What maitake is

Also known as King of Mushrooms (for its size), Dancing Mushroom (literal translation of maitake), Cloud Mushroom, and Hen of Woods, Grifola frondosa—or maitake—has been used medicinally in Eastern cultures for thousands of years and now is emerging in modern American medicine.


Because it contains beta glucan, a natural, branched polysaccharide (a molecule made up of many sugar units), maitake helps facilitate proper immune function. Preliminary resesarch has shown the mushroom can slow cancer cell growth, but further research is warranted, say experts. It may also improve glucose tolerance, making it beneficial for diabetics.

How to take it*

Maitake is available in liquid extract, tablet, and capsule form. The typical dosage is between 3 and 7 grams daily. The mushroom also can be eaten whole or used to prepare tea.

Side effects

May lower blood sugar or cause allergic reactions in some people.

*Talk with your health care provider before starting any supplement regimen.