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A grifola frondosa is a mild tasting mushroom also known as the maitake mushroom, sheepshead mushroom, or hen in the woods. Some of these mushrooms have been harvested weighing ten pounds (4.54 kg) or more. It has a wavy light brown cap and is usually found at the base of an oak tree. The Japanese and Chinese have used this mushroom for a variety of medicinal purposes for hundreds of years, including treatment for high blood pressure, arthritis, and palsy. It is being investigated for its use in treating cancer and boosting the immune system.
The grifola frondosa mushroom contains many vitamins and minerals. Used in many dishes, it is a good source of magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Grifola frondosa contains B and D vitamins as well as niacin.
Traditional Japanese medicine used the mushroom to treat high blood pressure and elevate the immune system. It was also used to promote heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. The mushroom is purported to help people lose weight when used as part of a diet and exercise program. Weight loss is thought to occur because the mushroom may prevent some fat cells from increasing in size.
Ancient Chinese medicine used the mushroom to treat arthritis and nerve pain. The mushroom was reported to have beneficial effects for those that have palsy. Some stomach ailments were treated with an extract of the grifola frondosa. It was also used successfully to calm the mind and nerves.
Researchers are investigating the cancer killing properties of grifola frondosa. Studies have shown that the mushroom is able to cause apoptosis, or cell death, in some types of cancer, such as prostate cancer. The mushroom may be able to prevent other cancers from growing and spreading in the body, including bladder cancer.
The grifola frondosa mushroom is an alpha glucosidase inhibitor. It may be useful for the treatment of people with diabetes because of its ability to lower the blood sugar levels in the body. People that had the best diabetes treatment results combined the ingestion of the mushroom extract with diet and exercise.
Other research is being conducted to determine the immune system boosting effects of grifola frondosa. Studies have shown that the immune system in breast cancer patients was improved by the use of the mushroom. Both the adaptive immune system and the innate immune system were improved when the mushroom extract was utilized in treatment. The positive effects on the immune system are being studied as a supplementary treatment for people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
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