Shiitake or Hua gu is a type of mushroom that is native to Japan and China where it has been used as a food and medicinally for thousands of years. It is now cultivated all over the world and is commonly used with the mushroom Reishi.
What it does
Shiitake contains triterpenoids and glucans and has immune stimulating and regulating properties. It is also anti-viral, anti-cancer, cholesterol lowering and adaptogenic.
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Whilst one of the compounds in Shiitake, lentinan is said to be helpful for HIV and cancer, it should only be used under medical supervision.
It may help lessen the side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with Shiitake.
Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using Shiitake, but it has been known to induce temporary diarrhoea and abdominal bloating when used in high amounts (above 15–20 grams per day).
Do not use in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.