Maitake Mushroom

Maitake Mushroom: Unveiling The Powerhouse Of Wellness

Mushrooms have become a major staple in the wellness community, with many utilizing the inherent benefits of fungi to improve their overall health or target certain areas of concern. One functional mushroom you may have heard of is the Maitake mushroom. Read on to find out what the Maitake mushroom is, what benefits it has to offer, and how you might incorporate it into your daily life. 

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The Definition: Maitake mushrooms are a fungus characterized by brown, shelf-like, wavy caps that grow on oak and maple trees. These mushrooms can be found throughout Japan, China, Europe, and North America.

The Process: Maitake is a relatively safe and versatile mushroom that can be prepared in any number of ways. It may be eaten fresh or prepared, taken as a supplement, or even concentrated into an extract.

How To Take: Doses will vary greatly depending on what type of product you’re using. Common doses tend to be around two grams daily.

History: The name Maitake means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese. This fungus was highly coveted in Feudal Japan and could be sold for a substantial amount of money. Hence, when people would stumble upon it, they would dance with joy.

The Breakdown: What Is A Maitake Mushroom?

Maitake mushrooms, scientifically known as Grifola frondosa, are highly esteemed mushrooms that have been cherished in traditional medicine for centuries. Also referred to in Japanese as the "dancing mushroom" due to the legend of people dancing with happiness upon finding it (other fun names include hen-of-the-woods and sheep head), the Maitake mushroom is native to Japan and other parts of Asia, but it can also be found throughout North America and Europe. This brown, shelf-like mushroom with wavy caps grows in clusters at the base of trees, predominantly oak trees and maples, throughout late summer to early autumn.


Why Are Maitake Mushrooms Important?

While Maitake mushrooms are quite edible, they also offer a wide range of potential health benefits, making them functional mushrooms that can be incorporated into your daily wellness regimen. Known most for being adaptogenic, Maitake mushrooms feature numerous beneficial compounds, including vitamin D, bioactive polysaccharides, and beta-glucan.


What is a Maitake Mushroom?


What Are The Benefits Of Maitake Mushrooms?

Immune System Support

Maitake mushrooms are believed to possess immune-boosting properties, assisting your body in defending against harmful pathogens. Its beta-glucan content has shown promising results in strengthening immune function.1

Antioxidant Richness

Loaded with antioxidants, Maitake mushrooms aid in combating oxidative stress and reducing cellular damage caused by free radicals. These powerful compounds may help promote overall well-being and healthy aging.2

Blood Sugar Regulation

Studies suggest that Maitake mushrooms may contribute to the regulation of blood sugar levels. Its active compounds may enhance insulin sensitivity and support glucose metabolism.3

Cardiovascular Health

The consumption of Maitake mushrooms has been associated with cardiovascular benefits. It may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and support heart health.4

Weight Management

Maitake mushrooms could potentially be a valuable tool in weight management efforts. Some research indicates that it may aid in appetite control and assist with maintaining a healthy body weight.5

Are There Any Downsides To Maitake Mushrooms?

While Maitake mushrooms offer numerous potential benefits and are relatively harmless, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe for everyone. Here are a few considerations to make prior to trying Maitake for yourself.

  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to mushrooms. If you have a known mushroom allergy, exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before consuming Maitake or any other mushroom-based products.
  • Blood Disorders: Maitake mushrooms might affect blood clotting and should be used with caution by individuals with bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications. 

What Are The Alternatives To Maitake Mushrooms?

If Maitake mushrooms are not suitable for your dietary needs or preferences, there are alternative options that can provide similar benefits. Consider incorporating the following mushrooms into your wellness regimen:

  • Shiitake Mushroom: Known for its immune-boosting and cardiovascular benefits, Shiitake mushrooms are widely available and can be a great alternative to Maitake mushrooms.
  • Reishi Mushroom: Renowned for its stress-reducing and sleep-enhancing properties, Reishi mushrooms are a popular choice among those seeking overall well-being and relaxation.
  • Lion's Mane Mushroom: Often utilized for its potential cognitive benefits and support for the nervous system, Lion's Mane mushrooms are an excellent choice for mental clarity and focus.

