SHIITAKE (Lentinus Edodes)
SHIITAKE (Lentinus Edodes, Siangu, fragrance fungus, black fungus) is known for exceptional taste and color. Worldwide, it is also known under one name – sleeping Buddha mushroom. The ancient monks in Japan were tapping the tree on which this kind of fungus grew on with special wooden hammers for a single purpose – to raise a “sleeping micelle”, as well as Buddha, so that he would not forget to give Shiitake extraordinary healing properties.
Shiitake healing properties are unique as well – it is confirmed by multithousand history of Fungotherapy and many clinical researches carried out in Europe, America and Russia. This fungus is a sensation for biochemists sinse there were two things at once discovered: polysaccharide lentinan, that has unique effect on protecting against cancer, which is not typical to any other single plant, and volatile compounds of mushrooms so called “mushroom phytoncides”, that are able to fight with a variety of viruses, starting from “innocent” rhinoviruses (rhinitis virus) and ending with HIV, have been isolated for the first time. Lentinan is used as a complex measure with patients who have cancer, because it prevents development of various tumors and metastasis, through immune system activation (Moriya, 1984). Lentinan bind to specific cell surface or plasma proteins, which activate macrophages, T-helpers, T-destroyers and other muscular and granular cells. These activation mechanisms increase the level of antibodies, interleukins (IL-a, IL-2, IL-12) and u-interferon. Thus, the protecting effect of Lentinan against cancer is through strengthening the body’s immune system. Immunomodulating effect of polysaccharide extends the capabilities of its use, so it is used in various immunodeficiency conditions. After using Lentinan, the decreased activity of immunocompetent cells is renewed. At the same time T-helpers resume, which increases the number of activated macrophages and antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, enhances interactions of immunocompetent cells. Thus, the result of polysaccharide Lentinan is corrected immune. It’s a great regulator of the immune system and a good prophylaxis and treatment tool against col and viral diseases.
In addition, Shiitake has a remarkable capacity to reduce cholesterol level, normalize blood pressure, inhibit organism’s pathogenic flora. For diabetes patients this fungus is also beneficial as it reduces blood sugar levels. If the patient is dependent on insulin, this fungus is also relevant, as it helps to avoid vascular complications.
Overall, this fragrance fungus has a wide range of medical properties.
[Source of the above information: Recent Achievements of Ancient Medicine by Prof. Dr. Arkadijus Gamperis,
Medical Doctor and Professor of Oriental Medicine, Vilnius, Lithuania - ISBN 978-609-95273-3-8]