In the northeastern woods of Japan and the United States grows a ruffly-looking, exotic fungus with exciting possibilities, both culinary and nutritional. Called maitake or hen of the woods mushrooms, their woodsy aroma, meaty texture, and rich flavor have long given them special status in Japanese cuisine. Now, research is showing that maitake have potential that goes far beyond the kitchen.
Posts Tagged ‘mushroom’
In Europe and the United States, this mushroom (Grifola frondosa) is commonly called “hen of the woods,” since its frond-like growths resemble the feathers of a fluffed chicken. Maitake is the name I prefer, in a bow to the Japanese who pioneered its cultivation. Maitake mushrooms are known in Japan as “the dancing mushroom.” According to a Japanese legend, a group of Buddhist nuns and woodcutters met on a mountain trail, where they discovered a fruiting of maitake mushrooms emerging from the forest floor. Rejoicing at their discovery of this delicious mushroom, they danced to celebrate. In Italy, this species is known as signorina, or “the unmarried woman.” Today these two common names, bestowed long ago on the opposite sides of the planet, seem especially deserving and perhaps foretelling recent research findings.
Maitake is a mushroom that traditionally has been used in Japan and China as part of the diet and to treat diabetes and hypertension. Like other medicinal mushrooms, maitake contains a complex sugar called beta-glucan. In laboratory and human studies, maitake extract was able to stimulate various cells and factors in the immune system. Studies in animals show that it slows the growth of certain tumors and lowers blood sugar levels. More studies are being conducted to determine if maitake has the same effects in humans.
New scientific research published in the journal Phytomedicine indicates that a type of mushroom called cordyceps may be a crucial link to treating cancer.
I think reishi must have come to me because of my prayers. I’d been pleading to overcome the negativity I had built up over so many years, and Master Teeguarden introduced me to reishi. He taught me that reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum, Ling Zhi) is by far the most precious shen herb on the planet. I regard this herb’s effect upon my life as the single most important thing that has ever happened to me, and I literally evaluate my life as pre– and post–reishi. The most revered herb in all Taoist Chinese medicine, it has a long history of use by Taoist monks and wise men/women throughout the ages for its superior shen opening capabilities.