Herb of the Day: Shiitake

Shiitake (Lentinus edodes)

Shiitake Mushroom

Until recently the only mushrooms widely available in US grocery stores were the ubiquitous and relatively bland button mushrooms of the genus Agaricus. Across the Pacific, how ever, Asian cultures have long savored a variety of common and exotic mushrooms, including fragrant shiitakes. In traditional Chinese medicine, shiitake and many other fungi have been used to boost immunity for centuries. North American tastes have changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and a much wider variety of mushrooms is appearing in grocery stores. These include portobellos,oyster mushrooms, chanterelles, morels, porcini, maitake,and shiitake.
Shiitake is often called the king of the mushrooms. Which is currently under study at research centers in Germany,U.S.,Japan and china., involving repressed immune function, from colds to cancer. In Japan physicians prescribe shiitake in 2 different forms to treat many health conditions, asthma, hepatitis B, ulcers, high cholesterol, aids, kidney inflammation,herpes and skin problems. In early 1998 American researchers began a phase II pilot study testing the effects of an extract from maitake known as D-fraction in patients with advanced breast and prostate cancers. Maitake being administered clinically for uterine fibroids, Aids, high blood pressure, and weight loss.
Wu Juei a Chinese physician from the Ming dynasty ( 1368 to 1644 ) claimed shiitake improved stamina circulation, over all good health. Aids with arthritis, elevated cholesterol, colds, childhood measles, bronchial inflammation, faintness, dropsy, small pox, poisoning from toxic mushroom species.


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