Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes), like many other medicinal mushroom species, originate in Eastern Asia where they had been used for thousands of years for their taste and health-boosting properties.
Widely consumed as a culinary ingredient, shiitake have an amazing nutritional profile which has been recognized by nutritional experts and conventional medical professionals alike.
Low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, fibre and other vital nutrients, shiitake present an excellent choice for quickly rejuvenating the body and revitalizing the mind. (Ref. 1)
Full of highly beneficial chemical compounds, such as polysaccharides (ex., lentinan and beta-glucans), alkaloids (eritadenine) and other valuable compounds, shiitake offer deep healing for those of us seeking to naturally improve our health and quality of life. (Ref. 2 and 3)
Shiitake have become most famous for providing a strong support to the immune system, thanks to the work of its polysaccharides.
Beta-glucans found in shiitake and other mushrooms are specifically used to treat tiredness and chronic fatigue syndrome. (Ref. 4)
Just like their other famous "relative" - reishi mushrooms, shiitake are capable of modulating the immune system - i.e, bringing it back into balance. When the immune system is over-active, shiitake will have a calming effect on it; when the system is under-performing - they will encourage it to be more active. (Ref. 5)
These mushrooms also have a positive impact on the immune cells called macrophages which are responsible for clearing the debris out of the body, especially dead and cancerous cells. (Ref. 6)
As an "extension" of its immunomodulating properties, shiitake may possibly be considered an adaptogen as well. This means that they may protect the body from potential damage due to stress and help to restore its functions naturally.
Apart from that, shiitake deliver many other benefits, including support for the cardiovascular system and protection from oxidative stress, thanks to its anti-oxidant capacity. (Ref. 7)
Shiitake also work as anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents and are a highly popular remedy for dealing with colds and flus. (Ref. 8, 9 and 10)
By working on our bodies as a whole, shiitake *lift us up* in a completely natural way and leave us feeling energised for longer.