A medicinal mushroom (see also Reishi, Maitake, Cordyceps, and Six Mushroom Formula), well-known as a culinary ingredient in Oriental cooking. Not only are Shiitake delicious and nutritious, they are one of the most healing substances in herbal medicine.
Their traditional use is as a nutritive support to all of the body’s functions, and as a specific defense against many ailments which attack the human organism. Shiitake are high in protein, potassium, complex carbohydrates, all of the essential amino acids, and zinc, a mineral now recognized as playing an important role in immune function.
In addition to these gentle supportive roles, Shiitake has been shown in study after study to aggressively defend the body from illness, and to efficiently treat many existing ailments. Chemicals contained in Shiitake have been shown to be antioxidant, free-radical scavenging, liver protective, and able to neutralize and remove some of the most harmful chemicals to which humans are exposed.
Perhaps most exciting, though, is Shiitake’s immune-stimulating ability. Shiitake and its extracts have been used with success in treating ailments from colds and flu to chronic fatigue, hepatitis, and herpes. In fact, the only documented reversal of AIDS, from HIV-positive to HIV-negative, occurred in a Japanese hospital after the patient, also suffering from leukemia and breast cancer, received Shiitake extract for five months.