ShiitakeThe shiitake mushroom is native to Asia, where they’ve seen for centuries as a delicacy. But nowadays this delicacy is available almost worldwide. There exist writings found in China dating back to the time of the Song dynasty (960-1279) in which the cultivation of the shiitake mushroom is described. The shiitake is traditionally grown on logs but nowadays in the commercial cultivation they use also all kinds of wood substrates to grow the mushrooms on.
Besides that the shiitake is considered a delicacy, it also possesses many medicinal properties that have been in use for centuries in Asia. They use the shiitake for example in China and Japan to treat flu and common colds. The extensive anti-viral properties of the shiitake mushroom are extensively documented. The shiitake mushroom counteracts infections like herpes simplex1, HIV (Aids) and influenza (the flu).
Gills of shiitakeExtracts of the mycelium of shiitake, the roots, have very strong anti-tumor properties . They make the controlled death of cells in a tumor happen.
In the Netherlands, the shiitake is for sale in most supermarkets as fresh or dried mushrooms. The dried shiitake, which contains a stronger taste, are often used in Asian cuisine to give flavour to soups. The easiest way to prepare the fresh mushrooms is to fry them whole. Do this on high heat with the lid on the pan to retain most of the flavours. The mushrooms will get boiled in their own moisture and their taste will become more meat-like. The fried shiitake mushroom is a good base for preparing many dishes. By adding them to a dish such as steamed rice or vegetables you’ll create a flavourful and healthy meal.
A medicinal mushroom that is considered a delicacy doesn’t seem such a bad idea to put on your shopping list occasionally, some reasons summed up:
  • Shiitake has an antibacterial effect.
  • Shiitake helps in fighting the Candida fungus.
  • Shiitake is effective in the treatment of tumors.
  • Shiitake has an antiviral effect with infections like Herpes simplex1, HIV and influenza.
  • Shiitake can lower your blood pressure.
  • Shiitake has a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar level.
  • Shiitake stimulates the immune system, it causes an increased production of white blood cells. This leads to the discharge of waste at cellular level.
  • Shiitake acts as a tonic for the liver and the kidneys.
  • Shiitake is effective against various forms of cancer, such as breast, liver, skin and prostate cancer.
  • Shiitake is a good source of B vitamins.
  • Shiitake is a good source of selenium, of which we often have a deficiency in the Western diet.
  • Shiitake that has been laying upside down in the sun is a very good source of vitamin D.
  • Shiitake contains lentinan, This substance has been in use since 1985 in Japan, they give to patients who are treated for stomach cancers. This substance activates the immune system of the patient and lets the body produce more white blood cells.
  • Shiitake contains eritadenine. The cholesterol-lowering effect of this substance has been known for a long time. It effects the fatty acid metabolism in the liver. Eritadenine also has a strong antiviral activity.

Different names for the shiitake mushroom