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Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms

Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms

The health benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms are profound and are most well-known for their amazing healing qualities.

But they're also great for...

• Immune System

• High Cholesterol

• High Blood Pressure

• Cancer

• Thrombosis

We offer an advanced supplement containing Shiitake Mushrooms and other powerful healing herbs in our Nutra Immune. Click here to learn more.

Botanical Description & Habitat

Lentinus edodes


Common Names
Shitake mushroom

Medicinal Plant
Whole plant

A new derivative is also making an appearance: Lentinan, derived from the cell wall.

Historical Properties & Uses

The shiitake mushroom has traditional been a food item in the Orient. It has been viewed not so much as a medicine as a staple. Recently, however, shitake has come to the fore as an anti-tumor agent.

Method of Action

Shiitake has Excellent Anti-Cancer Activity
The big story on shitake revolves around indications of excellent anti-cancer properties. Lentinan, a beta 1-3 linked glucan
polysaccharide (molecular weight = 1,000,000), has been found to inhibit tumor growth in mice (i.e. injections produced 80% reduction in tumor size, or complete regression). In accordance with modern directions in herbal medicine, the cytotoxic effect of this shitake component comes about as the result of immunostimulation, not from any direct effect on the tumor cells.

Lentinan activates macrophages, through stimulating complement by the alternative pathway, inhibiting the growth of tumor cells (as determined
in vitro tests). It is postulated that lentinan acts directly, or specifically, by activating IL-1 secretion which helps to trigger T lymphocytes, and indirectly, or non-specifically, through macrophage activity. Shitake is also credited with stimulating interferon production.

Administered along with cancer drugs such as cyclocytidine, Shitake significantly inhibited the toxic immunosuppressive effect of the drugs. Lentinan also restores impaired
enzyme activity of X-proline-dipeptidyl-aminopeptidase in human serum of patients with gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, leukemia, lymphosarcoma, Hodgkin's disease, and others.

Eritadenine, and
purinealkaloid from shitake, is similar to the nucleotides. In animal studies it has hypocholesterolemic activity.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Shiitake has anticoagulant components and inhibits platelet aggregation.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD.
Herbal Medicines A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996:21,45,63,282.


Safety Factors & Toxicity

Shitake is nontoxic in therapeutic doses.

Preparation & Administration

No exact dosage for shitake has been established. Since it is a mushroom, it may be freely used as a food item. For proprietary products, recommend following manufacturers' directions.


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Nutra Immune

Nutra Immune was formulated with natural products clinically shown to strengthen the body's own defense mechanisms.

Both Astragalus and Shiitake Mushrooms have shown promising immune modulating potential.

Oleuropein, found in olive leaves, is a powerful germ killer.

Green Tea contains antioxidant compounds, which may slow the growth of abnormal cells.

Grapefruit Seed Extract has antimicrobial properties, which battle both gram-negative and gram-positive organisms.

Beta Glucan activates macrophages, the immune system's primary defense.

Nutra Immune immune system support

Nutra Immune






Bomford, R. & C. Moreno. Mechanisms of the anti-tumor effect of glucans and fructosans: a comparison with c. parvum. British J of Cancer, 36, 41, 1977.

Chihara, G., Y.Y. Maeda, et.al. Inhibition of mouse sarcoma 180 by polysaccharides from lentinus edodes. Nature, 222, 687, 1969.

Facts and Comparisons. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. May, 1997.

Fruehaug, J., G. Bonnard & R. Herberman. Effect of lentinan on production of interleukin-1 by human monocytes. Immunopharmacology, 5, 65, 1982.

Kamiya, T., Saito, Y., et.al. Tetrahedron, 28, 899, 1972.

Kato, T., et.al. Reduction of serum X-propyl dipeptidyl-aminopeptidase activity in tumor-bearing mice and reversal of reduced enzyme activity by lentinan, an anti-tumor polysaccharide. Experientia, 35(3), 409, 1979.

Maeda, Y.Y. & G. Chihara. The effects of neonatal thymectomy on the antitumor activity of lentinan, carboymethylpachymaran and zymosan, and their effects on various immune responses. Interntnl J of Cancer, 11, 153, 1973.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996:21,45,63,282.

Okuda, T., T. Yoshioka, et.al. Anti-complementary activity of anti-tumor polysaccharides. Nature, New Biol., 238, 59, 1972.

Rokujo, T., H. Kikuchi, et.al. Life Sci., 9, 379, 1970.

Suzuki, R., et.al. Antiviral and interferon-inducing activities of a new peptidomannan, KS-2, extracted from culture mycelia of lentinus edodes. Journal of Antibiotics, 32, 1336, 1979.

Tokuzen, R. & M. Okabe. Combined effect of cyclocytidine and lentinan on spontaneous mammary tumors in mice. Gann, 67, 327, 1976.