Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms (“dancing mushooms” in Japanese) are large delicious culinary mushrooms valued for their medicinal properties which have been extensively studied and largely confirmed by modern experimental science. Maitake has been shown (in animal studies) to increase the production of insulin as well as helping to normalize glucose levels. This double effect suggests the value of further experimentation in terms of using Maitake to assist humans that suffer from diabetes. Since Maitake lowers blood sugar levels people with low blood sugar should be careful not to take maitake without consultation with their health care professional.
Japanese scientists at Kobe Pharmaceutical University found evidence to suggest that Maitake mushrooms may inhibit lipid (fat) production and thereby lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels without lowering HDL (good cholesterol).
New York Medical College Department of Urology (Valhalla, N.Y.) recently conducted experiments wherein they isolated and grew hormone-resistant prostate cancer cells which they treated with purified beta glucan extracts from Maitake. After only 24 hours almost all the prostate cancer cells had died. Further experiments indicated that the kill rate of prostate cancer cells was enhanced by the addition of Vitamin C. With the addition of Vitamin C, the same results were achieved with one eighth the quantity of the beta gluten extract. This has been attributed to the high antioxidant effect of Vitamin C which may reverse the oxidative damage of free radicals.
Bladder cancer researchers (Gunma University, Japan) found that the ability of macrophages (powerful immune-system cells) to attack foreign cells was enhanced by medicinal mushrooms even in the presence of carcinogens that normally suppress macrophages’ ability to identify and destroy foreign cells. Maitake was found to be the most effective medicinal mushroom tested to eliminate the carcinogen (BBN) known to cause bladder cancer.
Maitake performed better than all other medicinal mushrooms tested in an animal study performed in Shizuoka University (Japan) in protecting the liver by detoxifying the gastrointestinal tract by eliminating bad bacteria that produce D-galactosamine which is associated with liver toxicity and inflammation.
Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science studied the behavior of a cytokine called interleukin II- 6 which effectively kills malignant tumor cells. Maitake stimulated interleukin II-6 production.
Much more research into the promising possibilities that Maitake holds for healing humans, is warranted by the results found thus far.