Maitake is a medicinal mushroom used in Japan as a general promoter of robust health. As with ]]>Coriolus versicolor]]> , ]]>shiitake]]> , and ]]>reishi]]> (all fungi), innumerable healing powers have been attributed to maitake, ranging from curing cancer to preventing heart disease. Unfortunately, there hasn't been enough reliable research yet to determine whether any of these ancient beliefs are really true.


What Is Maitake Used for Today?

Contemporary herbalists classify maitake as an adaptogen, a substance said to help the body adapt to stress]]> and resist infection (see the article on ]]>Ginseng]]> for further explanation about adaptogens). However, we lack definitive scientific evidence to show us that maitake (or any other purported adaptogen) really functions in this way.

Most investigation has focused on the polysaccharide constituents of maitake. This family of substances is known to affect the human immune system in complex ways, and one in particular, beta-D-glucan, has been studied for its potential benefit in treating ]]>cancer]]> and ]]>HIV]]> . ]]>1,2]]> Highly preliminary studies also suggest that maitake may be useful in treating ]]>diabetes]]> , ]]>hypertension]]> (high blood pressure), and ]]>high cholesterol]]> . ]]>3-4]]> However, there is no real evidence as yet that maitake is effective for these or any other illnesses.



Maitake is an edible mushroom that can be eaten as food or made into tea. A typical dosage of dried maitake in capsule or tablet form is 3 to 7 g daily.

Safety Issues

Maitake is widely believed to be safe, although formal safety studies have not been performed. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.