Common name: Shiitake
Part used: Fungal fruiting body
Habitat and Description: Shiitake is native to countries in east Asia notably Japan and China, however it is now widely cultivated throughout the world as a valued food and medicinal source. Shiitake can be found growing on fallen broadleaf trees including chestnut, oak, beech, maple, walnut and mulberry.
Constituents: Polysaccharides (Lentinan - one of the compounds found in AHCC complex; KS2), eritadenine, lipids (linoleic acid), ergesterol (a provitamin which converts to vitamin d when exposed to sunlight), calcium, vitamins B2 and C.
Actions: Antiviral, antitumour, anticancer, immunostimulant, immunostimulating, antibacterial, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antilipidemic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibiotic, hepatoprotective.
Traditional and current uses:
Shiitake has traditionally been used as an adjunct therapy for cancer patients in Japan and China due to its immunological function. In ancient Japan the shiitake mushroom was known as the ‘elixir of life’.
- The constituent Letinan forms one of the ingredients of AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) an enzyme- fermented compound given as a supplementary treatment to cancer patients in Japan.
- The bioactive compound eritadenine has been shown to reduce hypercholesterolemia by increasing the metabolic decomposition of cholesterol, it can be useful in patients with intolerance to statins.
- Letinan has been shown to reduce side effects of chemotherapy and quality of life in various cancers including colorectal, breast, prostate and hepatocellular.
- Letinan has been shown to stimulate T cell and macrophage action including NK cells (Natural killer cells). As such it has been used to treat diseases in which immune function is compromised including AIDS.
- Has been shown to reduce bronchial inflammation.
- Shiitake has been shown to exhibit antimicrobial actions, including against strains of staphylococccus aureus and candida.
- Shiitake has powerful antiviral actions and has been used for centuries to treat the common cold and flu.
- It has anti-bacterial actions, making it effective in use as an alternative to antibiotics.
Immune Modulating properties:
Upregulates macrophage activity (e.g. phagocytosis, ROS/NO production and cytokine expression) and NFκB activation (the master regulator of innate immune responses, i.e. macrophage inflammatory response to pathogens), and binds to dectin-1 and toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2).
Used by some herbalists for:
Chronic infections, chronic immune deficiency, HIV/ AIDS, post-viral syndrome, CFS, hepatitis C,malaria prophylaxis,and antibiotic resistant pulmonary sepsis.
The information on this website is provided for educational use only, and is not intended as a replacement for the services of a qualified medical herbalist, doctor or licensed health practitioner. The information contained herein is not diagnostic, always consult a medical health professional before embarking on a treatment programme. Urban Fringe Dispensary disclaims any liability, loss, injury or damage incurred as a consequence of the use and application of the advice given herein.