Last updated: August 15, 2021

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The Japanese maitake mushroom is not only a popular edible mushroom, but is also considered a medicinal or vital mushroom. Taking it is said to strengthen the immune system and support it in the fight against diseases. If you are not yet convinced of the effect of the Maitake mushroom and are looking for more information on taking it, then you have come to the right place.

We want to give you an overview of the most important facts with our Maitake test 2021. This includes the effect of the mushrooms, side effects as well as purchase and evaluation criteria. We will also explain the scientific background and provide you with the basis for an independent decision.




The most important facts

  • The Japanese Maitake mushroom, or Grifola frondosa, is considered a medicinal or vital mushroom and is said to strengthen our immune system. It can be taken alongside conventional medical treatments and thus support the body in fighting an illness. However, the mushroom cannot replace a medicine prescribed by a doctor.
  • You can take maitake mushrooms in powder or capsule form. The mushroom is also available in dried form. You can use it in dishes such as risotto. If you don't like the strong taste of the mushroom, you should use the capsules.
  • Basically, maitake can be used for many diseases. The mushroom is well tolerated and normally cannot be overdosed. However, side effects can occur in rare cases in the form of nausea, swelling of the joints or skin rash.

The Best Maitake: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for Maitake

When buying Maitake, you can pay attention to various aspects, such as:

By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also ensure that you don't give your body anything it doesn't need. Therefore, always look for high quality and ask to see the manufacturer's certificates if necessary.

Dosage form

The maitake mushroom can be used as an edible mushroom in various dishes. In this country, the mushroom is usually found in the form of powder or tablets or capsules. These food supplements can then be taken in various forms.

If you are reluctant to take tablets, it is advisable to use maitake powder. You can simply mix this into drinks or food.

The mushroom itself can be used fresh or dried in dishes. The powder can also be used for cooking. For daily intake, however, tablets or capsules are best. Which form of administration you choose is, of course, up to you.

Dosage

If you use Maitake powder, you can dose the product yourself. Approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons per day are recommended. You can take the powder in drinks or food.

If you take capsules or tablets, however, the dosage may vary. The recommended daily dose is about 0.8 grams. For example, if your capsules contain 0.4 grams of pure maitake powder, it is recommended to take one to a maximum of 2 capsules per day.

Ingredients

The same applies to Maitake powder or capsules: the shorter the list of ingredients, the better the product. Ideally, the entire mushroom has been processed, but no other substances have been added. The maitake mushroom is already rich in:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Dietary fibre
  • Protein

Maitake mushrooms are also gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free and low in allergens.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about maitake answered in detail

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of maitake and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What is Maitake and how does it work?

Maitake or Grifola frondosa is a Japanese mushroom that is very popular in Asian countries. The mushroom is also considered a vital and medicinal mushroom and is said to strengthen and support the immune system. (1) The maitake mushroom can be used as a support in addition to the actual therapy, especially in the case of longer courses of illness. (2)

The effects of the mushroom have not yet been clearly proven, as it is a natural and homeopathic remedy. These are not usually the focus of medical research. Nevertheless, the vital mushroom is said to have a healing effect on various complaints. (3)

The expected effect of the maitake mushroom is due to the following ingredients:

  • Vitamins: such as vitamin D and vitamins B1 and B2
  • Minerals: such as zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium
  • Dietaryfibres: especially beta-glucans, which are said to have an immune-strengthening effect
  • Proteins
  • Protein
  • Amino acid L-ergothioneine

The Maitake mushroom is intended for oral ingestion and can be taken either as a whole mushroom in food or in powder or capsule form.

Medicinal mushrooms, including maitake, cannot replace prescribed medicines. They should therefore only be taken as a support in addition to conventional medical treatment. (4)

Effect on diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease with disturbed glucose, protein and lipid metabolism. Those affected usually suffer from hyperglycaemia, an increased amount of glucose in the blood. The intake of maitake mushrooms is supposed to help sufferers lower their blood sugar level and thus avoid secondary diseases. (5, 6)

The effect of maitake on diabetes in humans has not yet been clearly proven. So far, only clinical studies on rats have been conducted. However, these show positive results.

