fresh mushrooms as part of the diet should be fine unless they have mushroom allergies.
Preparation and Dosage
Eating 9 grams of dried herb per day can make a big difference in your health. This is the equivalent to 90 grams of fresh shiitake.
If you're taking the extract, 875 mg of a 4:1 extract every day does well for a generalized tonic. Take it between meals. One gram of extract is equal to 4 grams of dried herb.
If you are using a commercial preparation, follow the instructions printed on the label for the best results.