What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Maitake Usage

Written by FoundHealth, MRosenthal.

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Effect of Maitake on Melanoma

There are several factors that are believed to be the effects of Maitake on melanoma:

Stimulation of the immune system: Maitake has been show to stimulate Natural Killer (NK) cell activity (1)....

Read more about Melanoma and Maitake.

What Is Maitake Used for Today?

Maitake has been used in a number of ways to help treat a number of health conditions. 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). It has been shown to stimulate the immune system and hence has been used for that purpose in a variety of ways.

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 Preliminary studies also suggest that maitake may be useful in treating diabetes , hypertension (high blood pressure), and high cholesterol . 2

Uses in Health Challenges

Cancer: There are over 100 studies and a lot of clinical and patient evidence that suggest that Maitake may be helpful in killing cancer, and stopping its spread. It is believed that the main action of Maitake that helps fight cancer come from beta-glucan in the mushroom which has the ability to stimulate certain parts of your immune system that your body uses to fight cancer. Maitake has been shown to have a more positive effect on some cancers than others, which you can read about below.

Melanoma: Maitake has been used in the treatment of melanoma because form of cancer tends to repond more than others to stimulation of your body’s immune system. For example, one study performed on mice showed that in mice who were exposed to melanoma tumors, 90% fewer of those given Maitake-D Fraction extract did not develop tumors. Read more about Maitake and melanoma.

Leukemia: Maitake has been used in the treatment of Leukemia and some people believe there is a positive effect. However, more importantly, one study suggests that when patients take Maitake-D Fraction at the same time they are receiving chemotherapy may double the effectiveness of the chemotherapy.

Diabetes: In animal studies, Maitake-D Fraction extracts have been reported to lower blood sugar levels. Little is know about the exact mechanism in Maitake that effects the blood sugar levels. However, some people with Diabetes have used it to help regulate their blood sugar levels.

Common Cold: Because Maitake may help to stimulate the immune system, some people have used it as a preventative measure to avoid catching the common cold. Additionally, others have used Maitake to reduce the duration of the cold once it has been caught.

How To Use It: Maitake can be taken in many ways. Since Maitake itself is a mushroom, it can be eaten directly. It can also be ground up into a powder and mixed with other foods. There is no evidence as to whether eating the mushrooms whole vs. powder makes a difference. On one hand, you may be able to eat a higher quantity of the mushroom by taking it in powder form. On the other hand, some people believe that eating the whole, unprocessed mushroom increases its effectiveness. Check out the Article “Powders vs. Whole Food Supplements” to learn more about the differences. Generally speaking however, it is believed that you need to either eat 4 grams of mushrooms or one tablespoon of power a day, to allow for a positive, medicinal effect.


  1. Yamada Y, Nanba H, Kuroda H. Antitumor effect of orally administered extracts from fruit body of Grifola frondosa (maitake). Chemotherapy. 1990;38:790-796.
  2. Kubo K, Nanba H. Anti-hyperliposis effect of maitake fruit body (Grifola frondosa). I. Biol Pharm Bull. 1997;20:781-785.


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