Shiitake Mushroom

Plant Part Used

Fruiting body and mycelium.


Shiitake has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as a medicinal agent. Shiitake mushroom grows on the trunks or stumps of trees. The medicinal part used is the mycelia or immature growing stage of the mushroom. Recent attention has been placed on shiitake for its potential in enhancing immunity and preventing the development of some cancers.

Interactions and Depletions


Dosage Info

Dosage Range

100-400mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day, with food.

Most Common Dosage

200mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day, with food.


[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 3.2% KS-2 polysaccharides per dose.

Reported Uses

Shiitake may play a role in boosting a number of immune responses that help the body ward off bacterial and viral infection. (1) , (2) Further study has shown that Shiitake may even be beneficial in the fight against HIV and related viruses. (3)

Research also suggests that shiitake may be a valuable weapon against cancer. Its ability to activate the immune system may specifically stimulate responses that can counter the growth of tumors. Because of these benefits, shiitake has been used as a supportive therapy in breast, advanced colo-rectal and stomach cancers. (4)

In addition to boasting anti-cancer properties, shiitake may support cardiovascular health by potentially lowering cholesterol and reducing artherosclerotic buildup in the circulatory system. (5)

Finally, based on clinical study shiitake may be useful for preventing dental cavities. (6)

Toxicities & Precautions


[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]


This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Health Conditions

If you have had an organ transplant talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. This dietary supplement may cause mild skin rashes and gastrointestinal upset. (7) Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.


  1. Suzuki H, et al. Immunopotentiating Substances in Lentinus edodes Mycelial Extract(LEM)– Activation of Macrophage and Proliferation of Bone Marrow Cell. Nippon Shokakibyo Gakkai Zasshi. Jul1988;85(7): 1430.
  2. View Abstract: Suzuki H, et al. Inhibition of the Infectivity and Cytopathic Effect of Human Immunodeficiency Virus by Water-soluble Lignin in an Extract of the Culture Medium of Lentinus edodes Mycelia (LEM). Biochem Biophys Res Commun. Apr1989;160(1):367-73.
  3. View Abstract: Gordon M, et al. A Placebo-controlled Trial of the Immune Modulator, Lentinan, In HIV-positive Patients: A Phase I/II Trial. J Med. 1998;29(5-6):305-30.
  4. View Abstract: Li JF, et al. Study on the Enhancing Effect of Polyporus Polysaccharide, Mycobacterium Polysaccharide and Lentinan on Lymphokine-activated Killer Cell Activity in vitro. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. Apr1996;16(4):224-26.
  5. View Abstract: Li KR, et al. Anti-atherosclerotic Properties of Higher Mushrooms (a Clinico-experimental Investigation. Vopr Pitan. Jan1989;1:16-19.
  6. View Abstract: Shouji N, et al. Anticaries Effect of a Component From Shiitake (An Edible Mushroom). Caries Res. Feb2000;34(1):94-98.
  7. View Abstract: Levy AM. Eosinophilia and Gastrointestinal Symptoms After Ingestion of Shiitake Mushrooms. J Allergy Clin Immunol. May1998;101(5):613-20.





in this scope
Malaysian Herbal Monograph​
Medicinal Herbs & Plants Monographs​
Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbs (Professional Data)
Herbal Medicines Compendium (HMC) - U.S​