Maitake comes from the word dancing in Japanese since it’s claimed that people began dancing with joy after discovering the maitake mushroom. Even though it is solely used for its taste in culinary recipes, it is a great adaptogen that helps the body resist mental and physical issues. It is usually found in the wild during the autumn season but can also be grown under specific environmental conditions at home.
Maitake Mushroom Benefits
Mushrooms are generally beneficial for health, but the maitake mushroom has increased benefits compared to others. It is rich in antioxidants, beta-glucans, vitamins B and C, and many other minerals.
A study conducted in 2013 showed that D-Fraction found in maitake mushrooms helps fight and treat breast cancer. It can restrict the growth of cancerous cells in the body. Moreover, research conducted also showed that maitake mushrooms controlled the growth of tumors. Maitake D-Fraction extract is used along with a protein to kill cancer cells in human bodies. 
In a study conducted on mice, researchers observed that maitake mushrooms helped control cholesterol and boosted the production of fatty acids in the body, increasing energy production. Hence, doctors and people suggest eating maitake mushrooms could keep arteries healthy.
A study proved that maitake mushrooms could control glucose levels in the body, helping those with type-2 diabetes. However, the study was conducted on mice, but it proves that it could also benefit humans with type-2 diabetes. 
Since these mushrooms contain high amounts of antioxidants, copper, potassium, and amino acids, they can also treat the common cold, flu, and blood pressure. They may help reduce the harsh side effects of chemotherapy.
Maitake Mushroom Side Effects
Consuming too many maitake mushrooms could have potential side effects despite being a natural food. If the mushroom is too old, it could be challenging to digest, causing stomach issues. To make maitake mushrooms easily digestible, you should cook them properly. However, these issues are quite uncommon, and these mushrooms are largely tolerable.
If you have troubles such as hypotension, diabetes, and blood pressure, you should consult your doctor before consuming maitake mushrooms because they affect blood glucose levels significantly. Moreover, someone has undergone a surgical procedure, they shouldn’t consume maitake mushrooms until at least 2 weeks after surgery, especially if they have a bleeding disorder.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an autoimmune disorder, you shouldn’t consume maitake mushrooms without a doctor’s recommendation. 
Maitake Mushroom Supplement
Maitake mushroom supplements are extracts from the mushrooms, found in a liquid concentrate form or as dry capsules. The dosage of maitake mushroom depends on age, health, and other user health conditions. Dosage varying from 1 to 1.5 grams by mouth, daily, for up to 2 years is common amongst users. However, there is no reliable information about how much dosage one should consume the maitake mushroom extract.
Since it is a natural food, many people believe that it might not have any side effects, but safe consumption is necessary. When buying maitake mushroom supplements, read the label for consumption guidelines.
Maitake Mushroom Recipe
Maitake mushrooms, like other mushrooms, can easily become a part of your diet. If you want to improve your health, you can add these to any food you make. From stir-fry to salads, pasta, and pizzas, maitake mushrooms go well with any dish. Maitake mushrooms can also be grilled, or you could fry them up in butter for an enhanced flavor.
You can find both fresh and dried maitake mushrooms in grocery stores. When buying them fresh, you should buy them whole, store them in paper bags, and keep them in the fridge to prolong their shelf life. You can also freeze these mushrooms in raw form, which increases their shelf life.
Maitake mushroom extract can also be found in supplements which you can add to your daily life and benefit from the changes. For increased benefits of the mushroom, you should consume them with some form of vitamin C.
Maitake Mushroom How to Cook
Maitake mushrooms can be added for flavor in any dish. There are various ways to cook them. You could either stir fry them to eat them as it is or add them to a salad. Maitake mushroom soup is also common and quite delicious. The maitake mushroom can be consumed whole and as a separate dish when young.
The mushroom grows tough and fibrous with time, making it difficult to break down. In such cases, the upper lobes of the mushroom can be consumed, and you can grind them to sprinkle over your salad or other dishes. Maitake mushrooms can be roasted, fried, or even grilled, but you have to cook them enough to make sure that they are digestible. 
Maitake Mushroom Taste
The maitake mushroom has a very earthy flavor along with hints of pepper. They are best complemented with salty and savory sauces and spices. Flavors of the maitake mushroom are best enhanced when cooked, especially when fried or grilled in butter.
Even though they smell like stinky socks, the flavor can knock you off your feet. They can be eaten raw with their earthy flavors, but it’s better if you cook them to make them digestible. The flavor is lighter than a shiitake mushroom but stronger than a porcini. Even with a slight hint of spice in the flavor, like other mushrooms, the maitake takes on the taste of the sauces and spices it is cooked in. 
The maitake mushroom, also known as hen of the woods, can be a great addition to your diet with multiple health benefits. However, you need to ensure that they’re cooked as they can be difficult to digest. The dosage shouldn’t exceed more than 2 grams daily. Nonetheless, a lot more research is required in this field to determine the full benefits of this mushroom.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Alonso, E. N., Orozco, M., Nieto, A. E., & Balogh, G. A. (2013, July). Genes Related to Suppression of Malignant Phenotype Induced by Maitake D-Fraction in Breast Cancer Cells. Journal of Medicinal Food, 16(7), 602–617. https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2012.0222
- Chen, Y. H., Lee, C. H., Hsu, T. H., & Lo, H. C. (2015). Submerged-Culture Mycelia and Broth of the Maitake Medicinal Mushroom Grifola frondosa (Higher Basidiomycetes) Alleviate Type 2 Diabetes-Induced Alterations in Immunocytic Function. International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 17(6), 541–556. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i6.50
- Ulbricht, C., Weissner, W., Basch, E., Giese, N., Hammerness, P., Rusie-Seamon, E., Varghese, M., & Woods, J. (2009). Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa): systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 7(2), 66–72.