Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa)

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Maitake is the Japanese name for the fungus Grifola frondosa, which has a large, fruiting body and overlapping caps. Although the term maitake may also be used for Grifola gigantea, Grifola albicans, and Grifola umbellata, most available information is based on Grifola frondosa.
Maitake has been used as a food and as medicine. Compounds and extracts of maitake have been studied for possible immune benefits, including antitumor effects. However, more human studies are needed.

Related Terms

Beta-glucan, choreimaitake, cloud mushroom, dancing mushroom, D-fraction, edible fungus, exobiopolymers, Grifola albicans, Grifola frondosa (Dicks.) Gray, Grifola frondosa HB0071, Grifola gigantea, Grifola umbellata, Grifola umbellata Pilát, grifolan, Grifron® Pro D-fraction, Grifron-Pro Maitake D-fraction®, hen-of-the-woods, hongo maitake, king of mushrooms, maitake extract, maitake PETfraction, MDF, MD-fraction, Meripilaceae (family), MSX, my-take, Polyporaceae (family), shiromaitake, SX-fraction, tombimaitake, Zhuling.
Combination product examples: Grifron-Pro Maitake D-Fraction Extract®, Maitake Gold 404®.
Note: Maitake is a Japanese term for Grifola frondosa, the species promoted as having medicinal activity. However, due to confusion in the field, the term may also mean Grifola gigantea, Grifola albicans, and Grifola umbellata. The focus of this monograph is Grifola frondosa.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Cancer (Grade: C)
Some early animal studies suggest that maitake extract may stimulate the immune function and have antitumor effects. However, human research is limited. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made on the use of maitake for cancer treatment or prevention.
Diabetes (Grade: C)
Early animal studies suggest that maitake mushroom extract may lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, as well as increase levels of insulin in the blood. However, human evidence is limited. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made on the use of maitake for diabetes.
Immune enhancement (Grade: C)
Some early studies found that a compound in maitake may activate the immune system and possibly have antitumor effects. Reliable human evidence is lacking. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made on the possible immune effects of maitake.
Ovulation disorders (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that maitake mushroom and its extract may benefit women who have polycystic ovary syndrome. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made.