How Can You Take Maitake Mushroom?

There are several convenient and versatile ways to incorporate Maitake into your daily routine.

One popular option is to consume it in supplement form, which is often available as capsules, tablets, or powdered extracts. This allows for easy and precise dosing, making it suitable for those seeking a convenient and consistent intake of Maitake mushrooms.

Additionally, you can find Maitake in dried form, which can be rehydrated and used in various culinary creations. Incorporating fresh Maitake mushrooms into your meals is another delightful option, adding its unique flavor and texture to stir-fries, soups, or sautés. In fact, Maitake is said to have a woodsy, nutty flavor that’s sure to blend well with more savory dishes.

How Do You Prepare And Cook Maitake Mushrooms?

Preparing and cooking Maitake Mushrooms is a delightful experience that unlocks their full flavor potential. To begin…

  • Gently brush off any dirt or debris from the mushroom's surface. Avoid rinsing them under water, as they can absorb moisture and become soggy. 
  • Carefully separate the clusters of Maitake Mushroom into smaller sections, ensuring that they are of manageable size for cooking. 
  • Heat a skillet or pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil or butter. 
  • Once the oil is heated, place the mushroom pieces into the pan, ensuring they are evenly spread out. 
  • Cook for a few minutes on each side until they turn golden brown and become tender.
  • Season with salt, pepper, or other herbs and spices according to your preference. 
  • Eat them alone or add them to your favorite dish!

How Do You Source Quality Maitake Mushroom?

Sourcing quality Maitake mushrooms will depend entirely on what form you’re looking to incorporate into your daily routine. For example, if you plan on preparing fresh Maitake or even making your own supplements starting with fresh mushrooms, you’ll want to look for organic food stores in your area that have a good reputation and decent prices. 

If you want to purchase Maitake as a supplement, you’ll want to consider a wide range of factors as you shop. Some of the things to focus on include making sure you’re buying from reputable vendors, double-checking the source of the mushrooms and any lab tests, looking at customer reviews and feedback, and doing your due diligence to guarantee that you’re getting the right product.

Frequently Asked Questions About Maitake Mushrooms

Can Maitake Mushroom be consumed raw?

Maitake is generally consumed after cooking. While it is not harmful to consume raw, cooking helps enhance its flavor and makes it easier to digest.

Are there any specific dosage recommendations for Maitake Mushroom?

The optimal dosage of Maitake can vary depending on various factors, including the form of consumption and individual needs. It is advisable to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance. With all this in mind, common doses tend to hover around two grams daily.

Can pregnant or breastfeeding women consume Maitake Mushroom?

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should exercise caution when considering the consumption of Maitake. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into their diet.

Where can I find Maitake Mushroom?

Maitake is available in various forms, including fresh, dried, and powdered. It can be found in health food stores, specialized grocery stores, and online retailers.


  1. Vetvicka, V., & Vetvickova, J. (2014, February). Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (grifola frondosa) and shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts. Annals of translational medicine. 
  2. Yeh, J.-Y., Hsieh, L.-H., Wu, K.-T., & Tsai, C.-F. (2011, April 15). Antioxidant properties and antioxidant compounds of various extracts from the edible basidiomycete grifola frondosa (maitake). Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 
  3. Manohar V;Talpur NA;Echard BW;Lieberman S;Preuss HG; (n.d.). Effects of a water-soluble extract of maitake mushroom on circulating glucose/insulin concentrations in KK Mice. Diabetes, obesity & metabolism. 
  4. KABIR, Y., YAMAGUCHI, M., & KIMURA, S. (2009, April 28). Effect of shiitake (Lentinus Edodes) and Maitake (Grjfola frondosa) mushrooms on blood pressure and plasma lipids of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 
  5. Aranaz, P., Peña, A., Vettorazzi, A., Fabra, M. J., Martínez-Abad, A., López-Rubio, A., Pera, J., Parladé, J., Castellari, M., Milagro, F. I., & González-Navarro, C. J. (2021, November 7). grifola frondosa (maitake) extract reduces fat accumulation and improves health span in C. elegans through the DAF-16/foxo and SKN-1/nrf2 signalling pathways. Nutrients.