For example, diabetic rats were given a maitake broth over a period of two weeks, while a control group received a placebo. In the course of the study, it became clear that the intake of the maitake broth lowered the blood sugar level of the rats. (5)

Effect on cancer

The maitake mushroom can be taken as a supportive treatment for cancer in addition to the actual therapy. The mushroom alone cannot cure cancer, but it can still be taken as an immune-strengthening agent. (7, 8, 9)

In a study on cancer patients of different ages, a positive effect of taking maitake was found. The patients were given maitake powder daily while the severity of their symptoms was observed. A significant improvement in symptoms was recorded in more than half of the liver, breast and lung cancer patients. (9)

Positive benefits of maitake mushrooms were also observed in support of chemotherapy. The activity of immunocompetent cells increased 1.2 to 1.4 times compared to chemotherapy alone. (9)

Another study points out that the intake of maitake can vary. For example, an improvement in the clinical picture was observed in some study participants, while the remedy lowered immune function in other patients. An increase in the dose led to a strengthening of some immunological parameters and at the same time to a lowering of other parameters in all patients. (7)

Effect in viral infections

Taking maitake can also support the human immune system in viral infections, such as influenza or HIV. However, the effect has not been clearly proven here either. (2, 10)

A study on people with HIV infections shows mixed results. Thus, 85 percent of the study participants reported an increased sense of well-being in relation to the virus symptoms. However, the viral load itself increased in 9 of the 35 test persons, while only 10 participants reported a lower viral load. (10)

Effect on PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

PCOS is a metabolic disorder that occurs mainly in sexually mature women. This metabolic disorder can lead to lack of ovulation and infertility. PCOS is often accompanied by insulin resistance.

It is suspected that taking maitake can not only improve insulin resistance, but also trigger ovulation. In an open study in Japan, several women with PCOS were treated daily with a maitake extract over a period of 12 to 16 weeks. In the course of the study, ovulation was detected in 20 out of 26 women. (11)

What are the possible side effects of taking maitake products?

There are not many reports on the side effects of maitake. In most cases, however, taking maitake is harmless. Several studies have shown that the product is well tolerated. (7, 12)

During a study on breast cancer patients, side effects were observed in 2 of 34 women. One of them suffered from nausea and joint swelling, while the other patient complained of a skin rash. (7)

If you want to take the medicinal mushroom to support a conventional medical therapy, you should discuss this with your doctor beforehand. You should also first test small amounts to see if there is an intolerance to maitake.

When and for whom is it useful to take maitake?

Maitake is considered to strengthen the immune system and can therefore be taken by everyone. There is no indication that taking maitake without an existing medical condition is harmful. You can therefore also take the mushroom as a preventive measure. However, you should first test your tolerance with small amounts.

The classic complaints or areas of application that are treated with maitake in naturopathy are:

  • Digestive complaints
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overweight
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Viral infections
  • Supportive for cancer
  • PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

The effect of maitake has not been scientifically proven in all areas of application.

Which parts of the plant are processed by Maitake?

Maitake products usually contain the entire mushroom. Vital mushroom mixtures contain other vital and medicinal mushrooms in addition to maitake. These are also processed in their entire form.

If you don't want to take powder or capsules, you can also use the whole mushroom in cooking. The fresh mushroom should always be cleaned first.

What types of maitake are there?

Since maitake is a mushroom, it is usually processed before it is consumed. Products containing maitake differ in their form of administration. The following table is intended to explain how the different dosage forms differ.

Dosage form Description
Maitake capsules The capsules are filled with maitake powder. This means that you do not taste the mushroom and can simply swallow the capsule.
Maitake powder You can either dissolve the powder in a drink and drink it, or use it in a dish. You can also use it as a topping on a dish
Dried maitake mushroom The dried mushroom can be added to dishes and ingested. Of course, you can also process it into powder.

In the following paragraphs we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each form of administration.

Maitake capsules

Capsules are the most common form of Maitake. They are filled with maitake powder and can simply be swallowed. You should always drink a glass of water with them.

Since the capsule encases the contents, you can do without the taste of the Maitake mushroom by taking it. In addition, Maitake capsules are usually available in large storage packs, which ensures a long-term supply.

maitake-test

Maitake capsules are ideal for people who do not like the intense taste of the mushroom. (Image source: Gergo Jaksa / Pixabay)

Many manufacturers produce capsules with several vital mushrooms. These mixtures are usually expensive, but contain different vital and medicinal mushrooms with different ingredients. This usually means you don't need to take any other preparations.

If you find it difficult to swallow pills and capsules, you should rather use another form of administration.

