Maitake mushroom growing out of a log in the forest surrounded by moss

Maitake translates to dancing mushroom in Japanese. Yep, according to Japanese folklore, those who came across a Maitake mushroom in the wild would start dancing with happiness! And with its potential to boost immunity, fertility and overall wellbeing – heck; we’d start dancing, too. 

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is a good looking ‘shroom. It spurts out of the forest floor as a series of frilly, brown caps. Some say it resembles a bird’s plumage – also coining the name “hen of the woods” in Europe and North America. But Maitake is not just a pretty face – it’s astoundingly useful. 

So, let’s explore the Maitake mushroom benefits the only way we know how – through scientific research. 

5 Benefits Of Maitake Mushroom

Maitake mushroom has all the good stuff. It’s a rich source of Beta-glucans, polysaccharides, fibre, amino acids, Vitamin D and more. And this combination is a powerhouse for health and wellbeing. 

Maitake To Boost Female Fertility

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects 8 to 13% of young women. It has several long-term risks – one of them being infertility. Incredibly, an early study into Maitake mushroom saw that it could be used on its own or in combination with traditional PCOS medicine. 

The PCOS study found that after 3 months, the 26 women who took Maitake mushroom on its own had a fertility rate of 76.9%. Perhaps what’s more remarkable – 15 subjects failed to respond to either Maitake mushroom and traditional medicine. But when given the two in combination, 100% of the failed Maitake group ovulated and 75% of the traditional medicine group ovulated! A hopeful sign for using traditional medicine in combination with Maitake mushrooms.

A close up image of Maitake mushroom growing out of a forest log surrounded by moss and lichen

Maitake To Lower Cholesterol 

It’s no secret that high cholesterol can lead to significant health problems, like heart attack and stroke. But the good news is that a 2013 study found that a daily dose of Maitake lowered cholesterol levels in mice. As a result, scientists are now proposing that Maitake may have similar benefits in humans – although, as with much of the mushroom research out there, more work needs to be done.

Maitake May Suppress Cancer

Many believe that Maitake mushrooms can prevent and suppress cancer cells. And when compared with other medicinal mushrooms, Maitake is one of the most effective at inhibiting tumour growth. 

Maitake D-Fraction refers to a highly purified, bioactive extract of beta-glucans found in Maitake – and it’s been used to boost immunity in cancer patients. Research suggests these beta-glucans help to activate your body’s defences by increasing the activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells. Though MD-Fraction has largely been researched in animal and test-tube studies, it does offer a promising sign for humans.  

Maitake mushroom on a wooden chopping board, about to be used in food

Maitake To Lower Blood Sugar

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body isn’t able to effectively use insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels. A study in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology looked at mice with a strain of type 2 diabetes and found that a polysaccharide molecule in Maitake called MT-alpha-glucan had an anti-diabetic effect.

This molecule is believed to increase insulin sensitivity (the body’s ability to effectively use glucose) and decrease insulin resistance (when your body doesn’t respond well to insulin). Researchers suggested that this is a positive sign for the management of diabetes – keep a sharp lookout as more human studies emerge. 

Maitake Tastes Dang Delicious

Maitake mushrooms are light, flavourful and a little earthy. Unlike other medicinal mushrooms, which are consumed for their function rather than flavour – Maitake tastes delightful. Chefs go to great lengths to get their hands on them – but the good news is you don’t have to be a star in the kitchen to cook them. They’re incredibly easy! Try them sautéed, fried or roasted (and thank us later).

Cooked Maitake mushroom in a white bowl, a Japanese meal 

Side Effects Of Maitake Mushroom

As a consumer, you deserve the full story on Maitake mushies. Though Maitake shows enormous potential to heal the mind and body, there are some potential side effects to consider. If you’re going out to forage for your own Maitake, first of all, good on you! And second of all, older Maitake is usually a little bit tougher – so it may be difficult to digest. Younger Maitake is a better option (and if you’re unsure – visit our shop where we source your supplements for you). 

If you’re diabetic, keep in mind that Maitake can affect your blood sugar levels, so it’s best to avoid taking Maitake supplements until you run it past your doctor.

All that being said – Maitake is an incredibly safe and well-tolerated mushroom to consume. 

How To Take Maitake Mushroom

If you want to get creative in the kitchen, why not source fresh Maitake mushroom and cook up a storm? But that might not be everyone’s cup of tea – so another way you reap the benefits of Maitake is through Maitake Mushroom Powder and Maitake Liquid Extract. Add them to your smoothie, coffee or main meal. We recommend taking: 

  • ½ a teaspoon of Maitake powder daily, or
  • 2 ml of Maitake liquid extract daily

Here at Natura Mushrooms, we use a combination of hot water extraction and alcohol extraction to draw out the benefits of Maitake.