Written by Markus Horneber and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 8, 2017

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Abstract and key points

  • Maitake is an edible mushroom used for medicinal purposes.
  • Various preparations and extracts are available and beta-glucans are the suggested key components.
  • There is no evidence for direct anticancer effects but for effects on the host’s immune system.
  • Maitake is well tolerated when used in medicinal doses but allergic reactions can occur.

Maitake is a mushroom indigenous to many Asian countries. Commercial preparations are available as preserved whole fruiting bodies, pulverized fruiting bodies and extracts from the mycelium. Like other species from this phylum, maitake contains polysaccharides (alpha-/beta-homo- and heteroglycans), proteins, nucleic and amino acids, minerals and trace elements, ergosterin, several vitamins and provitamins, phenols and flavonoids. The suggested key components are beta-glucans which are found in the cell walls of the fruiting bodies and mycelia.

There is limited evidence that extracts from maitake can increase the functional capacity of monocytes, T- and NK-cells in human cancer patients. There is no evidence from clinical trials that maitake extracts have direct anticancer effects.

Maitake and its extracts are usually well tolerated; allergic reactions might, however, occur.

Citation Markus Horneber, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Maitake (Grifola frondosa) [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Maitake-Grifola-frondosa. February 8, 2017.


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