What are Maitake mushrooms and why are they important?
Maitake is a delicious and popular culinary mushroom due to it’s umami flavor. Maitake is also known as the hen of the woods or the dancing mushroom. The stories from Asian cultures are that when you found one, you’d likely do a happy dance, thus the name “dancing mushroom” In Japanese ‘mai’ means dance and ‘take’ means mushroom. This functional mushroom also somewhat resembles a cluster of dancing butterflies. Maitake was so highly valued in ancient Japan that the mushroom was worth its weight in silver — thus the name.
Maitake is indigenous to Japan, Europe, Asia, and North America. Known locations of Maitake growth in Japan were called “treasure islands,” because of how valuable Maitake was, and were typically found where lightning had scarred a tree. Maitake grows in clusters at the base of oak trees, beeches and other dead hardwoods and has been found weighing up to 80 pounds! These days, you don’t have to hunt in the woods for them. Lucky for you Maitake are usually available at your local specialty grocery store, Asian market, or you can even grow your own at home! If you’re not into cooking you can always take Maitake in a supplement form. We will go over all of the benefits of this functional mushroom in this Maitake 101 guide.
What compounds are in Maitake?
Like other functional mushrooms in our Daily 10 formula, Maitake fruiting bodies contain 1,3 / 1,6 beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are sugars that are found in the cell walls of things like plants, bacteria, and fungi. Fruiting bodies are the actual above ground parts of the mushroom that you would find at the grocery store or farmers market. The mycelium are the underground roots of the mushroom that help in the growth of the mushroom, but are not necessarily packed with the same beneficial compounds as the fruiting bodies.
Compounds in fruiting body of Maitake that are not in the mycelium:
- Phosphatidylinositol - Supports vital protein health*
- Phosphatidylserine - Supports cell health/signalling*
- Phosphatidic acid - Supports cell health/signalling*
Compounds where there are much higher levels in the fruiting body versus the mycelium:
- Trehalose - Supports nervous system, neuronal health, healthy aging*
- Nucleotides - Supports healthy energy and cell function*
- MD fraction - Supporting immune health*
- Up to 9x times more 1,3 / 1,6 beta glucans - Supports immune health*
What are the benefits of taking Maitake mushrooms?
Maitake may provide metabolic support.*
Maitake contains powerful polysaccharides that have shown to help manage weight, support normal blood sugar levels, support normal cholesterol in healthy ranges, and aid in healthy digestion.*
Maitake may support healthy cell turnover.*
Maitake contains 1,3 / 1,6 beta-glucans which have been studied in correlation to healthy cell turnover.
Maitake may help support the body in maintaining homeostasis.*
Maitake (like other functional mushrooms) are adaptogens which support the body in maintaining healthy functioning in response to occasional stress. Occasional stress is caused by a number of external factors and adaptogens help support the body in moving through that occasional stress. A great way to think about this is thinking about cruise control on a car; cruise control helps the car maintain a constant speed despite external factors such as inclines, declines, or other vehicles. Adaptogens support the body in a very similar way.
Ways to enjoy Maitake Mushrooms / How to use Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake Mushroom Tinctures:
Tinctures that contain Maitake (such as our Daily 10 formula) are the most bioavailable way to supplement Maitake. Bioavailability refers to the amount of time it takes for the supplement to start circulating in the bloodstream. Tinctures are a concentrated liquid supplement that have been extracted in order to pull out the beneficial compounds.
Tinctures are a no fuss way to get your functional mushroom support in! Simply take two droppers (or whatever the recommended dosage is) under the tongue and swish around your mouth for at least twenty seconds. You can also simply add two droppers to your beverage of choice if taking the droppers under the tongue doesn’t work for you.
Our Daily 10 tinctures with Maitake are 2 oz formulas which make them the perfect size to throw in your bag and they are TSA friendly. Tinctures are the perfect way to make sure you get your Maitake support on the go!
We always encourage you to make sure that your Maitake tinctures are ‘dual-extracted’. A dual extraction refers to the fact that the tincture supplement is extracted once with alcohol and then again with water. Having a dual extracted tincture is important because certain compounds in Maitake are alcohol-soluble and others are water-soluble; having a dual extracted formula ensures you are getting all of the beneficial compounds!
