Shiitake: Lentinula edodes
Originally from Japan, growing on decomposing shii trees, the Shiitake mushroom has been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years. Today, shiitakes are the second most cultivated mushrooms in the world, not far behind the button mushroom that we are most familiar with. They are a chef’s favorite since they retain their meatiness throughout the cooking process and have an unmatched, intense, robust flavor. These mushrooms can be grilled, roasted, or sautéed on their own or added to almost any dish to make an impressive accompaniment. Our shiitakes are grown outside, organically on oak logs in the mountains of Vermont ensuring that you benefit from their optimum flavor and potency.
Shiitakes have been used in medicine by the Chinese since 100 AD and research on their anti-cancer properties has been ongoing since the 1960s. Although more research needs to be done, tests on humans and animals show promising results for several types of cancers and AIDS by boosting a patient’s immune system. It appears that lentinan, a polysaccharide found in shiitakes has helped prolong the life of patients with advanced stomach and colorectal cancers. Additionally, these mushrooms have a component known as 1,3-beta glucan that is believed to slow (and in some cases stop) tumor growth in mice, and lessen the side effects of cancer treatment in humans. Furthermore, shiitakes also contain eritadenine, a compound that has cholesterol-lowering capabilities as well as natural proteins that have virus-inhibiting effects.
Sources: American Cancer Society cancer.org, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, Paul Stamets, Fungi Perfecti.