This mushroom really is a remedy for the future, with clinical studies showing extraordinary effects on Cancer and HIV. Although the use of Maitake in herbal remedies has actually been quite limited up until now, prepare to see its active ingredients in many more prescription drugs from now on.
Native to Northeast Japan, Maitake mushrooms have only recently been organically cultivated in large scale. Crops have been small and modern farming methods have destroyed much of the goodness found in the herb. Now however, Japanese farmers have recognized the enormous potential of the plant and we are starting to see greater quantities leaving Japan for alternative health stores around the world.
Maitake is a large fungus found in the mountainous regions of Northeast Japan. Its value has long been recognized – the name Maitake (‘dancing mushroom’) comes from its ancient use as currency. The story goes that upon receipt of a payment of Maitake, which had the same pound-for-pound value as silver, the recipient would dance a small jig of happiness!
Maitake is usually found at the base of large trees, and is recognizable by its brown, overlapping caps. It is often known as ‘Hen of the Woods’ or the ‘Chicken Mushroom’, and has a long history in both Japanese and Chinese herbal medicine.
Maitake has long been known as a powerful immune booster and liver protector. Yet these benefits are sure to be eclipsed by new research into the herb’s potential use for sufferers of cancer, MS and even HIV.
In clinical trials, Maitake has been found to increase the effectiveness of 3 crucial elements of the immune system – T-cells, NK-cells and macrophages – by between 140% and 200%. This means more resistance to disease and infections. Importantly, this also means that your body has more strength to fight the formation of cancer cells. In mice, tumor formation was reduced by almost 90%!
In practice, Maitake is most often taken after surgery for removal of the cancer. It prevents tumors from growing back and can also relieve some of the side effects of chemotherapy, like hair loss and nausea.
Similarly, Maitake helps HIV sufferers by increasing the potency of their immune system. Certain types of illness and cancer that often affect these patients can be alleviated with regular doses of Maitake. Of course, this should not be a substitute for the course of treatment that your doctor recommends.
Maitake is a regular feature in some local Japanese cuisine. As a relatively flavorless mushroom, it has never gained the popularity of Enoki or Shiitake mushrooms, however its health benefits do see it included in many dishes.
Maitake is always taken orally. It can be eaten in its original form as a mushroom, but most scientific tests focus on Maitake ‘D-fraction’, a purified form available online and from a New Jersey, US based manufacturer. Maitake is generally a safe substance to take, however always check with your doctor before starting a course.