Lentinula edodes

Lentinula edodes
Lentinula edodes


Shiitake was mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine texts as far back as 2000 years ago, and the early beginning of its cultivation in 1000 A.D. is a clear sign of the high value attached to this mushroom. Also known as “king of the mushrooms”, Shiitake not only remains an important means of promoting health to this day, but it is also the second most popular edible mushroom, after the button mushroom. Its component lentinan is one of what’s known as the biological response modifiers, which are efficient stimulators within the immune system.

Applications tested in practice

• Boosting the immune system

Shiitake components display pronounced antimicrobial effects for abnormal bacterial colonisation of the intestine, the bowel-related immune defence mechanism is strengthened. The growth of probiotic bifidobacteria and lactobacteria is not affected by Shiitake, so it can also be taken to cleanse the bowel.

• Support in overcoming bacterial and viral infections

The Shiitake component lentinan improves the distribution of immunoglobulin IgA on the surface of the mucous membrane, boosts the formation of T cells, and intensifies the cytotoxic effect of macrophages against pathogenic germs. The benefit of this medicinal mushroom lies in overcoming infection.

• Regulation of the lipometabolism

The Shiitake substance eritadenine’s inhibiting influence over the linoleic acid metabolism in the liver cells could be responsible for the cholesterol-reducing effect observed. However, the triglyceride content in the blood is not altered by eritadenine.

• Prevention of and complementary therapy for osteoporosis and rheumatic illnesses

Shiitake is rich in minerals and vitamins, which are important among other things for the healthy functioning of joints and connective tissue. The cartilage structures benefit in particular from the amino acids contained. Shiitake provides plenty of vitamin D for a good calcium supply to the body.

• Tumour inhibition and prevention

A direct inhibiting effect on tumour cells is particularly attributed to the Shiitake polysaccharide lentinan. What’s more, tumour patients benefit from the boost in the immune system, which helps the organism to overcome the illness and counteract a possible relapse.

Other names

Shii-take, Lentinula edodes, Chinese black mushroom, shaingugu, hua gu, qua gu, dried mushroom, forest mushroom, oak mushroom, oakwood mushroom


Shiitake grows wild exclusively in Asia and is a popular edible mushroom there. Today, it is cultivated almost worldwide.

Special features

Shiitake has generated interest in conventional medicine with its component lentinan. This polysaccharide is used with great success in the complementary treatment of tumour disorders.
The information on this page is of a general nature. It does not represent any advice for individual cases regarding the use of the individual medicinal mushrooms and is also unable to replace such advice. Please always discuss the consumption of medicinal mushrooms for preventative or therapeutic purposes with your treating doctor or alternative practitioner.