Advantages
  • Are tasteless due to the encapsulation
  • Stock packs available for longer treatment periods
  • Vital mushroom mixtures can replace taking other medicinal mushrooms
  • Normally vegan
Disadvantages
  • Must be swallowed whole
  • Are not always pure maitake products
  • Are comparatively expensive

Maitake powder

If you decide to use maitake powder, you have a wide range of possible applications. For example, the powder can be used in the kitchen for cooking or dissolved in a drink.

maitake-test

If you don't want to swallow capsules, you can also use Maitake powder. You can dissolve it in water or add it to food. (Image source: samer daboul / Pexels)

There is a selection of different recipes for preparing dishes with maitake powder. You can also use the Maitake powder as a topping on a dish, so the powder can be dosed according to taste and preference. You should be aware that it is difficult to avoid the intense mushroom flavour of maitake.

Advantages
  • Easier to take than a capsule
  • Can be used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes
  • Can also be used as a topping
  • Can also be dissolved in a drink if desired
Disadvantages
  • Not everyone likes the intense mushroom flavour

Dried maitake mushroom

The mushroom can also be bought in dried form. Like the powder, this can be used in the kitchen. You can add it to dishes and eat it that way. There are also numerous recipes for this. For example, you can use the mushroom in a risotto or soup.

maitake-test

The Maitake mushroom is also ideal for use in risotto or soups. (Image source: Max Griss / Pexels)

If you have any of the mushroom left over, you can simply grind the rest in a blender and then use it as a topping for other dishes. Alternatively, you can grind the mushroom and process it into powder.

Compared to capsules or powder, the dried mushroom is usually not easy to find in this country. Nevertheless, this variant is ideal for infrequent use.

Advantages
  • Can be used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes
  • Can also be used as a topping
  • Leftovers can be made into powder
  • Ideal for one-time use, as there is no need to buy large packages
Disadvantages
  • Not everyone likes the intense mushroom flavour
  • Not very common

As you can see, the variety of maitake supplements is relatively large. In principle, however, the form in which the mushroom is administered has no influence on the effect of the remedy. Whether you prefer to take capsules or process the mushroom or powder depends on your preferences. You can freely choose between the different products.

How should Maitake be dosed?

The recommended intake of maitake can vary. The most important factor is whether you are taking the product prophylactically or as a support for medical treatment. If your doctor advises you to take maitake products as a supportive treatment, you should also discuss the dosage with him or her.

If you want to take the food supplement prophylactically, you should always pay attention to the manufacturer's instructions. Most manufacturers give the following recommendations for consumption:

Dosage form recommended use
Maitake capsules 1 to 3 capsules daily (depending on capsule size)
Maitake powder approx. 2 teaspoons in water or food

The dosage of dried maitake mushrooms depends on the recipe. In principle, there are no reports of overdoses of maitake. However, this can also be attributed to the insufficient number of studies.

What alternatives are there to maitake?

Besides maitake, there are numerous alternatives for strengthening the immune system. In acute illness, none of these alternatives, like the maitake mushroom, can replace a doctor-prescribed medicine.

In some preclinical studies, the effects of echinacea, ginseng and astragalus on the immune system were investigated. In principle, all three herbs were found to have an immune-stimulating effect. However, there is no extensive scientific basis for the effects of these medicinal herbs. (13)

Cover image source:140460871/ 123rf.com

References (13)

1. Mallard B, Leach DN, Wohlmuth H, Tiralongo J. Synergistic immuno-modulatory activity in human macrophages of a medicinal mushroom formulation consisting of Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake. PLoS One. 2019 Nov 7;14(11):e0224740. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224740. PMID: 31697749; PMCID: PMC6837746.
Source

2. Mayell M. Maitake extracts and their therapeutic potential. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Feb;6(1):48-60. PMID: 11207456.
Source

3. Ulbricht C, Weissner W, Basch E, Giese N, Hammerness P, Rusie-Seamon E, Varghese M, Woods J. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa): systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2009 Spring;7(2):66-72. PMID: 19476741.
Source

4. Schmaus, F. (2018): Das große Handbuch der Mykotherapie: Heilen mit Pilzen: Gesundheit aus der Natur, Liemeshain: Narayana Verlag
Source

5. Chen YH, Lee CH, Hsu TH, Lo HC. Submerged-Culture Mycelia and Broth of the Maitake Medicinal Mushroom Grifola frondosa (Higher Basidiomycetes) Alleviate Type 2 Diabetes-Induced Alterations in Immunocytic Function. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(6):541-56. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i6.50. PMID: 26349512.
Source

6. Konno S, Tortorelis DG, Fullerton SA, Samadi AA, Hettiarachchi J, Tazaki H. A possible hypoglycaemic effect of maitake mushroom on Type 2 diabetic patients. Diabet Med. 2001 Dec;18(12):1010. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2001.00532-5.x. PMID: 11903406.
Source

