Back in the day, most western countries used mushrooms only for culinary purposes. Mushrooms are often paired with spaghetti, pizza, soup, and other delectable dishes to satisfy the cravings of starving food lovers. But thanks to recently published studies, many species of mushrooms are now used for medicinal purposes in countries like the United States, Canada, and most of Europe.
Shiitake is among the mushrooms found to exhibit medicinal properties. It is native to Japan, China, and Korea, where it has been cultivated for 2000 years, and is usually found on broadleaf trees. Shiitake mushroom is characterized by its brown color and umbrella-shaped cap that has gills underneath. It is on the list of most commonly cultivated mushrooms in the world—second only to the button mushroom—as many countries have started growing it commercially.
Before gaining popularity due to its medicinal properties, shiitake mushrooms were widely known as an appetizing side dish. In fact, they have been used as a staple alternative to meat in certain recipes, due to their meaty flesh. However, they need to be consumed as quickly as possible because they have a tendency to go bad pronto, usually within seven days of purchase.
What catapulted the shiitake mushroom into international stardom in the field of medicine is its active compound, Lentinan. Several studies have shown that Lentinan can bolster the functions of the immune system within normal ranges. In addition, shiitake is a rich source of calcium, phosphorous, vitamins and minerals, as well as certain amino acids that keep the body healthy. Taking shiitake mushroom extract regularly promotes a healthy immune system.
Before taking shiitake mushroom extract, however, it is advisable to seek the counsel of a medical professional first. Even though the mushroom and its extracts are considered safe, there have been reports on side effects, including allergic reactions to the skin, nose, throat, and lungs. Follow instructions on the label to steer clear of problems.
There are several suppliers of shiitake mushroom extract around. Be sure to choose reliable and trustworthy ones to get your money's worth. Go online for further info on shiitake and other medicinal mushrooms.
-These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.-
Mushroom World: Common Facts about Shiitake Mushrooms