Shiitake : What are the benefits of this medicinal mushroom ?

Joaquim A | 01 May 2022
Reading time : about 3 minutes
Shiitake :  What are the benefits of this medicinal mushroom ?

    What are other names for Shiitake ?

    Shiitake is also known as Lentinula edodes, Oak Lentinula and Xiang gu.

    How do you recognize this medicinal mushroom ?

    Shiitake can be identified by :

    • its way of life : it grows on the trunk of trees;
    • a cap : brown, rounded, rolled and fleshy;
    • thin, white and tight blades under the cap;
    • a foot : white and fluffy ;
    • a flesh : white and fleshy.

    Where can I find this mushroom ?

    Shiitake is easily found in all types of forests, preferably in areas with a temperate and humid climate.

    Is this mushroom edible ?

    The Shiitake is a mushroom that is very appreciated for its melting flesh that has a slight nutty taste. But be careful, Shiitake should be eaten in small quantities and always well cooked. Raw or badly cooked, this mushroom is toxic.

    What are the traditional uses of this mushroom ?

    From the Japanese "Shii" : variety of chestnut tree, and "take" : mushroom. This mushroom is a lignicolous species. The first consumption of this mushroom dates back to the Chinese Han dynasty (206 BC - 220). In the year 199, a specimen of this mushroom was offered to the Japanese emperor Chuai who was visiting China.

    At the beginning of the first millennium, the traditional Chinese culture is realized on logs in the middle of the forest. It is in the Middle Ages that the perfection and the generalization of the traditional culture of Shiitake takes place in China. This knowledge will be transmitted to the Japanese people at the end of the Middle Ages. During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Wang Cheng described the techniques of Shiitake production. The medicinal properties of Shiitake are described in many writings of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), including the " Ben Cao Gang Mu " by Li Shi Zhen. Shiitake is described as a remedy to treat digestive disorders. It was not until 1970 that American and European interest was aroused.

    What are the properties and medicinal virtues of Shiitake ?

    Shiitake has many medicinal virtues :

    • stimulates the immune system ;
    • helps to fight infections and inflammations (of the mouth);
    • helps to normalize the cholesterol level in the blood;
    • helps normalize blood pressure.

    What are the side effects of Lentinula edodes ?

    Shiitake can be responsible for very severe allergic reactions in the skin (called flagellar dermatitis or toxidermia). This reaction occurs after eating too much Shiitake, badly cooked or raw.

    What precautions should be taken before using this mushroom ?

    This mushroom should not be used :

    • in pregnant women;
    • in breast-feeding women;
    • in elderly people;
    • in children.
    Published on 01 May 2022 at 10:15
    Updated on 12 May 2022 at 09:48

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    Joaquim A

    Joaquim A

    Web Editor

    I have a great passion for nature. I trained as a pharmacist, during which time I acquired a certain amount of knowledge. It is now time to use this knowledge by sharing it with as many people as possible.