Sixth Sense for Shiitake Natural Medicine

I had been thinking all morning about yummy shiitake mushrooms and dark greens, sauteed in butter with garlic and a little chili in the wok. Craving may well have been an understatement. Several days into my first ever case of shingles (self pitying sob!), however, I was exhausted and loathe to go out to find some. But circumstance (mostly the lack of a wife or houseboy and a teenager defiantly spending Sunday in her PJs) eventually pushed me to go shopping.

And there they were. Shiitake mushrooms! Yummo! And uber cheap. (USD $1.60 for a big bag that fed us both, with left overs for tomorrow's lunch). Asian monsoonal weather is intense and so full of floods, storms, sweat and drama; the up side is an incredible abundance of cheap fresh vegetables, fungi and fruits. Sort of a soggy Garden of Eden.


It's hard not to know that shiitake mushrooms are good for you, but despite having known that for very many years, I really didn't know good for exactly what, or why. And so I spent a gentle Sunday afternoon horizontally convalescing, reading mycology websites and clinical studies and generally educating myself.

Turns out my 6th sense was SPOT ON!!

Shiitake mushroom (botanical name: Lentinula edodes or Hua Yu in Chinese Traditional Medicine) is a super immune boosting food because it contains:

  • The essential amino acids lysine, arginine, methionine, phenylalanine & linoleic acid
  • Lentin - a protein which has anti-fungal properties
  • Ergosterol - a biological precursor to vitamin D2, thought to possibly have anti-tumor properties
  • Potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc
  • Antioxidant selenium

What's on my shopping list for tomorrow - ironically, a lysine supplement to help my body deal with the viral debris of my childhood chicken pox, which can come back in later life, under stress, as shingles (Who knew? I sure didn't). Turns out there probably couldn't be a better food for shingles than shiitake. Substantial, bio-available levels of zinc, selenium, the vitamin D precursor and lysine (all critical for immune response) in one easy to prepare, natural, organic food? Mother Nature's Pharmacopoeia was PERFECT in her prescription.

Shiitake mushroom extract is one of the natural medicines used to manage HIV. "Regular L. edodes consumption resulted in improved immunity, as seen by improved cell proliferation and activation and increased sIgA production." Source..

But there are some other amazing things to learn about fresh shiitake mushrooms.

Shiitake mushrooms are clinically proven to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of obesity and its related metabolic disorders. Source. Struggling with your weight? Black rice & shiitake mushrooms a couple of times a week would be an easy, natural and tasty choice.

Shiitake has been shown to lower blood serum cholesterol levels AND to reduce blood pressure.

The anti-inflammatory compounds found in shiitake also make it an essential food for helping to manage and heal inflammatory conditions including rosacea, eczema, and acne.

But ALL of these amazing natural medicine uses pale beside the shiitake's most-radical use: as a specific anti-cancer treatment. A polysaccharide derived from shiitake, lentinan, has been extensively studied is used in an injectable form in some countries to treat cancer.

Amazing. And I bought my medicine at the fresh market not 5 mins walk from our house, for under $2.


So if they're such an amazing natural medicine food, should we be eating them every day? Actually no. Like so many natural medicine foods, over-consumption of shiitake has been shown to be detrimental. Specifically, gorging on shiitake every day will lead to dermatitis, photo-sensitivity, an upset stomach and increased eosinophil counts. (Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell which are present in allergic reactions and inflammation). Sadly, as yummy as they are, shiitake mushrooms need to be eaten occasionally by healthy people and used more specifically as a natural medicine food.

Listen to the promptings of your inner witchy healer - I'm sure glad I did. Dinner was yum. Sliced shiitake, garlic, a sliced chicken breast and a huge bunch of fresh, organic,Thai, dark green, young kale - all sauteed in a little butter with only salt and a few dried chili flakes.

BlissednBlessed in my Thai natural world, and starting to feel better.

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Now Iam craving for some shiitake xD
I definitely have to try out fresh shiitake, mostly we only have the dried mushrooms here.

