In Japanese, Maitake can be directly translated into dancing mushrooms. This is because the Japanese believe if you find this mushroom in the wild you will dance for joy. This mushroom has been taken in between meals to help with digestion. If your stomach is usually sensitive, maitake could work to bring that sensitivity down.

Maitake is a good source of selenium and potassium. They have been found to stimulate the immune system. The selenium in this mushroom can help protect the body from free radical damage to cells. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and heart function, which can prevent or delay heart disease. Studies have shown Maitake mushrooms may be able to help people who have high cholesterol by reducing their LDL (bad) cholesterol, while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.

It has many health benefits including its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiviral, and cholesterol lowering properties.


One common trait between all medicinal mushrooms is their ability to modulate the immune system*.

Maitake extracts have a high concentration of beta-glucans relative to other medicinal mushrooms, with some extracts having between 30-40%.

The D-fraction appears to “activate” these macrophages, causing them to excrete proteins that act as a signalling device – allowing the macrophage to rapidly be aware of the presence of an invader*.

Maitake contains many different bio-active protein bound polysaccharides. One of these polysaccharides, known as Maitake D-fraction has been studied for its potential to aid cancer patients and to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy*. [1]

From the study referenced:

“MD-fraction and whole maitake powder was investigated to determine its effectiveness for 22- to 57-year-old cancer patients in stages II-IV*. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58.3 percent of liver cancer patients, 68.8 percent of breast cancer patients, and 62.5 percent of lung cancer patients*.”

“Furthermore, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, immune-competent cell activities were enhanced 1.2-1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone*. Animal studies have supported the use of maitake MD-fraction for cancer*.”

Diabetes (Type 1) is related to a malfunctioning immune system, where immune cells erroneously attack other cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. The inability to produce the right amount of insulin causes an accumulation of excess sugar in the blood, which can have a tremendous negative effect on overall health.

Studies have been done with diabetic mice, to see the effect of Maitake extracts on insulin levels. It was found that Maitake can favorably influence the production of insulin, lowering blood glucose levels*. [2]

Diabetics considering taking Maitake mushroom should use caution however, as medication intended to lower blood sugar combined with the effects of Maitake could cause blood sugar to drop below healthy levels*.

Maitake has shown promise in its ability to lower cholesterol[3], decrease blood pressure [4] and help maintain or even lose weight [5] – all of which are good for your heart*. 

Animal studies have been performed showing that the subjects that were fed a high-cholesterol diet in combination with Maitake powder showed a lower increase in body fat*.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is associated with insulin resistance in the majority of cases. Maitake polysaccharides have shown promise in helping to address this condition*.

In one study, ovulation was observed in 20 of 26 women given Maitake extract, and 6 of 8 women who failed to ovulate after being treated with Clomiphene citrate (which is used for treating infertility) did so after being given Maitake*. All three women in the study that expressed an interest in becoming pregnant were able to do so*.[6]

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