The Amazing Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake are mushrooms native to East Asia that have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal purposes. They are frequently used in many Asian cuisines as they are very sweet tasting and are the second most commonly produced edible mushroom in the world.

For years, shiitake mushroom cultivation was kept out of the US because of a misunderstanding about a key ingredient in the mushroom being potentially damaging to railroad ties. After further study, around 1970 shiitake farming was introduced in America. Those grown in the US are grown on sawdust blocks and in Asia they are grown on logs. Most people cannot tell a difference until a taste test is administered, at which point most determine that Asian-grown are far more delicious.

The ancient Chinese believe that those who eat the shiitake mushroom will have a long and prosperous life ahead of them. Scientists have actually proven this to be true. They have discovered that along with being rich in vitamins, the herb also contains compounds which help lower cholesterol and stops the spread of tumors and certain types of cancer. In this sense the Chinese were right - the mushroom can help a person live longer.

Benefits of Shiitake:

The shiitake mushroom has so many benefits that can be vital to helping someone live longer. Not only can it help fight cancer, but it also has many benefits that most people don’t realize. This herb can help in all of the following

  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Prevent Tumors
  • Help Destroy Cancer (including Hepatoma, Sarcoma and Carcinoma)
  • Fight Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease and Macular Degeneration
  • Help Treat Hepatitis B and AIDS
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals (ex. Vitamins B and C, protein, fiber, etc.)

With so many obvious benefits, it’s hard to imagine not incorporating these magic mushrooms into your healthy diet plan. There are many shiitake mushroom recipes that mimic any other type of mushroom in use and application. They can be used in Italian dishes and a variety of Asian dishes as well.


There are little cautions that should be taken with the shiitake mushroom. Pregnant women should consult a physician before taking a shiitake supplement as it can lead to diarrhea. Finally, aside from a mushroom allergy there shouldn’t be any problems with eating shiitake as part of a healthy diet.

Where and how to buy Shiitake

Shiitake supplements can be purchased at many vitamin and health stores online. Remember that it is always best to consult your physician before beginning to take a new supplement. Fresh shiitake mushrooms can be bought at your local fresh markets and grocery stores. Try to assure that they are organically grown, if possible. If you are interested in growing your own shiitake, some internet suppliers offer kits that allow you to grow your own mushrooms with relative ease. If you are looking for the best tasting and highest quality herb grow them on logs instead of sawdust blocks. Shiitake cultivation can take several months to years for the mushrooms to appear so be prepared for long waiting periods before herb initially appears.

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