Herbs & Botanicals
Shiitake (hua gu)
What is shiitake?
Shiitake (also known as hua gu) is a type of wild mushroom native
to Japan, China and other areas in Asia. The mushrooms are small,
grayish-brown and usually grow on the trunks of dead trees. Shiitake
mushrooms have been a staple of Japanese and Chinese cuisine for
millennia and are now one of the most popular types of mushrooms
consumed in the U.S.
Why do we need shiitake? What is it used
Shiitake mushrooms contain about twice as much protein as most
vegetables and are a good source of fiber. They are a good source
of complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides, which are believed
to boost the immune system. Shiitake mushrooms also contain iron,
minerals, and vitamins B1 and B2, with relatively high amounts of
niacin and riboflavin.
How much shiitake should I take?
Traditionally, the intake of dried shiitake mushrooms (either in
soups or as a decoction) is between 6-16 grams per day. For shiitake
tinctures, 2-4 milliliters per day is recommended.
What forms of shiitake are available?
Shiitake mushrooms are most readily available in the fresh or dried
variety and can be found at most grocery stores. It is also available
in tincture form, and a powdered extract known as LEM (lentinus
edodes mycelium) is available at many nutritional stores.
What can happen if I take too much shiitake?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions
should I take?
While shiitake has an excellent safety record, it has been known
to induce temporary diarrhea and abdominal bloating when consumed
in high amounts (>20 grams per day). Women who are pregnant or
nursing should consult with their health professional before consuming
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