Shiitake mushroom for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Shiitake is a medicinal mushroom that contains all essential amino acids. Rich in vitamin D, it plays an important role in strengthening the immune system. Let’s find out better.

Description of the mushroom

The name Shiitake comes from the Japanese word shii used to indicate a particular variety of chestnut and from the word takeche which means mushroom.

Sometimes it is called “forest mushroom” meaning forest mushroom and/or “black forest mushroom” meaning black forest mushroom; in China it is known as Shaingugu which means fragrant mushroom or also HuaGu or QuaGu  “mushroom of white flowers”.

Its Latin and scientific name is Lentinus edodes which means lithe and edible.

In fact, Shiitake is edible and widely used in Oriental cuisine, especially in Macrobiotics for its high nutritional value and is the most famous culinary mushroom in the world.

It contains all the essential amino acids, but also erytadenine, a unique amino acid that is believed to have a cholesterol-lowering effect.

In nature it propagates and spreads through its spores and is found on dead or dying stumps or trunks of beeches, oaks, blackberries, chestnuts and many others, in winter and spring and prefers shady places, woods and forests and grows near sources of fresh water.

It is native to Japan, China, the Korean Peninsula and other parts of East Asia and is highly sought after for its therapeutic and immune-boosting effects.

In the ancient Japanese royal court it was used as an aphrodisiac food. 

The properties of the Shiitake

It is a mushroom rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fibers and lipids, and an excellent source of vitamin D (ergosterol) which becomes calciferol (vitamin D2) in the presence of ultraviolet light, vitamin B, iron, manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and zinc.

Its healing properties are legendary in the East: in a materia medica it is written ” Shiitake accentuates vital energy, reduces hunger and colds “.

Its main action remains those of strengthening the immune system even if it needs and depends on an active autonomic nervous system and the pituitary-adrenal axis in good condition and a functioning thymus.

Its components are in particular lentinan, a beta-glucan capable of soliciting macrophages, T lymphocytes and Natural Killer cells, i.e. all those white blood cells responsible for recognizing and destroying elements that are potentially harmful to the body.

For this reason, Shiitake is also used in support of HIV therapies.

Its properties are cholesterol reduction and prevention of atherosclerosis, a protective action on the liver by promoting the formation of antibodies against hepatitis B; it also fights some fungal infections such as candida as it acts on the intestine by promoting the formation of a good intestinal bacterial flora, counteracts caries thanks to the protection against Streptococcus mutans which is the main cause of caries. Finally, it helps to combat psycho-physical fatigue.

When to use it

To strengthen the immune system against colds and flu; dental caries, HIV, hepatitis B, hypercholesterolemia and in the prevention of arteriosclerosis.

Very useful in young people and children for the prevention and treatment of winter pathologists.

Shiitake in traditional Chinese medicine

This mushroom is used to reduce cholesterol and counter arteriosclerosis, colds and flu; it is believed to revitalize circulation, reduce appetite and cure the common cold. It amplifies the Qi and the primary vital force that animates the body and connects it to the entire cosmos and is one of the most studied and known mushrooms both in the West and in the East.

With its flavor it is sweet / insipid, it removes humidity and is ideal for seasonal changes; its action tones the Qi and the blood, acts on the Spleen-stomach-liver and lung meridians and on the Water, Earth, Wood and Metal Lodges.


Leave a Comment