Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is commonly known as Hen of the Woods or the Dancing Mushroom. It was highly valued in Japanese and Chinese traditional medicine for the support of the immune system.* During Japan’s feudal era, Maitake was used as currency; the daimyo, or provincial nobles, would exchange Maitake for its weight in silver from the shogun, the military ruler of Japan.
This is a perennial fungus that grows in the same place year after year, if undisturbed. It is prolific in the northeastern deciduous forests of North America and Japan. As an edible mushroom, it has an interesting texture and earthy flavor. Fresh and dried Maitake mushrooms are now readily available in larger supermarkets. A mushroom goes through many stages during its life cycle, just like any plant or animal. Each part of a mushroom has unique attributes that support wellness and serve a different purpose for the organism, but it’s the fruiting bodies that receive the most attention and are the most familiar. Fruiting bodies emerge from the substrate on which they grow — such as trees or fallen logs — to become the part of the mushroom we recognize. They’re the above-ground part that we can see when we walk through the woods, and they’re also what have been traditionally foraged and consumed, in food and supplements.
The fruiting bodies of this mushroom contain polysaccharides, specifically a type called beta-glucans, which have been studied to support immune health and overall wellness, as well as normal, healthy cell growth and turnover.* The fruiting body extracts we use contain these polysaccharides, without unnecessary fillers or starches.
Maitake promotes cellular health for immune support by providing building blocks for metabolic activity; it also offers synergistic support for other Mushrooms.*
Multiple clinical trials have been conducted on Maitake extracts for support of immune function, healthy blood sugar metabolism, a healthy inflammatory response and antioxidant properties.* Several species, long used in traditional herbalism, have been the subject of modern research for their ability to support the immune system.*
Uses of Maitake
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.