Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

The Shiitake mushroom has been a legend in folk medicine of Southeast Asia. It China and Japan, this mushroom has been cultivated and used for 3 000 years. In ancient Japan, it was mainly used for treatment of sugar diabetes. The mushroom is also known as the “Mushroom of the Sleeping Buddha”. People believed that it was a gift from Buddha and that they had to awake him from time to time to remind him to introduce healing properties in the mushrooms. For that purpose people knocked with small wood hammers on the chestnut trees that had shiitake mushrooms grown on their trunk (actually by doing this they stimulated mycelium growth).

As far back as 600 years ago, during the Ming dynasty, Shiitake used to be given to the Emperor and his courtiers in the autumn to strengthen their defenses before the winter season. For that reason Shiitake was also called “the Emperor’s mushroom”.
Shiitake
Shiitake is the best studied mushroom. Due to a special polysaccharide called Lentinan, Shiitake mushrooms have strong beneficial action on the immune system. In the USA, commercial cultivation of Shiitake is increasing faster than that of any other mushroom.

The succulent texture of Shiitake mushrooms goes with almost any dish. Its high nutritional value and healing properties increase its culinary use in other countries, too. The nutritional value of Shiitake is even higher from that of all other mushrooms. In addition to basic amino acids, Shiitake contains the unique amino acid Eritadenin. Some researchers state that this amino acid is capable of reducing blood cholesterol. Shiitake is also rich in iron, Niacin, and B group vitamins, especially B1 and B2. Sun-dried Shiitake mushrooms are also rich in vitamins. Infusions made from Shiitake cultivated mycelium contain the beta glucan polysaccharide KS2 and a peptide, rich in the amino acids serin, threonin, alanin and prolin.

Cordyceps
Cordyceps
Hericium
Hericium
Coriolus
Coriolus
Polyporus
Polyporus
Auricularia
Auricularia
Coprinus
Coprinus
Reishi
Reishi
Maitake
Maitake
Agaricus blazei
Agaricus blazei