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Maitake Mushroom: A Fungi with a Fascinating Past and Promising Future

Maitake mushroom, also known as Grifola frondosa or the "dancing mushroom," has long been a staple in traditional Eastern medicine and cuisine. With its rich history and nutrient profile, it's no wonder that maitake mushroom supplements have gained popularity in recent years. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of maitake mushrooms, explore their nutritional content, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this captivating fungus.

History of Maitake Mushroom

The maitake mushroom's history can be traced back thousands of years, particularly in China and Japan, where it was highly valued for its unique flavor and potential health benefits. The name "maitake" means "dancing mushroom" in Japanese, and it is said to have earned this nickname because people would dance with joy upon discovering this precious fungus in the wild.

Maitake mushrooms have also played a significant role in traditional Chinese medicine, where they were believed to have various medicinal properties. However, due to its scarcity in the wild, only the wealthiest individuals and members of royalty could afford to enjoy this coveted mushroom.

As cultivation techniques improved over time, maitake mushrooms became more widely available, allowing more people to enjoy its unique taste and potential benefits. Nowadays, maitake mushrooms are not only enjoyed as a culinary delight but are also available in supplement form, making it easier than ever to incorporate this ancient fungus into our daily lives.

Nutrients of Maitake Mushroom

Maitake mushrooms contain an impressive array of nutrients that contribute to their unique properties. Some of the key nutrients found in maitake mushrooms include:

- Vitamins: Maitake mushrooms are an excellent source of several vitamins, including B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins play a crucial role in energy production, brain function, and maintaining healthy skin.

-Minerals: Maitake mushrooms are also contain essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals are vital for maintaining healthy bones, nerve function, and muscle health.

-Dietary Fiber: Like other mushrooms, maitake is a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and supports a healthy gut microbiome.

-Antioxidants: Maitake mushrooms contain various antioxidants, such as ergothioneine and selenium, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

-Beta-Glucans: Maitake is particularly well-known for its high concentration of beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide that has been the subject of extensive research for its potential health-promoting properties.

Maitake is found at the base of old oak trees but has been located on linden, sweet chestnut, and beech trees also. This genus occurs in the temperate climate zones but is often overlooked due to its camouflage colouring. It’s fruiting body can grow from 20 to 60cm in size and can weigh 10kg or more.

Maitake Mushroom

What does maitake mushroom taste like?

Maitake mushroom has a unique, earthy taste with a slightly nutty flavor. Its texture is often described as tender and slightly chewy, making it a popular choice for culinary dishes, especially in stir-fries and soups.

How do you use maitake mushroom supplements?

Maitake mushroom supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and extracts. To use these supplements, follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage instructions. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications.

How do you store maitake mushrooms?

Fresh maitake mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag or wrapped in a damp paper towel inside the refrigerator. They should be consumed within a week for the best taste and quality. Dried maitake mushrooms can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Can I grow maitake mushrooms at home?

Yes, it is possible to grow maitake mushrooms at home using specialized kits or inoculated logs. The process requires specific conditions, such as appropriate temperature, humidity, and light, to ensure successful growth. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the supplier to maximize the chances of cultivating healthy maitake mushrooms.

Are maitake mushrooms safe to consume?

Maitake mushrooms are generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or digestive discomfort. If you are pregnant, nursing, or have a pre-existing medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before adding maitake mushrooms to your diet.


Maitake mushrooms have a rich history in traditional medicine and an impressive nutritional profile, which has garnered significant interest in the wellness industry. As a versatile ingredient in culinary dishes and a popular supplement, maitake mushroom continues to capture the attention of researchers and health enthusiasts alike. While we’ve answered some of the top questions about this intriguing fungus, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s needs and experiences may vary. Consult with a healthcare professional before adding maitake mushroom supplements to your routine and enjoy the unique taste and potential benefits that this natural product has to offer.

Bioactive compounds of maitake mushrooms

Maitake Mushrooms contain the following nutritional values: protein 41%, carbohydrates 26%, fiber 15.5%, minerals 9%, and fat 8%. The content of various B vitamins is remarkable as within 100g of dried Maitake a significant percentage of the recommended daily requirement for an adult is met: 75% of B5, 25% of B1, and two or three times the recommended requirement of B2 and B3. In addition, Maitake also contains a significant amount of Vitamin D.

Maitake mushroom side effects

Although no complications or negative side effects have been reported, in rare cases an upset stomach can be experienced.

Maitake supplements / capsules

Maitake is an edible mushroom, available in various supplement forms due to its safe and simple cultivation. Supplements are largely available in capsule or liquid form but also in mixtures of whole dried mushrooms. When choosing your supplement, it is advised to not only focus on the concentration of the product but also on the bioavailability of the product.

Is maitake mushroom safe to use?

Maitake is generally considered safe to use; however, due to its blood thinning and lowering blood sugar qualities, Maitake may interact with medications prescribed for diabetes and high blood pressure. It is always advised to discuss taking any Maitake supplement with your GP or health professional if you have any medical conditions.

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