Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
The Shiitake is both an excellent edible mushroom and a medicinal mushroom with a very broad spectrum of activity.
ORIGIN, NUTRITION AND USE
Shiitake is actually native to Japan and China and has been grown there for around 2000 years. The mushroom belongs to the family of dizzy relatives and came to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. In Asia it is highly valued for its high nutrient content and fine aroma and is considered the “king of mushrooms”. The Japanese name Shiitake means mushroom (take) that grows on the Pasania tree (shii); the mushroom is therefore also called pasania mushroom in Germany. After the champignon it is the most cultivated edible mushroom and in East Asia it is the number one amongst the cultivated mushrooms.
Shiitake has the umami flavor, which is now recognized by modern science as the fifth taste quality perceptible through the tongue in addition to sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Umami is created by the presence of glutamate and activates special taste receptors on the tongue. It determines the taste of protein-rich foods such as meat, legumes or some mushrooms.
In addition to vitamin B2, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6, the shiitake contains a particularly large amount of vitamin B5 and thus provides a lot of power for a healthy metabolism and for healthy nerves. Furthermore, it provides high amounts of vitamin D, which normally have to be synthesized in the human body by UV-B radiation. Shiitake has various precursors of vitamin D. After sunbathing, whether during fruiting or drying, further stages of vitamin D are formed in the mushroom and are available to the consumer.
Shiitake is said to be antithrombotic, antiallergic, cholesterol-regulating, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, antiviral, and also good for arthritis, gout, rheumatism, migraines and tinnitus. So it is always worth trying alternative healing methods with Shiitake, especially when conventional medicine fails.
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- Dai X. et al.: Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2015; 34(6):478-87
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- United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release. (http://www.usda.gov)