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Maitake is often referred to as the “hen of the woods” due to its exceptional taste. It was so sought- that it was used as a form of currency, at one point in history. It is not only delicious, but has many health benefits due to being rich in amino-acids, beta-glucans, and vitamin C.
Inside the mushroom
Straight from the Source
or Grifola frondosa, is a perennial fungus that grows prolifically in cool deciduous forests throughout northern japan and North America. It has long been celebrated for both its culinary appeal and reported medical qualities.
Medicinal use of maitake dates back to the Han Dynasty (206-210 CE) where it was used to boost Qi, calm the mind and improve the health of internal organs.
During the Japan’s feudal era, maitake was so valued that it was used as currency. The provincial nobles would exchange maitake for its weight in silver from the shogun.
Maitake did not become available to the mass market until the 1990s with the invention of artificial mushroom cultivation on enriched sawdust. Now it can be found in supermarkets around the world.
Maitake grows slower than many other types of mushrooms, and it might take up to 6 months after inoculated before it begins products fruiting bodies. The flesh inside should be white and firm, and they should always be harvested on the early side while they are tender, as they can get woody and bitter when they’re more mature.
The fruiting body grows from an underground, potato-sized structure, knows as a sclerotium. It grows in a cluster consisting of multiple grayish-brown caps with wavy margins that can be as large as 40 inches.
Maitake means dancing mushroom in Japanese, named such because commoners would dance for joy when they found the mushroom due to its extreme value during feudal Japan.
The fruiting body of Maitake is particularly high in vitamin C, which is why it has been used to treat cold and flu viruses.
Maitake has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, for a variety of remedies including nerve pain, arthritis, and as a general treatment of immune stimulation.
Other Potential Health Benefits of Maitake*:
- Regulate blood glucose levels
- Reduce LDL cholesterol
- Bolster your immune system
- Improve heart health
- Reduce inflammation
Native to China, North American, & Europe.
In conclusion, we included the “king of mushrooms” in our Daily 8 because it is loaded with vitamin C and has been shown to enhance the production of important immune messengers, known as interleukins and lymphokines.
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