What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Shiitake Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

What Is Shiitake Used for Today?

As yet, there are no proposed uses of shiitake mushroom or shiitake mushroom extracts that are supported by reliable scientific evidence.

Current investigation of shiitake focuses primarily on the potential immune-stimulating and anti-cancer effects of some its constituents, most prominently lentinan (LNT), a polysaccharide substance in the beta-glucan family. Limited evidence from case reports and highly preliminary human studies hints that use of intravenously injected, purified lentinan might enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy for stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer. 1 2 3 Note: Do not attempt to inject lentinan products designed for oral use.

One study found hints that oral lentinan might reduce recurrence rates of genital warts following laser surgery. 4 Extremely weak evidence hints that lentinan might have immune stimulating 5 6 7 and liver protective effects. 8 In an animal study, lentinan reduced risk of colon cancer in mice with ulcerative colitis . 9 One study failed to find oral shiitake extract helpful for treatment of prostate cancer. 10


  1. Matsuoka H, Seo Y, Wakasugi H, Saito T, Tomoda H. Lentinan potentiates immunity and prolongs the survival time of some patients. Anticancer Res. 17(4A):2751-5.
  2. Nimura H, Mitsumori N, Takahashi N, et al. S-1 combined with lentinan in patients with unresectable or recurrent gastric cancer]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2006;33(suppl 1):106-109.
  3. Fujimoto K, Tomonaga M, Goto S. A case of recurrent ovarian cancer successfully treated with adoptive immunotherapy and lentinan. Anticancer Res. 26(6A):4015-8.
  4. Guangwen Y, Jianbin Y, Dongqin L, et al. Immunomodulatory and therapeutic effects of lentinan in treating condyloma acuminata. CJIM. 1999;5:190-192.
  5. Wang J, Zhou ZD, Xia DJ. [Study on effect of lentinan in enhancing anti-tumor action of dendritic cytoma vaccine and its mechanism] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 27(1):60-4.
  6. Markova N, Kussovski V, Drandarska I, et al. Protective activity of Lentinan in experimental tuberculosis. Int Immunopharmacol. 2003;3:1557-1562.
  7. Kupfahl C, Geginat G, Hof H. Lentinan has a stimulatory effect on innate and adaptive immunity against murine Listeria monocytogenes infection. Int Immunopharmacol. 6(4):686-96.
  8. Akamatsu S, Watanabe A, Tamesada M, Nakamura R, Hayashi S, Kodama D, Kawase M, Yagi K. Hepatoprotective effect of extracts from Lentinus edodes mycelia on dimethylnitrosamine-induced liver injury. Biol Pharm Bull. 27(12):1957-60.
  9. Mitamura T, Sakamoto S, Suzuki S, Yoshimura S, Maemura M, Kudo H. Effects of lentinan on colorectal carcinogenesis in mice with ulcerative colitis. Oncol Rep. 7(3):599-601.
  10. deVere White RW, Hackman RM, Soares SE, Beckett LA, Sun B. Effects of a mushroom mycelium extract on the treatment of prostate cancer. Urology. 60(4):640-4.


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