Maitake Capsules and Powders:
Capsules containing Maitake are another great way to take this functional mushroom supplement if you currently have other supplements that you take in capsule form. A lot of the western world is comfortable taking capsules and most people have some supplements they take daily. If that is the case for you, you might consider adding Maitake capsules to your routine. The great thing about already having a capsule routine is that you’re more likely to remember to take your Maitake capsules as opposed to another supplement format.
Powders containing Maitake are another type of functional mushroom supplement that has become quite popular in the past few years. Maybe you’ve scrolled through Pinterest and seen some ‘potion’ or ‘tonic’ recipes; or maybe you like to have your Instagram feed filled with dreamy pictures of vibrant smoothies and bowls. If this is the case then you’re in luck because powders containing Maitake can easily take your daily smoothie routine up a notch and your body will thank you. Powders are also great to add to broths and soups as well. You can simply add two scoops (or whatever the recommended amount is) to your liquid and mix or blend until combined.
There are so many mushroom supplements popping up on the market these days that you need to know what to look for to ensure you’re choosing a quality product. To ensure you are getting the highest quality, we recommend making sure that your Maitake capsules and powders are made with 100% Maitake fruiting bodies. Fruiting bodies are the actual above ground part of the mushroom that you would find in the wild if you were foraging or the part that you would purchase at the grocery store to cook with. The ‘mycelium’ on the other hand can be thought of as the underground roots of the mushroom. Always check the ingredients on your supplements to ensure that fruiting bodies are being used; and if it doesn't say or it says ‘mycelium on grain (or rice)’ or ‘mycelia’ you might want to try and find another supplement made with only fruiting bodies to ensure you’re only getting the good stuff!
We only use 100% USDA Certified Organic Maitake fruiting bodies in our formulas at Mushroom Revival.
Unlike some other functional mushrooms that must be steeped or extracted Maitake can easily be found in your local specialty market or farmers market and be prepared into a delicious meal. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have Top Chef skills to make a tasty dish with Maitake, just take our word for it and try this Maitake fried rice recipe! Maitake has a wonderful umami and can be incorporated into your weekly dishes from omelettes to stews and even desserts such as these Ginger and Maitake no-bake balls. The options are endless when it comes to Maitake! Fun fact: button mushrooms aren’t the only mushroom variety that you can stuff; check out this recipe for stuffed Maitake mushrooms which are perfect for any kind of get together!
When to take Maitake Mushrooms
When is the best time to take Maitake?
The best thing about functional mushrooms is that you don’t have to alter your routine in any way to incorporate them; the best time to take Maitake is whenever it makes sense in your daily routine! As we talked about earlier in this Maitake guide, if you already take capsules it might make sense to take Maitake in capsule form. If you always make a smoothie in the morning it might make sense to add a powder with Maitake to it. Maybe you hit the gym on your lunch break or after work; toss your tincture with Maitake in your gym bag and take two droppers while you’re lacing up your sneakers.
The choice is yours, just make sure you set yourself up success! You know your routine best, so associating your Maitake supplement with something you do every day automatically means you’re more likely to remember to take it.
What to look for in Maitake mushroom supplements
We are extremely obsessed with quality at Mushroom Revival and you should be too! After all, in today's world of external stressors, what you put into your body really matters.
Always make sure your Maitake mushroom supplements are made with fruiting bodies. As we discussed earlier, fruiting bodies are the above ground part of the mushroom that contains most or all of the beneficial compounds. Steer clear from supplements that have ‘mycelia’ or ‘mycelium on grain’ listed in the ingredients list. This ensures that you’re only putting the good stuff in your body and not any filler or fluff.
Also make sure if you are choosing a Maitake mushroom tincture that it has been dual extracted. This ensures that you are getting both the beneficial alcohol-soluble compounds as well as the beneficial water-soluble compounds. A dual extracted tincture is the most potent and bioavailable way to supplement with Maitake.
It’s also important to make sure that the Maitake supplement has gone through lab testing. Not only do lab testing results ensure that you’re not ingesting things like heavy metals and contaminants, but they also disclose the amount of beneficial compounds that are contained in the mushroom supplement. At Mushroom Revival, we have a QR code on our packaging that can easily be scanned and will take you directly to the lab results. We also publish the lab results on our website and can be accessed by an easy link on our product pages.
Potential Side Effects of Maitake Mushroom
There are no known side effects of Maitake unless you have an allergy to mushrooms. As with any mushroom supplement we recommend talking to a medical professional before adding anything into your daily routine.
*The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your physician, and should not be construed as individual medical advice.