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I swear that fresh shiitake are AMAZING and totally worth it. You can always soak your dried mushrooms overnight, which really helps bring back some of the original flavours. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Black rice and shitake mushies? Sounds like I have decided what I'm having for dinner!

Actually, more likely to go for something with limes and ginger and garlic -I think I have a cold coming on (self pitying sigh)

Seriously, you are perfectly entitled to self pity. I think we see that far too negatively. Pat yourself and say 'there there' - a bit of self love might heal you faster. Plus, a teenager out of pajamas.

I love the way you listen to what your body needs, and I love the way a healing food medicine often appears just when we need it the most. Limes are literally dropping off my tree right now in this wind, and I know you sing their praises, so I'm squeezing and sipping. xx

Self love, self soothing and self encouragement are a far cry from self pity! LOL. Self pity just brings MORE of that we focus on. Hope your cold is already long gone and forgotten.

About 16 years ago i had a brain tumor and my brain surgeon actually recommended eating shiitake as well as button mushrooms as a way to keep any stray cells from growing. I also take a turkeytail extract as a preventative. So far so good 16 years now.

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Wonderful to hear you had such an enlightened surgeon... & well for 16 years!! 💚

I didn't know the specific benefits of Shitaki mushrooms @artemislives ~ Just knew that they are an excellent natural immune system enhancer that I wouldn't want to be without for more than a week or two.

Good to know that you shouldn't have them in large quantities too often though. My only limiting factor until learning that has been the cost ~ $5 for as many as you get for less than $2. Still, they are definitely worth every cent. Plus they seem to last the longest of all the various mushrooms we can get at our organic farmers market. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎

Ever thought of trying to grow mushrooms yourself? Im loosely considering that idea... 💚... although mushrooms are always so cheap in Asia. We are blessed.

shiitake is one of my favorite mushrooms, especially for beef stew

The flavours are truly incredible, right... tgat's AS WELL AS the amazing health benefits. 😋

That was a very informative post and learned about my favorite mushroom. Thank you

Anazing how something so delicious could literally be such intense natural medicine. I was a bit bummed to learn moderation is required. 😉

Thank you for telling us about Shiitak, its wonderful properties. I have never heard of shiitake. It’s a pity that I can’t buy a shiitake on my bozar. But there are other mushrooms with us, and the mushroom season will begin soon.

Where are you based @senattor? Life is simply not complete without awesome shiitake sometimes. 😊

Mainland eurasia, since I write about the forbidden in my country, I can’t open the exact place of stay. I’m connected. We grow blue leg mushrooms, champignon, porcini mushroom and many others.

Oh sweet Goddess - now I want porcini too!! Understand completely about the non-disclosure of where you are. :) In Thailand we have many such restrictions too, only starting to improve and relax.

My grandfather was in Thailand, he really liked everything. The time will come and I will visit this magnificent country. Have a nice day.

That is good to know the benefits of those delicious shiitake mushrooms!
Lucky you to have them so readily available and inexpensive!
Just reading this has got me craving some mushrooms sauteed in garlic butter!
Thanks for sharing!

Mushrooms in garlic butter? Oh yeah. Nothing better!!

Mushrooms are something I never used to enjoy, but they have definitely "grown" on me as I have gotten older and much more adventurous in my food choices! I didn't realize that about the lysine, but it is something I will supplement with at times, as well. I'd much rather enjoy eating my nutrients than taking them from a bottle, so I'll remember this little tidbit!

Your comment made me chuckle - if you think mushrooms are "adventurous food choices" you should probably never come to Asia. LOL. Nutrients in a bottle? Nah. Poorly absorbed and so very often synthetic and containing GMO ingredients. Pass. Always happy if one person learns one thing from a post - happy it was you this time. :)

Haha, well considering I grew up on a combination of Hamburger Helper, Bacon Cheeseburgers, boxed cereal and Nutty Bars, even some of the most basic ingredients seem adventurous given my very narrow culinary tastes early in life. 😂 I still get wide-eyed at my own local farmers market sometimes finding rare seasonal goodies, so I can only imagine how much more in awe I would be over there!

haha.... now let me take a wild guess which country you come from.... hmmmm???

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