7. Deng, G., Lin, H., Seidman, A. et al. A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa(Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 135, 1215–1221 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-009-0562-z
Source

8. Kodama N, Komuta K, Nanba H. Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the activation of NK cells in cancer patients. J Med Food. 2003 Winter;6(4):371-7. doi: 10.1089/109662003772519949. PMID: 14977447.
Source

9. Kodama N, Komuta K, Nanba H. Can maitake MD-fraction aid cancer patients? Altern Med Rev. 2002 Jun;7(3):236-9. PMID: 12126464.
Source

10. 15. Nanba, H., Kodama, N., Schar, D. et al. Effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) glucan in HIV-infected patients. Mycoscience 41, 293–295 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02463941
Source

11. 16. Chen JT, Tominaga K, Sato Y, Anzai H, Matsuoka R. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) extract induces ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a possible monotherapy and a combination therapy after failure with first-line clomiphene citrate. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Dec;16(12):1295-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0696. Epub 2010 Oct 29. PMID: 21034160.
Source

12. Wesa, K.M., Cunningham-Rundles, S., Klimek, V.M. et al. Maitake mushroom extract in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS): a phase II study. Cancer Immunol Immunother 64, 237–247 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-014-1628-6
Source

13. Block KI, Mead MN. Immune system effects of echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus: a review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2003 Sep;2(3):247-67. doi: 10.1177/1534735403256419. PMID: 15035888.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Mallard B, Leach DN, Wohlmuth H, Tiralongo J. Synergistic immuno-modulatory activity in human macrophages of a medicinal mushroom formulation consisting of Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake. PLoS One. 2019 Nov 7;14(11):e0224740. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224740. PMID: 31697749; PMCID: PMC6837746.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Mayell M. Maitake extracts and their therapeutic potential. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Feb;6(1):48-60. PMID: 11207456.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Ulbricht C, Weissner W, Basch E, Giese N, Hammerness P, Rusie-Seamon E, Varghese M, Woods J. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa): systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2009 Spring;7(2):66-72. PMID: 19476741.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliches Buch
Schmaus, F. (2018): Das große Handbuch der Mykotherapie: Heilen mit Pilzen: Gesundheit aus der Natur, Liemeshain: Narayana Verlag
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Chen YH, Lee CH, Hsu TH, Lo HC. Submerged-Culture Mycelia and Broth of the Maitake Medicinal Mushroom Grifola frondosa (Higher Basidiomycetes) Alleviate Type 2 Diabetes-Induced Alterations in Immunocytic Function. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(6):541-56. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i6.50. PMID: 26349512.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Konno S, Tortorelis DG, Fullerton SA, Samadi AA, Hettiarachchi J, Tazaki H. A possible hypoglycaemic effect of maitake mushroom on Type 2 diabetic patients. Diabet Med. 2001 Dec;18(12):1010. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2001.00532-5.x. PMID: 11903406.
Go to source
Medizinische Studie
Deng, G., Lin, H., Seidman, A. et al. A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa(Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 135, 1215–1221 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-009-0562-z
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Kodama N, Komuta K, Nanba H. Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the activation of NK cells in cancer patients. J Med Food. 2003 Winter;6(4):371-7. doi: 10.1089/109662003772519949. PMID: 14977447.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Kodama N, Komuta K, Nanba H. Can maitake MD-fraction aid cancer patients? Altern Med Rev. 2002 Jun;7(3):236-9. PMID: 12126464.
Go to source
Medizinische Studie
15. Nanba, H., Kodama, N., Schar, D. et al. Effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) glucan in HIV-infected patients. Mycoscience 41, 293–295 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02463941
Go to source
Medizinische Studie
16. Chen JT, Tominaga K, Sato Y, Anzai H, Matsuoka R. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) extract induces ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a possible monotherapy and a combination therapy after failure with first-line clomiphene citrate. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Dec;16(12):1295-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0696. Epub 2010 Oct 29. PMID: 21034160.
Go to source
Medizinische Studie
Wesa, K.M., Cunningham-Rundles, S., Klimek, V.M. et al. Maitake mushroom extract in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS): a phase II study. Cancer Immunol Immunother 64, 237–247 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-014-1628-6
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Block KI, Mead MN. Immune system effects of echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus: a review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2003 Sep;2(3):247-67. doi: 10.1177/1534735403256419. PMID: 15035888.
Go to source
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